Zarqawi’s Legacy Part II of II

The Bolshevik Leon Trotsky advanced the idea of “permanent revolution” to explain the heterodox situation of the Russian Revolution, which, according to classical Marxist theory, had developed prematurely.  Part of the theory ran thus:  because   the  class in whose name the revolution was being conducted was inadequately powerful to maintain it, the revolution must occur simultaneously across national borders, in lands where the “revolutionary” class was powerful enough to sustain both its own insurrection, and that of the “weak” nation.


In his posthumous statement called the “safe-house document”, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his colleagues outlined an Islamo-fascist analogue.  (We will take the liberty of attributing this document to Zarkawi, though others of like mind may have been involved in its authorship.)

The document in question was retrieved from the safehouse where he was killed by a coalition airstrike, June 7, 2006. In it, Zarqawi outlines the reasons why Al Qaeda is losing its battle for Iraq.  He then advances a possible strategy to retrieve the situation by broadening the terrorist assault on the West, both directly and through surrogates.

The Terrorist Crisis
Zarqawi’s analysis of the low estate of the Islamo-fascist insurrection in Iraq could have been pilfered from the Daily Dispatch, so closely does his analysis track ours.  Only on the question of the desirability of Islamo-fascism do he and we differ significantly!
At the core of this analysis are the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The quantitative and qualitative proliferation of army and police units manned by Iraqi citizens blurred al-Qaeda’s appeal as a vehicle for anti-occupation nationalists.  Zarqawi writes:

The forces of the [Iraqi] National Guard have succeeded in forming an enormous shield protecting the American forces, and have reduced substantially the losses that were solely suffered by the American forces.

In addition, Zarqawi complains, these forces now ”understake military operations against the resistance on their own.” The result has been a massive increase in “arrest operations” against insurgents, and a substantial invasion of “regions that have an impact on the resistance.” 

Or, as American generals put it, the coalition could now “clear, occupy, and hold” territory friendly to the insurgency.

This caused the resistance (in Zarqawi’s words) “to lose many of its elements.”

Since the terrorists could no longer confront the foreign occupier without fighting an indigenous force, their “moral options” (Z’s words) were “limited.”  This is a nice way of saying that bombing Iraqis was now a way of life for Zarqawi and company.  At this point, “popular” insurgency was out of the question.  One had to pick targets.  And to a Sunni Islamist, there could be no Iraqi target but the hated Shi’a. Zarqawi wrote:

The … Shi’a – the leadership and the masses – support the occupation, working to defeat the resistance, and informing on its elements.

A revolution centered on a minority bears the wrath of the majority.  The media, Zarqawi observes, has become the enemy of the insurgency:

A media campaign against the resistance [results] in weakening its influence inside the country, and presenting its work as harmful to the population rather than being beneficial to the population.

Zarqawi certainly isn’t referring to Al-Jazeera TV, or other organs of the mainstream Arab press. These continue to treat Iraqi Democrats as scum, and terrorists – or at least Sunni terrorists — as patriots.  Rather, Zarqawi refers to the free Iraqi press, which portrays al Qaeda partisans as a bloodthirsty, criminal fanatics – rather like we do.


The establishment of a democratic Iraqi government, with indigenous forces to defend it, splintered the insurgency, as DD has repeatedly explained.  The secular Baathist recividists viewed continued violence as a negotiating tool — for amnesty, for constitutional change, for power-sharing in the new government. 

Al Qaeda had no interest in negotiating.  It is committed to the destruction of Iraqi democracy.  In Zarqawi’s words, the advance of time now favors the Americans:

…creating a big division among the ranks of the resistance, and jeopardizing its attack operations, [weakening the] internal support of its elements, thus resulting in a decline of the resistance’s assaults.

The solution: Universal war
Iraq’s Sunni Islamists are both too few, and insufficiently dedicated, to wage the kind of insurrection that Zarqawi desired.  His solution: turn all of True Islam’s enemies against one another, both inside and outside Iraq.  This will force them to support al Qaeda in the best instance, and weaken their effective opposition to it in every instance.

Before outlining Zarqawi’s stratagems, we feel obliged to offer this disclaimer:  The fact that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi regards a particular course of action as detrimental to the United States does not necessarily make it so.  Al Qaeda operatives are not competent analysts of the security needs of regimes they seek to destroy.

Here is Zarqawi’s “solution” to al Qaeda’s dilemma:

In general, and despite the current bleak situation, we think that the best suggestions in order to get out of this crisis is to entangle the American forces into another war against either another country, or with another of our enemy forces….specifically, the Sistani Shi’s, since most of the support that the Americans are getting is from the Sistani Shi’a.  To embroil America in another war against another enemy is the answer that we find to be the most appropriate.

Zarqawi examines the following possibilities:

  • Excite war between the Iraqi Shi’ites and the Iraqi secular parties, forcing the U.S. to take sides.
  • Excite a war among the different branches of Iraqi liberalism, forcing the U.S. to take sides.
  • Excite a war between the Shi’ites and the Kurds.
  • Excite a war between the major Shi’ite militias, that of SCIRI and Sadr Brigades.

But the best possibility of all, says Zarqawi, is a war between the United States and Iran, No matter who loses – the hated Crusaders or the Shi’ite heretics – true Islam wins.  And in the process, Iran will arm al Qaeda, despite their mutual antipathy, while Iraqi Shi’ites will turn against their American protectors, despite their current dependence.

This transnational war will enable al Qaeda to acquire new weapons and new money. With these, Zarqawi can suppress the local pro-democracy press, which he blames for al-Qaeda’s poor image in Iraq.  And the mujahadin can reclaim the “safe” territories they have lost to the coalition.

To this end, the “safe-house” writers propose a thorough campaign of dissimulation and disinformation to tempt America to attack Iran:

  • stage bombings in Iran’s name
  • stage kidnappings in Iran’s name
  • release phony intercepts announcing Iran’s aggressive intentions toward America.

Zarqawi concludes:

We can convince America and the west in general of the real danger coming from Iran…by disseminating bogus messages and confessions showing that Iran is in possession of weapons of mass destruction, or that there are attempts by Iranian intelligence to undertake terrorist operations in America.

Of course, when what you fear is real, your fear is not paranoia….

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