Web Posting May Provide Insight Into Iraq Insurgency

ByABC News
November 23, 2004, 5:03 PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 23, 2004 — -- For the second time this month, a message that appears to come from inside the Iraqi insurgency has been posted on a Web site. While its authenticity can't be proven, the message seems to provide a valuable perspective on both the insurgents' strategy and the challenges they face.

The new message opens with a plea for advice from Palestinian and Chechen militants as well as Osama bin Laden supporters in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "We face many problems," it reads in Arabic, "and need your military guidance since you have more experience."

The problems, the message says, are the result of losing the insurgent safe haven of Fallujah to U.S. troops. It says the insurgency was hampered as checkpoints and raids spread "to every city and road." Communications broke down as insurgents were forced to spread out through the country.

The arrest of some of their military experts, more "spies willing to help the enemy," and a dwindling supply of arms also added to the organizational breakdown, it reads.

But the message also lists new "advantages," claiming insurgent groups are spreading -- to Mosul, Tikrit, Baghdad, and as far south as Basra.

There have been coordinated attacks by insurgents in a number of the cities mentioned over the past few days.

The message displays no political or religious ideology, but it does claim "a huge increase" in volunteers since the start of the U.S.-led assault on Fallujah.

"This particular memo asks for strategic advice, but it makes it very clear in the text that what they really want are volunteers, money and more munitions," said military analyst Tony Cordesman, an ABC News consultant.

Analysts say the message appears to be written by the same man, identified as Abu Ahmed al-Baghdadi, who posted a plan of action on the Internet a few weeks ago that included kidnapping interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's relatives and attacking British troops.

That message quickly disappeared, perhaps to prevent anyone from tracing it. But on Nov. 9, Allawi's first cousin, the cousin's wife and their pregnant daughter-in-law were kidnapped by gunmen from their home in Baghdad. The two women were released five days later and the cousin on Sunday.

Late today, another Internet posting from a group calling itself "The Media Department of Al Qaeda in Iraq" included a video showing insurgents walking freely on one of Baghdad's main streets. It claims that the Iraqis who live there support their cause.

ABC News' Bill Blakemore filed this report for World News Tonight.