Information Operations

'Information operations' are a sphere of emerging military doctrine designed to influence populations, including the domestic populations who elect the leadership of the military organizations generating the information operations.

Evidence of a targeted relationship between the Rumsfeld Pentagon and the brains of the American public was revealed by the Washington Post. Because of its critical significance to the operation of America's democracy, the article is reposted here in full.

AL-JAZEERA TV INVESTIGATES IRAQI MILITANT AL-ZARQAWI'S AL-QA'IDAH LINKS

Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
All Rights Reserved
Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
Copyright 2004 BBC Monitoring/BBC
BBC Monitoring International Reports
July 2, 2004
ACC-NO: A20040703109-8885-GNW

LENGTH: 7587 words

HEADLINE: AL-JAZEERA TV INVESTIGATES IRAQI MILITANT AL-ZARQAWI'S AL-QA'IDAH LINKS

BODY:

Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, Jordanian militant blamed by the US for many of the violent incidents in Iraq, has been the subject of a special broadcast by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV. The programme investigated the influences which led to Al-Zarqawi becoming associated with militant groups in Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many of the people closest to Al-Zarqawi were quoted concerning their opinions and stories about him and the programme viewed claims that Al-Zarqawi represented the supposed link between the former Iraqi government and Al-Qa'idah. The following is the text of the "Under the microscope" special programme on the life of Ahmad Fadil Nazzal al-Khalayilah, better known as Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, produced and presented by Yasir Abu-Hilalah, broadcast by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 1 July; subheadings inserted editorially:

"Our dead go to paradise but their dead go to hell"

(Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, in an old recording) From God's humble servant Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi to my dear nation. Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind. (Koranic verses) We are, praise be to God, invading them just as they are invading us and we are attacking them just as they are attacking us and we are hurting them just as they are hurting us, but we are not the same. This is because our dead go to paradise but their dead go to hell.

(US President George Bush, in English) Al-Zarqawi is the best evidence of a connection to Al-Qa'idah affiliates and Al-Qa'idah.

(Iraqi Prime Minister Ayyad Allawi) The influx of criminals such as the so-called Al-Zarqawi across the border into Iraq to harm us will be stopped, God willing.

(Abu-Hilalah) Ahmad Fadil Nazzal al-Khalayilah, alias Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, was one of the Arab Afghans who left their countries looking for a place of battle. No-one thought that this young man who had not turned 30 years old would after nearly a decade make headlines around the world and preoccupy people with news of him. In fact, the US Time Magazine regard him as one of the 100 most influential figures in the world. There was not to much be happy about in the world of the fighters, but on this occasion, of which we have obtained a video recording, Al-Zarqawi was happy with the wedding of his sister whom he wanted to be beside him on what he used to regard as a journey to the jihad.

"Strangers in their countries"

The city of Peshawar close to the Afghan border was the first stop for the Mujahidin and the shelter for their families afterward. He (Al-Zarqawi) at first used the alias Abu-Muhammad al-Gharib, which reflected his personality at the time as well as explaining a phenomenon that would have an impact later on. They were young men who felt at a loss and as strangers in their countries and set out on their travels seeking the land of their dreams whose basic foundations would be battle and fighting. Despite the numerous organizations and their diversity in terms of extremism and moderation, Al-Zarqawi was not known to have joined any of them. Mujahidin from various trends and origins and nationalities took part in this wedding. He was not a prominent leader and he did not attract attention, if he were absent he would not be missed and if he appeared he would not be recognized.

But on this occasion, the situation is different. This is because he is receiving congratulations from guests on the wedding of his sister whom he married to a journalist who lost his leg while covering the battles of the Mujahidin.

(Salih al-Hami, former correspondent for Al-Jihad Magazine and Al-Zarqawi's brother-in-law): I got to know him while I was wounded. He saw me when I was wounded and covered in blood. I had not known him before that. When I recovered, he came and introduced himself to me saying I work with the Al-Bunyan al-Marsus Magazine, as a correspondent of course. He wanted me to teach him something about the techniques of correspondence and editing and so on. I taught him and our relationship started afterwards. Then he came to me and offered to marry his sister to me. Actually, I admired his noble character and courage. He reminded me of the noble characters of the prophet's companions, may God be pleased with them, when one of them would offer his sister or daughter to another companion as a wife. She learned that I was wounded (handicapped) and she said that God honoured the handicapped or Mujahidin.

Early Al-Qa'idah contacts

(Abu-Hilalah) Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi was not known to have engaged in political or intellectual discussions. He took part in the capture of the city of Khost and witnessed the entry of the Mujahidin into Kabul. He devoted himself to fighting in the hottest fronts, specifically with Jalal al-Din Haqqani and Hekmatyar, the two Afghan leaders who are today on the US wanted lists along with Al-Zarqawi. His fighting on the Afghan fronts was closer to the line of Abdallah Azzam who was known as the Shaykh of the Arab Mujahidin. Abdallah Azzam did not favour the independence of the Arab Mujahidin in their own fronts in contrast with Al-Qa'idah leader Usamah Bin-Ladin who sought to gather the Arab Mujahidin into a single front and within a single organization, which later crystallized into the Al-Qa'idah Organization. It seems that Al-Zarqawi at the time stayed away from that organization, especially since the organizational or even intellectual features had not yet become clear.

(Al-Hami) He was greatly influenced by the martyr Shaykh Abdallah Azzam and he used to read a great deal of his writings and listen to him a great deal and he used to also reiterate his sayings on many occasions. He used to insist on the slogans of the old Mujahidin such as Al-Izz Bin-Abd-(indistinct word), Abdallah Bin-al-Mubarak and also Shaykh Abdallah Azzam. I think that he follows the same trend until this moment. He used to embrace Salafi thought but he did not belong to a Salafi group. I think that he used to view Usamah Bin-Ladin as a Mujahid and I think that he also used to embrace Shaykh Abdallah Azzam's saying that Usamah Bin-Ladin was the man of the nation. Shaykh Abdallah Azzam used to repeatedly say that Usamah Bin-Ladin was the man of the nation. He used to respect him but according to my inside and definite information, he did not belong to Al-Qa'idah during that period.

"Al-Zarqawi was searching for himself"

(Abu-Hilalah) However, the communities of the Arab Afghans contributed to the formation of his character, exactly as the battlefields had done, especially with the spread of the trends that advocate fighting as the only way to change the societies they had abandoned. These ideas found their way into the heart of the young man and he became influenced by these ideas before realizing their substance, particularly since he had not had any organizational or political experience before coming. Even at the academic level, he had not completed his secondary education. He used to regard Peshawar as the school where he could complete his education that had fumbled and the alternative country that would compensate for the country that he had abandoned.

Al-Zarqawi went to Peshawar for the first time when it was bustling with political and intellectual contradictions and jihad trends. The Russians had left Afghanistan and the Shaykh of the Mujahidin Abdallah Azzam had been killed in a bombing in this place and the Arab Afghans were roaming the streets of Peshawar like orphans. In the midst of this confusion, Al-Zarqawi was searching for himself. The Zayd Bin-Harithah Mosque was bustling with Arab worshippers and the imam of the mosque still remembers some images of Abu-Mus'ab.

(Imam of a mosque in Peshawar) Many Arab brothers used to come and pray alongside us, including also Abu-Mus'ab. I learned that this Abu-Mus'ab had come from Jordan for the purpose of jihad. He used to pray alongside us and he was a learned man. He even prayed alongside us in the evenings, especially during the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan along with the Arab brothers. I went on pilgrimage after Ramadan and before I went he said to me if you go on pilgrimage pray and say may God forgive Abu-Mus'ab.

Al-Zarqawi in Jordan

(Abu-Hilalah) He absorbed the Salafi jihad idea as well as gaining the fighting experience. This was what the result of his stay in Peshawar and on the fighting fronts. However, the hopes of the Arab Afghans were soon dashed and their enthusiasm evaporated following the internal fighting among the Mujahidin who had entered Kabul and expelled the Soviets from Afghanistan. He returned to Al-Zarqa once again, but with Afghanistan in his mind this time. Al-Zarqa is the large city in Jordan that includes the poor working class and encompasses all the components of the society in terms of Bedouins, peasants and refugees. He grew up in this district and belonged to the big place, Al-Zarqa and at the same time to the large Bani Hasan tribe.

(Sabri Rubayhat, Jordanian sociology professor and director of the North-South Studies Centre) In all cities and population centres, there are people who play the role of the bully boy. Additionally, the concept of good villains is known in Arab history. There are people who think they can achieve justice their own way. They also play roles that are bigger than their resources. The fact that he is named after the entire city, Al-Zarqawi, proves this. Al-Zarqa is a city with a population of around 800,000 people, but you rarely find a person named Al-Zarqawi. Certainly there were personal factors that interacted with social factors. Add to this the fact that this person had some degree of intelligence that enabled him to take advantage of the political, economic and social conditions in the region to provide justifications for his actions.

(Abu-Hilalah) He was brought up in Ma'sum Neighbourhood in Al-Zarqa, an area where the traditional, tribal values mix with the culture of rapid civilization. The land is for his Bedouin tribe, but is open to those who came as refugees and displaced people from Palestine, or those who came to earn a living from the far-away rural areas. This is the city of the poor.

The child is influenced by his environment and the cemetery opposite his house is the most prominent landmark in the neighbourhood. It certainly had some influence in shaping his character. Al-Zarqawi was brought up near a cemetery; that is, near death. However, when he became a youth, he went far away looking for another kind of death. He went to Afghanistan, although the Russians had already left.

"A good, sincere person who is close to God"

A certain development must have pushed him to turn to religion, although he was a bully boy in the neighbourhood, who is remote from religion. He became a frequent visitor to Al-Husayn Bin-Ali Mosque. This mosque was his bridge to Afghanistan. A number of young men, who frequented the mosque, went there before him. These young men gave him an example to help him get rid of his past. His acquaintances acknowledge the changes that he went through and affected his character.

(Shaykh Jarrah al-Qaddah, from the Jihadist Salafist trend) He was a man who was far from Islam. He was generous and chivalrous. Many deviant people have honour and chivalry. They became Muslims and retained their traits. The prophet says: I have come to complement the good manners. He had good manners and he complemented them, praised be God, with Islam. We think he is now a good, sincere person who is close to God.

"God showed him the right path to Islam"

(Unidentified man) He was one of those reckless, young men. He then became a quiet man and a good Muslim. He started to pray and show allegiance to God. We are all Muslims. God showed him the right path to Islam. He went back to his religion.

(Abu-Hilalah) After returning, he became busy preaching his new ideas in the various mosques in an effort to complete his Jihadist project, which came to an end when the Mujahidin fought over power in Kabul.

There was a closer enemy to the west of the River (Jordan). The Jews were closer than the communists where he had to cross thousands of miles to fight. He tried to carry out an operation across the river. The weapons were seized and he found his way for the first time to the State Security Court.

On trial in Jordan

He was convicted in a case known as Bay'at al-Imam (Allegiance to the Muslim Leader) although he and his comrades say that the case was fabricated. However, what was established in this case is the presence of weapons in addition to Jihadist Salafist ideology.

(A Jordanian military judge reading the sentence at the State Security Court in the case of Bay'at al-Imam) He is sentenced to 15 years at hard Labour.

(Abu-Hilalah) With him in this case was Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, one of the most prominent theoreticians of the Jihadist Salafist trend. The fame of Al-Maqdisi, whose real name is Isam Tahir al-Barqawi, grew when those who perpetrated Al-Ulayya bombing in Riyadh (November 1995) revealed that he had issued a fatwa sanctioning their operation. Later, Al-Maqdisi supported the bombings of Washington and New York with a religious fatwa.

In the court, it was evident that Al-Zarqawi was saturated with the ideology originating from Afghanistan. He refused to appoint lawyers. He refused to listen to the judges, who, according to his views, gave verdicts not according to the teachings of God. He defended himself by asking the judges to repent and to return to monotheism and jihad. He was sentenced to 15 years. He and the comrades of battle entered a new world. From the battle fields, he moved to the jail courts.

In prison, "emir of the Jihadist Salafist trend"

In prison, his character was shaped very precisely. He became the emir (leader) of the Jihadist Salafist trend. To his side was the theoretician Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi. He learned from Al-Maqdisi, but he beat him on the level of organization. His firmness and courage was a source of attraction for his followers. In prison, he completed memorizing the entire Koran by heart and built a network of relations both inside and outside the prison.

(Shaykh Jarrah al-Qaddah) I visited him in jail and when I got to know him, I liked him even more. He is well known for loving his brothers in God more than he loves his relatives. He is a crier (in Islamic tradition, those who cry a lot out of fear of God). He memorizes the Koran very well. He knows the Koran by heart. I was with him in Al-Zarqa one day, with him driving the car. In Al-Zarqa, the streets are normally so crowded that no-one would even think of crying in public. The Prophet Muhammad talked about those who remember God and start crying. You may cry when you are on your own, when you are lonely in the middle of the night, or when you are praying. But he was crying in the streets of Al-Zarqa, in the crowded streets of Al-Zarqa during the day. I was talking to him about fraternity in God and I mentioned one of our brothers in God. The next thing I know, I saw his tears pouring down. I swear to you that this is what happened.

He was the emir of the group in prison because he was firm and strong. Leadership requires strength, knowledge, firmness and decisiveness.

(Abu-Hilalah) The prominent opposition figure Layth Shubaylat was his companion in Suwaqah Prison. Yet, the person who was considered a radical opposition figure by the state was for Al-Zarqawi part of the infidel regime because he accepted the legislative councils, or the infidelity councils, according to the views of the Jihadist Salafist trend.

Jordanian Islamist: "He is really a man"

(Layth Shubaylat, a prominent Jordanian opposition figure and a former Islamic parliamentarian, who served time in jail in Jaysh Muhammad Case) He was a stubborn, firm man who believed in his principles. He is really a man. There were several cases of friction with the prison management, for example, when the prison management insisted on applying the code on prisoners' uniform, although it was known that the political prisoners should have a special case. There was a clash at one time and the security troops entered the prison and were about to storm our area - we were in the same area at that time. They labelled the police as infidels, they labelled us as infidels and they labelled everyone who cooperated with the regime as infidels. They do not believe in the reformist trend.

(Abu-Hilalah) Shubaylat, who left prison following a special pardon from Late King Husayn Bin-Talal, sought to secure the release of Al-Zarqawi and the other Jihadist groups.

(Begin Shubaylat recording, reference to a conversation between him and King Husayn following his release) I told him: Let me give them the good news. He said: Who do you mean? I said the prisoners or let me say the political prisoners or let me say the Islamists or let me say the Afghans? He was taken by surprise. I said, Sir, let me tell you that you and I are responsible for these people. He said: How? I said: For 50 years, you have been teaching them to stand against Zionism and you want them to change overnight? But I, the moderate Islamist, you failed me. You did not allow me or those who think like me to implement any part of my programme. So, Sir, you should expect people worse than me who will label you as an infidel. They will not only label you, but they will label you and me as infidels.

(Abu-Hilalah) His views were not shaken in jail.

(Sabri Rubayhat) The presence of an individual in jail may strengthen the views for which he went to jail in the first place. He may become a leader inside this establishment and he may gather followers and the environment will be appropriate to select recruits and followers to join him. Such recruits would be competent because they spend a lot of time living together inside this establishment. Very strong feelings and ties are established among them.

"Prison strengthened his belief"

(Abu-Hilalah) The letters which he used to send to his family from jail show that the prison strengthened his belief in the ideological line he adopted and has not shaken his beliefs or made him regret the combat experience that he accumulated.

He spent almost four years in jail and had many more years to go. The way out came from a place he did not expect. There was a general amnesty on the occasion of King Abdallah II's assumption of powers in the country following the death of King Husayn.

Some people outside the prison were waiting for him to leave prison and saw in him an example to be emulated.

(Salih al-Hami) He was not very happy when he left jail. It seems that the conditions in the jail were better than the conditions of the easy, nothing-to-do, routine life. I felt that he was bored. I felt that he was bitter. I felt the spirit of jihad inside him. He was dying to get out of this country.

(Abu-Hilalah) Although he returned to his comrades and to the mosques of Al-Zarqa, preaching and educating, instigating and mobilizing people, he, however, was planning to leave. It seems that he realized that Jordan was inappropriate as a base for a Jihadist organization.

Once again, he returned to his first love. Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi continued to have affection for Peshawar. He left prison to return to it once again. Close to it, in Afghanistan, the Mujahidin government collapsed and the Taleban government was established instead. In the shadow, there was a more important thing to consider; that is, Taleban's guest, Usamah Bin-Ladin.

Arrest in Pakistan

Al-Zarqawi returned to the same neighbourhood and the same mosque, seeking, as close associates confirm, to build a new organization to build on what was achieved in his first experience, taking advantage of certain new factors that played in his favour. The Taleban had spread its control over Afghanistan. Pakistan, with its religious schools and its traditional and other groups, became its backyard.

The most important element was Usamah Bin-Ladin, who saw in Afghanistan a base, not only for Al-Qa'idah Organization, which was more established by now in terms of ideology, experience and operations, but also for anyone who wanted to join his project, which could be likened to a multinational company. However, the men in this neighbourhood were different from the old men. Nothing had remained of the Peshawar which he knew before.

Al-Zarqawi did not stay long in Peshawar. He was arrested by the Pakistani authorities

(Imam of Peshawar mosque) He prayed the evening prayer with us. When he left, plain-clothed policemen arrested him.

(Abu-Hilalah) Was this really a case of violating residency law? Why was he not deported from Karachi?

(Salih al-Hami) He had a six-month residency permit, which expired and which they did not renew for him. There were several attempts against the Arabs, starting from the time of (former Pakistani Prime Minister) Benazir Bhutto, to expel the Arabs from that country. The Arabs were harmed a lot. Abu-Mus'ab was arrested in one of these campaigns. He was held in jail for about eight days. He was released for a day or two and they gave him a passport to allow him to leave the country. He left for Karachi and then, I think he went to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan

(Abu-Hilalah) Has he escaped from the Pakistani authorities with the tricks he knows, or was there someone who colluded with him? We were unable to answer such questions. The Pakistani authorities say that they do not have in their residency records the name of Ahmad Fadil Nazzal al-Khalayilah.

Despite that, he did not return to Jordan. Instead, he went back to his other country, Afghanistan, which became an open arena for Al-Qa'idah.

He had a private camp in Herat, near the Iranian borders. He enjoyed the Taleban's trust and Bin Ladin's support and began to build his new network, benefiting from the years of fighting and imprisonment.

In Afghanistan, he was travelling between Kabul, where his first wife was, and Herat, where his camp and his second wife were. He got married to the second wife in Herat. Her father was later killed in Iraq.

Ansar al-Islam

Meanwhile, there was a new generation that did not go through the first Afghan experience, but who were attached to it. A group of the Jihadist Salafist trend left Jordan at that time. Most of those came from the city of Al-Salt. The most prominent of those was Ra'id Khuraysat, who was later known by the Kurdish Ansar al-Islam group as Abu-Abd-al-Rahman al-Shami. Al-Shami and a number of his comrades from the same city were killed in clashes with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Jalal Talabani, America's strong ally before the war with Iraq and after the collapse of Saddam's regime.

Al-Zarqawi chose Herat near the Iranian borders for reasons which no-one can understand in full. Al-Shami chose to go to Iraqi Kurdistan, where Ansar al-Islam was controlling a small area near the Iranian border, seeking to repeat the Taleban's experience, but on a smaller scale.

(Ra'id Khuraysat, a Jordanian who was leading figure in Ansar al-Islam group, who was killed in Kurdistan) Turn your hearts to one thing only that made the Taleban achieve victory in Afghanistan, without having enough weapons or ammunition. Their will-power to establish the religion of God on earth and establish his laws and their hatred of unbelief and the infidels made them achieve victory. With few weapons or experience, they were able to achieve victory.

