Thursday, June 08, 2006

A thug not regretted 

It is good news, in as far as any killing is good news, if the one killed was actually al-Zarqawi.

But was he an Al-Qaida big shot? Or a local militant who used the Al-Qaida brand name?

If he was actually part of the Bin Laden franchise network , then Al-Qaida got established in Iraq from nothing after the ‘coalition’ invasion of Iraq.

However Juan Cole sets out the case that al-Zarqawi was a grandstanding thug of Wahhabi sympathies but with no al-Qaida links, who renamed his ‘Salafi Jihadi’ group as ‘al-Qaeda Mesopotamia’ to wind up Bush and Blair. A very convenient story for the US and UK as it permits bush and Blair to make speeches, such as now, confusing Iraq and its troubles with al-Qaeda and 9/11.

Al-Zarqawi had been engaged in a running crossfire civil war with other insurgents. Cole says:

… groups in Fallujah (had) launched attacks on Zarqawi followers there after the latter attacked the al-Husain Mosque in the Askari quarter two days ago, destroying the tomb of the founder of the mosque within it.

Salafis influenced by Saudi Wahhabism despise attendance at saints tombs, insisting on a Protestant-like elimination of all intermediaries between human beings and God. Many Islamists in Fallujah are actually Sufis, who value saints in the way rural
Catholics do.

An attempt by the radical Salafis to destroy the mosque (on the grounds that it had been tainted with polytheism) was stopped by the "1920 Revolution Brigades," a local ex-Baathist group. There was a running gun battle between the two.

Note the different stories on how he was killed. The Iraqi government says it was in a gunfight and gives a picture allegedly of his body. The US says he was taken out by a precision bombing attack and identified from fingerprints from the scattered remains. No doubt we will learn the truth sometime or other.

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