Wednesday, January 05, 2005

al-Zarqawi a myth?

Yesterday there were unconfirmed reports of the capture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The report was mentioned, with disclaimers, by Neil Boortz on his radio talk show. Drudge mentioned it. The report still has tracks...but today there is nothing...
No speculation. No questions. No mention.
It is as though nothing happened.

So I was looking for some mention of the name by Al Jazeera, which mentioned the report yesterday. I came across instead a column by Scott Ritter, former UN arms inspector and now persona non grata to the US because of his openly stated opinion that the war in Iraq is a lost cause.

(Okay, have we established that he may be one of the enemy? I hope so. I don't want to be misunderstood because I am about to suggest that what he wrote may have some basis in fact.) What he wrote in this piece is very odd. I mention it to examine if it may be partly true. It is important to remember the source, an American who was interviewed by Time Magazine, Public Television and others, but whose outspoken views have made him unwelcome in Washington.

He argues that the al-Zarqawi phenomenon is largely a myth, a smoke screen created by the Mukhabarat, Hussein's intelligence group.

According to former Iraqi intelligence personnel I have communicated with recently, the Mukhabarat, under instructions from Saddam Hussein, had been preparing for some time before the invasion of Iraq on how to survive, resist and defeat any US-led occupation of Iraq. A critical element of this resistance was to generate chaos and anarchy that would destabilise any US-appointed Iraqi government.
Another factor was to shift the attention of the US military away from the true heart of the resistance - Saddam's Baathist loyalists - and on to a fictional target that could be manipulated in an effort to control the pace, timing and nature of the US military response.

According to these sources, the selection of al-Zarqawi as a front for these actions was almost too easy. The Bush administration's singling out of al-Zarqawi prior to the war, highlighted by Colin Powell's presentation to the Security Council in February 2003, made the Jordanian an ideal candidate to head the Mukhabarat's disinformation effort.

The Mukhabarat was desperate for a way to divert attention from the fact that it was behind the attacks against Iraqi civilians. Iraqis killing Iraqis would turn the public against the resistance. It needed a foreign face, and al-Zarqawi provided it. A few planted CD disks later, and the al-Zarqawi myth was born.

In its attempts to use the al-Zarqawi myth to distract and defeat the US military and the interim government of Iyad Allawi, the Mukhabarat is engaged in a dangerous game. In embracing the al-Zarqawi myth, the Mukhabarat has engaged the forces of Islamist activism to a degree never before seen in modern-day Iraq.

Although the exagerated threat of this Jordanian was intended to be a kind of red herring, the plan may have backfired...

Having created this giant the Mukhabarat may not be able to control it. The real danger in Iraq is not the inevitable defeat of the United States and the interim government of Iyad Allawi, but the fact that the longer it takes for the United States to realise that victory cannot be achieved, the more emboldened the Islamists become.

Right now, the Mukhabarat controllers of the al-Zarqawi network think themselves clever as they watch the US military play into their hands through the destruction of Falluja, and the futile search for a phantom menace.

But the tragedy that is the war in Iraq is far from over, and it may very well be that it is al-Zarqawi and his followers, and not the Baathist Mukhabarat, who will have the last laugh. And, as always, it will be the people of Iraq who will pay the price.

Now here is what I find interesting.
I have been reading the now-discredited blog of Najma in Mosul for some time. In November she was responding to a string of comments in an effort to clarify (for herself, if not for anyone else) what was happening around her. Buried in that post was the following...

[a reader commented:]Second, you stated that the two groups, jihadis and the Saddam supporter joined together in Fallujah to form two groups. Which group does Zarqawi(sp) belong?? Is he a jihadi or a Saddam supporter?? Since he is a foreigner I suggest that he is not a Saddam support.

[Najma replies] God!! I asked dad to read my replies before posting them, and gave him a paper to write his corrections on. His fond is unreadable!! Doctors' fonts always are unreadable!!

I didn't know of Al-Zarkawi, didn't even think that such person exists!! Dad suggests that he's just an imaginary person made by the Americans to make the resistance look worse! At least that's what I understood of what he wrote!! Believe me, faking someone exists is so easy nowadays, especially with the technology we have!

If he does exist, then he doesn't belong to either of them.. He beheaded people, he wants division between the Iraqis, if he isn't an Iraqi (Supporter of Saddam) then he's obviously a sobateurs!! The forth group!

Here are two sources that I cannot imagine have anything to do with one another who both advance the same idea, that al-Zaqarwi, even if (or although) he is a real person, may be more imaginary than real. In any case, the image that we have been presented is, at the lease, very different from what these two sources present. Since we have photos and details, I don't think he is imaginary. But he may not be all he's cracked up to be.

Somebody's wrong.

In the wake of today's silence about yesterday's leak, I find the whole picture to be puzzling, to say the least. Something stinks.

I hate to think that some exciting news story is being intentionally held back or adjusted until the tsunami disaster headlines are not so high profile. Nah. Surely not. I'm just being cynical again.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Months ago, I read speculation on an Iraqi blog that Zarqawi might not be real....that he might be made up.
I suppose they could have created a persona for an ordinary person or run-of-the-mill insurgent.