WASHINGTON: In letters from his last hideout, Osama bin Laden fretted about dysfunction in his terrorist network and crumbling trust from Muslims he wished to incite against their government and the West.
A selection of documents seized in last year’s raid on bin Laden’s Pakistan house was posted online today by the US Army’s Combating Terrorism Center. The documents show dark days for al-Qaida and its hunkered-down leader after years of attacks by the United States and what bin Laden saw as bumbling within his own organisation and its terrorist allies. “I plan to release a statement that we are starting a new phase to correct (the mistakes) we made,” bin Laden wrote in 2010. “In doing so, we shall reclaim, God willing, the trust of a large segment of those who lost their trust in the jihadis.” Until the end, bin Laden remained focused on attacking Americans and coming up with plots, however improbable, to kill US leaders. He wished especially to target airplanes carrying Gen David Petraeus and even President Barack Obama, reasoning that an assassination would elevate an ‘utterly unprepared’ Vice President Joe Biden into the presidency and plunge US into crisis.
Bin Laden’s inner circle also was frustrated when, in 2010, attention in the US shifted to the weak economy without apparently crediting al-Qaida for the economic damage that terrorist attacks had caused.