Media, analysts miss the mark on Zawahiri message

Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

Al Qaeda leader is counting on Iraq pull-out, exploiting political dissent in the West

5 July 2007: Nearly every web site offering analysis and commentary about the 94-minute July 4, 2007 video message of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri is missing a very important aspect of his “sermon” to the Muslims of the world: victory through jihad is near, but it is contingent on a near term and haphazard withdrawal from Iraq. Another important aspect not addressed by those analyzing the message is Zawahiri’s focus on the politics of the West, especially the U.S., where dissension among American leadership and coalition countries is key to al Qaeda’s victory. “Rejoice, for victory is near, with Allah’s permission, and the herds of crusaders have begun to split up and their sole concern has become searching for a way out,” stated al Zawahiri.

Well known author and conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt identified this important contingency last September, noting that Zawahiri was one of several individuals who attacked President Bush on his foreign policy. Mr. Hewitt was nearly prophetic in his observation of how things were to play out through last fall’s election cycle and beyond. Regardless of where an American falls within the political spectrum, as an American it is vital to understand how closely al Qaeda follows our political wrangling and internal dialogue.

As if to underscore the above, Zawahiri quoted an excerpt from Bob Woodward’s book “Plan of Attack,” noting with much consternation Saudi Arabia’s role in the Iraq War and its collaboration with the West “at the expense of Muslims.”

There arrives a time when the enemy’s messages move out of the realm of intelligence and into the sphere of propaganda. The Northeast Intelligence Network is not in the business of providing a platform to Islamofacist leaders to propagate their messages to their Muslim followers and accordingly, has chosen not to host the video or provide a transcript.