Thursday, October 21, 2004
Can Iraq become a strategic defeat for al Qaeda?
Yes, according to James Dunnigan
Al Qaeda's man in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, has become the most hated man in Iraq. Just as in Afghanistan, where al Qaeda was founded, and any other country they have operated in (like Saudi Arabia), the terrorist organization eventually becomes widely hated. The suicide bombs make great propaganda, but the locals don't like getting blown to pieces as a side effect. Even the anti-government forces have turned on al Qaeda, and especially al Zarqawi, because they resent the Jordanian terrorist leaders grabbing all the headlines. Media exposure is the the major currency in this war, and al Zarqawi is seen as selfish and greedy when it comes to sharing the limelight. So the consensus among Iraqis, both pro and anti-government, is that al Zarqawi must die. Meanwhile, al Zarqawi fancies himself the "new bin Laden," because while al Zarqawi leads the bloody and fruitless battle against the forces of peace and democracy in Iraq, Osama bin Laden cowers in a cave somewhere along the Afghan border. Al Zarqawi might try to flee Iraq, to save his life, and enjoy his new stature. But where can he go? Not Iran, mainly because al Zarqawi has preached civil war between Sunnis and Shias as a way for al Qaeda to gain power in Iraq. This does not go down well in Shia Iran. Perhaps Syria? Maybe, but Syria's in enough trouble as it is, and does not want to openly join the Axis of Evil. So where could al Zarqawi go. There are few options, although one of the many caves along the Afghan border might be his best bet.