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English Translation of Ayman al-Zawahiri's letter to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

12:00 AM, Oct 12, 2005
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This is what God Almighty has distinguished you and your brothers with over the mujahedeen before you who fought in the heart of the Islamic world, and in Egypt and Syria to be precise, but this splendor and superiority against the enemies of Islam was not ordained for them.

God also blessed you not only with the splendor of the spearhead of Jihad, but with the splendor as well of the doctrines of monotheism, the rejection of polytheism, and avoidance of the tenets of the secularists and detractors and inferiors, the call to the pure way of the Prophet, and the sublime goal that the Prophet @ left to his companions {. This is a blessing on top of blessing on top of blessing which obliges you and your noble brothers to be constantly thankful and full of praise. The Almighty said: (If ye are grateful, He is pleased with you) and the Almighty says: (If ye are grateful, I will add more unto you.)

B-Because of this, we are extremely concerned, as are the mujahedeen and all sincere Muslims, about your Jihad and your heroic acts until you reach its intended goal.

You know well that purity of faith and the correct way of living are not connected necessarily to success in the field unless you take into consideration the reasons and practices which events are guided by. For the grandson of the Prophet Imam al Hussein Bin Ali }, the Leader of the Faithful Abdallah Bin al-Zubair }, Abdul Rahman Bin al-Ashath , and other great people, did not achieve their sought-after goal.

C-If our intended goal in this age is the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet and if we expect to establish its state predominantly-according to how it appears to us-in the heart of the Islamic world, then your efforts and sacrifices-God permitting-are a large step directly towards that goal.

So we must think for a long time about our next steps and how we want to attain it, and it is my humble opinion that the Jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals:

The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq.

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate- over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas, is in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before unIslamic forces attempt to fill this void, whether those whom the Americans will leave behind them, or those among the un-Islamic forces who will try to jump at taking power.

There is no doubt that this amirate will enter into a fierce struggle with the foreign infidel forces, and those supporting them among the local forces, to put it in a state of constant preoccupation with defending itself, to make it impossible for it to establish a stable state which could proclaim a caliphate, and to keep the Jihadist groups in a constant state of war, until these forces find a chance to annihilate them.

The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.

The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.

My raising this idea-I don't claim that it's infallible-is only to stress something extremely important. And it is that the mujahedeen must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us. Instead, their ongoing mission is to establish an Islamic state, and defend it, and for every generation to hand over the banner to the one after it until the Hour of Resurrection.

(3) The Muslim masses-for many reasons, and this is not the place to discuss it-do not rally except against an outside occupying enemy, especially if the enemy is firstly Jewish, and secondly American. 4

If the matter is thus, we must contemplate our affairs carefully, so that we are not robbed of the spoils, and our brothers did not die, so that others can reap the fruits of their labor.

D-If we look at the two short-term goals, which are removing the Americans and establishing an Islamic amirate in Iraq, or a caliphate if possible, then, we will see that the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy - after the help and granting of success by God - is popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries.

So, we must maintain this support as best we can, and we should strive to increase it, on the condition that striving for that support does not lead to any concession in the laws of the Sharia.

And it's very important that you allow me to elaborate a little here on this issue of popular support. Let's say: