ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI
“He became like Al Capone or
public enemy number one” – Ali Al Allawi
No one embraced the apocalyptic vision of a Sunni-Shia war, more than the man used to
justify American aggression - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
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WHO WAS ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI?
In the early 2000s, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi set up extremist group
Tawhid wa al-Jihad.
Zarqawi then formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in October 2004, which opposed Western involvement in the region and supported Sharia law. However, its brutality soon isolated
it from many Iraqis and al-Qaeda leaders.
Prior to 2003, contrary to American claims, the Jordanian Zarqawi had no formal alignment
with al-Qaeda or its leadership. A year later, with coalition troops in control of Iraq, the once
lone-wolf jihadist had become the figurehead of the Sunni insurgency.
He was trying to portray himself as a Rambo of the Muslim world… Zarqawi revolutionised the ideology of al-Qaeda. See, al-Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri was built on anti-Americanism. Now, Zarqawi in Iraq after 2003 started to introduce the sectarian element of it, which is anti-Shia. And once the sectarian war erupted, then you get a failed, dysfunctional state, and this is the best environment the Jihadist work.” – MOWAFFAK AL RUBAIE
A year after claiming Iraq had ties to al-Qaeda, the US' falsehood became
a self-fulfilling prophecy with Zarqawi centre-stage.
"A man named Zarqawi is responsible for planting car bombs and beheading Americans. He swore his allegiance to Osama bin Laden. Our troops will defeat Zarqawi and his likes overseas in Iraq so we do not have to face them here at home.” -
GEORGE W BUSH
The US president’s rallying words that Zarqawi would be defeated, failed to stop the beheading of US contractor Nick Berg. None of the masked men involved in the killing could be identified. But the video of Berg’s final moments placed Zarqawi as main executioner.
The standard-issue orange jumpsuit, and the staged spectacle of brutality, would now become familiar markers of a new phase in terror, focused around one figure.
Zarqawi was successful in triggering a sectarian war by bombing two shrines in Samarra.
The bombings generated a counterterror led by a large number of groups affiliated or associated with the Shia militias.
By April of 2006, al-Qaeda in Iraq was fighting both an insurgency and
a sectarian war leaving the country awash with blood.
PRIME MINISTER NOURI AL-MALIKI ELECTED
“There are bad options and there are worse options” - ALI KHEDERY
On May 20, 2006, President Bush’s dreams of bringing democracy to Iraq came true. Nouri al-Maliki became Iraq’s first democratically elected prime minister.
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WHO IS NOURI AL-MALIKI?
Nouri al-Maliki succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government. Maliki began his political career as a Shia dissident under Saddam Hussein's regime in the late 1970s.
After fleeing a death sentence, Maliki rose through the ranks of the banished Islamic Dawa Party during a 24-year exile. During his time abroad, he became a senior leader of the Dawa Party, which was involved in covert operations to try to bring about the overthrow of the Baath regime and Saddam Hussein’s rule.
Nouri al-Maliki had come to power echoing George W Bush’s warning to
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – the new government was ready to meet the challenge of
defeating the Sunni insurgents.
A month after Iraq’s first democratic elections, Zarqawi was killed in a US air strike.
Stepping up to fill the void at the top of al-Qaeda in Iraq was one of its founders - Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
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WHO WAS ABU AL-MASRI?
Abu al-Masri was an active combatant of al-Qaeda and a senior aide to former leader
of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
By October 2006, the group had merged with other Sunni insurgents. Masri announced the formation of a new entity – the Islamic State of Iraq.
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