Recent communications between Usama bin Laden (search) and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) indicate that bin Laden has "encouraged Zarqawi and his group to focus on attacks inside the United States," multiple U.S. officials told FOX News on Monday.My analysis of this story is that al Qaeda now recognizes tht it has lost in Iraq. They also recognize that US forces are grinding them down in their only active theater of operation. It would not be surprising to see Zarqawi try to slip out of Iraq in the next few days. This also suggest a recognition that al Qaeda has lost significant assets in other countries in the region and feels like it needs to concentrate what few assets it has in an attack on the US homeland.
The sources would not get into detail about how the communication was made or how it was intercepted by the United States. They also said that there is nothing specific in the message, such as maps or references to particular cities or buildings. Rather, the communication simply encourages a "focus" on attacks inside U.S. borders, sources said.
Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda (search) in Iraq and believed to be the inspiration of the ongoing bombings, beheadings and attacks on Iraqi and American forces, pledged his alliance to bin Laden last year and changed the name of his group in Iraq to reflect his ties to Al Qaeda. Iraqi officials said they expect to take Zarqawi soon; they recently nabbed a key associate and the driver of Jordanian-born terror leader.
U.S. officials say Zarqawi has "his hands full" trying to stay out of U.S. or Iraqi custody in Iraq and they question whether Zarqawi's group would have the ability to pull off an attack inside America. Also, officials are wondering aloud what this means about Al Qaeda and whether it means the group is reaching out to its central leader because they are under significant pressure.