“Al-Qaeda had come to realize that Iraq was the central front in the war on terror. ‘The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation,’ Osama bin Laden declared in an audio message [on December 28, 2004] to Muslims in Iraq posted on jihadist websites. ‘It is raging in the land of the two rivers [Iraq]. The world’s millstone and pillar is in Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate.’ Bin Laden knew the stakes of this struggle: ‘It is either victory and glory or misery and humiliation.’ …He felt America could be driven from the battlefield as it had been in Vietnam. So Iraq had become a struggle between democracy and radical Islam. For that reason, al-Qaeda was behind many of the most spectacular attacks there.”

 – Karl Rove, Courage and Consequence, Pages 472-473