Al-Qaeda Leaders: 'We are in Crisis' (updated)

Rick Moran
Two captured letters released by the US military show Al-Qaeda in Iraq in desperate shape while local leaders complain bitterly about the success of "The Awakening" that has brough 80,000 Sunnis into an alliance with the Americans:

Al-Qaeda in Iraq faces an “extraordinary crisis”. Last year's mass defection of ordinary Sunnis from al-Qaeda to the US military “created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight”. The terrorist group's security structure suffered “total collapse”.

These are the words not of al-Qaeda's enemies but of one of its own leaders in Anbar province — once the group's stronghold. They were set down last summer in a 39-page letter seized during a US raid on an al-Qaeda base near Samarra in November.

The US military released extracts from that letter yesterday along with a second seized in another November raid that is almost as startling. That second document is a bitter 16-page testament written last October by a local al-Qaeda leader near Balad, north of Baghdad. “I am Abu-Tariq, emir of the al-Layin and al-Mashahdah sector,” the author begins. He goes on to describe how his force of 600 shrank to fewer than 20.
The military hastens to add that these two lettters are but snapshots of al-Qaeda in a couple of regions and does not reflect the fact that the terrorists are still capable of inflicting damage.

Underscoring that last caveat was a car bomb that went off at a checkpoint last night that killed more than 20 people.

Most of the terrorist group is now concentrated around the northern city of Mosul where an operation involving US and Iraqi troops has been underway for about a week to root them out.

Update -- John B. Dwyer writes:

Four translated pages from the diary can be read via this link.
Discussion of the Al Qaeda documents by MNF-Iraq spokesman RADM Smith can be read here.
   
Two captured letters released by the US military show Al-Qaeda in Iraq in desperate shape while local leaders complain bitterly about the success of "The Awakening" that has brough 80,000 Sunnis into an alliance with the Americans:

Al-Qaeda in Iraq faces an “extraordinary crisis”. Last year's mass defection of ordinary Sunnis from al-Qaeda to the US military “created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight”. The terrorist group's security structure suffered “total collapse”.

These are the words not of al-Qaeda's enemies but of one of its own leaders in Anbar province — once the group's stronghold. They were set down last summer in a 39-page letter seized during a US raid on an al-Qaeda base near Samarra in November.

The US military released extracts from that letter yesterday along with a second seized in another November raid that is almost as startling. That second document is a bitter 16-page testament written last October by a local al-Qaeda leader near Balad, north of Baghdad. “I am Abu-Tariq, emir of the al-Layin and al-Mashahdah sector,” the author begins. He goes on to describe how his force of 600 shrank to fewer than 20.
The military hastens to add that these two lettters are but snapshots of al-Qaeda in a couple of regions and does not reflect the fact that the terrorists are still capable of inflicting damage.

Underscoring that last caveat was a car bomb that went off at a checkpoint last night that killed more than 20 people.

Most of the terrorist group is now concentrated around the northern city of Mosul where an operation involving US and Iraqi troops has been underway for about a week to root them out.

Update -- John B. Dwyer writes:

Four translated pages from the diary can be read via this link.
Discussion of the Al Qaeda documents by MNF-Iraq spokesman RADM Smith can be read here.