Baghdad, Iraq — A document purportedly captured in an al-Qaida hideout portrays the insurgency in Iraq as being in "bleak" shape, saying that it is losing strength and proposing ways to stir up trouble between the U.S. and Iran to divert American attention.
American and Iraqi forces have killed 104 insurgents in 452 raids nationwide since al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed last week, the U.S. military said.
Arrests, weapons seizures and money shortages are taking a heavy toll on al-Qaida's insurgency in Iraq, according to the three-page transcript released Thursday by the Iraqi government, which said it reflects al-Qaida policy and the terror organization's cooperation with groups loyal to Saddam Hussein.
There was no way to confirm the authenticity of the information attributed to al-Qaida, and U.S. and Iraqi officials offered conflicting accounts of when and where it was seized.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office said Iraqi forces found the document in al-Zarqawi's hideout after the June 7 U.S. airstrike that killed him.
However, U.S. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the document had been taken from a computer in a raid during the three-week operation to track down al-Zarqawi.
Caldwell said sweeps across Iraq since al-Zarqawi's death led to 28 significant arms caches. He said the raids included 255 joint operations and 143 by Iraqi forces alone.
The al-Qaida document said its insurgency was being hurt by an increase in U.S.-trained Iraqi forces, by widespread arrests and seizures of weapons, and by a crackdown on financial outlets.
According to a translation provided by National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie, the document said the best way to overcome the "current bleak situation" would be to involve U.S. forces in a "war against another country" or hostile group.
The way to do this, the document said, "is to try and inflame the situation between America and Iran" or between the U.S. and followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric.
It suggests carrying out a range of terrorist acts for which it will falsely implicate Iran, including bombings in the West and kidnappings. It also recommends declaring the existence of a relationship between Iran and terrorist groups, and disseminating bogus confessions showing that Iran has weapons of mass destruction.
In Washington, the House embarked Thursday on its most extensive and impassioned debate about the war in Iraq, with Republicans demanding support for President Bush's course and Democrats calling for a change in direction to allow U.S. troops to come home.
Lawmakers were expected to talk late into the night, resuming their debate today and then voting on a resolution crafted by Republican leaders.