DNI Docs: Osama Bin Laden Planned ‘Islamic State’ amid U.S. ‘Failure’ in Afghanistan

This undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan
AP Photo, File

Late al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden warned against prematurely establishing an Islamic state, according to newly released documents recovered during the 2011 raid that killed the jihadi group’s sheikh.

“We have to make use of the defeat of America in Iraq and its failure in Afghanistan to form an Islamic State based on the Holy Qur’an,” noted one of the documents in the final tranche of material released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on Thursday.

However, a different document, titled “Three Stages Letter,” also warned, “We should not attempt to control [territory] just because we have the military power to do so, while we still do not have the power to sustain the people in their livelihood, yet.”

The al-Qaeda leader urged his jihadi followers to pick their fights and not get bogged down in unnecessary and unwinnable conflicts.

Although he believed the terrorist group had “already exhausted the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he urged his followers to follow certain steps before announcing the establishment of an Islamic State.

Among those steps is fully “exhausting” the American enemy; possessing enough resources to sustain the population; taking over the whole Arab world, not just regions; and putting in place Sharia-based governments and leaders who are able to provide security for the people, according to the letter.

“After we exhaust the greatest enemy, we then will start exhausting the local enemy, and then we start building the State later, God willing, We must first build an impervious embankment in a suitable location before we start building on the edges of the valley, in order to prevent a flood from destroying the homes,” explained the document.

“We should not establish an Islamic State within the Islamic World,” it also said, adding, “It is no secret that we want to implement our religion in [the Yemeni capital] Sanaa and the rest of the Islamic countries by defeating the enemy and establishing the State and making sure we also are capable of safekeeping.”

A U.S.-backed coalition primarily made up of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga troops, and Iran-allied Shiite militias is currently fighting to push the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group out of Mosul and Raqqa, the group’s last major strongholds in Iraq and Syria, respectively.

ISIS, a former al-Qaeda affiliate, captured large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Contrary to what Bin Laden suggested, ISIS appears to have announced the formation of its Islamic State prior to ensuring it had the power to sustain and protect the livelihood of the population in the territory it controlled.

ISIS attempted to establish a Caliphate before taking control of territory and governing it under Sharia law, an opposite approach to what Bin Laden proposed.


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