(Abu-Hilalah) It is difficult to ascertain why Al-Shami chose Kurdistan, which was outside the control of Saddam Husayn. However, in general, he remained close to his companion Al-Zarqawi, who was near Iran, from the side of Afghanistan.

(Abu-Abd-al-Rahman al-Shami) These hearts are not the hearts of the Mujahidin in Kurdistan, but the hearts of all Muslims on earth. They are tired and sore from the pains and the injustice they are subjected to day and night. There are mass crimes committed in Palestine, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Bosnia. The hearts are tired and nothing can heal these hearts except medicine from God; a medicine prescribed by the God of hearts. God Almighty said: Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands. (Koranic verse)

(Abu-Hilalah) Satellite dishes returned after the war in the areas under Ansar al-Islam's control. Residents continue to remember the positive and negative aspects of that stage.

(Unidentified man) They had with them Arabs from Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. We did not mix or speak with them, but if they bothered us, we used to have discussions with them. They used to force women to wear the head cover and hijab and the aba'ah (long gown) on top of the hijab.

(Unidentified man) During their time, there was security and stability. No-one violated anyone else's rights. If one of them had a case at the courts and was in the right and had witnesses, they delivered a fair ruling. There was no theft, but what was wrong about them was that they forced women to wear the head cover and the aba'ah when going to the fields to work. Such acts aggravated us because the Kurdish dress is a hijab in itself, so there was no need to force women to wear the aba'ah.

"Link between Ansar al-Islam and Arab Afghans"

(Unidentified man) This house that you see behind me was built by the Ansar. Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, representative to Usamah Bin-Ladin, used to live here. He was considered the link between Ansar al-Islam and Arab Afghans. They used to send them to this area. Their camp and training headquarters were here. They had equipment for maintaining and fixing weapons and arms.

(Abu-Hilalah) In his speech justifying the war on Iraq, US Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke about Al-Zarqawi and the camp where recruits were taught how to use poisonous substances.

(Colin Powell) What I want to draw your attention to today is a potentially more evil link between Iraq and the Al-Qa'idah terrorist network. It is a link that combines classic terrorist networks and modern methods of killing. Iraq currently harbours a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. He is one of Bin Ladin's followers and aides in Al-Qa'idah.

"Ansar al-Islam is an inseparable part of Al-Qa'idah"

(Abu-Hilalah) The Kurdish intelligence believes that Ansar al-Islam is part of Al-Qa'idah and that its choice of Kurdistan was calculated.

(Dana Ahmad Majid, Kurdish intelligence official) I believe that Ansar al-Islam is an inseparable part of Al-Qa'idah. Before 11 September, Al-Qa'idah planned to found another base to fall back on after the 11 September operations because they knew very well that they would be attacked in Afghanistan after 11 September and that they would have to turn to other areas. They called a group from the leadership of Ansar al-Islam, who were previously in Afghanistan and studied the issue and chose Biyara (word as heard) to be their second base should they have to leave Afghanistan.

Their choice was based on several issues. The first was the presence of a base for their network in that area. The second issue was that the area has rough terrain and is similar to the areas in Afghanistan where they trained. The third issue was their relations with the Iraqi regime. The fourth issue was that they sensed that the government of the Kurdistan region was weak and incapable of resisting and they would be able to spread and take control. The other issue was that it was close to Afghanistan and so they would be able to cross Iran by various means to reach that area.

(Abu-Hilalah) Signs of the Arab presence in Iraqi Kurdistan are still there, even after the US bombardment, which destroyed the strongholds of Ansar al-Islam at the start of the war on Iraq. Under the rubble, one can read what remains of the documents about security methods, ways of carrying out explosions and booby-trapping and information on chemical agents.

During his presence in Afghanistan, Al-Zarqawi's name was quietly being mentioned in Jordan again. He was a secondary suspect in the explosions in the new millennium, which the authorities attribute to Al-Qa'idah. His name was added to the case when main suspect Ra'id Hijazi stood trial again. The main suspects were sentenced to death, while Al-Zarqawi was sentenced in absentia to 15 years. The sentence was not the only thread linking him to Al-Qa'idah. After 11 September, other threads were revealed.

Treatment in Baghdad

Al-Zarqawi fought in Al-Qa'idah and Taleban battles. He was besieged with Al-Qa'idah leader in Tora Bora. He also participated in the battles of Shahr-e Kord (word as heard), the last of Al-Qa'idah battles. He escaped the US planes in Afghanistan when they poured their lava on Tora Bora. He was not one of the targets back then, but he escaped again when he was targeted in the early US raids on Iraq. The US bombardment destroyed Ansar al-Islam's camps in Iraqi Kurdistan. How could he not be targeted when he was one of the main pretexts used to justify the war?

Al-Zarqawi was wounded in Afghanistan. According to the US Administration, he was treated in Baghdad and his leg was amputated with the knowledge of Saddam's regime. But, this came in the course of preparations for the war on Iraq, one of the main justifications for which was the relation between Saddam's regime and Al-Qa'idah. After that, the bases for the war collapsed, especially with regard to weapons of mass destruction.

Cell-mate Layth Shubaylat, who failed in mediating with Saddam's regime for the return of some members of the Iraqi opposition, denies these links.

(Shubaylat) I met president Saddam twice to discuss a major issue; namely that the opposition - national opposition - should be allowed. The opposition is dealing with the Americans and the Jews. None of us accept this. But, the opposition is a legitimate right. A state cannot exist without opposition.

Two years later, when I saw him again, I told him: Mr President, your people have not taken any action with a group that is asking to cooperate with the regime to protect Iraq. They are Iraqis and are speaking on this basis.

So, I do not believe that the issue reached the extent of coordinating with Al-Qa'idah because we have even failed to coordinate anything with the opposition.

(Abu-Hilalah) Add to this that Al-Zarqawi does not hesitate to describe Al-Ba'th Party as infidels.

(Al-Zarqawi) They tried before to hide the truth of the battle and to distort the image of the pure banner of jihad. They deluded the world into believing that it is the remnants of the defunct regime and the elements of the infidel Ba'th that are waging the resistance operations so that the nation would not back the battle and hail the epic. But, these are only lies and fabrications. The heroism, sacrifice and resolution that you heard in dealing the enemies was, praised be God, the work of your sons, the knights of the nation.

(Abu-Hilalah) But the Kurdish intelligence services say that an Iraqi intelligence officer used to coordinate with Al-Zarqawi.

(Dana Ahmad Majid, Kurdish intelligence official) He entered Diyara through the Iraqi intelligence services. Abu-Wa'il, who was an officer in the Iraqi intelligence and who up to now works with Ansar al-Islam, was the liaison officer between the Iraqi intelligence services and the Ansar al-Islam cadres. He managed to reach Diyara through him. We have new and old information about this cooperation between the Iraqi intelligence services and Ansar al-Islam.

(John Abizaid, commander of the US Central Command, in English fading into Arabic translation) We have intelligence information that confirms the existence of some relationship between Al-Zarqawi and officials from the former regime, especially officials at the Iraqi intelligence service. We feel worried about the existence of coordination between a terrorist group and elements of the former Iraqi intelligence, for that coordination will help create opportunities for cooperation among the enemies in such a away that can threaten our forces.

"Threads that link them to Al-Zarqawi"

(Abu-Hilalah) During the war on Afghanistan, the Ansar al-Islam Organization was busy with the confrontation with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. According to a recording obtained by Al-Jazeera, they do not hesitate to describe their rivals as renegades. During those confrontations, Khuraysat and three of his townsmen were killed. Their relatives, who set martyr celebrations for them, believed that they had been killed in Afghanistan. The funeral of the four reveals threads that link them to Al-Zarqawi. In the funeral, Nidal Arabiyat appears. He was killed by the US troops in Al-Habbaniyah three years later. They said that he was an aide to Al-Zarqawi specialized in making booby-trapped cars. Arabiyat had left Jordan in the same year in which Al-Zarqawi left, shortly after becoming religious and embracing the Jihadist Salafist thought.

(Nidal Arabiyat's father) He studied until the first secondary grade. He then went to the (Jordanian) army for two years. After military service, he worked as a driver at a private company. He had a car accident. He was with his paternal and maternal cousins. They were driving from Amman to Al-Salt. They had an accident. Two of his cousins were killed. Two of his colleagues were wounded. One month later, the boy began to look different. He began to sit alone for long periods of time. He used to sit alone in his room. Afterward, he became committed to religion. He began to read a lot of books on jihad. He spent many hours reading such books. Of course, he spent his time either in the house or the mosque. He read and read. Afterward, he told me that he wanted to travel for minor pilgrimage (to Mecca). I said all right. But deep inside me, I felt something different. I heard then that many youths from Al-Salt went abroad for jihad. I heard about that. I knew then that his intention was not to go for a minor pilgrimage.

(Abu-Hilalah) Shaykh Jarrah was one of those who led the turnabout in his personality.

(Shaykh Jarrah al-Qaddah, from the Salafist Jihadist Trend) I talked to him. I wanted to use that accident to remind him of death, worship and of Islam. God be praised, he returned to Islam and in a few months, he went out for jihad for the cause of God in the late 1999.

(Abu-Hilalah) Nidal was not alone. He was preceded by others, whose relatives commemorated. He was followed by others. Shihadah al-Kilani, who is believed to have been killed in confrontations with the US troops in Mosul, is accused by the Jordanian authorities of being involved with Al-Zarqawi in the planning for targeting US interests in Jordan. That case was known as Ansar al-Islam case. Al-Kilani left the country in 1999 as well. Since then, his relatives knew nothing about him.

(Shihadah al-Kilani's brother) He then spoke to us. We asked him where he was. He said he was in the Gulf. Most of the families of those who were martyred said that their sons used to call them. However, Shihadah did not call us at all. We expected then that he was either martyred or jailed.

(Abu-Hilalah) Those who went out for jihad from Al-Salt, west of the Jordanian capital, were over 50. About 20 of them were killed. One of the most prominent of those who left Al-Salt was Mu'ammar al-Jaghbir, who is considered by the US authorities as an aide to Al-Zarqawi. They allocated 1m dollars as a reward for whoever provides information that leads to his arrest.

Killing of US diplomat

(Al-Qaddah) He went out when he knew about the martyrdom of the brothers -the brother Ra'id Khuraysat, we beseech God to accept him as a martyr, Lu'way al-Kayid, Mu'tasim and Mahmud Daradikah. When he learned about their martyrdom, he went out for jihad for the cause of God.

(Abu-Hilalah) There have been other blood links between Al-Zarqawi and Al-Qa'idah organization. The assassination of the US diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman took place shortly before the war on Iraq and after the war on Afghanistan. According to the files of the case, Al-Zarqawi planned and financed the operation during his stay in Iraq. According to the confessions of the accused, they received a phone call from Mu'ammar al-Jaghbir following their success in the operation. The papers of the case reveal part of the movements of Al-Zarqawi. After the war on Afghanistan, he left for Iran and from there to Iraq. He then left for Syria and then Jordan. He moved although he was on the top of the US lists. He was smuggled into the country (Jordan) although he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He met the accused. He also met his wife in the house of the main accused, the Libyan Sa'id Bin-Suwayyit, who came from Afghanistan to Jordan using a false Tunisian passport. Afterwards he left for Iraq.

Death sentence

(Jordanian military court judge) Concerning the seventh, Mu'ammar Ahmad Yusuf al-Jaghbir and the eighth criminal Ahmad Fadil Nazzal al-Khalaylah, both will be sentenced to death by hanging.

(Abu-Hilalah) Al-Zarqawi was sentenced to death along with a number of the accused. However, they deny in a letter their link to the killing of Foley. Yet, they praise Abu-Mus'ab and claim that they made the confessions under torture.

(Shubaylat) The question that needs an answer concerns the Libyan person. If the Libyan carried out an operation, then why did he stay in Jordan one and a half to two months after the operation? If he was from outside Jordan and committed a murder, then he should leave immediately. This cannot be believed. The operation did take place, but the question is whether those or other parties are involved. I do not believe that those persons were the perpetrators.

Planned chemical attack on US embassy

(Abu-Hilalah) No sooner had the verdict concerning the case of the assassination of Foley been issued than Al-Zarqawi's shadow appeared again. This time was through an operation that attempted to target the General Intelligence Department and the US embassy in Amman. The operation was foiled. In accordance with official Jordanian statements, the chemical materials that were to be used in the operation could have killed 80,000 people confessions of the main culprit, which were aired by the Jordanian Television, revealed new information about the activities of Al-Zarqawi in Afghanistan and Iraq.

(Azmi al-Jayyusi, key suspect in a reported plan to blow up the Jordanian Intelligence Department) In Herat, I began training for Abu-Mus'ab. The training included high-level explosives and poison courses. I then pledged allegiance to Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and agreed to work for him without any discussion. After the fall of Afghanistan, I met Al-Zarqawi once again in Iraq.

After returning from Afghanistan to Iraq, I met with Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. With him was Muwaffaq Adwan, a Jordanian national, who I knew in Afghanistan. In Iraq, Abu-Mus'ab told me to go to Jordan along with Muwaffaq Adwan to prepare for a military operation in Jordan. He arranged for smuggling me into Jordan. Upon arrival in Jordan, I met one of the individuals affiliated with Abu-Mus'ab. His name was Haytham Umar Ibrahim, a Syrian national, who had secured safe houses for us.

(Abu-Hilalah) In an audio recording, Al-Zarqawi acknowledged the foiled the operation, but he denied what he considered as exaggerations by the authorities.

"Signs of torture were evident on the brothers' face and hands"

(Al-Zarqawi) The tonnes that were manufactured were raw materials that are sold in markets as brother Azmi al-Jayyusi said, may God set him free. As for the chemical bomb and poisons, they were fabrications by the evil Jordanian agencies. This has been very clear, as the signs of torture were evident on the brothers' face and hands. Yes, the plan was to completely destroy the building of the General Intelligence. The operation was planned against the source of black evil in our country.

(Abu-Hilalah) Targeting the state's interests in this way is an unprecedented phenomenon in Jordan. This has perplexed observers.

(Sabri Rubayhat, director of the North and South Studies Centre) Most unfortunately, some people could sympathize with such phenomena and cases. This sympathy is not just because they support this action, but to express their unhappiness with what is taking place around them. In other words, when not everybody is involved in popular action, then they might sympathize with the parties with destructive inclinations within this society.

(Abu-Hilalah) Some link the Al-Zarqawi phenomenon with the US and Israeli practices.

(Yasir Za'atirah, an expert on Islamic groups) In my view, what is happening in the entire Arab world is a reaction to the US targeting of the Arab nation and support for the Zionist entity and its crimes against the Palestinians and now because of the occupation in Iraq. This phenomenon is likely to expand and continue if the US-Zionist arbitrariness against the nation and its interests and sanctities continues.

(Abu Hilalah) The Americans attribute to Al-Zarqawi many acts before and after the war. Among other things, they describe him as the leader of the Al-Qa'idah operations in Iraq and an expert of chemical and germ weapons. There is a US interest in the exaggeration of the phenomenon. This is what some observers believe.

(Za'atirah) Those acts were exaggerated by the United States to discredit the Iraqi resistance and describe it as being subservient to foreign parties. Of course, those parties are rejected by a large percentage of the Iraqi people. Therefore, blowing Al-Zarqawi out of proportion is partially a political battle as far as the Americans are concerned. Yet, this man exists. Definitely, the source of his power comes from his ability to use the cheap tools of violence, represented by car bombs and explosive belts. These only need men who believe in what they do. As for the tools, they are available anywhere, especially in a country like Iraq.

"We harvested their heads and tore up their bodies"

(Shubaylat) Based on my knowledge of him and of the whole trend and the level of their education, I find it impossible to believe what is being said about them. They are not at this level of organizational ability and scientific achievement. They might succeed in some technical and scientific specializations that might involve bombings and things like that. But I believe that his character is being blown out of proportion.

(Abu-Hilalah) In an audio recording, Al-Zarqawi brags about many of the acts attributed to them.

(Al-Zarqawi) God honoured us and so we harvested their heads and tore up their bodies in many places: The coalition forces in Karbala; the Italians in Al-Nasiriyah; the US intelligence in Al-Shahin Hotel; and last not but least what God has honoured us today with at the Polish forces in Al-Hillah.

(Abu-Hilalah) Before this audio recording, which has been confirmed as genuine by those who recognize the voice of the man, the Americans found a letter attributed to him. It was addressed to Al-Qa'idah leaders. In that letter, he called for a confrontation with the Shi'is.

(US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in English fading into English translation) It certainly lends some credence to what we said at the United Nations last year about Mus'ab al-Zarqawi being an active member of Al-Qa'idah and he continues to be so. He did actions that were supposed to be known by the Iraqi authorities then. We are looking forward to exposing those relations, taking into account the letter that reveals that.

(Abu-Hilalah) Some cast doubts about the US story, while acknowledging some principled stands on others.

Violence against Shi'is, beheading US hostage

(Za'atirah) It is difficult to be certain whether those individuals are the ones who carried out some acts against the Shi'is. However, the rhetoric they adopt may (cause people to) believe that. However, some statements attributed to Al-Qa'idah deny any responsibility for the killing of (Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir) al-Hakim (in August 2003) or the bombings of Al-Kazimiyah and Karbala.

(Shubaylat) They do not accept us although we have the same faith and belong to the same Sunni creed. They even consider us infidels. Therefore, they undoubtedly consider the Shi'is infidels. The other party, likewise, considers them infidels.

(Abu-Hilalah) The phenomenon has almost turned into a myth, to which every bombing attempt anywhere in the world is attributed. Al-Zarqawi's operations have expanded to include cells in Spain, Germany and finally in Istanbul. According to Colin Powell's address at the United Nations, Al-Zarqawi planned operations in France, Italy, Russia, Britain and Spain.

After Al-Zarqawi became a wanted person by many parties and the earth became so narrow for him, Al-Zarqawi found himself a space on the world wide web, through which he transmits his messages in text, audio and video. On the other hand, his rivals use the web to display his picture accompanied by the reward for arresting him. This is another arena for a confrontation that is still going on.

One of the last operations attributed to him was the killing of the US hostage Berg. It was posted on a web site close to him. The web site said Al-Zarqawi beheaded Berg. Was he the one who did it? Or was that propaganda for or against him? It is a picture that veils more than it unveils. It adds an extra shade of ambiguity to the phenomena or the myth. (Programme ends with a video showing a masked man amid other masked men reading a statement before he produces a knife and holds Berg to behead him)

Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1905 gmt 1 Jul 04

) BBC Monitoring

AMERICA'S NEWEST BOGEYMAN

Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
All Rights Reserved
Global News Wire - Europe Intelligence Wire
Copyright 2004 Sunday Business Post
Sunday Business Post
May 23, 2004
ACC-NO: A20040526156-830A-GNW

LENGTH: 1804 words

HEADLINE: AMERICA'S NEWEST BOGEYMAN

BYLINE: Niall Stanage in New York

BODY:

Name : Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Age: 38ish Appearance: Mysterious Newsworthiness: The Islamic fundamentalist group led by Zarqawi killed the head of the Iraqi governing council last Monday. A gruesome video recording released over the internet onMay 11 purportedly showed Zarqawi beheading US citizen Nick Berg The first shock comes when the butcher's knife is produced. Until that moment, the video recording that shows American citizen Nick Berg in the hands of his captors in Iraq seems almost familiar. Grainy images of western hostages have, after all, been popping up on our television screens ever since Beirut imploded in the 1980s.

This is different. No sooner has the hooded figure brandished the blade than the camera switches focus to Berg being held down, flat on his left side. The man with the knife then cuts the American's head off. He does so without either fervour or hesitation. There is no sense that he is desperate for the deed to be over and done with.

The process of decapitating Berg - a bit of sawing here, a short jabbing chop there - takes about 30 seconds. Then the killer holds the head up, again with steady satisfaction rather than manic glee. He grips his awful trophy much as a diffident actor might clutch an Oscar statuette. The tape later shows a shot of Nick Berg's severed head perched on top of his body.

