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CIA: Bin Laden Opposes Ousting Ali Abdullah Saleh | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this Dec. 24, 1998, file photo, Muslim militant and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in the mountains of Helmand province in Afghanistan. (Rahimullah Yousafzai/AP)

Washington – An ISIS official sent al-Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden a letter inciting him to take action as it was the perfect time for the organization to lay hand over Sana’a. Bin Laden perceived that establishing an Islamic state in Yemen is now supported by adequate conditions, but he did not find this idea favorable and replied in a letter, whose draft was later on found by the CIA when raiding his place of residence in May 2011.

In his letter, Bin Laden disclosed that al-Qaeda is keen that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains in presidency and that the organization’s interest is embodied in maintaining peace with Saleh although seen as a disbeliever by al-Qaeda.

As for initial reasons, “We should quit thinking regionally. True, there are Sykes–Picot borders but all these borders will vanish when establishing an Islamic state.”

Practical Obstacles

Osama bin Laden called for being rational and not rushing in the establishment of an Islamic state in Yemen because “it will collapse by siege, poverty and negotiations with tribes’ sheikhs to fight us.”

“People perceive the concept of a state in a way that makes the state obliged to provide jobs, something which we can’t do at this stage,” continued bin Laden in his letter. He warned that any Islamic state will face a revolution within days of establishing it, regardless if people support it or not, due to lack of food which means their death.

Al-Qaeda Benefits from Saleh

“I would like to trigger one basic issue, the U.S. and Gulf were in a quest to change the regime of Saleh. This means that they see him an ineligible and they are aware of the huge financial and administrative corruption that urged the spread of Islamic attitudes,” the letter said.

It added, “We can’t spread our message amidst chaos. A country of no ruler to settle security will extract the aggressiveness in people who will have one priority: to protect themselves and their dignity.”

Bin Laden was Right

Bin Laden said several times in his letter that Gulf countries “will not leave the region’s countries without a ruler”. He added, “We support eradication of financial and administrative corruption. People are free to demand their rights. We contribute with the people in objectively criticizing the government without hinting on Saleh being an agent.