soon and very soon

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Profile of a Killer

I found this article re: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi on Foreign It's a pretty good piece but I don't agree with everything. Namely, that US presence in Iraq is responsible for terrorism there. This is the mindless and baseless argument similar to the "cycle of violence" argument in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict argument and it has little basis other than political objectives for people who are against Bush's war in Iraq.

Secondly, the author makes it seem like Colin Powell made Zarqawi the main reason for the US invading Iraq in the first place. Obviously everyone knows this is not true, WMDs and Saddam's failure to abide by UN demands were the reason (as any Democrat will tell you). BUT, this was the first instance where the name Zarqawi was brought into the public sphere as he is identified as the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and thus establishes a link between Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden, which would also further justify war against Iraq. That said, UBL hated Saddam Hussein, and his secular Baathist ideology. That being said we know now that Hussein knew before the Iraq War began, that Zarqawi was operating in Iraq and had pretty much condoned his actions there. They both have the same targets in mind, so why make trouble against someone who can command Muslim extremist youth?

As Napoleoni argues in the piece, Zarqawi didn't pledge allegiance to UBL in 200 when they first met in Afghanistan (this may or may not be true, we'll probably never know for sure). However, she does incorporate nicely the similarities in the two men's vision of the global Jihad against the US and the West, and the local Jihad meant to be carried out against Arab governments in collusion with the United States (Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia).

Napoleoni is way focused on Zarqawi's humble Bedouin roots as compared to Bin Laden's rich family upbringing. But as she writes, Zarqawi was greatly respected within the Jordanian prison system as "Prince Among Prisoners". He was suave and persuasive long before he met UBL, so why would he suddenly need UBL's approval of his operations in 2004? It doesn't make much sense. Suddenly their class as youths comes into play? UBL has been living in caves in Afghanistan and Sudan since the 1980s but he's somehow an elitist compared to Zarqawi's "humble roots"? We aren't talking about the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, we're talking about global Jihad, which every good Muslim is responsible to carry out.

Besides, technically speaking, Zarqawi, as the son of the Bedouin who can link his ancestry to the Bani Hassan tribe loyal to the Jordan's Hashemite royal family, Zarqawi would already be considered religiously significant enough to lead the Jihad. Probably even more so than UBL because the Hashemites link their ancestry back to the Prophet. UBL's family was much poorer than Zarqawi before his father got into the construction business. So I don't really find her class argument behind the UBL-Zarqawi Alliance as very credible.

That being said, she does lay out a pretty good picture of the global Jihad and Zarqawi's evolution and involvement therein. I highly recommend it.

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