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Al Qaeda In Iraq Chief Admits: "We've Lost a Lot Of Ground"

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The chief of al Qaeda in Iraq Abu Hamza al Muhajir admitted in an audiotape obtained by CBS News that the group has lost a lot of ground in Iraq. "I must admit, rather bitterly, that we lost control over many areas after the groups that formed the resistance political council changed sides and joined forces with the Crusader occupiers," al Muhajir, who is also known as Abu Ayub al Masri said. "We always looked at them as brothers but they stabbed us in the back," he added.

In the one hour and twenty minute tape, al Muhajir analyzes the problems that the first generation of Muslims faced in order to establish their Islamic State. He draws parallels between the obstacles faced by Muslims around the time of Prophet Mohammed and the difficulties his group is facing in Iraq today in an obvious attempt to convince his audience that despite the betrayal by the Sunni tribes and the situation they're in at this stage, his Islamic State will emerge victorious in the end. "Two years now and the Muslim youths in Iraq are hanging on to their faith despite the trouble and the deception by those we once thought were our friends," al Muhajir says. "But as they say, that which does not kill us, can only make us stronger," he adds.

Al Muhajir also addresses the soldiers of his "state" and advises them to remain vigilant at all times, to try and cut off supply routes to U.S. bases around the country and to carry smaller weapons as part of the group's new tactics. "You should carry weapons that are small in size, yet very effective, such as a hand grenades belt and a light weight machine gun," he advised.

Al Muhajir's lengthy statement, which also marks the second anniversary of the declaration of the "Islamic State of Iraq," comes a few days after media reports about the U.S. military in Iraq intercepting a letter by al Qaeda's second in command Ayman al Zawahiri in which he strongly criticized al Muhajir. According to Fox News, the letter read: "Abu Ayub al Masri is not strong enough to bear this great great responsibility, and is weak at [...] decision making. He is weak [...] he is totally isolated [..] this is affecting his grip on reality."