Al-Qaeda in Iraq faces an "extraordinary crisis". Last year's mass defection of ordinary Sunnis from al-Qaeda to the US military "created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight". The terrorist group's security structure suffered "total collapse".
These are the words not of al-Qaeda's enemies but of one of its own leaders in Anbar province once the group's stronghold. They were set down last summer in a 39 page letter seized during a US raid on an al-Qaeda base near Samarra in November.
The US military released extracts from that letter yesterday along with a second seized in another November raid that is almost as startling.
That second document is a bitter 16 page testament written last October by a local al-Qaeda leader near Balad, north of Baghdad.
"I am Abu-Tariq, emir of the al-Layin and al-Mashahdah sector,"the author begins. He goes on to describe how his force of 600 shrank to fewer than 20.
"We were mistreated, cheated and betrayed by some of our brothers," he says. "Those people were nothing but hypocrites, liars and traitors and were waiting for the right moment to switch sides with whoever pays them most."
Hat Tip To: The Strata-Sphere