Osama and Zarqawi Trying to Communicate
General: Osama, insurgency trying to communicate (CNN – Reuters)
Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and the network’s ally in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are trying to communicate with each other even as they continue to elude U.S. forces, a senior U.S. general said on Friday. Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance Smith also said U.S. Central Command may ask the Pentagon to raise U.S. troop levels in Iraq by roughly 3,000 to 5,000, mainly by delaying the scheduled departure of some soldiers, to improve security before January elections.
Smith, the No. 2 officer in the command responsible for military operations in the Middle East and Asia, also said it was premature to declare that the offensive in Falluja has broken the back of Iraq’s insurgency, as the top U.S. Marine general in Iraq said on Thursday.
Smith told reporters at the Pentagon that “we know for a fact that there are attempted communications” between bin Laden, thought to be hiding along the Afghan-Pakistani border, and Zarqawi, believed to have escaped the U.S. offensive in his previous suspected base of operations in Falluja. Smith did not provide evidence for these attempted communications. Speaking after meetings at CIA headquarters, Smith said it was doubtful whether these attempted communications — likely couriers carrying computer disks — had succeeded, considering “the huge distances involved in those lines of communication.”
This is very odd, since it has widely been reported that Osama and Zarqawi are not allied and, indeed, are rivals.