'The media as the battlefield,' according to Al-Qaeda's leader in 2005

This was an important intercepted correspondence from al-Zawahiri (leader of Al Qaeda and at the time the most wanted terrorist in the world) to al-Zarqawi(Al Qaeda No. 2 who was leading Iraqi operations), that was declassified and made public in 2005 from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as additionally reported on by the Intercept in 2018. It should be made clear that I completely reject the ideology that wrote these words, and copy them here to help us better understand the nature of modern conflict.


"5. Scenes of Slaughter
Among the things which the feelings of the Muslim populace who love and support you will never find palatable - also- are the scenes of slaughtering the hostages. You shouldn't be deceived by the praise of some of the zealous young men and their description of you as the shaykh of the slaughterers, etc. They do not express the general view of the admirer and the supporter of the resistance in Iraq, and of you in particular by the favor and blessing of God.
And your response, while true, might be: Why shouldn't we sow terror in the hearts of the Crusaders and their helpers? And isn't the destruction of the villages and the
cities on the heads of their inhabitants more cruel than slaughtering? And aren't the cluster bombs and the seven ton bombs and the depleted uranium bombs crueler than slaughtering? And isn't killing by torture crueler than slaughtering? And isn't violating the honor of men and women more painful and more destructive than slaughtering?
All of these questions and more might be asked, and you are justified. However this does not change the reality at all, which is that the general opinion of our supporter does
not comprehend that, and that this general opinion falls under a campaign by the malicious, perfidious, and fallacious campaign by the deceptive and fabricated media. And we would spare the people from the effect of questions about the usefulness of our actions in the hearts and minds of the general opinion that is essentially sympathetic
to us.


And I say to you with sure feeling and I say: That the author of these lines has tasted the bitterness of American brutality, and that my favorite wife's chest was crushed by a concrete ceiling and she went on calling for aid to lift the stone block off her chest until she breathed her last, may God have mercy on her and accept her among the martyrs. As for my young daughter, she was afflicted by a cerebral hemorrhage, and she continued for a whole day suffering in pain until she expired. And to this day I do not know the location of the graves of my wife, my son, my daughter, and the rest of the three other families who were martyred in the incident and who were pulverized by the concrete ceiling, may God have mercy on them and the Muslim martyrs. Were they brought out of the rubble, or are they still buried beneath it to this day?


However, despite all of this, I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than
half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.
And that we are in
a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Umma. And that however far our capabilities reach, they will never be equal to one thousandth of the capabilities of
the kingdom of Satan that is waging war on us. And we can kill the captives by bullet. That would achieve that which is sought after without exposing ourselves to the questions and answering to doubts. We don't need this."

English translation via https://ctc.usma.edu/app/uploads/2013/10/Zawahiris-Letter-to-Zarqawi-Translation.pdf

tags: media,war,conflict,terrorism,alqaeda,iraq,power,battlefield