This document is a letter believed to have been composed in December 2010 and its content relates to SOCOM-2012-0000005. The letter is addressed to Azmarai, perhaps a typo or misspelling of the nickname Zamarai (a nickname or kunya for Bin Ladin). While the identity of the author is unclear, the familiar tone and implicit critique of Bin Ladin’s policy vis-a-vis al-Shabab suggest that this is from a high ranking personality, possibly Ayman al-Zawahiri. Referring to“our friend’s letter” and the perspective of the ”brothers_[who might have been] too concerned about inflating the size and growth of al-Qa`ida,” the author of the document urges the receiver to“reconsider your opinion not to declare the accession [i.e. formal merger] of the brothers of Somalia_” This is clearly a reference to al-Qa`ida’s potential merger with al-Shabab and suggests that al-Qa`ida’s relationship with the “affiliates” is a subject of internal debate. If indeed the author of the letter is Ayman al-Zawahiri this could be an indication of a major fissure over a key strategic question at the pinnacle of the organization (for different interpretations of this letter, see Appendix of“Letters from Abbottabad”).

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