Startling implications of a Jihadi letter

New light is being shed on the 2001 anthrax attacks in a fascinating open letter to Ayman al Zawahiri of al Qaeda, written by a jihadi living in London.

Numan Bin Uthman, a former leader of an armed Islamic group in Libya, provides yet more evidence that the global Islamic jihad movement is losing its resolve.  But the letter contains a startling admission. Uthman tells us of a conversation he had with al Qaeda leaders before the 9/11 attacks in which he urged them not to use WMD.
From AKI News:

Uthman also said that he had taken part in an important al-Qaeda summit in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2000, in which al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had defined search for and use of weapons of mass destruction as a "Sharia obligation".

"During this occasion, I had a strong dispute with the martyr Abu Hafs al-Kumandan, because he was heavily involved in acquiring weapons of mass destruction," he said in the letter.
I was unfamiliar with the name "al Kumandan" but there is a well known al Qaeda leader named Abu Hafs who is a "martyr" and was killed by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. Looking up Kumandan on the internet I found a reference and it seems to mean "commander". Abu Hafs has been identified as Usama bin Laden's WMD chaser. He fits Uthman's description. He was the number three man in al Qaeda.

Controversial informant Ibn Sheik al Libi identified Abu Hafs, otherwise known as Mohammad Atef as a contact between al Qaeda and the Saddam regime for procurement of WMD, before he recanted.

In a previous article I noted that a new al Qaeda document matched very well with a Saddam regime document. The linkage between the documents gave a chain of command and time-line from a Saddam regime order to "hunt Americans" in Somalia followed by a Abu Hafs order just two days later that would lead to that ultimate end. 

I have also argued publicly that the 2001 anthrax attack makes a lot more sense as a continuation of the 9/11 attacks than as the plot of some embittered scientist. If al Qaeda did perform the anthrax attack, I consider it likely that Abu Hafs most likely obtained anthrax from Iraq, through his relationship to the Saddam regime in his position as WMD chaser.Former CIA Director George Tenet confirmed in his book At The Eye of the Storm that a second al Qaeda source backed up this connection; there is further evidence of collaberation. It didn't have to be much; just a small sample, a pound or two easily smuggled out of Iraq.

Uthman continues:

"He wanted to use these weapons to dissuade the United State from attacking Afghanistan. And yet I knew that al-Qaeda did not have any strategic vision and would have used the weapons to kill indiscriminately and not to dissuade".
Now consider this: you plan to conduct an attack (9/11) and you expect retaliation. One tactic to counter the threat of invasion would be to make the enemy believe he will endure a devastating biological attack (or mutually assured destruction, to resurrect an antiquated term).

But having WMD and using WMD are two different things.
It is well known that before the Gulf War Saddam Hussein had massive stockpiles and the ability to soak the battlefield in WMD. However, he did not use them, partially because President George H.W. Bush promised nuclear retaliation if Saddam used WMD. Saddam had them but did not have the will to use them against U.S. forces; he wasn't willing to accept the consequences.

But what if we had known he had the will? What if Saddam had proved beyond a doubt that an invasion would have been met with WMD? Would that have been a successful deterrent? Quite possibly it might have.

Now consider the possibility that al Qaeda leaders believed we would retaliate for 9/11 and decided that they would have to prove they not only had WMD but also the will to use WMD. How would they do that?

One very solid way would be to launch a small scale WMD attack in the United States as a demonstration. Remember, Uthman said,

"He wanted to use these weapons to dissuade the United State from attacking Afghanistan."
Of course, he doesn't say if this is directly related to 9/11. He may have meant that before 9/11 UBL  wanted WMD to keep us out of Afghanistan. But remember, this whole conversation takes place in the context of procuring WMD as a duty of jihad. And prior to this, Usama bin Laden had already declared war on the United States. I think the rest of his statements make it clear what he meant.

Remember, he said "And yet I knew that al-Qaeda did not have any strategic vision and would have used the weapons to kill indiscriminately and not to dissuade". The word "indiscriminately" as used here sounds an awful lot like he means a terrorist attack without actually having to say terrorist and thereby validate the term. Jihadis find it very important to invalidate that concept (along with "war on terror") in order to convince other Muslims that it is really a war on Islam.

Uthman continues:

"At that time I said that provoking the United States would turn them against the Taliban and by striking the country in an unconventional way would bring occupation to the entire Middle East and not only Afghanistan and that's what's happened," he said.
Uthman clearly is indicating that he warned Usama bin Laden and Mohammad Atef not to strike the U.S. in an "unconventional way" which is one way to describe an attack with WMD or unconventional weapons. He highlights that he claimed the war would spread to the Middle East "and that's what's happened". He means he warned al Qaeda that the war would spread to Iraq if they used WMD.

Considering that the world (minus the bulk of the American press) now sees that it is quite likely the U.S. will defeat al Qaeda in Iraq, Uthman has clearly written an "I told you so" to Zawahiri.

He speaks circumspectly, so as not to admit too much that would support the case made by the Bush Administration, but his meaning is clear. Uthman has become convinced that Usama bin Laden has lost the war in Iraq, has lost his credibility and lays it all at the feet of his use of anthrax on the United States. Of course, the vagaries of his statement will be exploited with alternate theories by liberals bent on denying the al Qaeda threat and George Bush's success. All I ask is for the fair minded to keep Uthman's statements in context to get the big picture here.

Now let's put that big picture together.

Uthman says he tried to talk Mohammad Atef and Usama bin Laden out of using WMD in a terrorist attack to convince the U.S. not to retaliate in Afghanistan because it would ultimately spread to Iraq.

Why would Uthman expect this? I can think of one salient reason.

Because he knew that al Qaeda was planning an Anthrax attack with weaponized anthrax provide by Saddam Hussein.

H/T Mata Harley
If you experience technical problems, please write to