|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
A purported al Qaeda document published by the U.S. military may or may not be authentic but its message that the Sunni Islamist guerrillas face problems in Iraq could reflect reality, security experts said on Tuesday.
The U.S. military published late on Monday what it said was a captured document that showed the militant group recognized it was weak and unpopular in Baghdad.
The document, an apparent review of the group's strategy in the capital where it has claimed some of postwar Iraq's bloodiest attacks, was seized with videos on April 16 near Yusufiya, just southeast of Baghdad, a U.S. statement said.
A translation of the undated, three-page document suggested al Qaeda was reviewing tactics in the city, currently focused on car bombs and other guerrilla tactics, and proposing improving its military capabilities to hold territory in any civil war.
Security experts reacted with caution and skepticism to its publication, noting a long-running public opinion battle between the United States and the Iraqi government it backs on the one side and Sunni Arab insurgents including al Qaeda on the other.
"I have a question mark to say the least," said Mustafa Alani, an Iraqi senior consultant of the Gulf Research Center based in Dubai. "Who wrote this, we don't know."
"It is true that they (al Qaeda in Iraq) have problems but why produce such a document to highlight the problems?" he said.
"Why admit all the weaknesses in a written document?"
The document was mentioned in a news briefing last week at which the U.S. military also aired what it said were outtakes from a video promoting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's best known leader in Iraq, that was posted on the Internet.
A spokesman mocked the Jordanian's competence with a gun and his choice of American sports shoes, seen in the unedited film.
"There is a strategy to ridicule al Qaeda and Zarqawi," said Magnus Ranstorp at the Swedish National Defense College. "It could also be part of a U.S. psychological campaign."