Amerikanerne fant et veritabelt bibliotek i Osama bin Ladens computere, harddisker og minnepinner. Det er snakk om tusenvis av sider. Denne uken ble et lite utvalg offentliggjort.
All told, 17 letters by and to Bin Laden were released, totaling 175 pages in Arabic and dating from September 2006 to April 2011, just before he was killed. The trove was a revelation for some who study Al Qaeda. “It was revolutionary in some ways,” said Jarret Brachman, a terrorism expert. “This is a huge day for serious students of Al Qaeda.”
Brevene forteller om en leder som slet med å holde seg oppdatert og og holde kontroll med organisasjonen. Dronekrigen tynnet kraftig i rekkene, og kommunikasjonslinjene var vanskelige. Den operasjonelle evnen var sterkt svekket.
Analysts at the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which processed and released the documents, concluded that Bin Laden often struggled to stay in charge, and the report it released even used as its subtitle, “Bin Laden Sidelined?”
“Bin Laden is not in sync on the operational level with regional jihadi groups,” said Nelly Lahoud, one of the report’s authors. “He’s displeased. He’s not approving of them. He’s worried and concerned about their incompetence.”
He had grown disgruntled with far-flung offshoots theoretically under his umbrella and fretted that too many of the “brothers” were alienating Muslims with attacks on fellow believers.
Particularly striking was a roiling debate over the relationship between the central Qaeda group and the various affiliates over which Bin Laden exercised little control. Some lieutenants argued for disassociating with the branch outfits, while others pushed for more integration. Bin Laden wanted to provide advice without fully incorporating them into Al Qaeda central.
Indeed, he specifically declined a request by the Shabab in Somalia to join Al Qaeda, a decision that was effectively reversed after his death by his successor, Ayman al-Zawahri.
Av de første avsløringene kan man slutte at verden vil få vite mye om al Qaidas indre liv i årene som kommer. Bin Laden var opptatt av å kontrollere historieskrivningen. Han har selv sørget for at det blir fienden som skriver historien, med hans eget arkiv som grunnlag.