Zawahri Video: U.S. ‘Broken’ in Iraq

Ayman al-Zawahri has released another video to rally his supporters. This one claims that terrorist attacks have “broken the back of American in Iraq”

He said that U.S. and British forces in Iraq had bogged down in Iraq and “have achieved nothing but loss, disaster and misfortune.” Al-Qaida in Iraq “alone has carried out 800 martyrdom operations (suicide attacks) in three years, besides the sacrifices of the other mujahedeen, and this is what has broken the back of American in Iraq,” al-Zawahri said.

This video is in direct opposition of the triumphalism expressed two weeks ago by an American general in Iraq. Both strike me as overblown and the result of wishful thinking. Certainly, the terrorist attacks have undermined the Coalition mission. At the same time, toppling Saddam’s regime and holding several hugely successful elections are achievements of note.

More interesting than that bluster is this:

Al-Zawahri’s 16-minute video posted Saturday, entitled “A Message to the People of Pakistan,” was mainly dedicated to criticism of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, accusing him of undermining his own country to help the United States, Israel and India. There was no date in the video, but al-Zawahri mentioned a “recent” visit in early March by President Bush to India and Pakistan. During the visit, Bush “gave a great push to India’s nuclear program while handing out orders and instructions in Pakistan,” al-Zawahri said. “Every soldier and officer in the Pakistani military should know that Musharraf is throwing them into the burner of civil war in return for the bribes he is getting from the United States,” al-Zawahri said “For this reason I call on every soldier and officer in the Pakistani army to disobey the orders of his commanders to kill Muslims in Pakistan or Afghanistan or otherwise he will be confronted by the mujahedeen,” he said

Clearly, undermining the support of moderate Muslim regimes has been a key focus of al Qaeda leadership in these recent videos. What’s so interesting about that is that Osama bin Laden’s great achievement in forming al Qaeda, according to Michael Scheuer‘s analysis, was in persuading disparate Islamist groups who were focused on the apostasy of their own domestic regimes to unite in opposition to the West. This seems a reversal of that course.

Elsewhere: Andrew Cochran promises forthcoming analysis of the video by Counterterrorism Blog contributing experts and rounds up analyses of the recent spate of videos.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. cirby says:

    “So, Mr. Zawahiri, since the US military has been broken, could we get a comment from your second in command? Whoever he is today? I mean, you’re sure going through a lot of them.”