Friday, March 05, 2004

ZARQAWI REVISITED: Amid great fanfare, the CPA in Iraq released a letter ostensibly found on a CD-ROM allegedly sent by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi to his betters in Al Qaeda. Assuming it is legitimate, the document provides a unique window on the thinking of an adversary that has otherwise been opaque. But how do we know the text is genuine? My level of trust in the authorities is just above the threshold which means I will take Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt and his colleagues at their word. But let’s look at the content of the letter. Consider the very end of the letter:

You, gracious brothers, are the leaders, guides, and symbolic figures of jihad and battle. We do not see ourselves as fit to challenge you, and we have never striven to achieve glory for ourselves. All that we hope is that we will be the spearhead, the enabling vanguard, and the bridge on which the [Islamic] nation crosses over to the victory that is promised and the tomorrow to which we aspire. This is our vision, and we have explained it. This is our path, and we have made it clear. If you agree with us on it, if you adopt it as a program and road, and if you are convinced of the idea of fighting the sects of apostasy, we will be your readied soldiers, working under your banner, complying with your orders, and indeed swearing fealty to you publicly and in the news media, vexing the infidels and gladdening those who preach the oneness of God. On that day, the believers will rejoice in God’s victory. If things appear otherwise to you, we are brothers, and the disagreement will not spoil [our] friendship. [This is} a cause [in which] we are cooperating for the good and supporting jihad. Awaiting your response, may God preserve you as keys to good and reserves for Islam and its people. Amen, amen.
Bear in mind that Zarqawi is regarded as the key link between Saddam Hussein's ousted regime and al-Qaeda. Doesn’t this passage sound as if Zarqawi is seeking help rather than seeking approval? It seems to me that Knight Ridder’s characterization of Zarqawi as an “independent operator” is apt.

Also allow me to launch a pre-emptive streak at those who find a solid Zarqawi – al-Qaeda link: what’s the connection between Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein?

UPDATE: I think Dan Darling has pretty much demonstratedthe Zarqawi – al-Qaeda link. The second question remains and the passage I quoted, as well as the rest of the letter, remains unique and intriguing.


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