As the Heritage Foundation noted on Oct. 7, "The Zawahiri letter makes clear that al Qaeda intends to transform Iraq into a base for exporting terrorism and revolution if it can drive out U.S. forces."
This is a confirmation of what terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky said in his Sept. 2 "Great Ramadan Offensive" report, which I obtained on the same day and wrote an exclusive article on published Sept. 8.
Here's a look back at part of my article:
"The GIS report also cites an Aug. 21 message recorded by Zarqawi, which references the next phase of the terrorist jihad. "The [mujahedeen] in Iraq, have, praise be to God, moved the battle from the ground (in Iraq) to the land of the cross."Zarqawi's message claimed that "[J]ihadist units have been founded in all of Western Europe, to defend the powerless within the nation. For the crimes the Crusaders have committed against the Muslims, they will reap in their own homes, God willing." A few days later, according to GIS, a doctrinal statement from Zarqawi emerged, which stressed the priority of al Qaeda in Iraq establishing "another base that will export jihad to all parts of the world the same way the mother al Qaeda in Afghanistan was." Bodansky said there is a growing awareness among Western European intelligence services of the "chatter" and activation of jihadist units, led by veterans of Iraq and Chechnya."
Bodansky's report clearly referenced the caliphate strategy a good month before the New York Times mentioned it. Here below are parts of the report which I based the above on:
"First came the report of a new recorded message by Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi. Apparently made on August 21, 2005, the existence of the message was announced around August 24, 2005. The report that emerged included the key passage from Zarqawi’s message about the next phase of the jihad. “What happened in Andalusia[Spain], London, the Jordanian Al-Aqabah, and other places and what is going to happen, with the consent of God Almighty, is accomplished by our devoted mujahedin,” Zarqawi explained. “The mujahedin in Iraq have, praise be to God, moved the battle from the ground [in Iraq] to the land of the cross.”
Zarqawi stressed that “jihadist units have been founded in all of Western Europe, to defend the powerless within the nation. For the crimes the Crusaders have committed against the Muslims, they will reap in their own homes [countries], God willing.”
A statement on the doctrine of Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi at the helm of the al-Qaida Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers emerged a few days later. While most attention is paid to the “war of vengeance” in Iraq, Zarqawi’s priority is actually establishing the foundations for greater things. Al-Qaida’s strategy aims to ensure that an Iraqi state will never function, irrespective of the extent of US help and involvement by isolating the government and its supporters — local and foreign — from the bulk of the Iraqi people, as well as through the elimination of militias and “traitors” among the Shi’a and “clearing the stage of all possible rivals before the withdrawal of the US military”.
However, the ultimate objective of Zarqawi in pursuing of all of these activities is not to seize power in Iraq, but rather to turn it into a springboard for the establishment of the Caliphate throughout the Middle East and strike out into the heart of the West.
The statement stresses that the real objective of the al-Qaida Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers should be viewed as “an establishment of another base that will export jihad to all parts of the world the same way the mother al-Qaida in Afghanistan was”.
.. The significance of these three documents is best understood in the context of the concurrent activities and deliberations throughout the Islamist-jihadist movement since the beginning of the northern Summer of 2005. There is a clear indication that the Islamist-jihadist camp has indeed committed to the implementation of the trend’s long-term strategy to achieve victory over the West and establish a Caliphate by the year 2020.
Based on tenets articulated by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the grand-strategic objective of the Strategy Toward 2020 is for an Islamist-jihadist Caliphate to replace the United States as the world’s sole pre-eminent hyper-power. In military terms, the ultimate defeat of the US-led West, in which Russia is a key power, would be achieved as the aggregate impact of two types of war: (1) the attrition of the US and its allies by ensnaring them in a myriad of endless debilitating quagmires, particularly in Iraq, the Caucasus, and Israel; and (2) the demonstration to all of the inherent weakness of the US and the West to be achieved by a series of spectacular strikes at the heart of the US and the West.
.. Iraq, on the other hand, has become the new center for global mobilization and training of the new generation of commanders and expert terrorists who will spearhead the jihad at the heart of the West. The validity of the Iraq component of the Strategy Toward 2020 was reiterated in the May 30, 2005, letter from Sheikh Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi to Sheikh Osama bin Laden titled “A Message From A Soldier To His Commander”. In his letter, Zarqawi alluded to the forthcoming grand offensive comprised of escalation in the Middle East and a series of spectacular terrorist strikes. He recognized bin Laden as the supreme authority expected to approve and authorize this escalation. “I think that the plan for the next stage that was drawn up has reached you or is on its way to you,” Zarqawi wrote. “O God, make the expedition of Osama [bin Laden] proceed toward its goal. ... We await your orders as to the next stage of the plan.”..
…With the Western powers banished from Islamdom, it would be possible for the Islamist-jihadist forces to destroy the existing governments and establish the Islamist Caliphate in their stead. Toward this end, Zawahiri urged the mobilization of the entire Arab Muslim world to rid themselves of governments cooperating with the West against what he termed the true interests of the Muslim world. “I call upon the Nation’s opinion leaders — the scientists, writers, intellectuals, craftsmen, merchants, and officers — to come together and discuss means of disposing of these corrupt and corruptive regimes that weigh down on our Nation’s chest. I call on them to start preparing for change no matter how much time and effort is needed. I call on them to spread calls for change among all sects of the Nation, and to know that victory always comes at a price. A dark fate awaits us if we do not resist them [the regimes],” Zawahiri warned.
The overall tone and context of Zawahiri’s message of August 8, 2005, left no doubt that his was a call for action. And as has been the case with all previous messages by major Islamist-jihadist leaders, these messages were not uttered before the relevant Islamist-jihadist forces were organized and ready to strike out."
On Oct. 6 I sent the head of the International Strategic Studies Association a note about how CNN and the London Telegraph had referenced their report, (albeit with no attribution to the author), and the same day it was released to the public via LexisNexis. So there you can read the whole thing now, or email me for a copy.