WASHINGTON - Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was not the "puppet master"
of jihadi groups around the world and complained of what he called
their "incompetence," according to an analysis of documents seized from
his hideout in Pakistan.
The Combating Terrorism Center, a
privately funded research center at the US Military Academy at West
Point, posted on its website on Thursday 17 declassified documents taken
in the raid on bin Laden's house in Abbottabad in which he was killed
by US forces a year ago.
"On the basis of
the 17 declassified documents, Bin Ladin was not, as many thought, the
puppet master pulling the strings that set in motion jihadi groups
around the world," a report on the documents by the Combating Terrorism
Center said. "Bin Ladin was burdened by what he saw as their
The center spells bin Laden's name as Bin Ladin.
report said the al-Qaida leader, who was behind the Sept. 11, 2001
World Trade Center attacks in New York, "was unimpressed by the recent
trend of American populist jihad."
He appeared to have little
regard for Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen accused of instigating a
number of violent al-Qaida attacks from Yemen and who was killed in a
US drone strike last year.
Awlaki is mentioned in one letter,
assessed to be from bin Laden who writes, as translated: "I hope that he
be informed of us still needing more information from the battlefield
in Yemen, so that it is feasible for us, with the help of God, to make
the most appropriate decision to either escalate or calm down."
17 documents are electronic letters or draft letters totaling 175 pages
in the original Arabic, dating from September 2006 to April 2011, and
they do not all state who wrote or received them.
officials have said Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which operates
from Yemen, has emerged as the most dangerous affiliate.
according to the West Point study, bin Laden himself regarded many of
al-Qaida's affiliated groups, including the ones feared by the West,
The letters show that bin Laden worried about AQAP,
the Yemeni affiliate, and urged its leadership to focus efforts on
attacking the United States rather than the Yemeni government or
security forces, the report said.
It said the confiscated
material showed that the actions of another affiliate, al-Qaida in Iraq
was of particular concern to bin Laden, especially its killing of
Shi'ite civilians following the US invasion of Iraq.
al-Qaida's main English-language spokesmen, American-born Adam Gadahn,
even suggested that the main al-Qaida group should disassociate itself
from al-Qaida in Iraq. At one point Gadahn compared the activities of
the Iraqi group to the policies of former US President George W. Bush,
who had launched the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Bin Laden also
apparently wanted to keep al-Qaida's Somalia-based affiliate, Al
Shabaab, at arm's length, the study says, because he was concerned about
its poor organization, management and brutality.
The report said
that bin Laden's relationship with the TTP, one of the main
Pakistan-based Taliban groups, was so strained that the group almost
came into "direct and public confrontation" with al Qaeda's central
leadership over its indiscriminate attacks on Muslim civilians.
and audiotapes from bin Laden were broadcast sporadically during the
decade that he was in hiding. In a letter dated Aug. 27, 2010, the
al-Qaida leader gave detailed instructions about how to get the message
out and shows he wanted it timed for the upcoming Sept . 11 anniversary.
with this message is a visual statement to the American people that I
hope a copy of it be given to the International Al Jazeera and the Arab
Al Jazeera. I also hope for it to be translated (voice over) to English
and to be delivered to the Al Jazeera channel prior to the anniversary
of 9/11, to be broadcasted during it. Also, two copies of it are
attached, one of which is recorded and the other written."
sent you, along with the messages that preceded this, a statement
regarding the floods of Pakistan. Its broadcasting to media was delayed,
thus perhaps it's for a good reason. However, in any case, I had
attached the content of this card to this message."
broadcast the flood statement before the American People statement, as
the American People statement to be during the anniversary of 9/11."