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.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    ” 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.””

    Hmmmmmm…..how then is Bin Laden managing to get video tapes, which are much bigger than computer disks, to Al Jazeera? Smith have an answer for that?

  2. ken says:

    “This is very odd, since it has widely been reported that Osama and Zarqawi are not allied and, indeed, are rivals.”

    It may come as a surpise to you James that once the Unites States of America was solidly allied with Communist Russia.

    War, or the necessities of war, make strange bedfellows.

  3. Erik says:

    “This is very odd, since it has widely been reported that Osama and Zarqawi are not allied and, indeed, are rivals.”

    They were, ubtil Bush helped them find common ground.

  4. Erik says:

    “This is very odd, since it has widely been reported that Osama and Zarqawi are not allied and, indeed, are rivals.”

    They were, until Bush helped them find common ground.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    There’s clearly a greater level of desperation than there used to be. One of these guys is in hiding, and the other is on the run.

    It’s all good.

  6. McGehee says:

    Ken and Erik, don’t you suppose it’s also possible that the widely-reported “fact” that they’re rivals, is based on assumptions that have never actually been true?

  7. LJD says:

    Al Zarqawi: “Osama, what do we do now? I did everything you said, I even painted our motto on the headquarters. Now I don’t even have anywhere to film beheadings”.

    Bin Laden: “Don’t ask me Musab. I am so tired of bashing my head on these stupid caves and running every time a jet flies over”.