Friday, March 05, 2004


A letter signed by 12 insurgent groups claims Zarqawi has been dead a while, and thus not behind Tuesday's attacks.
A Jordanian extremist suspected of planning suicide attacks in Iraq was killed some time ago in U.S. bombings and a letter outlining plans for fomenting sectarian war is a forgery, a leaflet signed by a dozen reputed insurgent groups said. A senior U.S. official denied the contention.

Abu Musab Zarqawi was killed in the Sulaimaniyah mountains of northern Iraq "during the American bombing there," according to the eight-page leaflet circulated this week in Fallujah, a city 30 miles west of Baghdad that is a hotbed of anti-U.S. insurgency activity.

The leaflet appeared aimed at countering assertions by U.S. civilian and military officials that foreign fighters, especially Zarqawi's al Qaeda-linked group, Ansar al-Islam, are responsible for the recent spurt in attacks in Iraq.

U.S. officials said a series of suicide bombings during a Shi'ite religious procession Tuesday that killed almost 200 Iraqis were carried out by foreign fighters, but some Iraqi Shi'ites blame rival Sunnis.
Let's consider a few things. First, the likelihood of 12 separate organizations agreeing on anything. If they all agree on this strategy, why the heck are they 12 different groups. What is this, the Gangs of New York?

My theory, based on nothing more than my own sense of what is probable, is that someone has taken liberties with the "signatures" of the better part of those 12 groups...if all 12 even exist at all.

This they've done, in my mind, in order to create the illusion of some Arab solidarity behind this story. Frankly, after watching these guys closely for the better part of a year it is that very illusion of Arab solidarity that casts suspicion over this entire enterprise.

Now lets consider the claim that Zarqawi is dead. Two days after bombings in Karbala and Baghdad that look a whole lot like his work - that is when these groups release their letter indicating he is dead and has been dead a while.

Let us not forget that we are dealing in the land of the martyrs here, folks. You can't swing a cat in this part of the world without hitting someone who is convinced their death on behalf of some cause would cause them to be revered and their name forever on the lips of the arab world.

So, we are to believe then that the celebrated bomb-maker to the stars, Zarqawi, was killed some time ago and these guys didn't have a parade with hundreds carrying his photo for the cameras? Unlikely. Certainly these geniuses would attempt to exploit such a death as a renewed call for "jihad" and for new recruits.

Now to the point of the Zarqawi letter being a forgery. Since my premise rejects a dozen cooperating groups and supposes Zarqawi to be alive, then I certainly don't buy that. And, given that the letter was intercepted in January...why the sudden urgency nearly six weeks later to declare it a fraud?

Trying to adhere to the tenets of Occam's is my best:

A. The letter said their strategy was to set sect upon sect.

B. This week's bombings were aimed at Shi'a during their holiest holiday at their holiest city, plus Baghdad (Baghdad is added because it is pretty much the center of gravity for any large movement in Iraq.) Aimed at one sect, we may infer the intent was to draw a reaction from that sect against its enemies.

C. That reaction has not happened. In fact, Sunni and Shi'a leaders have stood together. I believe we can also hazard a guess that this reaction to such a large scale bombing was never anticipated by the perpetrators.

D. The surprise reaction to the bombings by the two sects leaves only two targets for the anger. The bombers, or the coalition (read, America). There has been some of the latter, but apparantly the Iraqi people in general are too wise for that. So the backlash is going to go to those behind the bombings.

E. Therefore, those behind the bombings must make it appear they were not behind the bombings. How do you do that? You "kill off" a month and a half ago the prime suspect who we know is capable of pulling these off. Then you swear on your sister's honor that the letter (and by implication the strategy it contains) now that it has been played and found only to piss people off, is entirely a forgery.

All in all, it appears to have about a 7th grade level of sophistication to it.

As always, when I conjecture like this, I'll have no problem admitting to being wrong if so proven.

No comments: