October 22, 2005

Zarqawi's Golden Parachute

Hatched by Dafydd

Am I the only one who thinks like this? I hope not....

AP is carrying an item titled U.S.: Zarqawi's Terror Network Growing. The first thing that pops into the reader's head, of course, is that US officials are claiming that there are now more terrorists, that we're losing the war (I'm certain that was just the idea they intended to convey). The article claims no such thing, however, only that Musab Zarqawi is expanding his influence and contacts into other terrorist groups in other countries.

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. intelligence officials say Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has expanded his terrorism campaign in Iraq to extremists in two dozen terror groups scattered across almost 40 countries, creating a network that rivals Osama bin Laden's....

In figures not made public before, counterterrorism officials say that Zarqawi's network of contacts has grown dramatically since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and now includes associates in nearly 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Those Muslim extremists are members of at least 24 groups, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to much smaller organizations in Indonesia.

Since this is the Associated Press, there is the obligatory swipe at President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld, albeit subtlely:

He also is helped, said one U.S. intelligence official, by the fact that there is not a large, constant American military presence in Anbar, but rather pockets of forces that are bolstered during operations. Iraq's largely Shiite security forces do not want to go to the Sunni-dominated area, either.

Translation: an anonymous "intelligence official" says We're losing! We're history, man! Bush should have sent in a million soldiers, like we have argued all along -- except for the time we were arguing he shouldn't have gone in at all!

Naturally, those interviewed in the article, when they express an opinion at all, opine that this means his strength is growing.

In interviews, U.S. government officials said the threat to U.S. interests from al-Zarqawi compared with that from bin Laden, whom al-Zarqawi pledged his loyalty to one year ago....

Al-Zarqawi is now seen as the top general who is putting in place al-Qaida's long campaign to establish an Islamic society throughout the Middle East, with Iraq at its heart....

The persistence of their attacks and subsequent media exposure have made al-Zarqawi the public face of al-Qaida and the broader insurgency. He has become so central to al-Qaida's operations that some evidence suggests he is providing money to bin Laden.

But I have own theory, probably idiosyncratic: I think Zarqawi is setting up bolt holes, international affiliations to whom he can flee when he inevitably has to bug out of Iraq... just as Osama bin Laden and his cronies fled to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan when they were booted from Sudan. I suspect that Zarwawi, a streetwise thug who has murdered his way to being capo di tutti capos of the biggest mob in the Arab Middle East, sees the noose tightening around his neck, and he is preparing to escape to some other country... probably simply abandoning all his followers in Iraq except for his closest cadre.

But then, I always was an optimist. We shall soon see.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 22, 2005, at the time of 1:13 PM

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Tracked on October 24, 2005 2:40 PM


The following hissed in response by: Towering Barbarian

Well, it always was a pulp magazine tradition that a boss villain upon losing would flee to a new boss villain for sanctuary and crop up as that new villain's advisor or flunky. No real reason life shouldn't imitate literature! ^_~

That said, the fact that terrorists have been networking with one another is something that was old news since the 1970s. I seem to recall for example that IRA goons helped train goons for the PLO and some Latin American groups. Given that we've shown we intend to wipe that network out of existence it makes sense that the smart ones would bail and that the dumber ones should follow herd behavior and begin to huddle together more closely.

The above hissed in response by: Towering Barbarian [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2005 7:27 PM

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