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The letter has shown up on "Islamic web sites," and was ostensibly sent to Osama bin Laden by al-Zarqawi in Iraq, but hasn't been authenticated. From AP:

"The space of movement is starting to get smaller," it [the letter, that is] said. "The grip is starting to be tightened on the holy warriors' necks and, with the spread of soldiers and police, the future is becoming frightening."

The letter mentions (non-specific) plans to intensify attacks leading up to the handover, a desire to lure Shiites into sectarian war, and an apparent attempt to reassure Osama that Zarqawi isn't trying to usurp al Qaeda's place.

The coming spin is obvious, of course: American troops are succeedin, any intensification of attacks in the coming months will just be more desperation, and so on. You can already witness the storyline taking shape on Newsmax. Here's the lede:

Al Qaida's most dangerous operative, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, has personally warned terror kingpin Osama bin Laden that his troops are under intensifying pressure from U.S. forces in Iraq and prospects for a terrorist victory look bleak.

The second paragraph admits in passing that the letter might not be authentic, but that isn't allowed to get in the way. The point, of course, is that Bush is winning the War on Terror: Zarqawi is al Qaeda, the insurgents are terrorists, so Zarqawi admitting troubles means al Qaeda and therefore terror are on the retreat.

Sure it is. Back to sleep, children.

Originally posted to gong on Mon Jun 14, 2004 at 09:46 PM PDT.


The letter

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