But it could bear a significant resemblance, if we pull out our troops in line with the wishes of al-Qaeda
A captured letter shows al-Qaeda positioning itself for a United States defeat in Iraq, but struggling to curb a top leader whose campaign of beheadings and attacks on Shi'a is costing the extremist movement popular support.
The letter from Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's number two, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, its chief in Iraq, lays down a grand strategy for using post-occupation Iraq as a platform for an Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East, and ultimately Palestine.
"You might ask an important question," Zawahiri wrote. "What drives me to broach these matters while we are in the din of war and the challenges of killing and combat?"
"My answer is, firstly: Things may develop faster than we imagine," he said. "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam - and how they ran and left their agents - is noteworthy."
"Because of that we must be ready starting now, before events overtake us, and before we are surprised by the conspiracies of the Americans and the United Nations and their plans to fill the void behind them," he wrote.
Update: Dr. Walid Phares examines the letter at FrontPage Magazine:
What strikes seasoned observers of terrorism is that none of this is revolutionary news. I wasn't at all surprised to read that letter, but I was surprised to see the press treating the substance as a brand new or explosive material. The so-called four-stage plan has been common knowledge amongst jihadists and even "digested" on al-Jazeera: defeating the U.S. in Iraq, declaring the caliphate in the most extended Sunni areas in Iraq, then moving beyond that realm has been a classic plan for some time. A reader of Islamist geopolitics would understand that "extending the jihad" towards Egypt and the Mashreq (translated by Levant) - meaning Syria, Lebanon and Jordan - is the equivalent of spreading within the Sunni realm of the region. The latter move, according to earlier Salafist analysis, should culminate with a clash with the Jewish state. We're talking about the Muslim Brotherhood old song: nothing really innovative, but certainly new to our public, once translated and published.
Read the whole thing.