U.S., British Forces Obtain Document Outlining Al Qaeda's New Iraq Strategy

ByABC News
May 4, 2006, 4:15 PM

May 4, 2006 — -- ABC News has obtained a document seized by U.S. and British Special Forces during a recent raid of an alleged Zarqawi safe house about 20 miles southwest of Baghdad in the town of Yusufiyah. This was the raid where the military believes it narrowly missed capturing Zarqawi himself.

The five-page document appears to sketch out a new strategy for al Qaeda in Iraq: Reduce attacks in the Sunni-dominated areas in the west and concentrate attacks inside Baghdad.

"We will reduce our operations against [the Americans] in our areas for the near future, and will perform our work against them in Baghdad itself," the document says.

It also calls for attacks on the Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad, "Move the battle to the Shia depths," the document says. "Put pressure on them to leave their areas."

It states the strategy is aimed at two goals:

1) Incite people against the Shia and provoke sectarian war.

2) Bringing down the government or at least weakening it (and then destroying the Shias' four-year rule).

There is quite a bit of detail in the document with targets mentioned, and tactics ("plant [explosives] by night; explode by day").

There is also some interesting self-criticism.

The document complains that the losses of American forces in Baghdad "are hardly worth mentioning" compared to American losses in the western provinces. And, in the concluding paragraph, the document says the "rank and file" of the mujahideen in Baghdad know their leadership does not have "a broad view" or "a well-knit plan" and that "this has led to strategic losses for us."

The document was seized by "Task Force 145" -- the top-secret special operations group (made up of the military's elite operators, including Delta Force and Navy SEALs as well as British Special Forces) that heads up the hunt for Zarqawi.