India Uncut

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Friday, June 09, 2006

The Emir of Sham

Rummy says that the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a "stunning shock to the al Qaeda system." Yeah, like he'd know. A marvellous profile of Zarqavi in the Atlantic by Mary Anne Weaver reveals that he was hardly part of the al Qaeda system to begin with, and didn't quite get on with Osama bin Laden. And also that his importance in the resurgence in the Iraq might be a self-fulfilling prophecy by the Americans.

As you'd expect from the Atlantic, it's an outstanding feature, do read. I was especially struck by a part when Weaver quotes a Jordanian intelligence officer on the difference between Zarqavi and bin Laden:
Zarqawi had the ambition to become what he has, but whatever happens, even if he becomes the most popular figure in Iraq, he can never go against the symbolism that bin Laden represents. If Zarqawi is captured or killed tomorrow, the Iraqi insurgency will go on. There is no such thing as ‘Zarqawism.’ What Zarqawi is will die with him. Bin Laden, on the other hand, is an ideological thinker. He created the concept of al-Qaeda and all of its offshoots. He feels he’s achieved his goal.

Osama bin Laden is like Karl Marx. Both created an ideology. Marxism still flourished well after Marx’s death. And whether bin Laden is killed, or simply dies of natural causes, al-Qaedaism will survive him.
That's a truly scary thought, because Marxism killed millions of people decades after Marx was dead. How much damage will al-Qaedaism end up doing?

(Atlantic link via email from Kind Friend.)
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