The CIA and the fanatics who made the gruesome video, released over the internet on May 11, are agreed on one thing. The man who offers up praise to Allah and then kills his captive is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He is the most dangerous man in Iraq. He has even begun to challenge the position of Osama bin Laden as the world's pre-eminent Islamic terrorist.

Zarqawi's deadly power was on display again this week. The group that he leads, al-Tawhid, claimed responsibility for the bomb attack that killed the head of the Iraqi governing council last Monday. Izzedin Salim, also known as Abdul Zahrah Othman, was killed along with ten other Iraqis at a checkpoint just outside Baghdad's supposedly secure "Green Zone".

Salim's assassination was an emphatic reminder of the scale of the problems in Iraq as America prepares to hand over limited sovereignty at the end of June.

Zarqawi has either claimed responsibility or been blamed for most of the major attacks in Iraq in recent months. But his malignant influence is not confined to Iraq, or even to the Middle East as a whole.

He is suspected of involvement in the Madrid train bombings of March 11, in which 191 people died. He is also alleged to have provided inspiration and backing for fundamentalist cells in Germany and to have hatched a plot, subsequently thwarted, to put the poison, ricin, on t he London Underground. It would be difficult to exaggerate the threat Zarqawi poses.

Yet, despite his murderous prominence, remarkably little is known about him.

No one is certain when, where, or under what name the man now known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi arrived into the world. The best guess is that he was born somewhere in Jordan about 38 years ago, and that his birth name was something like Fadil al-Khalaylah.

He grew up within an unremarkable family in the small Jordanian town of Zarqa - it is from the town's name that he takes his alias. He dropped out of school early and, like bin Laden and thousands of others, went to Afghanistan in the late 1980s to fight the Soviet invaders.

This was a pivotal experience. When he returned to his hometown in the early 1990s, his mother noticed that he had become more religious. She told a reporter from The Wall Street Journal that he spent hours in the family home memorising verses from the Koran.

Zarqawi got married during this period, but work was hard to come by. He opened a video rental shop. The business failed. He rebuffed suggestions that he should consider trying to complete his education.

Zarqawi's mother has said the Jordanian authorities harassed her son. There is no question that the royal family was concerned about the influence of returning mujahideen on a previously docile population. Zarqawi was thrown into jail in 1992 for offences, either real or imagined.

He spent seven years as a prisoner; his life behind bars radicalised him further. Zarqawi apparently began plotting to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy upon his release, but, under pressure from the kingdom's security apparatus, he soon left the country. He may have gone to Europe at one point.

He eventually ended up in Pakistan. His mother has said he made his living there selling honey. Others believe he kept himself occupied with much less innocent activities.

The history of Zarqawi's relationship with al-Qaeda is the subject of keen debate. It is alleged that he approached the group sometime in 1999 seeking help. He wanted to set up a training camp for Jordanian radicals, apparently still with the goal of replacing the royals in Amman with an Islamic regime.

Western intelligence officials have said he eventually set up his camp in Herat, Afghanistan in late 2000. Training in the use of toxins as weapons was a key part of the tuition on offer.

Although Zarqawi's standing was supposedly strengthened by financial donations from al-Qaeda in the summer of 2001, the American invasion of Afghanistan later that year put him back on the defensive.

Some intelligence reports suggest he was seriously injured in an American bombing raid; others dispute that.

In any case, he left Afghanistan, apparently moving first to Iran. Soon - possibly having been urged by the Iranian authorities to get out before his presence provoked America's wrath - he moved again, this time to Iraq. The next chapter in Zarqawi's story is among the most bitterly contested of all. American intelligence has claimed that the Jordanian sought a safe haven under Saddam Hussein.

They say he went to the north of the country, possibly as an emissary of al-Qaeda, to develop links with a small band of fundamentalists who had come together under the banner of Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam).

Intelligence sources also told various US media that Zarqawi had a leg amputated and prosthesis fitted in a Baghdad medical centre in May 2002.

The Ansar al-Islam issue is crucial because the Bush administration suggested that the group's existence was proof of links between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda.

Colin Powell, in his February 2003 speech to the UN which sought to make the case for war, said: "Iraq today harbours a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda lieutenants." It was also suggested, though not by Powell, that Saddam and al-Qaeda both supported Ansar al-Islam financially. The charge was viewed with scepticism, largely because bin Laden's group had previously advocated the overthrow of Saddam.

Even the question of the medical treatment Zarqawi is alleged to have received in the Iraqi capital has been hotly disputed. Earlier this year, an article in Newsweek magazine archly pointed out that "we don't even know for sure how many legs Musab al-Zarqawi has".

There are few images of the man in existence. The most widely circulated photo of Zarqawi, which is undated, shows a bearded and somewhat mournful-looking Middle Eastern man.

What we do know for sure is that, on the second day of the Iraq war, about 40 US missiles were fired into the area where Zarqawi was alleged to have set up another training camp. There have subsequently been numerous attempts by US forces to kill or capture him.

Meanwhile, the list of attacks continues to grow.

The suicide bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq last August; the assassination of a prominent Shia cleric in Najaf in the same month; bombings of Iraqi police recruitment centres in February, in which more than 100 people died; a car bomb outside US headquarters in Baghdad earlier this month that killed at least five Iraqis as well as an American soldier.

And, of course, the killings of Nick Berg and the top man on the Iraqi governing council.

All of these, and more, are believed to be Zarqawi's work.

The basic facts of Zarqawi's life are difficult to uncover, but answers to the deeper questions about his actions lie even further out of reach. Why, for example, has he become so central to so much terrorist action? Unlike bin Laden, he does not have a family fortune on which he can draw to finance his plans. Despite the reams of speculation about him, there is no suggestion that he possesses powerful personal charisma.

The Wall Street Journal could only allude to his "rare talent for building overlapping networks of friends, relatives and conspirators of various nationalities".

Such a trait might be useful, but it hardly sounds like a full explanation for Zarqawi's rise to the top of Islamic fundamentalism. Other factors, if they exist, remain hidden.

The exact nature of Zarqawi's relationship with al-Qaeda is also elusive. He is routinely described in reports as either a member or an associate of bin Laden's organisation.

But some intelligence reports contend that Zarqawi sees al-Qaeda more as a rival to his own organisation than as a band of comrades. The members of the Zarqawi-supported cell uncovered by German security forces stated that their group was specifically for Jordanians who did not want to join al-Qaeda.

The question of the al-Qaeda link is complicated by the dubious allegations made by US intelligence. Colin Powell's tenuous claim about Ansar al-Islam is one example, but there are others.

Earlier this year, US forces said they had uncovered a letter from Zarqawi to al-Qaeda, in which the Jordanian asked for reinforcements to buttress the struggle inside Iraq.

The letter, which included a bizarrely long retelling of Iraqi history, is widely thought to have been forged, though possibly by the original writer rather than the Americans themselves.

There are other questions too. Is it, for example, in the interests of American forces in Iraq to paint Zarqawi as a more powerful figure than he actually is? After all, if so many attacks can be portrayed as being led by one man, it makes it much easier to claim that the Iraqi insurgency lacks broad support.

Yet, for all those caveats, there is no doubt about Zarqawi's propensity for indiscriminate violence.

Even by the standards of guerrilla warfare, he is a conspicuously callous figure. His organisational ability is deployed in the service of a very simple objective - to kill as many people as possible.

In an audio tape released in January, Zarqawi asked his God for help in his struggle. "Oh Allah," he pleaded, "rend the kingdom of Bush as you rent the kingdom of Caesar." Whatever the downside of life under Bush - or even Caesar - a kingdom presided over by the man who cut off Nick Berg's head would be an infinitely more frightening place.

Analysis: Zarqawi Letter Complicates War Hawks Efforts to Link al Qaeda with Hussein, Iran

Zarqawi Letter Complicates War Hawks Efforts to Link al Qaeda with Hussein, Iran
http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/1160
Jim Lobe | February 20, 2004

Editor: John Gershman, IRC
Foreign Policy In Focus
www.fpif.org

A letter purportedly written to senior al Qaeda leaders by a key associate, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, appears to undermine a major thesis of hard-core neoconservatives who led the U.S. drive to war in Iraq.

The letter (available online at http://www.cpa-iraq.org/transcripts/20040212_zarqawi_letter.html), is essentially an appeal for help in launching a “sectarian war” against Iraq 's Shi'a Muslim population. It was circulated by the Pentagon after it was allegedly seized in a raid on a safe house in Baghdad on Jan. 23 that netted a prominent courier of the al Qaeda terrorist group and subsequently leaked to the New York Times, which reported on it Feb. 10.

U.S. war planners clearly saw the 17-page letter as confirmation that their strategy for pacifying Iraq, particularly the so-called “Sunni Triangle,” was working. Its quick declassification and wide dissemination suggested the message was one the Pentagon was eager to get out, precisely because it corresponded to the military's own claims that it was grinding down the armed opposition in the occupied country.

The writer, identified by the Pentagon as Zarqawi, a Palestinian Jordanian who the administration has long alleged is closely linked to al Qaeda--the group led by Osama bin Laden--admits that the U.S.-led occupation is making steady progress.

“There is no doubt that our field of movement is shrinking and the grip around the throat of the mujahidin [sic] has begun to tighten,” the letter, which was found on a compact disc, states. “With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening.”

The author takes credit for 25 “martyrdom operations” directed against Shi'a targets and U.S. and other coalition forces, suggesting that foreign Islamist fighters, rather than indigenous groups, might indeed be responsible for suicide bombings, as the U.S. military has argued.

The letter writer also reports that his forces are planning to carry out more attacks against Iraqi military and security forces. Since the letter's date, suicide attacks against these targets have indeed escalated sharply.

So far so good.

At the same time, however, the letter, excerpts of which were published by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the Weekly Standard, tends to debunk several of the neoconservatives' own myths.

First, it contains no suggestion at all of any pre-existing cooperation or relationship between ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and either Zarqawi or al Qaeda, as the neoconservatives have long contended. It expresses great disappointment at the absence of al Qaeda in Iraq, a disappointment that undermines the administration's insistence that it is that group that is behind a growing number of attacks in Iraq . Indeed, the tone suggests, according to Iraq expert Juan Cole of the University of Michigan , that the writer, if it is Zarqawi, has not been in close contact with al Qaeda for quite some time.

More important, the letter's thrust--the necessity for carrying out attacks against Shi'a Muslims in Iraq --serves also to undermine a major neoconservative thesis--that Islamist extremists work together to accomplish their goals regardless of their own sectarian affiliation. This “terror masters” thesis--named for the book, The War Against the Terror Masters, by the theory's foremost Washington proponent, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)--argues that western intelligence agencies have been naive to think that Shi'a groups like Hezbollah and Iran would not work closely with extremist Sunni groups, like al Qaeda or Zarqawi's network, because of their sectarian differences. In Ledeen's view they all form one “coherent terror network” in which Iran plays the dominant role.

Among others, Richard Perle--also based at AEI but better known for his close ties to Vice President Dick Cheney and the Pentagon's civilian leadership--has publicly propounded this thesis. “The terror network is more complex, and far more united, than most of our analysts have been willing to accept,” he wrote last September in an article in National Review Online. “The divisions and distinctions of the past no longer make sense; the terror mafias are working together, and their missions are defined by the states that protect, arm, fund, and assist them: Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.”

According to Ledeen, Iran is the “lynchpin of the terror network,” and routinely hosts or organizes meetings of the network's major leaders. Tehran has strongly denied any connection to or support for al Qaeda or any other radical Sunni group. In a September article, Ledeen wrote that Tehran hosted a terrorist summit last August that included Hezbollah's chief of operations Imad Mughniyah; Zarqawi; al Qaeda's number two Ayman al-Zawarhiri; bin Laden's son Saad; and Iranian intelligence officials. Zarqawi promptly relocated to Iraq several days later, presumably to begin carrying out operations of the kind that he reports in the Jan. 23 letter, Ledeen added.

The problem with that theory is that the letter attributed to Zarqawi fails to provide even the slightest hint of an Iranian connection, and consistently refers to the Shi'a population in Iraq --to which Iran has long provided strong support--as if it, perhaps even more than Washington , is the ultimate enemy. “The Shi'a have declared a subtle war against Islam,” the letter states. “Even if the Americans are also an arch-enemy, the Shi'a are a greater danger and their harm more destructive to the nation than that of the Americans.” The letter describes the Shi'as as a “perverse sect” and continues to say that, “They are the most cowardly people God has created. Killing their leaders will weaken them and with the death of the head, the whole group dies.”

Such references to Shi'as and the lack of any reference at all to Iran in such a long letter, according to Cole, simply add to the view among most regional specialists both in and outside the U.S. government that Ledeen's “terror master” theory is as questionable as the notion of an operational link between Hussein and al Qaeda. “The document undermines all the conspiracy theories about Iranian support for al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-Hezbollah link,” says Cole. “The Iranians would as soon shoot those people (Zarqawi and al Qaeda) as look at them.”

In that respect, the letter and its widespread distribution, particularly by neoconservative groups and publications, mark a potentially serious setback to those in and out of the administration who have adopted Ledeen's view.

Not coincidentally, it is the same group, both within and outside the administration, which argued before the war that Hussein and al Qaeda were closely linked. The same group has been the major obstacle to any steps by Washington to improve relations with Tehran since talks were suspended last May, after an al Qaeda attack on a western compound in Tehran that U.S. officials charged had been ordered from somewhere in Iran.

Jim Lobe is a political analyst with Foreign Policy In Focus (online at www.fpif.org). He also writes regularly for Inter Press Service.

CPA spokesmen Senor and Kimmitt on Zarqawi and the letter

http://www.cpa-iraq.org/transcripts/20040318_Mar18_KimmittSenor.html

Q (Through interpreter.) Maram (sp) from -- (inaudible). What do you expect that Zarqawi will gain from all these attacks against civilians? How will he hinder their government through these acts? Can't you put an end to this, bloody acts against the Iraqi people?

MR. SENOR: What I think his strategy is is essentially to link the occupation with the havoc that he is intending to wreak here in Iraq. So in the minds of Iraqis, if he can provoke ethnic bloodshed, if he can provoke civil war, if he can pit the Shi'a against the Sunni and the Sunnis against the Kurds, and create a result in which a lot of Iraqis will die, and all this happens during the occupational period, somehow Iraqis will revolt against the path that they are currently working with the coalition on pursuing, which is a path towards a sovereign, democratic Iraq.

He says in the letter that once the coalition hands over political sovereignty and the Iraqis are on a path towards developing a sovereign, democratic government, the terrorists will lose their pretext; that's his word not mine. They will lose their excuse for operating here in Iraq. So my view is whether or not he was involved in this attack, the attacks that he has been involved in and whoever was behind this attack, their goal was to create this sense of instability, foster and provoke a sense of frustration among Iraqis so that they revolt against the path on which they're making so much progress right now.

GEN. KIMMITT: And you asked a very interesting question about what is his vision, what is his purpose. And that's the hardest thing to understand and the hardest thing to explain, because all that the terrorists offer -- the type of terrorists such as Zarqawi and al Qaeda -- is 10 centuries old. They offer a return to a country that would look much like Afghanistan did after the Taliban took over there; one where individual rights are not respected, one where democracy is not respected, one that is kept in very, very tight control by those that are not elected by the people. And that is probably the most foreboding aspect of what the terrorists bring. It is not just the death and destruction that they bring, but it's their vision of the future that they're trying to impose on your country. And that's why we're absolutely convinced that this mission is so critically important and why we are also so convinced that the terrorists will fail.

MR. SENOR: Yes, Steve?

Q As you guys probably well know, after almost every bombing, including last night, there are people in the crowd who will say: "It was a missile. I saw American helicopters. It was an American missile." I mean, spreading stories like that. I'd like to know, first off, how you deal with that as a communications problem, because there seem to be an awful lot of people who end up believing these theories, they get widely spread around. And secondly, in this particular instance, I wonder if you could explain just a little more of the basic science. How do you know that the pieces of the car that you discovered were the ones that contained the explosives?

GEN. KIMMITT: On the first issue about trying to quell rumors, we all know how difficult that is and our only solution to that is -- first of all, as we so often see at times like this, there is a tremendous amount of grief and anger that outpours, and that grief and anger often is pouring out against the coalition. But we understand that that is temporary, that's transitory, and the most important thing to happen is to get the soldiers at the right time back out on the streets, side by side with their coalition partners; for the people to understand when the dust settles that the coalition is here for their security, it is here for their safety and it is here to advance the sovereignty of this nation.

As for the science, I would have to defer to a forensics expert, but it would be hard to imagine that, as we saw today, that a vehicle somewhere near an explosion of this magnitude would have a cracked engine block, an engine that was completely exploded, parts of transmissions all around and the number of pieces that this vehicle had exploded into. All the forensics experts would suggest that the vehicle parts that were found were probably at the loci of the explosion. But I'd leave that judgment to the forensics experts and we can be proven wrong, but in this case the evidence suggests otherwise.

..........
Mark?

Q Thanks, Dan. Mr. Zarqawi's name is mentioned almost every day here. Aside from the letter, which may or may not be genuine, what actual evidence do you have that he is responsible for any of these attacks?

GEN. KIMMITT: There's a body of intelligence evidence that connects him and his group to a number of these attacks.

Fabricated PSY OPS Zarqawi letter provides frame for ongoing Iraq violence

Copyright 2004 National Post, All Rights Reserved
National Post (Canada)
March 4, 2004 Thursday Toronto / Late Edition
SECTION: World; Pg. A10

LENGTH: 565 words

HEADLINE: Massacre the work of al-Qaeda, U.S. says: Saddam loyalists may have helped terrorists: general

SOURCE: Bloomberg News, with files from Reuters

BYLINE: Todd Zeranski and Tony Capaccio

DATELINE: WASHINGTON

BODY:
WASHINGTON - U.S. General John Abizaid, the commander of the Iraq occupation, said there is evidence Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an alleged al-Qaeda associate, was behind Tuesday's massacre of Shiites in Baghdad and Karbala and may have been assisted by loyalists of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.

"The level of organization and the desire to cause casualties among innocent worshippers is a clear hallmark of the Zarqawi network, and we have intelligence that ties Zarqawi to the attack," Gen. Abizaid said in testimony to the House Armed Services committee in Washington.

The attacks occurred almost at the same time in the capital, Baghdad, and the holy city of Karbala and took place during the Shiite holy day of Ashura. They involved at least four suicide bombers and explosives that were remotely detonated.

Mohammed Bahr-al-Ulloum, the president of the Iraqi Governing Council, told The Associated Press the death toll in yesterday's blasts has increased to 271, with 393 wounded. That sum would be almost double the toll of 143 cited by the United States yesterday.

Zarqawi has become the focus of U.S. concerns about attempts to foment a civil war in Iraq and wreck its future as a democracy while Iraqis attempt to revive the oil-driven economy. U.S. officials had portrayed Zarqawi as attempting to win al-Qaeda support for a wider insurgency.

The U.S. occupation authority last month released a letter it said was written by Zarqawi and destined for al-Qaeda that described a plan to provoke a war within four months between Sunni Muslims and the majority Shiites. The aim was to block the transfer of sovereign power to an Iraqi body set for June 30, according to the letter.

After the congressional briefing, Gen. Abizaid told reporters U.S. special forces soldiers conducted raids on Monday night that helped to thwart even more deadly attacks.

"There's no doubt we disrupted a plan that had even greater dimensions than we saw on the ground," he said. "Clearly, there was a plan for Basra that was disrupted and clearly there was a desire to bring in car bombs."

Police in the British-supervised southern city, Iraq's second-largest, took into custody four people suspected of preparing blasts there, including two women in a Shiite procession who were wearing belts with explosives, The Associated Press reported yesterday. Two men were arrested in connection with a car found to contain a bomb.

