Bin Laden’s focus on attacking the U.S. homeland led to sharp disagreements with his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, who favored easier and more opportunistic attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas.
Bin Laden told Atiyah that al-Qaeda’s best chance for establishing an Islamic state was Yemen, which he described as the “launching point” for attacks on the Persian Gulf oil states. “Control of these nations means control of the world,” he wrote. But he worried that the push in Yemen would come too soon and advised his colleagues to wait three years, if necessary, before making a decisive move. By fighting too hard in Syria in the early 1980s, he noted, the Muslim Brotherhood “lost a generation of men.”
Bin Laden and his aides hoped for big terrorist operations to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. They also had elaborate media plans. Adam Gadahn, a U.S.-born media adviser, even discussed in a message to his boss what would be the best television outlets for a bin Laden anniversary video.
“It should be sent for example to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA. As for Fox News let her die in her anger,” Gadahn wrote. At another point, he said of the networks: “From a professional point of view, they are all on one level — except (Fox News) channel, which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks objectivity, too.”
What an unintended boost for Fox, which can now boast that it is al-Qaeda’s least favorite network.