Islamabad -- A source in al Qaeda's inner circle tells Al Jazeera that several top-level jihadists oppose Osama bin Laden's recent decision to scale back the group's mass killing operations. The dissenters believe that bin Laden is overreacting to President Barack Obama's outreach efforts to the Muslim world.
"Mahmoud" (not his real name; his real name is Achmed) provided Al Jazeera an audio tape of a recent conversation between Bin Laden and his second-in-command, Aimen Zawaheri. Following is a portion of the transcript:
BIN LADEN: I'm worried, Aimen. With Obama in charge, Guantanamo closing, coerced interrogations forbidden, and now Miranda rights, for Allah's sake, (Blessed be his holy name), some of our people hiding in caves are surrendering so they can live like kings in American prisons.
ZAWAHERI: Other side of the coin, bin: recruitments are up at the prospect of winding up in America. Look, let's use the situation to our advantage: make up a list of people who haven't been pulling their weight in Jihad, and arrange to have them captured by the Americans. I'll reach out to Ramsey Clark and offer him a contract to represent them in American courts. He'll tie up their judicial system for years, the legal equivalent of bringing down the towers.
BIN LADEN: Good thinking. In terms of world opinion and our own image, it might be a good idea to modify our own activities a bit. What's the schedule for August and September in Iraq and Afghanistan?
ZAWAHERI: Thirty suicide bombers set to go-markets, schoolyards, orphanages, recruiting centers, convalescent homes, so forth.
BIN LADEN: Take orphanages off the list. And tell our people to crash more wedding party receptions and fire at the Coalition until the damned barbarians respond.
ZAWAHERI: Oh, I had a conference call with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Jack Murtha the other day. They were sorry that things haven't worked out for us. You know, they've been wonderful to us all along. Let's consider them him for honorary membership in AQ. That entitles them to be beheaded with a sharp knife rather than a dull one once we've won.
BIN LADEN: Allah is merciful.
"Mahmoud" warned that bin Laden risked the very existence of al Qaeda if he decided to follow the path of "Jihad Lite."