Al-Zawahri's letter not authentic?

By

According to Eli Lake of the New York Sun, the letter from Al—Qaeda's number two man to terrorist field commander in Iraq, Abu—Musab Zarqawi, may be a fake.  Some analysts have even counted the words that terrorists are likely to use such as 'infidel' and 'crusader,' and concluded that it 'doesn't read like an Islamist text.'  Of course, there are other analysts who believe the letter is authentic.

Readers are encouraged to review the entire text of the letter in both English and Arabic at the CENTCOM website.  The CENTCOM site analyzes the letter using its seven critical themes.  The CENTCOM analysis notes that

The first four [themes] confirm al—Qaida's long—term strategy and core beliefs; the latter three reflect new information about how senior al—Qaida leader Zawahiri views developments in Iraq — and elsewhere — turning against them.

Readers should review the entire letter and CENTCOM's conclusions in detail, and decide for themselves who is correct.  Anything is possible in a Global War on Terror where information operations have become a key weapon for both sides, but I'll place my faith in CENTCOM's read on this before I believe the usual suspects who provide fodder for media generated controversies.

Another thing to consider is the notion put forward by 'one administration source' that the letter was faked by a foreign intelligence service.  Given that most foreign intelligence services work for governments that are hostile to the US, why would they fake a letter that puts the terrorists on the losing side of the fight?

I'm surprised the Sun, a superb newspaper, jumped so quickly on the letter, using named and unnamed analysts and unknown administration sources.  This is the modus operandi of Newsweek and its stable of disgruntled intelligence agents; not what I thought was a knowledgeable and up and coming alternative to the major press.

Doug Hanson   10—17—05

According to Eli Lake of the New York Sun, the letter from Al—Qaeda's number two man to terrorist field commander in Iraq, Abu—Musab Zarqawi, may be a fake.  Some analysts have even counted the words that terrorists are likely to use such as 'infidel' and 'crusader,' and concluded that it 'doesn't read like an Islamist text.'  Of course, there are other analysts who believe the letter is authentic.

Readers are encouraged to review the entire text of the letter in both English and Arabic at the CENTCOM website.  The CENTCOM site analyzes the letter using its seven critical themes.  The CENTCOM analysis notes that

The first four [themes] confirm al—Qaida's long—term strategy and core beliefs; the latter three reflect new information about how senior al—Qaida leader Zawahiri views developments in Iraq — and elsewhere — turning against them.

Readers should review the entire letter and CENTCOM's conclusions in detail, and decide for themselves who is correct.  Anything is possible in a Global War on Terror where information operations have become a key weapon for both sides, but I'll place my faith in CENTCOM's read on this before I believe the usual suspects who provide fodder for media generated controversies.

Another thing to consider is the notion put forward by 'one administration source' that the letter was faked by a foreign intelligence service.  Given that most foreign intelligence services work for governments that are hostile to the US, why would they fake a letter that puts the terrorists on the losing side of the fight?

I'm surprised the Sun, a superb newspaper, jumped so quickly on the letter, using named and unnamed analysts and unknown administration sources.  This is the modus operandi of Newsweek and its stable of disgruntled intelligence agents; not what I thought was a knowledgeable and up and coming alternative to the major press.

Doug Hanson   10—17—05