Al-Qaeda in Iraq issued a statement on March 7, 2005, regarding the whereabouts of their leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Appearing on one of the leading al-Qaeda message boards, the group?s communiqué praises Zarqawi, arguing that ?he put in us the seed of religion and monotheism, while he taught generations and brought them up to be mujahideen who support the religion.? The group further states that this leadership was strengthened and guided by Usama bin Laden.
The group goes on to discuss the health of their leader, declaring that Zarqawi ?is in good health,? noting that ?he is planning for battles, leading people, and he rests in Iraq among his colleagues and sons that he taught and raised up.?
The communiqué additionally comments on the latest photos of Zarqawi broadcast this past weekend by CNN. According to the statement, these photos were taken from an al-Qaeda mujahid who was killed in a battle in Iraq. ?It happened then that these pictures [those recently broadcast by the media] fell into the infidels? hands,? the text reads.
The message closes by promising that ?we swear by Allah that we will get them [the coalition forces] and they will not get us. We will defeat them, and they will not defeat us.? It goes on to promise ?pleasant news in the coming days,? as well as the release of a message by Zarqawi, which has been promised since last Thursday.
Analysis of the message suggests that al-Qaeda in Iraq may be trying to convince the world that the organization will survive unfettered without Zarqawi. The group seems to be marginalizing the necessity of Zarqawi?s leadership in the organziation?s survival, without diminishing his iconic allure.
A full translation of the message is provided to our Intel Service members.