Zarqawi: he explained it all
Yesterday Andrew Sullivan opined that “a lot of what you need to know about Islamist terror was revealed today as suicide bombers killed scores in Shiite shrines. They do not represent Islam; they do not represent Iraqis; they represent nihilist murder and aspirations to totalitarianism.” Unfortunately, they represent much more than nihilism and totalitarianism: they stand for a jihadist ideology that is global in extent “” and that makes supremely effective use of Islamic theology, history, and law in order to gain recruits.
And part of the traditional sentiments that jihadists exploit among Sunnis is hatred of Shi’ites as heretics. This was underscored by Al-Qaeda’s Zarqawi in his famous letter. From the Telegraph, :
The crowds in Karbala wanted to blame everyone except the people most likely to be responsible for yesterday’s devastating attacks.
For some, it was the Americans who had stayed out of the Karbala area to avoid inflaming local sensitivities who were the likeliest culprits. More originally, one man claimed to have seen an Israeli jet flying over.
No one seemed willing to draw the obvious conclusion: that the bombers were in all probability fellow Arabs and fellow Muslims, though not of the Shi’ite tradition whose holy ceremony of Ashura they defiled with innocent blood.
The attacks in Karbala and Baghdad fit perfectly the declared aim of Iraq’s most wanted terrorist. In a letter found on a CD-rom seized in a raid in Baghdad in January, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi spelled out his mission in the clearest possible terms.
Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who joined up with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and is believed to be closely linked to al-Qa’eda, is open in his hatred of Shias who he describes as “the most evil of mankind”. He tells his followers: “They are the enemy. Beware of them. Fight them.”
Through “martyrdom operations and car bombs” he hopes to provoke the Shias into a civil war with their Sunni neighbours which, despite their superior numbers, they are bound to lose.
In the 10-page document, now widely accepted as genuine, he even sets a date for the climax of the campaign. “Zero hour will [come] four months or so before the promised government is formed,” he wrote. The United States is due to hand over power to an Iraqi interim government at the end of June – in four months’ time.