We don't know our enemy
Is the Letter real?
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute, thinks so. She informs us about the intriguing end of the letter. She quotes from a critical report of the letter:
"If the letter is written from Zawahiri to Zarqawi, the reports implicated, why does the former ask the latter to send regards to himself? How could Zawahiri, the purported writer of this letter, forget that it was already addressed to Zarqawi?"
Next, Katz tells us that this strange end is a direct reference to a poem that is widely distibuted on jihadi websites:
"You who rule countries by his infidels
You can kill flies with chemicals
You who are riding the fast thing
By Allah, where are you going to?
If you are going to Fallujah
Send my regards to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
And all the jihadis in his group . . ."
Katz remarks: "The poem has caught on in jihadi circles. Members of hundreds of online jihadi forums, not just ones directly connected to the insurgents in Iraq, had posted and discussed it. Some of these discussions are down now, but others are still active. Examples are the Jihadi Palestinian Forum where the poem has been posted since November 15, 2004, and the Yemen Youth Forum, which still features an active link."
Here is her punchline: "The slogan is also frequently used in greetings, blessings, or, as in Zawahiri’s letter, as concluding statements."
The end of her piece reminds us of our lack of understanding of what is going on here:
"An erroneous interpretation of the letter is a typical example of how superficial understanding of the al-Qaeda network and its workings continues to imperil the war on terror. Wrong conclusions based on partial or incorrect information can lead to wrong decisions, tactics, and strategies. The fight over the letter is bad news: The West just doesn't know it's enemy."
Read her piece here.