At least 41 people were killed in Quetta, Pakistan, in an attack on Shiite worshippers on Tuesday. There is no evidence so far that the assault was connected to the Iraqi bombings.

Gen. Abizaid, who heads U.S. Central Command, said Zarqawi, a Jordanian, has been seeking alliances with remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We also have intelligence that shows there is some linkage between Zarqawi and the former regime elements, specifically the Iraqi intelligence service," Gen. Abizaid said. "We are concerned to see terrorist groups come in close co-ordination with former Iraqi intelligence service people."

Fifteen people have been arrested in connection with the bombings, a coalition military spokesman in Baghdad said yesterday. Al-Qaeda has denied it was behind the attacks.

The U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, said in Baghdad yesterday terrorism was increasingly coming from outside the country and border security was being tightened.

More Zarqawi PSY OPS tainted stories

The following stories were effectively manipulated by the US military's Zarqawi PSY OPS campaign, namely the fabricated letter provided to Dexter Filkins of the New York Times.

Copyright 2004 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 3, 2004, Wednesday
18:43:04 Central European Time
SECTION: Politics
LENGTH: 351 words
HEADLINE: U.S. has intelligence tying al-Zarqawi to bombings, general says
DATELINE: Washington

BODY:
The United States has intelligence linking Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to deadly suicide bombings targeting Shiite Moslems in Baghdad and Karbala, the top U.S. commander in the region said Wednesday. Al-Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda associate, has long been suspected by the United States of orchestrating suicide attacks in Iraq to try to spark a civil war between the country's Shiite and Sunni communities. "The level of organization and the desire to cause casualties among innocent worshippers is a clear hallmark of the Zarqawi network, and we have intelligence that ties Zarqawi to this attack," General John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. Suicide bombers struck mosques in the two cities Tuesday, killing about 180 people on the holiest day of the calendar for Shiite Moslems. Abizaid also said the United States has information connecting al- Zarqawi with former officials of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's intelligence apparatus. "We are concerned to see a terrorist group come into close coordination with former Iraqi intelligence service people because that creates an opportunity for the enemy of cooperation that can have a lot of danger," he said. The United States intercepted a letter last month believed to have been written by al-Zarqawi to senior al-Qaeda leadership seeking support for sparking a religious war in the country. It suggested launching attacks against the majority Shiites in the hopes they would retaliate against the Sunnis, Saddam's power base. The U.S. government has offered a 10-million-dollar reward for information leading to al-Zarqawi's capture or death. He is also suspected of plotting the 2002 assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan. Abizaid said attacks in Iraq by al-Zarqawi showed he and Osama bin Laden's network are the enemies of Islam. "They have killed more Muslims in the past month than anybody could ever imagine, for no vision other than to cause destruction and to cause civil war to take place in Iraq," he said.

Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
All Rights Reserved
Global News Wire - Europe Intelligence Wire
Copyright 2004 Independent Newspapers (UK) Limited
The Independent
March 3, 2004
ACC-NO: A200403021F7-76A6-GNW

LENGTH: 558 words

HEADLINE: IRAQ BOMBINGS: US BELIEVES AL-QA'IDA AIMING TO SET MUSLIM AGAINST MUSLIM

BYLINE: Anne Penketh

BODY:

US MILITARY authorities said yesterday that the devastating bombings in the holy city of Karbala and in Baghdad seemed to bear the hallmark of al-Qa'ida and the fingerprints of one man.

The spokesman for the allies in Baghdad, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, said a "prime suspect" in the attacks was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who is believed to be based in Iraq.

Zarqawi has warned of attacks on the majority Shia population with the aim of provoking a Sunni-Shia civil war to wreck the US plans to pull out of Iraq on 30 June. He is already suspected of being behind several major attacks in Iraq.

Last month the Americansgave The New York Times what they said was a letter on a CD-Rom from Zarqawi to his al-Qa'ida superiors - possibly to Osama bin Laden.

The memo said that if the Americans did hand over power to Iraqi authorities on that date, the al-Qa'ida fighters in Iraq would lose their raison d'etre to wage war. According to the US military's interpretation of the memo, Zarqawi concluded that if this happened "they will literally have to pack up and go elsewhere" - a tacit admission of defeat for Bin Laden's organisation.

While it is still not known whether the memo is a fake, its predictions look as though it they are coming true.

Much of the 11-page memo is devoted to an al Qa'ida-style rant against the Shia, regarded by Bin Laden as little better than heretics. The writer says of the Iraqi Shias: "(They are) the insurmountable obstacle, the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy and the penetrating venom. The unhurried observer and the inquiring onlooker will realise that Shi'ism is the looming danger and the true challenge. They are the enemy. Beware of them. Fight them."

But the document also vows to target symbols of the Kurdish community and to accelerate attacks on US troops, policemen and "collaborators' - the Iraqis who work with the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The Shia are identified in the letter as"the key to change. I mean that targeting and hitting them in (their) religious, political and military depth will provoke them to show the Sunnis their rabies ... and bare the teeth of the hidden rancour working in their breasts".

It is then envisaged that the Sunnis would strike back. Zarqawi has a $ 10m (pounds 5.4m) bounty on his head after being singled out by the Americans as a key link between the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'ida. Before the war, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, accused Zarqawi of working on chemical weapons at his hideout in the mountains in collaboration with Saddam's regime.

However, the Government never endorsed the US charges of a link between al-Qa'ida and Saddam in the run-up to the war.

Following the fall of Saddam, the armed resistance to the US and British occupation was initially blamed on Iraqis still loyal to the ousted dictator.

But evidence is mounting of sustained co-operation between foreign Islamic fighters and home-grown militants in Iraq.

This week The Independent obtained a video disc, which is being distributed in Baghdad mosques, which boasts of attacks by non-Iraqis on targets inside Iraq. The video was produced by Jeish Ansar al-Sunna, a little-known group that claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing in Arbil last month that killed more than 100 people.

Copyright 2004 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 2, 2004, Tuesday
17:32:52 Central European Time
SECTION: Politics

LENGTH: 200 words

HEADLINE: Iraq attacks killing 140 aimed at dividing Iraq, Cheney says

DATELINE: Washington

BODY:
The bombings in Iraq on Tuesday that killed at least 140 people were designed to divide the country's religious community and were an act of desperation, Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday. The attacks appeared to be the work of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a suspected terrorist the United States blames for trying to spark a religious war between Iraq's Shiite and Sunni populations, Cheney said. "This looks very much like that kind of an attack," Cheney said in an interview on CNN. Al-Zarqawi has long been suspected by U.S. officials of being al- Qaeda's top agent in Iraq. U.S. officials in Iraq said last month they had intercepted a letter to senior al-Qaeda members believed to have been written by the Jordanian citizen. In the letter, al-Zarqawi advocated attacking the country's Shiites to spark a religious war that would bog down the U.S. occupation and thwart the effort to establish a democratic government. He believed attacks against the Shiites would prompt a retaliation against the minority Sunnis, who had served as ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's power base. The bombings in Karbala and Baghdad took place during the Shiite Ashura festival. dpa mm pr

CTV Television, Inc.
SHOW: CANADA AM
February 10, 2004, Tuesday 07:15:45 - 07:20:20 Eastern Time
LENGTH: 735 words

HEADLINE: Letter Reads Like Blueprint for Iraqi Civil War

ANCHOR: Beverly Thomson

GUEST: Patrick Basham, Cato Institute

BODY:

GEN. MARK KIMMIT [US Military Spokesman]: Clearly, a plan
on the part of outsiders to come into this country and spark civil
war, create sectarian violence, try to expose fissures in the
society.

THOMSON: US Brigadier Gen. Mark Kimmit on the 17-page letter
allegedly written by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. Officials say the
letter was headed to Afghanistan and possibly to Osama bin Laden.
In it, Al-Zarqawi calls for the creation of a civil war between
Iraq's Muslim sects, one that must happen before June 30. The
letter also claims responsibility for 25 suicide attacks inside
Iraq. And there is more unrest in the region this morning as a
deadly car bombing rips through a police station. Joining us now
from Washington to talk about this letter is Patrick Basham from
the Cato Institute.

And the contents, while chilling, I mean, it essentially incites
civil war in that country. Why would the US make the contents of
the letter public and really allow the message to potentially reach
those for whom it was intended in the first place?

BASHAM: They want to do a couple of things. First of all, they
want to remind the world, I think particularly domestic American
opinion, that al-Qaeda is part of the reason, a major part of the
reason, why the Iraq intervention took place, and that the United
States government is still fighting terrorism, that's still the
priority, and that this confirms in their view that strategy.

At the same time, they want to begin to educate the various groups
in Iraq that there are forces at work who don't have Iraq's best
interests in mind and that they should view what happens in that
country, in terms of the violence, in that context.

THOMSON: Okay. What about the man who the US says authored the
letter -- Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi? Let's talk about a bit about who
he is. And we understand it he's a Palestinian Jordanian and a
veteran of the Afghan-Soviet war. What can you tell us about him?

BASHAM: Well, he is someone with a very strong record as a
terrorist. He's been tried in absentia in Jordan and sentenced to
death. He's believed to be in Iraq right now. And he is not part
of al-Qaeda but he is affiliated, he is sympathetic with them. And
so, this isn't an al-Qaeda communication, but it's one that a
reasonable person could be led to believe is one that would
facilitate al-Qaeda activities, if not directly then certainly
indirectly.

THOMSON: And what about the possibility of civil war in Iraq? I
mean it's already such an unsettled country. And in the letter
they are encouraging attacks against the Shi'ite majority so that
they'll retaliate, and then there will be a war between the
Muslims. But then you've got the Arabs and the Kurds in the north.
I mean, how close is this country to civil war already? And how
much does this lend credence that the threat is even bigger than we
think?

BASHAM: I think it lends a lot of credence. In my opinion, we
are fairly close to civil war in Iraq. The religious, the ethnic,
the tribal rivalries between the Shi'ites, the Sunnis, the Kurds,
et cetera are enormous. And we have all of this sort of material
ready to burn in that country anyway. And so, if this document is
valid and if al-Qaeda-type insurgents are able to put a match to
this dynamite we could really have problems. We could have
problems anyway. So this is bad news on top of bad news in Iraq.

THOMSON: So who's the enemy? I mean, when we talk about
insurgents, it is the insurgents that are loyal to Saddam Hussein
still? Or is it al-Qaeda operatives?

BASHAM: Well, this information indicates that al-Qaeda may be a
larger problem than we thought. But the major problem are the
remnants, which are considerable, of the Baathist regime. So you
are talking about part of the Sunni Muslim population that remains
loyal to Saddam Hussein and, most importantly, has no other option.
They've got nowhere to go, they are not going to be democratically
elected back into power when elections take place in Iraq. All
they can do is try to make the US as uncomfortable and unpopular as
possible in that country in the hope that the US leaves and they
are able to carve out some kind of niche for themselves in whatever
form Iraq takes after a US exit.

THOMSON: Patrick Basham in Washington, thank you.

BASHAM: My pleasure.

Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
All Rights Reserved
Global News Wire - Europe Intelligence Wire
Copyright 2004 Independent Newspapers (UK) Limited
The Independent
February 12, 2004
ACC-NO: A2004021131-739F-GNW

LENGTH: 791 words

HEADLINE: AMERICA SETS ITS SIGHTS ON A NEW PUBLIC ENEMY NO 1

BYLINE: ROBERT FISK

BODY:

AS IRAQ reeled beneath savage and almost daily suicide bombings, US forces yesterday doubled the reward - from $ 5 million to $ 10 million - for the capture of Musab Zarqawi, an obscure and little- known associate of Osama bin Laden whom they claim is trying to provoke a civil war in Iraq.

Zarqawi, who is indeed inside Iraq, is trying to organise further bombing attacks on US troops and US-paid Iraqi police forces by using exclusively Iraqi Sunni Muslim insurgents. But, despite what Washington would like the world to believe, he has no senior leadership position in al-Qa'ida.

Although a letter that the Americans claim to have found in Iraq in which Zarqawi - real name Ahmed Fadil al-Khalaylah - allegedly calls for attacks against Iraq's majority Shia Muslim population, impeccably reliable sources close to al-Qa'ida say that bin Laden's organisation wants to concentrate on the occupiers, their "collaborators'' and foreigners in Iraq, not members of other Muslim communities.

America's new focus on Zarqawi came as a suicide car bomb killed 47 people at an army recruitment centre in Baghdad. Within 24 hours the death toll of Iraqis working with the US occupation forces has reached 100.

The new police and new army recruits are vital to Washington's plan to hand back power to Iraqis by 30 June. The suicide bomber came well-prepared, carrying a bomb with 300 to 500 pounds of plastic explosives mixed with artillery shells - to maximise the "kill effect" according to US Colonel Ralph Baker at the scene.

Ghassan Samir, one of the wounded, said: "We were standing in line waiting to start our shift in the new army and we saw a white car drive by us and then blow up. Many died. There were about 400 people in line." There was no claim of responsibility. As the US focused on Zarqawi, the sources revealed to The Independent that he was with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 2001 and that he participated in the final battles at Tora Bora, where he was slightly wounded . He has moved in and out of Iraq frequently since last summer, the sources claimed, and in August managed to cross into Jordan to visit his wife and children who live in the city of Zarqa. A blunder by Jordanian secret police allowed him to spend at least one night with his family before crossing back into Iraq.

Zarqawi is - as the Americans claimed - associated with the Ansar al- Islam movement in northern Iraq, just as the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, stated in his 5 February 2003 address to the UN Security Council, but America's claims that "foreign terrorists'' are behind the bloody attacks in Iraq - and that Zarqawi's presence there is proof of this - are way off the mark. Almost all the suicide bombers to have immolated themselves in the country are Iraqis. Zarqawi himself, though a Jordanian national, is from the Bani Hassan tribe which exists in Iraq as well as Jordan. For most Arabs, whose national borders were drawn by the

British and French after the First World War, tribe is more important than country. To all intents and purposes Zarqawi is an Iraqi.

At a time when they can find neither Bin Laden nor the Taliban's Mullah Omar, the American effort to promote Zarqawi as a "top-tier terrorist'' may well be an attempt to set up a wanted man who will be easier to find and arrest, or kill, than the other two. US forces say he has been involved in "terrorist plots'' in France, Jordan, Germany and Israel - along with those who set off four bombs targeting a Jewish synagogue and British consulate in Istanbul - although the al- Qa'ida sources scoff at this list. He has been accused of planning the murder of an American diplomat in Oman and associated with an alleged attempt to use the poison ricin in the London Tube. In fact, it is far more likely that Zarqawi was involved in last year's attack on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad.

But any analysis of Zarqawi's case has to take into account President Bush's election campaign. Having found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and unable to crush the growing resistance movement to US occupation and faced with a steady haemorrhage of American blood in Iraq, Mr Bush badly needs to prove that the Saddam regime was involved with al-Qa'ida and thus with the international crimes against humanity of September 11, 2001. Hence the real importance of Zarqawi. Alas for Mr Bush, Zarqawi was in Afghanistan - not Iraq - in 2001.

Iraqis already had a tradition of suicide bombing; two Iraqi women blew themselves up next to a US checkpoint during last year's invasion and an Iraqi policeman drove a car bomb into US troops a few days earlier. Suicide is not an exclusive tactic of al-Qa'ida, however much the organisation and President Bush might like the world to believe that.

Copyright 2004 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 12, 2004, Thursday
16:15:39 Central European Time
SECTION: Politics

LENGTH: 133 words

HEADLINE: U.S. ups reward for suspected terrorist al-Zarqawi

DATELINE: Washington

BODY:
The United States doubled its reward to 10 million dollars for information leading to the arrest of a suspected terrorist blamed for numerous attacks in Iraq, the State Department said Thursday. Secretary of State Colin Powell raised the reward from 5 million dollars for the capture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian native with close ties to al-Qaeda, department spokesman Richard Boucher said. U.S. authorities in Iraq have obtained a 17-page letter believed to have been written by al-Zarqawi to al-Qaeda leadership asking for support to start a religious war in the country, hoping to bog down the U.S.-led occupation there. In the memo, he claimed responsibility for 25 attacks in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi has also been implicated in the murder of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan. dpa mm ls

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
February 10, 2004 Tuesday
Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A; Column 5; Foreign Desk; Pg. 10

LENGTH: 978 words

HEADLINE: THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: VIOLENCE;
U.S. Aides Report Evidence Tying Al Qaeda to Attacks

BYLINE: By DOUGLAS JEHL

DATELINE: WASHINGTON, Feb. 9

BODY:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, is now thought likely to have played a role in at least three major car-bomb attacks in Iraq that have killed well over 100 people in the last six months, according to senior American officials.

Intelligence information, including some gathered in recent weeks, has provided "mounting evidence" to suggest that Mr. Zarqawi was involved in the bombings, including the attacks in August on a Shiite mosque in Najaf and the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, and the attack in November on an Italian police headquarters.

One official cautioned that the evidence stopped short of firm proof about involvement by Mr. Zarqawi. But the official said the intelligence had added significantly to concern about Mr. Zarqawi, who one official said was now "really viewed as the most adept terrorist operative in Iraq, in terms of foreigners planning terrorist activities."

The indication that Mr. Zarqawi played a role in the attacks adds evidence that he has been active in Iraq since the American invasion in March. An American official said Mr. Zarqawi had been "in and out" of Iraq since March, but "at last report" was operating inside Iraq. One of Mr. Zarqawi's top lieutenants, Hassan Ghul, a Pakistani, was arrested by Americans near the Iranian border last month, and has been interrogated by American military and intelligence officials.

The American officials who described Mr. Zarqawi's suspected role would do so only on condition of anonymity, and they declined to discuss the nature of the information pointing to a role by Mr. Zarqawi in the bombings. But the officials included some who have been skeptical in the past of the idea that foreign militants were playing a major role in the violence in Iraq.

"The fact that we got Hassan Ghul is new intelligence information," one senior American official said. "The fact that Zarqawi is a bad guy is something we've been saying for a long time, but we're learning more about him."

In a raid on a safe house in Baghdad on Jan. 23, American officials found an electronic copy of a document believed to have been written by Mr. Zarqawi. That document was a detailed proposal asking senior leaders of Al Qaeda for help in waging a "sectarian war" against Shiites in Iraq in the next six months. Parts of it were made available to The New York Times.

The writer of that document indicated that he had directed about 25 suicide bombings inside Iraq, "some of them against Shiites and their leaders, the Americans and their military, and the police, the military and the coalition forces." A senior United States intelligence official in Washington said Sunday that he knew of "no reason to believe the letter is bogus in any way."

In the period before the war, Bush administration officials argued that Mr. Zarqawi constituted the main link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government. At the United Nations in February, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell accused Iraq of harboring "a deadly terrorist network" headed by Mr. Zarqawi, whom he called "an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda lieutenants."

At that time, Mr. Zarqawi was believed by American officials to be in the mountains near Iran with Ansar al-Islam, a group linked to Al Qaeda that is suspected of mounting attacks against Americans in Iraq. But little evidence has emerged to support the allegation of a prewar Qaeda connection in Iraq, and Mr. Powell conceded last month that the United States had found no "smoking gun" linking Mr. Hussein's government with Al Qaeda.

The largest of the three attacks that American officials now say may be linked to Mr. Zarqawi was the Aug. 29 explosion outside a mosque in Najaf, a city holy to Shiite Muslims, which killed more than 85 people, including Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most important Shiite leaders.

The raid on the safe house in Baghdad used by associates of Mr. Zarqawi was said by one American official to have provided valuable new evidence. The items seized included a compact disc that contained the 17-page proposal to senior leaders of Al Qaeda as well as a seven-pound block of cyanide salt, which the officials said could have spread cyanide gas within an enclosed area.

"It's likely that he was involved in at least the three bombings," an American official said of Mr. Zarqawi. The car bomb attacks were three of the most deadly in Iraq since the American invasion last March. Besides the Najaf attack, they included the Aug. 19 bombing of the United Nations headquarters, which killed 23 people, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top United Nations envoy in Iraq; and the Nov. 12 attack on the headquarters of Italy's paramilitary police in Nasiriya, which killed more than 30 people, including 19 Italians.

