Friday, December 08, 2006

Zarqawi Would Rile the Shi'a, Who'd Get Rid of the Americans, then ...

An interview with al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, shortly before he was killed by a US bomb, shows he hated Iraqi Shi'ites more than Americans. Hated them so much he was willing to start a war with the Shi'ites in the hope that the resulting conflagration would burn the Americans out. "The 33-page interview, carried out some time before a U.S. fighter bomber killed al-Zarqawi in a strike on his meeting place in June 7, could not be authenticated but it was posted Friday on a Web site known to be a clearing-house for al-Qaida material," according to the AP. Zaraqwi turned his hatred of the Shia into bloody attacks but there were unintended, though wholly foreseeable consequences.


The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, saw Iraq's Shiite Muslims as more dangerous than U.S. forces and more evil than dictator Saddam Hussein, according to an interview published on the Internet posthumously. The 33-page interview, carried out some time before a U.S. fighter bomber killed al-Zarqawi in a strike on his meeting place in June 7, could not be authenticated but it was posted Friday on a Web site known to be a clearing-house for al-Qaida material. ...

Al-Zarqawi revealed his fury about the attacks of Iraq's Shiite Muslim militiamen on the country's Sunni Muslim community. Yet it was al-Zarqawi, a Sunni from Jordan, who fomented Shiite-Sunni strife as the best way to scuttle the U.S. plans to rebuild Iraq as a democratic state after Saddam's overthrow.

The fruits of Zarqawi's efforts to provoke the Shi'a, starting with the bombing of the Samarra Golden Mosque, were described by a recent Thomas Ricks article in the Washington Post. Ricks argued that America "could no longer defeat a bloody insurgency" the Sunni bastion of Anbar because the Sunnis were too scared to stop fighting in the face of revenge attacks by Shi'ite militiamen. As usual, it was a defeat for America.

The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province. ...

The Marines' August memo, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, is far bleaker than some officials suggested when they described it in late summer. The report describes Iraq's Sunni minority as "embroiled in a daily fight for survival," fearful of "pogroms" by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on al-Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.

True or not, the memo says, "from the Sunni perspective, their greatest fears have been realized: Iran controls Baghdad and Anbaris have been marginalized." Moreover, most Sunnis now believe it would be unwise to count on or help U.S. forces because they are seen as likely to leave the country before imposing stability.

Commentary


Bonus question. Is this a picture of a) Wile E. Coyote, b) Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, c) George W. Bush, d) James Baker?

22 Comments:

Blogger desert rat said...

E. All of the above.

12/08/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yet it was al-Zarqawi, a Sunni from Jordan, who fomented Shiite-Sunni strife as the best way to scuttle the U.S. plans to rebuild Iraq as a democratic state after Saddam's overthrow"

If getting Saddam only marked the end of the "war" part of the war and the beginning of the police action, and if getting Zark only resulted in the continuation, even escalation, of al-Qaeda-in-Iraq bomb attacks on Shi'ite civilians and a universal recognition, even by those on the right hand of the spectrum, that we're in the middle of a Vietnamesque civil war, then what would getting Osama do for us? Nothing much, I reckon.

12/08/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

agreed

12/08/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

crack me up!!

love the commentary!

I wish I had an imagination like that!!

the shiites were useful tools of al queada at the time; most sunnis consider shias borderline wack-jobs anyways...

as WC said, al queada was more interested in scuttling the fledgling democracy, and inflicting humiliation and hopefully more casualties upon the BIG satan, US, than having a long term plan for Iraq itself...

I hope the average moslem will come to understand how many claiming to be religious elite have manipulated and used them...

al zarquawi's al queada in Iraq misjudged the US response, thinking that we'd have no choice but to escalate and put more men on the job;
if there's one thing that Rumsfield will be remembered for, it will be for sticking to the game plan - he held doggedly to the theory of a small footprint = less targets...

in a war that has been misrepresented and inarticulately explained from the beginning, it may still be remembered as one with vast after effects for so few casualties...

...and rat, I might add: f) ahmadinijad

12/08/2006 07:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alqueda hates everyone who is not exactly like them and that goes for any muslims who do not think exactly like them. The Taliban who are al-queadas buddies butchered large numbers of sufis and shias.

12/08/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The 33-page interview, carried out some time before a U.S. fighter bomber killed al-Zarqawi in a strike on his meeting place in June 7, could not be authenticated but it was posted Friday on a Web site known to be a clearing-house for al-Qaida material," according to the AP.

hehe ... would that be the AP website ?

12/08/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

orlandoslug said

I hope the average moslem will come to understand how many claiming to be religious elite have manipulated and used them

In the short term they won't, because they are in denial. When your culture is the laughing stock of the planet, you will cling to what you think makes you special - Islam.

But your point, and the later in a war that has been misrepresented and inarticulately explained from the beginning goes to the heart of the war - it is a war for hearts and minds and we have been pathetic at it.

However, as for so few casualties, give it time.

ADE

12/08/2006 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

WC,

There's bounty on OBL, but no bounty hunters. How to explain that?

a) OBL is a US agent

b) OBL is more useful alive than dead

c) It's possible for someone like OBL to really disappear

d) Jihadi intelligence services are impervious to western infiltration

In my experience, the only logical answer is the first one.

12/08/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

desert rat said...

E. All of the above.

//////////////
I agreed with desert rat.

It would be a good thing to get obl. just as it would be good thing to curb the militias. just as it would be a good thing to get the f-ck off our addiction to oil. just as it would be a good thing to kill the cost of water desalination. The head of livermore's desalination program was in Australia a couple weeks ago. Here's a review of his talk.

