Osama bin Laden ´plotting to relaunch al-Qaeda with new 9/11-style spectacular´ (TELEGRAPH UK) By Jon Swaine, Duncan Gardham and Rob Crilly 05/04/12)
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Osama bin Laden was plotting to relaunch al-Qaeda´s campaign of
terror on America with a "new phase" of jihad, including a 9/11-style
spectacular and the assassination of President Barack Obama,
documents seized from his hide-out show.
Frustrated by a series of setbacks and a western world distracted by
the economic crisis, the al-Qaeda chief wanted a sharply honed
comeback, which is detailed across 175 pages of plans and memos sent
between the top echelons of his terrorist network and released by the
To bring down the infidel "tree", bin Laden wanted disciples
to "focus our saw on its American root", ignoring even its "British
branch" to avoid wasting limited resources. He also called on
lieutenants to abandon plans for moves into Iran and possibly scale
back operations in Pakistan and Yemen.
"I plan to release a statement that we are starting a new phase to
correct the mistakes we made," he said in a 2010 memo. "We shall
reclaim, God willing, the trust of a large segment of those who lost
their trust in the jihadis." He lamented the PR disaster of killing
Bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in a raid on his compound in
Pakistan in May last year, had delegated plans for "a large operation
in the US" by up to ten suicide bombers plucked from Gulf states to
Atiyah al-Rahman, one of his senior commanders. Rahman was eventually
also killed last year.
He also wanted to kill Mr Obama as the US president travelled in a
plane. Bin Laden argued that the assassination would see an "utterly
unprepared" Vice President Joe Biden elevated to the Oval Office and
plunge the US into crisis. He also wanted jihadis to kill Gen David
Petraeus, the then-commander of US forces in Afghanistan and "man of
An exhaustive memo from Bin Laden´s American-born spin doctor, Adam
Gadahn, disclosed detailed plans for rebranding the network and
reinvigorating its supporters by capitalising on the tenth
anniversary of the September 11 with a publicity blitz in western
Bin Laden or his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri were considering granting
television interviews, while reporters – including two in Britain –
were set to be handpicked for exclusive anniversary material that
might put the threat of global jihad back in the headlines.
"All the political talk in America is about the economy, forgetting
or ignoring the war and its role in weakening the economy," wrote
Gadahn, who said the group might even need to rename itself to seize
back the initiative.
Plans for ambitious new fronts were floated by several of bin Laden´s
lieutenants, including one to persuade Irish Catholics who were
disenchanted with the church due to sex abuse scandals to turn to
Islam rather than secularism.
However bin Laden remained focused on the nation he labelled
the "head of the infidels". "If God wills it, America´s head can be
cut off," he wrote. "Once the head has been removed, then it would be
easier to cut off America´s wings".
Yet the documents depict him as a chairman struggling to maintain
control of a sprawling and chaotic board. In memos fired off from his
Abbottabad compound he repeatedly attempted to discipline regional
commanders who he believed had ideas above their station.
The Yemeni-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were ordered to
rein in plans to target their domestic government and declare an
Islamic state. Tehrik-e-Taleban, the Pakistani offshoot, were
condemned for indiscriminately attacking Muslims and an excessive use
of kidnap. Meanwhile al-Shabab, the hardline Somali jihadists, were
rebuffed after asking for a formal merger.
One document may even point to a split right at the top of al-Qaeda,
according to the US Army´s Combating Terrorism Centre, which released
the documents. A letter to bin Laden from a senior
colleague, "possibly" Zawahiri, urged him to reconsider his rejection
of the Somali alliance. The merger eventually went ahead after bin
Laden was killed and Zawahiri took charge. (© Copyright of Telegraph
Media Group Limited 2012. 05/04/12)
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