Recent documents discovered during the combined Iraqi/American assault on terrorist operations in Tal Afar reflect a sentiment among key al Qaeda leaders that Osama bin Laden has led his organization into a “quagmire in Iraq.” Though the Iraqi government has only revealed a few of the names found on recovered documents, one widely circulated rumor has it that a principle accuser is none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda’s forces in Iraq and, ironically, an Iraqi himself.
One of the name which has been revealed is Abu Azzam. Mr. Azzam, before being killed by coalition forces in anti-terrorist activities centering around the town of Tal Afar, was widely reputed to have been Zarqawi’s right-hand man.
“Is there any GOOD news regarding our operations in Iraq,” asks Abu Azzam in one of his most recent notes to Zarqawi. For Mr. Azzam at least, the answer is now a definitive “no.”
Ultimately, for Osama’s followers in Iraq, while some have managed to inflict casualties on US and Iraqi forces, the operation overall has consumed massive amounts of al Qaeda resources, diverted tens of millions of dollars, and resulted in the delay of terrorist initiatives worldwide.
Not to mention the fact that hundreds of al Qaeda operatives have killed themselves in hopes of killing either soldiers or innocent civilians. Thousands more have been killed or captured during engagements with Iraqi and American forces.
Meanwhile, Osama and Zarqawi have both been forced to find remote hiding places, well away from the action, which has, according to Al Jazeera television, prompted whispered accusations that these key leaders are nothing more than “chickenhawks”.
Adding insult to injury, Osama’s poll numbers are at an all-time low throughout the middle east. Sales of the Osama T-Shirt throughout the region have declined rapidly among all demographics except among western tourists. There is even talk among members of the Taliban regarding plans for putting a proposed Osama Action/Adventure Theme Park on an indefinite “hold.” This organization, as most know, is one which has, until recently, remained in lockstep with al Qaeda.
Given these facts, complaints of ‘quagmire’ among supporters should not come as much of a surprise. And, as the Iraqi military continues to grow larger, stronger, and better equipped with each passing month, matters have grown that much worse.
Over all, polling shows popularity for Osama in general, and his Middle East policies in particular, is down among Muslims. This, of course, signals an alarming trend for the once popular terrorist leader:
Osama bin Laden’s standing has dropped significantly in some pivotal Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has “declined dramatically,” according to a new survey released yesterday.
Predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries share to a “considerable degree” Western concerns about Islamic extremism, according to the poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization.
Mr. bin Laden could not be reached for comment; however, his press secretary, upon hearing the news, held a press conference during which he wagged his finger in front of reporters and cameras and stated, “no virgins for you!”