In one letter, bin Laden responds to a list of grievances about excesses by al-Qaeda in Iraq, and reports from its leadership that they no longer answer to al-Qaeda’s central leadership.
“We heard from more than one person at the leadership level that they are claiming to be an independent state and to have no ties with (al-Qaeda),” said the letter writer, who went by the name Abu al-Abbas.
Al-Qaeda of Iraq formally broke with the parent group in 2014, when it renamed itself the Islamic State.
Bin Laden, who admitted being far from the battlefield because he was hiding in Pakistan, responded with disbelief to much of what was reported to him. “My brother, all of these strange stories are unfounded and unreliable and they contradict what we are already certain of,” he wrote.
Al-Abbas described members of “the State,” as al-Qaeda in Iraq called itself even then, as seizing property and cars of Muslims “on the pretext that they don’t wage jihad,” torturing people “just because they are suspicious of them,” and murdering 15 detainees of a rival militia, the 1920 Revolution Brigade, in Iraq’s Diyala province.
He also complained that followers of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Zarqawi were conducting “martyrdom operations” — suicide bombings — against members of the anti-American brigade and their mosques. Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006.
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