Last fall, American military, intelligence and law enforcement officials said they did not know whether the August bombings were part of a coordinated campaign. At the time, they said they were wrestling with several competing theories about who might be behind them, including the possibility that they were carried out by former members of the Iraqi military or paramilitary forces.

Investigators said at the time that they had not seen a common signature in the bombings, but that the attack at the United Nations headquarters and another on the Jordanian Embassy had used vehicles packed with explosives drawn from old Iraqi military stocks. American officials have not said publicly what kinds of explosives were used in the attacks in Najaf and Nasiriya.

On Monday, senior American officials were careful to describe Mr. Zarqawi as "an associate" of Al Qaeda rather than a member. American military officials say that at least 90 percent of the attacks on United States troops are thought to have been carried out by Iraqi Sunnis opposed to the occupation.

Copyright 2004 CanWest Interactive, a division of
CanWest Global Communications Corp.
All Rights Reserved
The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec)
February 10, 2004 Tuesday Final Edition
SECTION: News; Pg. A22

LENGTH: 330 words

HEADLINE: Al-Qa'ida letter casts doubt on U.S. claims: Recruiting Iraqis to fight U.S. said to be difficult

SOURCE: AP

BYLINE: JIM KRANE

DATELINE: BAGHDAD

BODY:
A letter seized from an Al-Qa'ida courier shows Osama bin Laden has made little headway in recruiting Iraqis for a holy war against the United States, raising questions about the U.S. contention Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.

The 17-page letter, cited as a key piece of intelligence that offered a rare window into foreign terrorist operations in Iraq, appealed to Al-Qa'ida leaders to help spark a civil war between Iraq's two main Muslim sects in an effort to "tear the country apart," U.S. officials said yesterday.

The letter was believed written by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian suspected of Al-Qa'ida links. Al-Zarqawi is the chief suspect in several recent bombings, and the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush cited his presence in Iraq as evidence of Iraq's terrorist connections even before the war.

Having found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the administration has been shifting the reason for going to war to the fight against global terrorism and to oust Saddam Hussein.

Military and coalition officials who rarely speak about intelligence information were quick to describe the letter as proof of a terrorist role in the Iraqi resistance.

White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said the letter, first reported yesterday by the New York Times, shows "Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism."

The letter, as quoted by the Times, acknowledges problems in recruiting Iraqis to join the fight against a U.S. force "growing stronger day after day."

"Many Iraqis would honour you as a guest and give you refuge, for you are a Muslim brother," it said. "However, they will not allow you to make their home a base for operations or a safe house."

That suggests Iraqis may be willing to support their homegrown insurgency but have little interest in backing foreign infiltrators. The letter's appeals for outside help raises questions whether Al-Qa'ida had a support network here before Saddam's downfall.

LOAD-DATE: February 10, 2004

Copyright 2004 National Post, All Rights Reserved
National Post (Canada)
March 4, 2004 Thursday National Edition
SECTION: World; Pg. A10

LENGTH: 861 words

HEADLINE: Massacre Al-Qaeda's work: U.S.: Top general says Saddam loyalists may have helped terrorists slaughter Shiites: 'Clear hallmark'

SOURCE: Bloomberg News, with files from Reuters

BYLINE: Todd Zeranski and Tony Capaccio

DATELINE: WASHINGTON

BODY:
WASHINGTON - U.S. General John Abizaid, the commander of the Iraq occupation, said there is evidence Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an alleged al-Qaeda associate, was behind Tuesday's massacre of Shiites in Baghdad and Karbala and may have been assisted by loyalists of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.

"The level of organization and the desire to cause casualties among innocent worshippers is a clear hallmark of the Zarqawi network, and we have intelligence that ties Zarqawi to the attack," Gen. Abizaid said in testimony to the House Armed Services committee in Washington.

The attacks occurred almost at the same time in the capital, Baghdad, and the holy city of Karbala and took place during the Shiite holy day of Ashura. They involved at least four suicide bombers and explosives that were remotely detonated.

Mohammed Bahr-al-Ulloum, the president of the Iraqi Governing Council, told The Associated Press the death toll in yesterday's blasts has increased to 271, with 393 wounded. That sum would be almost double the toll of 143 cited by the United States yesterday.

Zarqawi has become the focus of U.S. concerns about attempts to foment a civil war in Iraq and wreck its future as a democracy while Iraqis attempt to revive the oil-driven economy. U.S. officials had portrayed Zarqawi as attempting to win al-Qaeda support for a wider insurgency.

The U.S. occupation authority last month released a letter it said was written by Zarqawi and destined for al-Qaeda that described a plan to provoke a war within four months between Sunni Muslims and the majority Shiites. The aim was to block the transfer of sovereign power to an Iraqi body set for June 30, according to the letter.

After the congressional briefing, Gen. Abizaid told reporters U.S. special forces soldiers conducted raids on Monday night that helped to thwart even more deadly attacks.

"There's no doubt we disrupted a plan that had even greater dimensions than we saw on the ground," he said. "Clearly, there was a plan for Basra that was disrupted and clearly there was a desire to bring in car bombs."

Police in the British-supervised southern city, Iraq's second-largest, took into custody four people suspected of preparing blasts there, including two women in a Shiite procession who were wearing belts with explosives, The Associated Press reported yesterday. Two men were arrested in connection with a car found to contain a bomb.

At least 41 people were killed in Quetta, Pakistan, in an attack on Shiite worshippers on Tuesday. There is no evidence so far that the assault was connected to the Iraqi bombings.

Gen. Abizaid, who heads U.S. Central Command, said Zarqawi, a Jordanian, has been seeking alliances with remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We also have intelligence that shows there is some linkage between Zarqawi and the former regime elements, specifically the Iraqi intelligence service," Gen. Abizaid said. "We are concerned to see terrorist groups come in close co-ordination with former Iraqi intelligence service people."

Fifteen people have been arrested in connection with the bombings, a coalition military spokesman in Baghdad said yesterday. Al-Qaeda has denied it was behind the attacks.

The U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, said in Baghdad yesterday terrorism was increasingly coming from outside the country and border security was being tightened.

U.S. analysts, meanwhile, are expressing growing concern the country could be headed for civil war.

"Without basic security, Iraq will come apart, as our enemies both inside and outside Iraq understand all too well," said Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

University of Chicago scholar Robert Pape sees Iraqi events following a pattern set in other countries where a formerly dominant ethic minority lost its privileged position. He cited as examples the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Maronite Christians in Lebanon.

"We've seen this process unfold in other situations and it often leads to awful things -- civil war, insurgencies and terrorism," he said.

As funeral processions filled the streets of Baghdad and Karbala yesterday, Shiite leaders called for calm and urged their followers not to be provoked into civil war.

Huge crowds of mourners marched through the holy city of Karbala chanting "God is Greatest" and bearing flower-laden coffins aloft through streets packed with Shiites. Thousands more, joined by Sunnis, converged on Baghdad's most sacred Shiite mosque to urge unity and reject sectarian strife.

Ayatollah Hadi al-Muddaresi, one of Iraq's foremost Shiite clerics, said the bombings were an attempt by Sunni extremists to foment civil war in Iraq, where the 60% Shiite majority was for decades suppressed under Saddam, a Sunni.

"We as Shiites refuse to be drawn into such a conflict," he said.

Some mourners in Baghdad said calls for restraint by their clerics had prevented them turning on Sunni Muslims.

"If only our clergy would give us the signal, we would wipe out the Sunnis from Iraq," said an angry Mutaz al-Shamri, a traditional garment trader near the mosque.

GRAPHIC: Black & White Photo: Faleh Kheiber, Reuters; Mourners carry coffins to a mass funeral in Karbala yesterday following Tuesday's attacks on Shiites in the holy city and in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The Iraqi Governing Council said yesterday 271 people had been killed.

Copyright 2004 CanWest Interactive, a division of
CanWest Global Communications Corp.
All Rights Reserved
The Halifax Daily News (Nova Scotia)
April 7, 2004 Wednesday
SECTION: World News; Pg. 12

LENGTH: 303 words

HEADLINE: Tape urges Sunnis to fight Shiites

SOURCE: AP

DATELINE: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

BODY:
A man claiming to be a senior al-Qaida figure that the United States believes is operating in Iraq has released a tape calling for the country's Sunni Muslims to fight Shiites and claiming responsibility for high-profile attacks there.

The 33-minute audiotape appeared yesterday on a website known as a clearinghouse for militant Islamic messages. The speaker introduced himself as Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian also known as Ahmed al-Khalayleh who is thought to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden.

The tape's authenticity could not be verified.

Al-Zarqawi's whereabouts are unknown, but the website on which the tape appeared had a transcript heading that said al-Zarqawi was in Iraq.

The speaker on the tape claimed responsibility for a March 17 car bombing of a Baghdad hotel that killed seven people. The reference to the car bombing was an indication the tape was made recently.

The speaker also said that his group carried out the assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq's largest Shiite party, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Al-Hakim was killed by a car bomb in Iraq on Aug. 29.

The speaker also threatened to kill Gen. John Abizaid, head of the Central Command; Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq; and their generals, soldiers and associates.

One theme of the tape echoed that of a letter U.S. authorities released earlier this year in which al-Zarqawi purportedly wrote to other al-Qaida leaders that the best way to undermine U.S. policy in Iraq was to turn the country's religious communities against each other.

On the tape, the speaker said Shiite Iraqis were not true Muslims and were the ears and the eyes of the Americans in Iraq. He called upon Sunni Muslims in Iraq to burn the earth under the occupiers' feet.

Copyright 2004 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
April 7, 2004, Wednesday
21:07:58 Central European Time
SECTION: Politics

LENGTH: 343 words

HEADLINE: ROUNDUP: U.S. will robustly respond to insurgents, Rumsfeld saysEds: More quotes, details, background

DATELINE: Washington

BODY:
The U.S. military will not allow insurgents to derail a democratic Iraq and will take "robust" action to prevent them from succeeding, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday. "We will take robust military action as necessary to deal with the challenges to Iraq's transition to sovereignty," Rumsfeld said. U.S. forces in Iraq for days have been fighting against a Shiite militia under the leadership of a radical cleric, while Marines continued their crackdown on the Sunni populated city of Fallujah, where attacks occurred last week against American civilians. More than 30 U.S. soldiers have died during the four days of battles launched by Moqtada al-Sadr, a popular Shiite cleric who has vociferously opposed the U.S.-led occupation. Coalition forces shut down his newspaper, and an Iraqi judge issued an arrest warrant for him in connection to the murder of a rival cleric about a year ago. Rumsfeld said the U.S. military had expected an upsurge of attacks as the June 30 deadline for transferring sovereignty nears, citing Jordanian native Abu Masaab al-Zarqawi, who wrote a letter intercepted by the United States to al-Qaeda's seeking help in sparking a civil war before the transition took place. "As the date for Iraq's transition to self-governance approaches, those opposed to a free Iraq will grow increasingly desperate - and indeed, they are," Rumsfeld said. "What we're witnessing today in Iraq is a power-play between those who favour terrorism and a return to oppression, and those determined to have freedom and self- government." Rumsfeld would not rule out the possibility of sending more troops to Iraq, but said the military would take advantage of the greater numbers caused by the ongoing troop rotation. He said, however, some of the troops set to leave might have to stay a little longer. There are more than 130,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the insurgents in most cases were not well organized or well trained. dpa mm gj

Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A; Column 1; Foreign Desk; Pg. 1; A REGION INFLAMED: SECURITY

LENGTH: 1340 words

HEADLINE: Other Attacks Averted in Iraq, A General Says

BYLINE: By DEXTER FILKINS and ERIC SCHMITT; Dexter Filkins reported from Baghdad for this article and Eric Schmitt from Washington. John F. Burns contributed reporting from Baghdad.

DATELINE: BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 3

BODY:

A senior American military commander said Wednesday that his men had foiled several terrorist attacks intended to accompany those that killed as many as 185 people in two cities here on Tuesday.

But a rising chorus of anti-American anger poured out among officials and Iraqi citizens, with leaders of Iraqi political parties demanding that their private militias play a greater role in policing the country.

In Washington, appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, the commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, said raids by American Special Operations forces and efforts by the Iraqi police against militants associated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had thwarted a major attack in Basra and car bombs in Karbala and Baghdad, where suicide bombers struck during Shiite religious celebrations on Tuesday.

Mr. Zarqawi, a Jordanian, is suspected by American officials of involvement in several lethal terrorist attacks in Iraq. American officials said they had no hard evidence that he was behind the attacks on Tuesday, though General Abizaid said he suspected that he was. In January, American officials obtained a letter they say was from Mr. Zarqawi that outlined plans to provoke a ''sectarian war'' against the Shiites, who are in the majority in Iraq.

''I believe the plan was for even greater carnage,'' General Abizaid said. ''Joint actions between Americans and Iraqis prevented that from happening.'' The general is the head of the military's Central Command.

In Basra, the police chief, Mohammed al-Ali, told The Associated Press that officers had found a car packed with 550 pounds of explosives with a remote control detonator at a gas station near the path of a Shiite procession. A woman who apparently planned to set off explosives in Shiite mosques was arrested.

And in Kirkuk, in the north, the police defused a large bomb planted on the side of a road where Shiites had planned to march.

The details of the other planned attacks came as Shiite leaders demanded that their security forces be granted a larger role in policing the country. There are fears that these militias could work like private armies, raising the prospect of armed rivalry between religious or ethnic groups. Although the militias are prohibited by the interim constitution approved early Monday by Iraqi leaders, the language is vague enough that the militias might operate for months or even years.

Adil Abdul Mehdi, a senior leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of the largest Shiite political parties, called for the deployment of its militia, the Badr Organization. Ahmad Chalabi, a leader of Iraqi National Congress, called on the United States to speed up the integration into Iraqi security forces of the ''thousands'' of armed Iraqis at his group's disposal.

Echoing the anger expressed by many Iraqis, Mr. Mehdi said he had lost confidence in the ability of American forces to protect the Shiites. His own forces, he said, could step into what he described as the security vacuum that the assaults had exposed.

''The Americans cannot protect us,'' said Mr. Mehdi, whose militiamen are thought to number in the thousands. ''We cannot live our lives like this. The policy has to change. This is a war.''

The attacks in Baghdad and Karbala came as pilgrims were celebrating Ashura, the holiest period in the Shiite calendar. Iraqi officials said the attacks had killed 185 people and wounded more than 400; American officials put the death toll lower.

In funeral processions on Wednesday, thousands of Iraqis shouted anti-American slogans and accused the United States of complicity in the attacks. Moderate politicians blamed the United States for failing to seal the country's borders; foreigners, they said, had a hand in the bombings.

Despite an American prohibition on private armies, many of the funerals in Karbala on Wednesday were presided over by Shiite militiamen, often toting automatic rifles. American soldiers, by agreement with Shiite authorities, stayed away.

''Down, down America!'' mourners chanted in Karbala. ''No, no Israel! No, no terrorists!''

The anger seemed to place added pressure on American officials, who are trying to maintain public order as they prepare to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people in less than four months.

An ashen-faced L. Paul Bremer III, the chief American administrator in Iraq, appeared before the press to read a short statement, in which he promised to send ''hundreds'' of vehicles to the Iraqi border police and to double their presence in ''selected areas.'' But Mr. Bremer seemed to have few immediate answers for the Iraqi people.

''Tuesday showed the dark vision of the evildoers,'' he said, his voice quavering with anger. ''They fight to ward off harmony and are happy to pave the road to power with the corpses of their innocent victims.''

American officials tried to deflect questions about Iraqi militias. The Americans have long resisted giving them an increased role, fearing that they could worsen ethnic and religious conflict. The Kurds and Shiites are believed to command tens of thousands of militiamen.

On Monday, a spokesman for the American administration in Baghdad reiterated the prohibition on private militias, saying there were now 200,000 Iraqis working as police officers, border guards and soldiers.

''The militia policy will not change,'' the spokesman, Dan Senor, said. ''No military or security organization independent of the central government should be free to operate.''

But in the recent wave of terrorist bombings, which have killed about 400 Iraqi civilians since Feb. 1, the Iraqi parties have resisted American pressure to disband their forces. Mr. Chalabi said his Iraqi National Congress could provide the government with immediate manpower. ''We can mobilize thousands of people very quickly,'' he said.

But some Iraqi leaders pointed out a contradiction. Adnan Pachachi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, said the attacks on Tuesday were in part a result of the demands by Iraqi political leaders like Mr. Mehdi that the Americans reduce their presence in urban areas.

''For months, people have been insisting that the Americans leave the cities,'' Mr. Pachachi said. ''And when they finally do that, people blame the Americans for not protecting them.''

The lowered American profile in some cities has coincided with attacks elsewhere. Two weeks ago, more than 30 insurgents shot their way into a Falluja police station, freed dozens of prisoners and killed 15 police officers. The Americans, with no permanent bases in the city, sent no troops to help.

In his statement on Wednesday, Mr. Bremer said it was ''increasingly apparent that a large part of this terrorism comes from outside the country.'' That was echoed by Iraqi officials and by officials in Washington.

Fifteen Iranians were detained in Iraq on suspicion of having a connection with Tuesday's attacks, but no details explaining why were given.

Senior American officials had pointed on Tuesday at Mr. Zarqawi as the main suspect in the attacks, a suspicion that General Abizaid amplified Wednesday.

''The level of organization and the desire to cause casualties among innocent worshipers is a clear hallmark of the Zarqawi network, and we have intelligence that ties Zarqawi to this attack,'' he said.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, General Abizaid added, ''I personally believe there is no doubt that Zarqawi is behind this.''

Despite Mr. Bremer's remarks about the role played by foreign fighters, a Washington official said there was ''still reason to believe that a lot of the attacks are being carried out by Baathist remnants.''

''Foreign fighters are responsible for some of these attacks, but certainly not all of them or even most of them,'' the official said.

A senior American official cautioned Tuesday that he knew of no direct evidence linking Mr. Zarqawi to Tuesday's attacks.

''That doesn't mean it's not what we expect to find,'' the official said. ''We just haven't seen proof yet.''

Copyright 2004 CanWest Interactive, a division of
CanWest Global Communications Corp.
All Rights Reserved
The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia)
March 3, 2004 Wednesday Final Edition
SECTION: News; Pg. A5

LENGTH: 625 words

HEADLINE: U.S. stymied as violence expected to escalate closer to: Terrorists believed to be jockeying for position as handover date nears

SOURCE: Washington Post

BYLINE: Walter Pincus and Thomas E. Ricks

DATELINE: WASHINGTON

BODY:
WASHINGTON -- U.S. forces in Iraq have been largely stymied in their efforts to thwart or identify those behind the suicide bombings that preceded Tuesday's devastating attacks, said officials, who predict the violence will escalate as the U.S. approaches a June 30 deadline for ending its occupation.

There is no "definitive" evidence of who was behind the bombings in Karbala and Baghdad, but the pattern "fits the modus operandi, the pattern and the writings of (Abu Musab) al-Zarqawi," a senior intelligence official Tuesday.

Zarqawi, a radical Jordanian-born Sunni, is seeking to lead his own terrorist network throughout the Middle East, U.S. officials believe. In a 17-page letter to al-Qaida leaders, seized by U.S. intelligence in January, Zarqawi wrote that he would reignite the traditional rivalry between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq "through martyrdom operations and car bombs."

But Zarqawi is far from the only source of terrorist attacks that have been taking place throughout Iraq. Military and intelligence officials have repeatedly said Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish radical Islamic terrorist organization driven from its former base in northern Iraq, is active in the Sunni Triangle. An offshoot Islamic fundamentalist group, calling itself Army of the Helpers of the Sunnah (AHS), recently claimed to have carried out dozens of attacks against U.S. and other coalition forces, including the November killing of seven Spanish intelligence officers.

