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Friday February 12th 2016

Osama documents: Bin Laden urged to not kill Muslims; Kill Americans instead

Declassified photograph of Osama bin Laden just days before his death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six last year. Photo credit: DoD/American Forces Press Service


Before being killed last year, Osama bin Laden was advised to halt operations in Muslim countries and start taking the battle to the real enemy — the Americans, according to newly released documents.

An analysis of 17 de-classified documents captured during the May 1, 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan raid. The documents were released to the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) on the campus of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and are now being posted on the CTC web site.

The analyzed documents consist of emails and drafts of letters dated between September 2006 and April 2011.  These internal al-Qaeda communiques were authored by terrorist leaders, especially Osama bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. special forces just days after writing his last letter.

The documents revealed to analysts that bin Laden’s public statements focused on the injustice of those he believed to be the “enemies” of Muslims, namely corrupt “apostate” Muslim rulers and their American “overseers.”

The focus of bin Laden’s private letters is Muslims’ suffering at the hands of his jihadi “brothers”. He is saddened by what he hears and advises jihadists to “abort domestic attacks” that cause Muslim civilian deaths and casualties and focus instead on the United States calling it “our desired goal.”

“Bin Laden’s frustration with regional jihadi groups and his seeming inability to exercise control over their actions and public statements is the most compelling story to be told on the basis of the 17 declassified documents. ‘Letters from Abbottabad’ is an initial exploration and contextualization of 17 documents that will be the grist for future academic debate and discussion,” say the CTC analysts.

For example, one document is a letter addressed to Osama bin Laden from “a loving brother whom you know and who knows you” and dated September 14, 2006. The author is critical of bin Laden for focusing al-Qaeda’s operations on “Islamic countries in general and the Arabian Peninsula in particular.” (al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is currently the most powerful faction in the Middle East.)

He enumerates the negative consequences of engaging in jihad inside Saudi Arabia, and informs bin Laden that people are now repulsed by the technical term “jihad” and even forbidden to use it in lectures. The author strongly advised bin Laden to change his policies, according to the CTC translation.

The best way to prevent the shedding of impermissible blood and not killing faithful people is to not work inside Muslim countries. I am sure that your Eminence knows that God said, ‘If it were not for faithful men and women among them, we would have punished them harshly.’ If faithful swords stopped fighting for fear of hurting the few faithful in the nonbeliever society, can you imagine the ruling when we talk about Muslim population in a Muslim society?” he said to bin Laden.

The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.