Saturday, August 02, 2008

Zawahiri: Seriously Injured? Dead? UPDATE: Misdirection Play?

CBS News is reporting that their sources indicate that Aywan Zawahiri is in seriously bad shape and the misanthropic doctor is in need of medical attention himself after suffering some form of injury:
Ayman al-Zawahiri - the second most powerful leader in al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden's No. 2 - may be critically wounded and possibly dead, CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan reports exclusively.

CBS News has obtained a copy of an intercepted letter from sources in Pakistan, which urgently requests a doctor to treat al-Zawahiri. He's believed to be somewhere in Pakistan's remote tribal areas of Pakistan.

The letter refers to Sheikh Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri by name - and says that he is in "severe pain" and his "injuries are infected."
Critically wounded is good news. Dead would be even better.

Bill Roggio at Long War Journal is skeptical of any sources within the Pakistani government claiming that Zawahiri is dead or seriously injured and this may be a misdirection play on their part:
Without official US confirmation of Zawahiri's death or his being severely wounded, all reports originating from Pakistani intelligence sources should be treated as suspect. The Pakistani military and intelligence agencies have made a nearly identical false report on the death of senior al Qaeda leaders. The reports come as Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani was conducting a visit to the United states and Pakistan's military and primary intelligence agency have come under fire for supporting extremists. Also, al Qaeda has been silent on the issue of the reports.
As far as al Qaeda's media output, given that we haven't exactly heard from Adam Gadahn lately, it's possible that those responsible for putting out the formerly high quality videos are no longer capable of doing so or that the supply chain had been broken such that it takes longer for the videos from al Qaeda's leadership to find their way into the open.

The terrorists have tried misdirection in the past, and may again be trying to do so because of recent successes.

Then again, it could be legitimate - but unless we get confirmation from US sources, I'd take with a grain of salt. The 48 hour rule should be in effect.

Reuters reports that they've heard from the Taliban and that they insist that Zawahiri is still alive. I say let the US cure what ails Zawahiri - his ability to breathe and lead al Qaeda.

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