"Signs have been growing" that there would be more violence as different religious, ethnic and political forces seek power as the time for transferring sovereignty grows nearer, one senior analyst said.

U.S. officials, led Tuesday by Vice-President Dick Cheney, pointed to Zarqawi as the possible mastermind of Tuesday's attacks, but they dampened the idea those attacks or others could threaten the hoped-for democracy in a united Iraq. Cheney, in an NBC interview, described the bombings as acts of desperation by outside terrorists who feel they will lose out when Iraqis take over sovereignty.

In his letter to al-Qaida leaders, Zarqawi said that Iraqis who joined the new coalition-recruited police force and army were "the eyes, ear, and hands of the occupier" and that he was determined to target them "strongly in the coming period before the situation is consolidated...."

Zarqawi also complained that the Iraqi-born mujahedeen fighters "prefer safety and returning to the arms of their wives" rather than martyrdom. He said he told them in recruiting sessions "that safety and victory are incompatible ... that the Islamic nation cannot live without the aroma of martyrdom."

While Tuesday's bombings and other violence have cast a shadow over the transfer of sovereignty, Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt said "that as we come closer and closer to governance, there will be those people that will recognize that this is probably their last opportunity to try to drive a wedge between the people of Iraq and the coalition. We are fully prepared for that."

U.S. intelligence against the Saddam Hussein regime's Baathist fighters in the Sunni Triangle improved enormously in recent months but lagged against the suicide bombers, a senior Central Command official said in a January interview.

"A car bomb is a very secretive thing," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. U.S. intelligence knows very little about the operations of the bombing networks, he noted, and has been reduced to studying the ankles and other intact body parts of bombers in an effort to determine their nationality and ethnicity. The basic conclusion, he said, is that most suicide bombers are male adolescents of Arab origin. Beyond that, little is known about them.

Copyright 2004 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 9, 2004, Monday
21:17:15 Central European Time
SECTION: Politics

LENGTH: 479 words

HEADLINE: ROUNDUP: Agent in Iraq sought al-Qaeda's help to spark religious warEds: wraps in previous stories, more quotes, details

DATELINE: Baghdad

BODY:
An al-Qaeda operative in Iraq wrote the network's leadership seeking support to spark a religious war in the country with the hope that it would draw the United States into a prolonged conflict and eventually defeat the U.S.-led occupation. A U.S. official in Baghdad said Monday that the memo, which is believed to have been penned by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian long suspected by Washington of being a terrorist, was aimed at tearing the "country apart". The letter was consistent with other "efforts by foreign terrorists to ignite a sectarian war in this country and inflict bloodshed on this country by tearing it apart and pitting one ethnic group against another", said Daniel Senor, a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority occupational forces. The memo said extremists have struggled at recruiting and advocates launching attacks on Iraq's Shiite majority, hoping it would spark a retaliation against the minority Sunnis and rally Sunni Arabs to the fight. "So the solution, and only God knows, is that we need to bring the (Shiite) into the battle," said the memo, which was viewed by The New York Times. The United States obtained the letter, which was stored on a compact disc, when an al-Qaeda courier was captured, U.S. officials said. The writer also expressed frustration over U.S. successes in Iraq and said the ethnic conflict needed to occur before the June 30 deadline for returning sovereignty to a provisional Iraqi government. "The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the sons of this land will be the authority," the letter said. "This is the democracy. We will have no pretexts." U.S. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director for coalition operations, said the belief that al-Zarqawi, who is on the U.S. list of wanted terrorists, wrote the 17-page letter is "credible". While the letter is a sign of desperation, Kimmitt said, it is also something U.S. authorities are taking very seriously. He added that al-Zarqawi takes credit for about 25 suicide attacks, some of which have the fingerprints of al-Qaeda. Al-Zarqawi is believed to be behind some of the bloodiest attacks in Iraq since the invasion, including the August bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, the blast that killed Shiite leader Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, and a bombing at the U.S. administration building in January, Kimmitt said. In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the memo showed the insurgency has not given up. "They describe the weaknesses that they have in their efforts to undercut the coalition's efforts, but at the same time, it shows they haven't given up," Powell said. "They're trying to get more terrorists into Iraq, and they're trying to create more terrorist organizations to try to defeat our purposes," he said. "But they will not succeed." dpa ch gm mm ls

Copyright 2004 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
February 9, 2004, Monday
18:49:15 Central European Time
SECTION: Politics

LENGTH: 254 words

HEADLINE: EXTRA: Powell: Al-Qaeda memo shows insurgents haven't given up

DATELINE: Washington

BODY:
A memo found in Iraq seeking help from the al- Qaeda terrorist network in stirring up a religious war shows at least part of the insurgency in Iraq has not given up, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday. U.S. officials in Iraq have obtained a letter believed to be written by a Jordanian long suspected by Washington of being a terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The letter seeks support from al- Qaeda's leadership to spark a "sectarian war" in the country. "They describe the weaknesses that they have in their efforts to undercut the (U.S.-led) coalition's efforts, but at the same time, it shows they haven't given up," Powell said. Al-Zarqawi advocated drawing the United States into a religious war by launching attacks against the majority Shiite population. When the Shiites retaliate, the memo predicts, it would rally Sunni Arabs to the cause and pull the United States into a prolonged war. However, the document, which was found last month with the arrest of an al-Qaeda suspect in Iraq, said the extremists in the country were struggling to recruit and the American-led occupational forces were succeeding in establishing Iraqi security forces that would make it more difficult to give the appearance that the insurgents were fighting an occupation. Powell said the letter was "revealing". "They're trying to get more terrorists into Iraq, and they're trying to create more terrorist organizations to try to defeat our purposes," he said. "But they will not succeed." dpa mm ls

Copyright 2004 CTV Television, Inc.
CTV Television, Inc.
SHOW: CTV NEWS
February 9, 2004, Monday 23:00:00 - 23:30:00 Eastern Time
LENGTH: 571 words

HEADLINE: Document the US claims is al-Qaeda's action plan of terror

ANCHOR: LLOYD ROBERTSON

BODY:

LLOYD ROBERTSON: Good evening. After all the bombings, the
bloodshed and the questions of who's behind the violence in Iraq, tonight what
appears to be a smoking gun for an even darker plot. A document the US
claims is al-Qaeda's action plan of terror. Intercepted as it was being smuggled
to al-Qaeda leaders, it outlines efforts to bring about civil war in the country by
inflaming religious and ethnic tensions to make Iraq ungovernable and to make
Americans want to leave. The document was allegedly written by this man,
Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a shadowy character wanted by the US. As Alan Fryer
reports from CTV's Baghdad bureau, this seems to confirm what had long been
suspected. Alan.

ALAN FRYER [Reporter]: Well, Lloyd, that document, if authentic, and US
Officials insist it is, is nothing short of a recipe for civil war. The letter
expresses frustration that the 25 suicide bombings Zarqawi claims to have
directed have failed to drive the Americans out.

GENERAL MARK KIMMETT [US Army]: It doesn't give us any great
satisfaction. It doesn't tell us that there are going to be less and less attacks.
In fact it may inspire more and more spectacular attacks.

FRYER: That's because the 17 page document outlines a chilling new strategy
for al-Qaeda in Iraq to be carried out before the June 30th deadline for
transferring power to an interim Iraqi government.

DAN SENOR [Coalition Spokesman]: Their strategy is sectarian warfare in an
effort to provoke bloodshed and tear this country apart.

FRYER: Specifically, the letter recommends targeting Iraq's Shiites. It's been
done before. Mosques bombed, religious leaders killed, including a rumoured
assassination attempt two days ago against Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric,
Ayatollah al-Sistani. And in the north, al-Qaeda is being blamed for the twin
suicide bombings at the headquarters of the main Kurdish political parties that
killed more than a hundred people.

KIMMETT: That all of these have the fingerprints, as we have said month after
month, of hallmarks of al-Qaeda, fingerprints of al-Qaeda.

FRYER: The goal, many experts believe, to stoke tensions and provoke
reprisals between Arabs and Kurds in the north and particularly between Sunnis
and Shiites in the south.

WALTER PURDY [Terrorism Research Centre]: Going after Shiites is clearly
going to inflame the entire nation. The end result could be a civil war.

COLIN POWELL [US Secretary of State]: It certainly lends, I think, some
credence to what we said at the UN last year, that he was active in Iraq in
doing things that should have been known to the Iraqis.

FRYER: And while Powell insists Zarqawi's activities are proof of a link
between al-Qaeda and the former regime, the President's critics are already
pointing out it's a link forged not before the US invasion but after it and
because of it. Lloyd.

ROBERTSON: So, Alan, just how real is the possibility of civil war erupting in
Iraq?

FRYER: Well, Lloyd, many experts will tell you that because of all the ethnic
tensions that have surfaced since Saddam was toppled it is a very real
possibility, which may be one reason why the Americans have made that letter
public, in the hopes that Iraqis will direct their anger over such attacks at
foreign terrorists and not at each other.

ROBERTSON: Thank you Alan. CTV's Alan Fryer reporting tonight from
Baghdad.

Copyright 2004 CanWest Interactive, a division of
CanWest Global Communications Corp.
All Rights Reserved
Ottawa Citizen
February 10, 2004 Tuesday Final Edition
SECTION: News; Pg. A8

LENGTH: 528 words

HEADLINE: Al-Qaeda trying to incite Iraqi civil war: U.S.: Intercepted letter says Sunni-Shia conflict would 'tear the country apart'

SOURCE: The Times, London; with files from The Associated Press

BYLINE: Catherine Philp

DATELINE: BAGHDAD

BODY:
BAGHDAD - U.S. officials said yesterday they have discovered a letter from a senior al-Qaeda suspect in Iraq calling for help from the organization to spark civil war between Sunni and Shia Muslims and "tear the country apart."

The officials were confirming a report carried in The New York Times about the alleged plan, which they said was outlined in a letter confiscated from an al-Qaeda suspect arrested recently as he entered the country.

Brig.-Gen. Mark Kimmit, the U.S. deputy chief of operations in Iraq, told reporters the author of the document was believed to be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian al-Qaeda suspect thought to be active inside Iraq. Mr. Zarqawi was held up by the Bush administration in the run-up to war as evidence of a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. He featured prominently in U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations arguing the case for conflict.

If authenticated, the letter may represent the strongest evidence yet of al-Qaeda activity in postwar Iraq.

The letter, quoted by a correspondent who saw it while it was in military hands, paints not only the most detailed picture yet of the challenges of the insurgency, but also the alarming prospect of a battle in the planning between the country's two main rival sects. While boasting of his own involvement in 25 attacks, the author reports that religious extremists fighting the U.S. are failing to enlist much indigenous support and laments their failure to frighten their enemies into an early departure.

The solution, the memo concludes, is to launch a big attack on the Shia majority, prompting a counter-attack against the Sunni and provoking a sectarian war. Once attacked, the document argues, Sunnis would naturally rally to the side of the extremists. The plan should be launched before power is handed to Iraqis, which is scheduled to happen at the end of June.

"It is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between the infidels and us," the letter is quoted as saying. "If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis, who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands of the Shia."

A U.S. military source said the memo was discovered on a compact disc seized from Hassan Ghul, a suspected al-Qaeda courier captured on the border between Iran and the Kurdish north of Iraq. The name of Mr. Zarqawi apparently emerged under interrogation. U.S. officials said the detained man was carrying the CD to Afghanistan for delivery to people described as al-Qaeda's "inner circle."

The language used in the missive, however, appears to suggest that the author had not previously worked with al-Qaeda, perhaps undermining the Bush administration's claims about Mr. Zarqawi's links with the organization.

Meanwhile, a man wearing a belt of explosives blew himself up yesterday outside the home of two prominent tribal leaders in a city west of Baghdad, police said. Two U.S. soldiers were killed while disposing of explosives in northern Iraq.

Three Iraqi guards were seriously injured in the blast, which occurred in Ramadi near the compound of two tribal leaders.

Nicholas Berg - killed by Zarqawi

The case of Nicholas Berg's beheading was a strange one. The Zarqawi video had lots of strange anomalies, and appeared on the scene right as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was exploding. This is the NY Times report concluding that Zarqawi decapitated Nick Berg.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
May 14, 2004 Friday
Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A; Column 1; Foreign Desk; Pg. 12; THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: THE BEHEADER

LENGTH: 1151 words

HEADLINE: C.I.A. Says Berg's Killer Was Very Probably Zarqawi

BYLINE: By DOUGLAS JEHL

DATELINE: WASHINGTON, March 13

BODY:

The Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is believed with ''high probability'' to have been the masked man seen decapitating a 26-year-old American in a video clip posted on an Islamist Web site, a Central Intelligence Agency official said Thursday.

The C.I.A. assessment, based on a technical analysis of the video, also says the voice on the clip is very probably that of Mr. Zarqawi, a militant linked to Al Qaeda who American officials also say has been behind some of the deadliest bombing attacks in Iraq.

The Web site on which the clip was briefly posted on Tuesday identified Mr. Zarqawi as the man who drew a knife from his clothing to behead the young American, Nicholas Berg. But until Thursday, American government officials had expressed some skepticism about that claim.

The assessment that Mr. Zarqawi himself beheaded Mr. Berg is the most specific allegation of his direct involvement in a recent act of terrorism. In the video clip, the voice believed to be Mr. Zarqawi's describes the killing as retaliation for the humiliation inflicted on Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq, and warns of further killings to come.

''Your worst days are coming, with the help of God,'' the voice says in a message addressed to President Bush, calling him ''Bush, Dog of the West.'' ''You and your soldiers will regret the day when your feet touched the land of Iraq.''

The White House has been under intense pressure because of the prison abuse scandal in Iraq. On Wednesday, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said the ''brutal and barbaric act'' of beheading Mr. Berg had shown ''the true nature of terrorists; they have no regard for innocent life.''

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top American commander in Iraq, said in Baghdad on Thursday that Mr. Zarqawi was still thought by American officials to be in Iraq, where he heads his own terrorist network. In recent weeks, some American officers have said they believed that he had taken refuge in Falluja, the city west of Baghdad that has been the center of the Sunni insurgency.

He is thought to have extensive ties across the militant Islamic movement and is considered an ally of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda's leader. A letter that the American authorities said had been written by Mr. Zarqawi and that they released in March claims his responsibility for some 25 bombings in Iraq.

American intelligence officials had long regarded Mr. Zarqawi as a shadowy figure not inclined to claim responsibility for his actions. But the video clip posted on the Web on Tuesday marked the third time in five weeks that someone believed to be Mr. Zarqawi had issued taped messages, some claiming responsibility for major attacks.

''For one reason or another, he is changing his tactics and raising his profile a little bit,'' an American counterterrorism official said.

Some recent news media reports have suggested that the Arabic-language accent heard on the tape was not consistent with the part of Jordan where Mr. Zarqawi originated. A C.I.A. official would not say exactly how the agency had made its assessment, but indicated that the voice pattern and regional accent heard on the tape had both contributed to the assessment of a ''high probability'' that it was Mr. Zarqawi speaking.

In the past, American intelligence officials have said Mr. Zarqawi had lost a leg in an American bombing in Afghanistan and was fitted with a prosthetic leg in Iraq in 2002, during a stay in Baghdad that they have called evidence of tacit support by Saddam Hussein's government.

But the figure in the video shows no evidence of a limp. An American counterterrorism official said Thursday that while intelligence analysts still believed that Mr. Zarqawi inhad jured his leg and was treated in Iraq, they no longer thought that he had lost a limb.

In the video, Mr. Berg, of West Chester, Pa., was shown bound and cowering before a row of five men in head scarves and ski masks. After the reading of the statement, the men were shown pushing him to the floor. As Mr. Berg screamed, the man believed to be Mr. Zarqawi put a knife to his neck as others yelled, ''God is Great!''

The head was later held up to the camera. People who have seen the decapitation part of the tape describe it as horrific and accompanied by bloodcurdling screams.

Mr. Berg's family has said he was in Iraq looking for a job. He spent some time in Iraqi police custody during his stay; his family maintains that he was in American custody. He had not been heard from since April 9. His body was found Saturday near an overpass in Baghdad.

An April 1 e-mail message from an American consular official in Iraq, Beth A. Payne, given by the Berg family to The Associated Press, said he was being detained by the United States military.

But a State Department spokeswoman, Kelly Shannon, told The A.P. on Thursday that Ms. Payne had been given erroneous information by the American-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Not until a day after Mr. Berg's release was the diplomat told that Iraqi police had held him, she said.

Mr. Berg's father, Michael, told reporters on Thursday that the F.B.I. looked into a terrorism suspect's connection with his son when he studied at the University of Oklahoma.

A senior law enforcement official confirmed that account, telling The Associated Press that an e-mail address traced to Mr. Berg had been used by the suspect, who appears to have been connected to Zacarias Moussaoui, who is charged in the United States with conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks and attended flight school in Oklahoma. The official said the investigation showed that Mr. Berg had never met the suspect and had not given the e-mail address to that person. Investigators concluded that Mr. Berg's e-mail address had been spread among dozens of people with links to the university.

The A.P. said Mr. Berg mentioned this investigation when he was detained in Iraq.

The Berg family has been harshly critical of the White House. ''Nick died for the sins of the Bush administration,'' Michael Berg, told The A.P. on Thursday.

Senator John Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, said he had spoken by telephone with Michael Berg, though he refused to say when or what they had discussed. ''I think every American is pained by what is going on,'' Mr. Kerry told a television reporter after a campaign stop in Little Rock, Ark. ''On the other hand, we have to be strong. We have to be smart if we're going to win the war on terror.''

The United States had previously offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Mr. Zarqawi's capture. On Thursday, senior law enforcement officials said the F.B.I.'s field office was taking the lead in an investigation into Mr. Berg's killing. They said it could lead to charges against Mr. Zarqawi, under a statute that covers the death of an American in a terrorist act, which carries the death penalty.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com

GRAPHIC: Photos: Senators Arlen Specter, left, and Rick Santorum, Republicans of Pennsylvania, held a news conference yesterday to discuss their response to concerns of Nicolas Berg's family about his safety when he was in Iraq. (Photo by Carol T. Powers for The New York Times)

Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
All Rights Reserved
Global News Wire - Europe Intelligence Wire
Copyright 2004 Independent Newspapers (UK) Limited
The Independent
May 12, 2004
ACC-NO: A20040512C2-80D6-GNW

LENGTH: 304 words

HEADLINE: IRAQ CRISIS: AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE ENEMY WAS KILLER'

BYLINE: Anne Penketh

BODY:

AMERICA'S MOST wanted enemy in Iraq emerged from the shadows last night to appear on video apparently cutting off the head of an American businessman, Nick Berg.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an al-Qa'ida operative who is a close ally of Osama bin Laden, was said by the Islamist website that broadcast the video to be the knife-wielding man who slit Mr Berg's throat. The video was entitled: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slaughtering an American".

The Jordanian has been high on America's wanted list since he was accused by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, the month before the Iraq invasion, of leading a "deadly terrorist network" plotting terror attacks in Europe.

Zarqawi is suspected of masterminding attacks in Iraq including the massacre of Shia Muslim pilgrims in Karbala and Baghdad on 2 March. He has claimed responsibility for attacks on allied forces.

The US has attributed to Zarqawi a letter on a CD-Rom in which he warned of attacks on the majority Shia population with the aim of provoking a Sunni-Shia civil war to wreck US plans to pull out of Iraq on 30 June. Last month, in an audio tape on an Islamist website, he issued a fresh warning to the "snakes of evil".

"Sharpen your swords and burn the ground under the invaders' feet. Fight the Americans, fight the rejectionists (Shia) and the agents and hypocrites," the tape said.

The US has offered $ 10m (pounds 5.6m) for information leading to the capture or killing of Zarqawi, saying he is trying to build a network of foreign militants in Iraq for al-Qa'ida. Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmad Fadhil al-Khalayleh, was sentenced to death in absentia last year for plotting attacks on Westerners in Jordan.

