Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda and mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, repeatedly warned his supporters against the formation of terror group ISIS, newly released documents by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed.
In one letter addressed to Atiyah abd al-Rahman, a now-deceased al-Qaeda figure, bin Laden said that efforts need to remain focused on attacking America, rather than establishing the Islamic State.
"You should ask them to avoid insisting on the formation of an Islamic State at the time being, but to work on breaking the power of our main enemy by attacking the American embassies in the African countries, such as Sierra Leone, Togo, and mainly to attack the American oil companies," bin Laden instructed, according to an English translation of the letter.
The al-Qaeda founder, who was shot and killed by U.S. Navy SEALS in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, explains that any kind of "Islamic State" establishment needs to wait until the U.S. is completely driven out of the Middle East.
"We should stress on the importance of timing in establishing the Islamic State. We should be aware that planning for the establishment of the state begins with exhausting the main influential power [the United States] that enforced the siege on the Hamas government, and that overthrew the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan and Iraq despite the fact this power was depleted," bin Laden's letter continued.
"We should keep in mind that this main power still has the capacity to lay siege on any Islamic State, and that such a siege might force the people to overthrow their duly elected governments. We have to continue with exhausting and depleting them till they become so weak that they can't overthrow any State that we establish. That will be the time to commence with forming the Islamic state."
Voice of America and other sources pointed out that ISIS seems to have formed in spite of this advise, and has self-proclaimed itself as the "Islamic State" on the territory of Iraq and Syria. While the terror group has captured significant territory in the region, it's fighting a ground war against Iraqi, Syrian, and other government forces and local militias, as well as against airstrikes carried out by the U.S. and a broad coalition of international allies.
Al-Qaeda's current leadership remains opposed to ISIS, though a number of other jihadist groups have pledged allegiance to the latter, including Boko Haram in Nigeria.
CNN noted that a total of 103 documents have been released, which makes it the largest repository of correspondence between bin Laden and al-Qaeda members ever made available to the public.
They make up only a part of the several hundred documents recovered from computers and digital media that SEALs retrieved from bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. The discovery showed that bin Laden had a habit of extensively revising his letters, with some of the memos he wrote revised as many as 50 times.
Among the documents is a digital collection of 266 English-language books, also dubbed "Osama's bookshelf."
Among the books are Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward, which details how the U.S.
administration surged troops in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, to books by American author Noam Chomsky, and research material on how Western academic institutions and think tanks are assessing al-Qaeda.