12/08/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger bjbarron said...

f) A wet spot on a cave wall

12/08/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Dees said...

Another Wile E. Coyote aspirant is Hezbollah head Nasrallah, who seems hell-bent on pulling a Samson in Lebanon (go to Michael J. Totten's blog and scroll through)...

http://www.michaeltotten.com/

12/08/2006 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Me against my brother. Me and my brother against my cousin. Me, my brother, and my cousin against the world.

That's Zark's world view. He hated everyone. Just to different degrees.

12/08/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though it seems careless to write off Zarqawi in those few words, distilling the essence of who he was and his agenda seems to imply that he was an opportunist. Alliances to him were predicated on shifting interests, not friendship or ideology. And when he was caught playing both sides of the fence (somewhat), they hung him out for the vultures to feed upon.

>orlandoslug, ade is right. The ideological superstructure of Islamic fundamentalism is much more robust and resilient than say, communism or fascism (though elements of fascism are inherent in fundamentalism). It will take more than a propaganda blitz or a war to shake the yoke of intellectual, religious conformity off the Arabs.

12/09/2006 02:03:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

redator, you omitted the most obivious one:

OBL is dead but neither the Americans nor al Qaeda want that fact known, each for their own reasons/purpose.

It has been two years since we last saw him on one his famous video manifestos. This year video have been released with his voice, but only still photographs of bin Laden.
Why else would Bush say earlier this year that it wasn't really all that important to get OBL? Must be cause Bush knows OBL is wormfood.

12/09/2006 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger onesimus said...

I propose Elmer Fudd, shotgun in hand, for James Baker III.

12/09/2006 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

OBL is dead but neither the Americans nor al Qaeda want that fact known, each for their own reasons/purpose.

¡Viva Ché!

12/09/2006 05:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onesimus said, "I propose Elmer Fudd, shotgun in hand, for James Baker III."

One little mistake and everyone calls Dick Cheney "Elmer Fudd".

12/09/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

wc: Yet it was al-Zarqawi, a Sunni from Jordan, who fomented Shiite-Sunni strife as the best way to scuttle the U.S. plans to rebuild Iraq as a democratic state after Saddam's overthrow

Zarqawi was born Ahmed al-Khalayleh to a Palestinian family in 1966

Another slight of hand....

Yet another murdering bastard from the belly of the "fake people" palestine..

The seed of arafat shines still today....

12/09/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

It is clear that al-Zarqawi only saw Iraqi Sunnis as cannon fodder for his own war. And now Iraqi Sunnis are reaping the consequences for the evils that dead man committed. One hopes that there would be a long term alternative to al-Qaeda in the Sunni regions of Iraq.

If we are willing to have a long term presence in western Iraq, it may give hope to those who seek an alternative to al-Qaeda. As much as I may loathe to advocate establishing yet more fortresses in a foreign land, I see the alternatives to this course of action as even worse.

12/09/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zarqawi's hatred of the Shia was made abundantly clear in his candid strategy letter to Bin-Laden, nearly 3 years ago--just a tiny sample:

"[They are] the insurmountable obstacle, the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy, and the penetrating venom...
These [have been] a sect of treachery and betrayal throughout history and throughout the ages. It is a creed that aims to combat the Sunnis...
The Qur’an has told us that the machinations of the hypocrites, the deceit of the fifth column, and the cunning of those of our fellow countrymen whose tongues speak honeyed words but whose hearts are those of devils in the bodies of men – these are where the disease lies, these are the secret of our distress, these are the rat of the dike. “They are the enemy. Beware of them.”

http://www.cpa-iraq.org/transcripts/20040212_zarqawi_full.html

12/09/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

If this is the correct analysis of Sunni motivation and percpetion in general, there is little to do but apply Russian techniques to the most recalcitrant Sunni sheikhs and slaughter Sadr and his "army." At this point, even sheer cynical "realism" cannot possibly account for maintaining the polite diplomatic fiction that these people are interested in a political solution. Given that we are actually there, given that we are fighting the Shia occasionally, given that we have repeatedly and no doubt constantly treated with the Sunni reps, given that we intervened for the Sunnis repeatedly during the various previous political phases, given that our only real demand of the Sunnis is that they participate in good, even if cynical, faith in the political process, which alone stands against their annihilation and dislocation in a population in which they are far outnumbered and in which Shia have developed reasonably effective militia - given all of that, the notion that they continue to fight because they have some rational representation of their own interests and a reasonable, if vicious, way to achieve them, strikes me as wishful thinking at this point.

It would useful now, if no other novel action is possible for whatever good or bad reason, to at least execute Saddam, and see what result that yields. Given the Arab proclivity for super-fantasy, his being alive may count for more than we imagine among a segment of the population that believes, as I so often heard directly from them on NPR interviews, that they are the majority.

12/09/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger AST said...

Sadr is the son of a very popular cleric who was liquidated by Saddam. If we killed him, we'd probably find the whole Shia community against us as well as the Sunnis.

Read The Shia Revival to understand how Shias in Iraq differ from Sunnis and Iranian revolutionaries.

Muqtada may be seeking to become Iraq's Khomeini, and if he tries, he should be imprisoned. But until then, we should let the Iraqis deal with him.

A certain amount of sectarian violence is inevitable, given the history of the country and of the Sunni-Shia split in Islam's history.

Muslims probably don't like to discuss this in front of us infidels, but given how Shias have been treated by Sunnis in the past, we shouldn't kid ourselves that they will accept domination by the Sunnis again if they can help it.

12/09/2006 09:53:00 PM  

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