On 6 April he received a further death sentence, with seven other al- Qa'ida militants, for killing Laurence Foley, a US aid worker, in Amman in 2002.

The Zarqawi PSY OPS letter - complete text

The following letter was generated by American PSY OPS personnel to create the perception of Zarqawi as an enemy of the Iraqi people, and an icon for Bush to swear to obliterate in an election year. Again, this letter was written by the Pentagon.
Source : http://www.cpa-iraq.org/transcripts/20040212_zarqawi_full.html

******

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,
From ……………to the proudest of persons and leaders in the age of the servants,
……To the men on the mountain tops, to the hawks of glory, to the lions
of [the] Shara [Mountains], to the two honorable brothers……………..,
Peace and the mercy and blessings of God be upon you.

Even if our bodies are far apart, the distance between our hearts is close.

Our solace is in the saying of the Imam Malik. I hope that both of us are well. I ask God the Most High, the Generous, [to have] this letter reach you clothed in the garments of health and savoring the winds of victory and triumph …. Amen.

I send you an account that is appropriate to [your] position and that removes the veil and lifts the curtain from the good and bad [that are] hidden in the arena of Iraq.

As you know, God favored the [Islamic] nation with jihad on His behalf in the land of Mesopotamia. It is known to you that the arena here is not like the rest. It has positive elements not found in others, and it also has negative elements not found in others. Among the greatest positive elements of this arena is that it is jihad in the Arab heartland. It is a stone’s throw from the lands of the two Holy Precincts and the al-Aqsa [Mosque]. We know from God’s religion that the true, decisive battle between infidelity and Islam is in this land, i.e., in [Greater] Syria and its surroundings. Therefore, we must spare no effort and strive urgently to establish a foothold in this land. Perhaps God may cause something to happen thereafter. The current situation, o courageous shaykhs, makes it necessary for us to examine this matter deeply, starting from our true Law and the reality in which we live….

Here is the current situation as I, with my limited vision, see it. I ask God to forgive my prattle and lapses. I say, having sought help from God, that the Americans, as you know well, entered Iraq on a contractual basis and to create the State of Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates and that this Zionized American Administration believes that accelerating the creation of the State of [Greater] Israel will accelerate the emergence of the Messiah. It came to Iraq with all its people, pride, and haughtiness toward God and his Prophet. It thought that the matter would be somewhat easy. Even if there were to be difficulties, it would be easy. But it collided with a completely different reality. The operations of the brother mujahidin began from the first moment, which mixed things up somewhat. Then, the pace of operations quickened. This was in the Sunni Triangle, if this is the right name for it. This forced the Americans to conclude a deal with the Shi`a, the most evil of mankind. The deal was concluded on [the basis that] the Shi`a would get two-thirds of the booty for having stood in the ranks of the Crusaders against the mujahidin.

First: The Makeup [of Iraq]

In general, Iraq is a political mosaic, an ethnic mixture, and scattered confessional and sectarian disparities that only a strong central authority and a overpowering ruler have been able to lead, beginning with Ziyad Ibn Abihi (tr. note: 7th century A.D.) and ending with Saddam. The future faces difficult choices. It is a land of great hardships and difficulties for everyone, whether he is serious or not…..

As for the details:

1. The Kurds

In their two Barazani and Talabani halves, these have given the bargain of their hands and the fruit of their hearts to the Americans. They have opened their land to the Jews and become their rear base and a Trojan horse for their plans. They (the Jews) infiltrate through their lands, drape themselves in their banners, and take them as a bridge over which to cross for financial control and economic hegemony, as well as for the espionage base for which they have built a large structure the length and breadth of that land. In general, Islam’s voice has died out among them -- the Kurds -- and the glimmer of religion has weakened in their homes. The Iraqi Da`wa has intoxicated them, and the good people among them, few as they are, are oppressed and fear that birds will carry them away.

3 [sic]. The Shi`a

[They are] the insurmountable obstacle, the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy, and the penetrating venom. We here are entering a battle on two levels. One, evident and open, is with an attacking enemy and patent infidelity. [Another is] a difficult, fierce battle with a crafty enemy who wears the garb of a friend, manifests agreement, and calls for comradeship, but harbors ill will and twists up peaks and crests (?). Theirs is the legacy of the Batini bands that traversed the history of Islam and left scars on its face that time cannot erase. The unhurried observer and inquiring onlooker will realize that Shi`ism is the looming danger and the true challenge. “They are the enemy. Beware of them. Fight them. By God, they lie.” History’s message is validated by the testimony of the current situation, which informs most clearly that Shi`ism is a religion that has nothing in common with Islam except in the way that Jews have something in common with Christians under the banner of the People of the Book. From patent polytheism, worshipping at graves, and circumambulating shrines, to calling the Companions [of the Prophet] infidels and insulting the mothers of the believers and the elite of this [Islamic] nation, [they] arrive at distorting the Qur’an as a product of logic to defame those who know it well, in addition to speaking of the infallibility of the [Islamic] nation, the centrality of believing in them, affirming that revelation came down to them, and other forms of infidelity and manifestations of atheism with which their authorized books and original sources -- which they continue to print, distribute, and publish -- overflow. The dreamers who think that a Shi`i can forget [his] historical legacy and [his] old black hatred of the Nawasib [those who hate the Prophet’s lineage], as they fancifully call them, are like someone who calls on the Christians to renounce the idea of the crucifixion of the Messiah. Would a sensible person do this? These are a people who added to their infidelity and augmented their atheism with political cunning and a feverish effort to seize upon the crisis of governance and the balance of power in the state, whose features they are trying to draw and whose new lines they are trying to establish through their political banners and organizations in cooperation with their hidden allies the Americans.

These [have been] a sect of treachery and betrayal throughout history and throughout the ages. It is a creed that aims to combat the Sunnis. When the repulsive Ba`thi regime fell, the slogan of the Shi`a was “Revenge, revenge, from Tikrit to al-Anbar.” This shows the extent of their hidden rancor toward the Sunnis. However, their religious and political `ulama’ have been able to control the affairs of their sect, so as not to have the battle between them and the Sunnis become an open sectarian war, because they know that they will not succeed in this way. They know that, if a sectarian war was to take place, many in the [Islamic] nation would rise to defend the Sunnis in Iraq. Since their religion is one of dissimulation, they maliciously and cunningly proceeded another way. They began by taking control of the institutions of the state and their security, military, and economic branches. As you, may God preserve you, know, the basic components of any country are security and the economy. They are deeply embedded inside these institutions and branches. I give an example that brings the matter home: the Badr Brigade, which is the military wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution, has shed its Shi`a garb and put on the garb of the police and army in its place. They have placed cadres in these institutions, and, in the name of preserving the homeland and the citizen, have begun to settle their scores with the Sunnis. The American army has begun to disappear from some cities, and its presence is rare. An Iraqi army has begun to take its place, and this is the real problem that we face, since our combat against the Americans is something easy. The enemy is apparent, his back is exposed, and he does not know the land or the current situation of the mujahidin because his intelligence information is weak. We know for certain that these Crusader forces will disappear tomorrow or the day after. He who looks at the current situation [will] see the enemy’s haste to constitute the army and the police, which have begun to carry out the missions assigned to them. This enemy, made up of the Shi`a filled out with Sunni agents, is the real danger that we face, for it is [made up of] our fellow countrymen, who know us inside and out. They are more cunning than their Crusader masters, and they have begun, as I have said, to try to take control of the security situation in Iraq. They have liquidated many Sunnis and many of their Ba`th Party enemies and others beholden to the Sunnis in an organized, studied way. They began by killing many mujahid brothers, passing to the liquidation of scientists, thinkers, doctors, engineers, and others. I believe, and God knows best, that the worst will not come to pass until most of the American army is in the rear lines and the secret Shi`i army and its military brigades are fighting as its proxy. They are infiltrating like snakes to reign over the army and police apparatus, which is the strike force and iron fist in our Third World, and to take complete control over the economy like their tutors the Jews. As the days pass, their hopes are growing that they will establish a Shi`i state stretching from Iran through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and ending in the Cardboard Kingdom of the Gulf. The Badr Brigade entered carrying the slogan of revenge against Tikrit and al-Anbar, but it shed its garb and then put on the emblem[s] of the army and police to oppress the Sunnis and kill the people of Islam in the name of law and order, all under cover of smooth talk. The noxiousness of falsehood rides the horse of dissimulation. Their Ghunusi religion (one based on special personal enlightenment) veils itself with lies and covers itself with hypocrisy, exploiting the naivete and good-heartedness of many Sunnis. We do not know when our [Islamic] nation will begin to learn from historical experience and build on the testimony of the empty eras. The Shi`i Safavid state was an insurmountable obstacle in the path of Islam. Indeed it was a dagger that stabbed Islam and its people in the back. One of the Orientalists spoke truth when he said that had the Safavid state not existed we in Europe would today be reading the Qur’an just as the Algerian Berber does. Yes, the hosts of the Ottoman state stopped at the gates of Vienna, and those fortifications almost collapsed before them [to permit] Islam to spread under the auspices of the sword of glory and jihad all across Europe. But these armies were forced to return and withdraw to the rear because the army of the Safavid state had occupied Baghdad, demolished its mosques, killed its people, and captured its women and wealth. The armies returned to defend the sanctuaries and people of Islam. Fierce fighting raged for about two centuries and did not end until the strength and reach of the Islamic state had waned and the [Islamic] nation had been put to sleep, then to wake up to the drums of the invading Westerner.

The Qur’an has told us that the machinations of the hypocrites, the deceit of the fifth column, and the cunning of those of our fellow countrymen whose tongues speak honeyed words but whose hearts are those of devils in the bodies of men – these are where the disease lies, these are the secret of our distress, these are the rat of the dike. “They are the enemy. Beware of them.” Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya spoke with truth and honesty when he said – after he mentioned their (Shi`a) thinking toward the people of Islam – “For this reason, with their malice and cunning, they help the infidels against the Muslim mass[es], and they are one of the greatest reasons for the eruption of Genghis Khan, the king of the infidels, into the lands of Islam, for the arrival of Hulagu in the country of Iraq, for the taking of Aleppo and the pillage of al-Salihiyya, and for other things. For this reason, they pillaged the troops of the Muslims when they passed among them going to Egypt the first time. And for this reason, they commit highway robbery against the Muslims. And for this reason, help for the Tartars and Franks appeared from among them against the Muslims. Deep sadness over the victory of Islam appeared, since they were friends with the Jews, Franks, and polytheists against the Muslims. These are among the customs of the hypocrites…. Their hearts are full of vinegar and ire like no others with regard to Muslims old and young, godly and ungodly.

Their greatest [act of] worship is to curse the Muslim friends of God from first to last. These are the people most anxious to divide the Muslims. Among their greatest principles are leveling charges of infidelity and damning and cursing the elite of those who have ruled matters, like the orthodox caliphs and the `ulama’ of the Muslims, because of their belief that anyone who does not believe in the infallible imam, who is not present, does not believe in God and his Prophet, may God bless him and grant him salvation….

The Shi`a love the Tartars and their state because through it they achieved a glory that they did not achieve through the Muslims’ state.…. They were among the greatest helpers [of the Tartars] as they seized the countries of Islam, killing Muslims and capturing their women. The story of Ibn al-`Alqami and his like with the Caliph and their case in Aleppo is famous. All the people know it. If the Muslims defeat the Christians and polytheists, this causes distress among the Shi`a. And if the polytheists and Christians beat the Muslims, this occasions a holiday and joy among the Shi`a.” – al-Fatawa, part 28, pages 478 to 527

Praise be to God, it is as if veils had been lifted from the hidden for him (Ibn Taymiyya) and he looked at what was before him and then spoke clearly on the basis of observation and information. Our imams have traced a clear path and lifted the veil from these people. Imam al-Bukhari says, not in the house have I prayed behind a Shi`i or behind Jews or Christians. They are not to be greeted. They are not to be congratulated on holidays. They are not to be taken in marriage. They cannot bear witness. The animals they slaughter are not to be eaten. – Khalq Af`al al-‘Ibad, page 125

Imam Ahmad says – he was asked about who had cursed Abu Bakr, `Umar, and `A’isha, may God be pleased with them – “I do not see him within Islam.” Imam Malik says, “He who curses the Companions of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him salvation, has no share or part in Islam.” – Kitab al-Sunna of al-Khallal, number 779

Al-Faryabi says, “I do not see the Shi`a except as atheists.” -- al-Lalika’i, part 8, page 1545

And when Ibn Hazm brought evidence and proofs against the Jews and Christians for distorting the Torah and the Gospel, they found no retort except to say that the Shi`a among them spoke of distortions to the Qur’an. He said, God’s mercy! When they speak of the claim of the Shi`a that substitution has occurred, the Shi`a are not Muslims. They are a sect that follows the path of the Jews and Christians in lying and infidelity.” – al-Fasl, part 2, page 78

Ibn Taymiyya said, “With this, it becomes clear that they are more evil than the sectarians and more deserving of being fought than the Kharijis. This is the reason for the general opinion that circulates that the Shi`a are people of heresy. The populace spreads around that Shi`i is the opposite of Sunni because they show resistance to the sunna of the Prophet of God, may God bless him and grant him salvation, and to the Laws of Islam.” – from Sa’ir Ahl al-Ahwa’, part 28, page 482

And he said, “If the sunna and ijma` are in agreement that -- if [the spirit of] the Muslim attacker could [only] come out by killing, then he should be killed, even if the property that he took was [but] a fraction of a dinar --how could it be with regard to fighting those who deviate from the Laws of Islam and fight God and His Prophet, may God bless him and grant him salvation? – part 4, page 251

And with all this, let the people of Islam know that we are not the first to have begun going down this road. We are not the first to have brandished the sword. These people (the Shi`a) are continuing to kill those who call for Islam and the mujahidin of the community, stabbing them in the back under cover of the silence and complicity of the whole world, and, regretfully, even of the symbolic figures beholden to the Sunnis.

Moreover, they are a bone in the throats of the mujahidin and a dagger in [the backs of] their leading personalities. People without exception know that most of the mujahidin who have fallen in war have done so at the hands of these people. The wounds are still spreading, and they are working the daggers of hatred and cunning in them assiduously, Night or day, they do not let up.

2 [sic]. As regards the Sunnis

They are more wretched than orphans at the tables of the depraved. They have lost the[ir] leader and wandered in the desert of artlessness and negligence divided and fragmented, having lost the unifying head who gathered the scattered [pieces] and prevented the egg from shattering. They also are [various] kinds.

1. The Masses

These masses are the silent majority, absent even though present. “The hooligans following everyone and his brother hungered. They did not seek enlightenment from the light of science and did not take refuge in a safe corner.” These, even if in general they hate the Americans, wish them to vanish and to have their black cloud dissolve. But, despite that, they look forward to a sunny tomorrow, a prosperous future, a carefree life, comfort, and favor. They look ahead to that day and are thus easy prey for cunning information [media] and political enticement whose hiss rings out…. In any event, they are people of Iraq.

2. The Shaykhs and `Ulama’

These are mostly Sufis doomed to perdition. Their part of religion is an anniversary in which they sing and dance to the chanting of a camel driver, with a fatty banquet at the end. In truth, these are narcotic opiate[s] and deceitful guides for an [Islamic] nation that is feeling its way on a pitch-black night. As for the spirit of jihad and the jurisprudence of martyrdom and disavowal of the infidel, they are innocent of all of that, just as the wolf was innocent of the blood of Joseph, may peace be upon him. With all the horrors and bad circumstances, not one of them ever speaks about jihad or calls for sacrifice or self-sacrifice. For these, three is too much, not to say four. They are not suited to this.

3. The [Muslim] Brothers

As you have observed, they make a profession of trading in the blood of martyrs and build their counterfeit glory on the skulls of the faithful. They have debased the horse, put aside arms, said “no jihad” … and lied.

Their whole effort is to extend political control and seize the posts of Sunni representation in the government cake whose creation has been decided, while taking care in secret to get control of the mujahidin groups through financial support for two purposes. The first is for propaganda and media work abroad to attract money and sympathy, exactly as they did during the events in Syria, and the second is to control the situation and dissolve these groups when the party ends and the gifts are distributed. They are now intent on creating a Sunni shura body to speak in the name of the Sunnis. It is their habit to grab the stick in the middle and change as the political climate changes. Their religion is mercurial. They have no firm principles, and they do not start from enduring legal bases. God is the one from whom we have sought help.

D (sic). The Mujahidin

These are the quintessence of the Sunnis and the good sap of this country. In general, they belong to the Sunni doctrine and naturally to the Salafi creed. The Salafis splintered only as the bend curved, and the people of the [distant] regions fell behind the caravan. In general, these mujahidin distinguish themselves by the following:

1. Most of them have little expertise or experience, especially in organized collective work. Doubtlessly, they are the result of a repressive regime that militarized the country, spread dismay, propagated fear and dread, and destroyed confidence among the people. For this reason, most of the groups are working in isolation, with no political horizon, farsightedness, or preparation to inherit the land. Yes, the idea has begun to ripen, and a light whisper has arisen to become noisy talk about the need to band together and unite under one banner. But matters are still in their initial stages. With God’s praise, we are trying to ripen them quickly.

2. Jihad here unfortunately [takes the form of] mines planted, rockets launched, and mortars shelling from afar. The Iraqi brothers still prefer safety and returning to the arms of their wives, where nothing frightens them. Sometimes the groups have boasted among themselves that not one of them has been killed or captured. We have told them in our many sessions with them that safety and victory are incompatible, that the tree of triumph and empowerment cannot grow tall and lofty without blood and defiance of death, that the [Islamic] nation cannot live without the aroma of martyrdom and the perfume of fragrant blood spilled on behalf of God, and that people cannot awaken from their stupor unless talk of martyrdom and martyrs fills their days and nights. The matter needs more patience and conviction. [Our] hope in God is great.

E. (sic) The Immigrant Mujahidin

Their numbers continue to be negligible as compared to the enormity of the expected battle. We know that the convoys of good are many, that the march of jihad continues, and that only confusion over the banner and a muffled reality keep many of them from [answering] the call to battle. What prevents us from [calling] a general alert is that the country has no mountains in which we can take refuge and no forests in whose thickets we can hide. Our backs are exposed and our movements compromised. Eyes are everywhere. The enemy is before us and the sea is behind us. Many an Iraqi will honor you as a guest and give you shelter as a peaceable brother. As for making his house into a base for launching [operations] and a place of movement and battle, this is rarer than red sulphur. For this reason, we have worn ourselves out on many occasions sheltering and protecting the brothers. This makes training the green newcomers like wearing bonds and shackles, even though, praise be to God and with relentless effort and insistent searching, we have taken possession of growing numbers of locations, praise be to God, to be base sites for brothers who are kindling [the fire of] war and drawing the people of the country into the furnace of battle so that a real war will break out, God willing.

Second: The Current Situation and the Future

There is no doubt that the Americans’ losses are very heavy because they are deployed across a wide area and among the people and because it is easy to procure weapons, all of which makes them easy and mouth-watering targets for the believers. But America did not come to leave, and it will not leave no matter how numerous its wounds become and how much of its blood is spilled. It is looking to the near future, when it hopes to disappear into its bases secure and at ease and put the battlefields of Iraq into the hands of the foundling government with an army and police that will bring the behavior of Saddam and his myrmidons back to the people. There is no doubt that the space in which we can move has begun to shrink and that the grip around the throats of the mujahidin has begun to tighten. With the deployment of soldiers and police, the future has become frightening.

Third: So Where are We?

