The leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, released an audiotape that tries to recruit more radical Muslims to the Iraqi jihad. In doing so, Zarqawi’s replacement shows why the US considers Iraq a central ground for the war on terror and how effective our effort there has been against the terrorists. Unbidden and apparently thinking it an attraction, Masri told his followers that the US-led Coalition has killed over 4,000 terrorists in Iraq:
Al-Qaida in Iraq’s leader, in a chilling audiotape released Thursday, called for nuclear scientists to join his group’s holy war and urged insurgents to kidnap Westerners so they could be traded for a blind Egyptian sheik who is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison.
The fugitive terror chief said experts in the fields of “chemistry, physics, electronics, media and all other sciences — especially nuclear scientists and explosives experts” should join his group’s jihad, or holy war, against the West.
“We are in dire need of you,” said the speaker, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir — also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri. “The field of jihad can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them.”
They’re in “dire need” of recruits, no doubt, because of the death toll. It’s hard to fight effectively when over 4,000 of your forces have been killed by the enemy. That doesn’t count the terrorists captured by the US and other Coalition forces in Iraq, nor does it count those captured in Afghanistan.
His message, as well as his plea for scientists and weapons experts, reek of desperation. AQ failed to stop three elections. It failed to stop the adoption of a constitution created and supported by the Iraqi assembly and electorate. It has failed to dislodge the Coalition which has nurtured the Iraqi democracy, and it has failed to stop the creation of an Iraqi security force that will stand on its own against the foreign terrorists. He needs a Hail Mary, if you’ll pardon the expression, and only WMD can gain him any hope of victory now. In the meantime, he wants to attract all of the suicidal Muslims he can find to serve as cannon fodder … and it sounds as if he is having a great deal of trouble convincing them to do so.
The NIE was correct. If we fight and prevail in Iraq, these terrorists will have been completely discredited. We have engaged them in Iraq and have all but wiped them out. The only way to beat the Islamists is to fight them where they stand, and we have done that in Iraq — and even Masri has to admit it.