WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden recently asked his chief ally in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to consider the territory of the United States as a target for terrorist attacks, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Monday.
"There has been communication between bin Laden and Zarqawi, with bin Laden suggesting to Zarqawi the U.S. homeland as a target," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official called the bin Laden communication "a fairly recent development" but declined to provide details for fear of compromising U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.
Let's put on our analyst hats and figure out what this means. As near as I can tell, this development has two implications:
1. Bin Laden is at a point where he has no operational capability. The Godfather of Islamic terrorism would not go to a relative newcomer and ask said newcomer to conduct operations on his behalf unless he had to. Bin Laden has either run out of assets, or his network has been disabled leaving him unable to communicate with his assets. Either way, he is dead in the water. At least for the time being.
Bin Laden's anemic pre-election terrorist attack--a video taped message that essentially endorsed John Kerry--lends credence to this theory.
2. The "insurgency" in Iraq is failing. If it were accomplishing its intended purpose, there would be no need to divert increasingly scarce resources to another front. The tactics being used by the terrorists in Iraq tend to confirm this theory in my mind.
Suicide attacks against civilians (like the one noted in the previous post) are not the act of a military force that is on the verge of victory. On the contrary, such actions are an act of desperation. It is worth noting that the Japanese started fielding large Kamikaze forces toward the end of WW II. They knew that the end was near and were counting on a "divine wind" to save them from imminent defeat. It didn't.