Despite the paucity of supporters, the desertion of friends, and the toughness of the times,. God the Exalted has honored us with good harm to the enemy. Praise be to God, in terms of surveillance, preparation, and planning, we have been the keys to all of the martyrdom operations that have taken place except those in the north. Praise be to God, I have completed 25 [operations] up to now, including among the Shi`a and their symbolic figures, the Americans and their soldiers, the police and soldiers, and the coalition forces. God willing, more are to come. What has prevented us from going public is that we have been waiting until we have weight on the ground and finish preparing integrated structures capable of bearing the consequences of going public so that we appear in strength and do not suffer a reversal. We seek refuge in God. Praise be to God, we have made good strides and completed important stages. As the decisive moment approaches, we feel that [our] body has begun to spread in the security vacuum, gaining locations on the ground that will be the nucleus from which to launch and move out in a serious way, God willing.

Fourth: The Work Plan

After study and examination, we can narrow our enemy down to four groups.

1. The Americans

These, as you know, are the most cowardly of God’s creatures. They are an easy quarry, praise be to God. We ask God to enable us to kill and capture them to sow panic among those behind them and to trade them for our detained shaykhs and brothers.

2. The Kurds

These are a lump [in the throat] and a thorn whose time to be clipped has yet to come. They are last on the list, even though we are making efforts to harm some of their symbolic figures, God willing.

3. Soldiers, Police, and Agents

These are the eyes, ears, and hands of the occupier, through which he sees, hears, and delivers violent blows. God willing, we are determined to target them strongly in the coming period before the situation is consolidated and they control arrest[s].

4. The Shi`a

These in our opinion are the key to change. I mean that targeting and hitting them in [their] religious, political, and military depth will provoke them to show the Sunnis their rabies … and bare the teeth of the hidden rancor working in their breasts. If we succeed in dragging them into the arena of sectarian war, it will become possible to awaken the inattentive Sunnis as they feel imminent danger and annihilating death at the hands of these Sabeans. Despite their weakness and fragmentation, the Sunnis are the sharpest blades, the most determined, and the most loyal when they meet those Batinis (Shi`a), who are a people of treachery and cowardice. They are arrogant only with the weak and can attack only the broken-winged. Most of the Sunnis are aware of the danger of these people, watch their sides, and fear the consequences of empowering them. Were it not for the enfeebled Sufi shaykhs and [Muslim] Brothers, people would have told a different tale.

This matter, with the anticipated awaking of the slumberer and rousing of the sleeper, also includes neutralizing these [Shi`a] people and pulling out their teeth before the inevitable battle, along with the anticipated incitement of the wrath of the people against the Americans, who brought destruction and were the reason for this miasma. The people must beware of licking the honeycomb and enjoying some of the pleasures from which they were previously deprived, lest they surrender to meekness, stay on the[ir] land, prefer safety,, and turn away from the rattle of swords and the neighing of horses.

5. The Work Mechanism

Our current situation, as I have previously told you, obliges us to deal with the matter with courage and clarity and to move quickly to do so because we consider that [unless we do so] there will be no result in which religion will appear. The solution that we see, and God the Exalted knows better, is for us to drag the Shi`a into the battle because this is the only way to prolong the fighting between us and the infidels. We say that we must drag them into battle for several reasons, which are:

1 – They, i.e., the Shi`a, have declared a secret war against the people of Islam. They are the proximate, dangerous enemy of the Sunnis, even if the Americans are also an archenemy. The danger from the Shi`a, however, is greater and their damage is worse and more destructive to the [Islamic] nation than the Americans, on whom you find a quasi-consensus about killing them as an assailing enemy.

2 – They have befriended and supported the Americans and stood in their ranks against the mujahidin. They have spared and are still sparing no effort to put an end to the jihad and the mujahidin.

3 – Our fighting against the Shi`a is the way to drag the [Islamic] nation into the battle. We speak here in some detail. We have said before that the Shi`a have put on the uniforms of the Iraqi army, police, and security [forces] and have raised the banner of preserving the homeland and the citizen. Under this banner, they have begun to liquidate the Sunnis under the pretext that they are saboteurs, remnants of the Ba`th, and terrorists spreading evil in the land. With strong media guidance from the Governing Council and the Americans, they have been able to come between the Sunni masses and the mujahidin. I give an example that brings the matter close to home in the area called the Sunni Triangle -- if this is the right name for it. The army and police have begun to deploy in those areas and are growing stronger day by day. They have put chiefs [drawn] from among Sunni agents and the people of the land in charge. In other words, this army and police may be linked to the inhabitants of this area by kinship, blood, and honor. In truth, this area is the base from which we set out and to which we return. When the Americans disappear from these areas – and they have begun to do so – and these agents, who are linked by destiny to the people of the land, take their place, what will our situation be?

If we fight them {and we must fight them}, we will confront one of two things. Either:

1 – We fight them, and this is difficult because of the gap that will emerge between us and the people of the land. How can we fight their cousins and their sons and under what pretext after the Americans, who hold the reins of power from their rear bases, pull back? The real sons of this land will decide the matter through experience. Democracy is coming, and there will be no excuse thereafter.

2 – We pack our bags and search for another land, as is the sad, recurrent story in the arenas of jihad, because our enemy is growing stronger and his intelligence data are increasing day by day. By the Lord of the Ka`ba, [this] is suffocation and then wearing down the roads. People follow the religion of their kings. Their hearts are with you and their swords are with Bani Umayya (the Umayyads), i.e., with power, victory, and security. God have mercy.

I come back and again say that the only solution is for us to strike the religious, military, and other cadres among the Shi`a with blow after blow until they bend to the Sunnis. Someone may say that, in this matter, we are being hasty and rash and leading the [Islamic] nation into a battle for which it is not ready, [a battle] that will be revolting and in which blood will be spilled. This is exactly what we want, since right and wrong no longer have any place in our current situation. The Shi`a have destroyed all those balances. God’s religion is more precious that lives and souls. When the overwhelming majority stands in the ranks of truth, there has to be sacrifice for this religion. Let blood be spilled, and we will soothe and speed those who are good to their paradise. [As for} those who, unlike them, are evil, we will be delivered from them, since, by God, God’s religion is more precious than anything and has priority over lives, wealth, and children. The best proof [of this] is the story of the Companions of the Ditch, whom God praised. [Imam] al-Nawawi said that this story contained proof that, if the city and the desert fought each other until all without exception perished unless they professed belief in the oneness of God, this would be good. Persons live, blood is saved, and honor is preserved only by sacrifice on behalf of this religion. By God, o brothers, with the Shi`a, we have rounds, attacks, and dark nights that we cannot postpone under any circumstances. Their danger is imminent, and what we and you feared is most certainly a reality. Know that those [Shi`a] are the most cowardly of God’s creatures and that killing their leaders will only increase their weakness and cowardice, since with the death of one of their leaders the sect dies with him. It is not like when a Sunni leader dies. If one dies or is killed, a sayyid arises. In their fighting, they bring out courage and hearten the weak among the Sunnis. If you knew the fear [that exists] among the Sunnis and their masses, your eyes would cry over them in sadness. How many mosques have been converted into Husayniyyas (Shi`i mosques), how many houses have they demolished on the heads of their occupants, how many brothers have they killed and mutilated, and how many sisters have had their honor defiled at the hands of these depraved infidels? If we are able to strike them with one painful blow after another until they enter the battle, we will be able to [re]shuffle the cards. Then, no value or influence will remain to the Governing Council or even to the Americans, who will enter a second battle with the Shi`a. This is what we want, and, whether they like it or not, many Sunni areas will stand with the mujahidin. Then, the mujahidin will have assured themselves land from which to set forth in striking the Shi`a in their heartland, along with a clear media orientation and the creation of strategic depth and reach among the brothers outside [Iraq] and the mujahidin within.

1 -- We are striving urgently and racing against time to create companies of mujahidin that will repair to secure places and strive to reconnoiter the country, hunting the enemy – Americans, police, and soldiers -- on the roads and lanes. We are continuing to train and multiply them. As for the Shi`a, we will hurt them, God willing, through martyrdom operations and car bombs.

2. – We have been striving for some time to observe the arena and sift the those who work in it in search of those who are sincere and on the right path, so that we can cooperate with them for the good and coordinate some actions with them, so as to achieve solidarity and unity after testing and trying them. We hope that we have made good progress. Perhaps we will decide to go public soon, even if in a gradual way, so that we can come out into the open. We have been hiding for a long time. We are seriously preparing media material that will reveal the facts, call forth firm intentions, arouse determination, and be[come] an arena of jihad in which the pen and the sword complement each other.

3 – This will be accompanied by an effort that we hope will intensify to expose crippling doubts and explain the rules of shari`a through tapes, printed materials, study, and courses of learning [meant] to expand awareness, anchor the doctrine of the unity of God, prepare the infrastructure, and meet [our] obligation.

5 (sic) – TheTiming for Implementation

It is our hope to accelerate the pace of work and that companies and battalions with expertise, experience, and endurance will be formed to await the zero hour when we will begin to appear in the open, gain control the land at night, and extend it into daylight, the One and Conquering God willing. We hope that this matter, I mean the zero hour, will [come] four months or so before the promised government is formed. As you can see, we are racing against time. If we are able, as we hope, to turn the tables on them and thwart their plan, this will be good. If the other [scenario] [happens] – and we seek refuge in God – and the government extends its control over the country, we will have to pack our bags and break camp for another land in which we can resume carrying the banner or in which God will choose us as martyrs for his sake.

6. What About You?

You, gracious brothers, are the leaders, guides, and symbolic figures of jihad and battle. We do not see ourselves as fit to challenge you, and we have never striven to achieve glory for ourselves. All that we hope is that we will be the spearhead, the enabling vanguard, and the bridge on which the [Islamic] nation crosses over to the victory that is promised and the tomorrow to which we aspire. This is our vision, and we have explained it. This is our path, and we have made it clear. If you agree with us on it, if you adopt it as a program and road, and if you are convinced of the idea of fighting the sects of apostasy, we will be your readied soldiers, working under your banner, complying with your orders, and indeed swearing fealty to you publicly and in the news media, vexing the infidels and gladdening those who preach the oneness of God. On that day, the believers will rejoice in God’s victory. If things appear otherwise to you, we are brothers, and the disagreement will not spoil [our] friendship. [This is} a cause [in which] we are cooperating for the good and supporting jihad. Awaiting your response, may God preserve you as keys to good and reserves for Islam and its people. Amen, amen.

Peace and the mercy and blessings of God be upon you.

The end of Zarqawi: Letters to the Air Force

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:wpRuj9WgEukJ:www.af.mil/letters/
index.asp%3Fpage%3D17+zarqawi+17+page+letter&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2

al-zarqawi
Great! Very great job U.S. Air Force! The terrorist al-zarqawi, he has gone "boom!"

Sgt. Pilot Cristiano Benucci
Aviation Group, Highway Patrol Police, Florence, Italy

6/12/2006
Go Air Force!
God bless the Air Force and all of the military forces that took out that evil man. I'm proud of you guys. Keep the hunt going and be safe -- love ya'll.
Maceo Brown
Taylors, S.C.

6/12/2006
Thank you
I just wanted to pass on our thanks and appreciation to the United States Air Force for all the great things you do, but especially today for taking out Zarqawi. On May 7, 2005, my son Todd Venette was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. This bomb killed another American, Brandon Thomas, and 22 Iraqis including children. A few hours after the attack, Zarqawi issued a press release stating his people were responsible. I never thought I would see this day or that he would see judgement. My younger son is a Naval aviation officer serving in Afghanistan, supporting the Air Force at Bagram Air Base. Our family is very grateful to all the military people serving now and in the past, and I just wanted to say thank you.

Debby Casida
United States of America

6/8/2006

Elimination of terrorist murderer Al-Zarqawi
I want to congratulate your fine Airmen and the intelligence community for having achieved such an important goal as the elimination of an evil person like Al-Zarqawi. Working hard and believing in it always yields fruits, and this one is for peace. Thank you.

Senior Scientist Carlo V. Bruschi

Trieste, Italy

6/8/2006

Congratulations on getting al-Zarqawi
I am the sister of a soldier deployed to Baghdad. I woke up this morning to find out that your fine pilots got al-Zarqawi. I wish to express my congratulations to you and my heartfelt thanks to the Air Force and all branches of military serving in Iraq for the fine job you are doing. Please never think that you are not fully supported by the American people. I fly my flag proudly at my home and on my vehicle -- not stickers, real flags. I am proud to be an American and so should you. I pray for all of you every day and wish all to come home safe to your families and loved ones. For those who give their lives defending the rights of others as well as defending our country, your sacrifice has not been in vain. I would rather have the fight over there than here on our shores. We love all of you and respect you and the job you are doing. Thank you!

Kathy MacPherson

Kalamazoo County, Mich.

6/8/2006

Washington Post: Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi

Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi
Jordanian Painted As Foreign Threat To Iraq's Stability
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/09/AR200604...
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 10, 2006; A01

The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist. Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers," Col. Derek Harvey, who served as a military intelligence officer in Iraq and then was one of the top officers handling Iraq intelligence issues on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an Army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last summer.

In a transcript of the meeting, Harvey said, "Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will -- made him more important than he really is, in some ways."

"The long-term threat is not Zarqawi or religious extremists, but these former regime types and their friends," said Harvey, who did not return phone calls seeking comment on his remarks.

There has been a running argument among specialists in Iraq about how much significance to assign to Zarqawi, who spent seven years in prison in Jordan for attempting to overthrow the government there. After his release he spent time in Pakistan and Afghanistan before moving his base of operations to Iraq. He has been sentenced to death in absentia for planning the 2002 assassination of U.S. diplomat Lawrence Foley in Jordan. U.S. authorities have said he is responsible for dozens of deaths in Iraq and have placed a $25 million bounty on his head.

Recently there have been unconfirmed reports of a possible rift between Zarqawi and the parent al-Qaeda organization that may have resulted in his being demoted or cut loose. Last week, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that it was unclear what was happening between Zarqawi and al-Qaeda. "It may be that he's not being fired at all, but that he is being focused on the military side of the al-Qaeda effort and he's being asked to leave more of a political side possibly to others, because of some disagreements within al-Qaeda," he said.

The military's propaganda program largely has been aimed at Iraqis, but seems to have spilled over into the U.S. media. One briefing slide about U.S. "strategic communications" in Iraq, prepared for Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, describes the "home audience" as one of six major targets of the American side of the war.

That slide, created by Casey's subordinates, does not specifically state that U.S. citizens were being targeted by the effort, but other sections of the briefings indicate that there were direct military efforts to use the U.S. media to affect views of the war. One slide in the same briefing, for example, noted that a "selective leak" about Zarqawi was made to Dexter Filkins, a New York Times reporter based in Baghdad. Filkins's resulting article, about a letter supposedly written by Zarqawi and boasting of suicide attacks in Iraq, ran on the Times front page on Feb. 9, 2004.

Leaks to reporters from U.S. officials in Iraq are common, but official evidence of a propaganda operation using an American reporter is rare.

Filkins, reached by e-mail, said that he was not told at the time that there was a psychological operations campaign aimed at Zarqawi, but said he assumed that the military was releasing the letter "because it had decided it was in its best interest to have it publicized." No special conditions were placed upon him in being briefed on its contents, he said. He said he was skeptical about the document's authenticity then, and remains so now, and so at the time tried to confirm its authenticity with officials outside the U.S. military.

"There was no attempt to manipulate the press," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military's chief spokesman when the propaganda campaign began in 2004, said in an interview Friday. "We trusted Dexter to write an accurate story, and we gave him a good scoop."

Another briefing slide states that after U.S. commanders ordered that the atrocities of Saddam Hussein's government be publicized, U.S. psychological operations soldiers produced a video disc that not only was widely disseminated inside Iraq, but also was "seen on Fox News."

U.S. military policy is not to aim psychological operations at Americans, said Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003. "It is ingrained in U.S.: You don't psyop Americans. We just don't do it," said Treadwell. He said he left Iraq before the Zarqawi program began but was later told about it.

"When we provided stuff, it was all in Arabic," and aimed at the Iraqi and Arab media, said another military officer familiar with the program, who spoke on background because he is not supposed to speak to reporters.

But this officer said that the Zarqawi campaign "probably raised his profile in the American press's view."

With satellite television, e-mail and the Internet, it is impossible to prevent some carryover from propaganda campaigns overseas into the U.S. media, said Treadwell, who is now director of a new project at the U.S. Special Operations Command that focuses on "trans-regional" media issues. Such carryover is "not blowback, it's bleed-over," he said. "There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment."

The Zarqawi program was not related to another effort, led by the Lincoln Group, a U.S. consulting firm, to place pro-U.S. articles in Iraq newspapers, according to the officer familiar with the program who spoke on background.

It is difficult to determine how much has been spent on the Zarqawi campaign, which began two years ago and is believed to be ongoing. U.S. propaganda efforts in Iraq in 2004 cost $24 million, but that included extensive building of offices and residences for troops involved, as well as radio broadcasts and distribution of thousands of leaflets with Zarqawi's face on them, said the officer speaking on background.

The Zarqawi campaign is discussed in several of the internal military documents. "Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response," one U.S. military briefing from 2004 stated. It listed three methods: "Media operations," "Special Ops (626)" (a reference to Task Force 626, an elite U.S. military unit assigned primarily to hunt in Iraq for senior officials in Hussein's government) and "PSYOP," the U.S. military term for propaganda work.

One internal briefing, produced by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said that Kimmitt had concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."

Kimmitt is now the senior planner on the staff of the Central Command that directs operations in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

In 2003 and 2004, he coordinated public affairs, information operations and psychological operations in Iraq -- though he said in an interview the internal briefing must be mistaken because he did not actually run the psychological operations and could not speak for them.

Kimmitt said, "There was clearly an information campaign to raise the public awareness of who Zarqawi was, primarily for the Iraqi audience but also with the international audience."

A goal of the campaign was to drive a wedge into the insurgency by emphasizing Zarqawi's terrorist acts and foreign origin, said officers familiar with the program.

"Through aggressive Strategic Communications, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi now represents: Terrorism in Iraq/Foreign Fighters in Iraq/Suffering of Iraqi People (Infrastructure Attacks)/Denial of Iraqi Aspirations," the same briefing asserts.

Officials said one indication that the campaign worked is that over the past several months, there have been reports that Iraqi tribal insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists, especially in the culturally conservative province of Anbar. "What we're finding is indeed the people of al-Anbar -- Fallujah and Ramadi, specifically -- have decided to turn against terrorists and foreign fighters," Maj. Gen Rick Lynch, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said in February.

ZARQAWI'S ROLE IN IRAQ OVERSTATED, ANALYSTS SAY

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company
The Boston Globe
November 1, 2004, Monday THIRD EDITION
SECTION: NATIONAL/FOREIGN; Pg. A1

LENGTH: 1931 words
HEADLINE: ZARQAWI'S ROLE IN IRAQ OVERSTATED, ANALYSTS SAY
BYLINE: By Thanassis Cambanis, GLOBE STAFF

AMMAN, Jordan American officials have grossly inflated the role of Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the violence in Iraq in their eagerness to blame foreign terrorists for the insurgency, according to Jordanian analysts and Western diplomats.

Convicts who spent time in a Jordanian prison remember Zarqawi as a "prison prince" a hands-on block leader who commanded a few dozen followers with a nod or a glance, but who left arguments about religious ideology to more educated jihadists. They recall him as brutal and inarticulate, dependent on others for direction.

Analysts in Jordan, Zarqawi's native country and home until at least 1999, said Zarqawi joined the armed Islamist struggle in Af ghanistan more than a decade ago. His group, among the most violent in Iraq, has claimed responsibility for a trail of brutal acts, culminating in videotaped beheadings by Zarqawi's own hand of two American contractors in September. He has also claimed responsibility for two separate massacres of Iraqi national guardsmen in late October, including the execution of 49 soldiers east of Baghdad and 11 more south of the capital.

But these analysts, as well as some Western diplomats, say Zarqawi's group is just one of many jihadist factions that attract fighters from Iraq and across the Arab world and that Zarqawi's capability and ties to Osama bin Laden have been exaggerated.

They say American counter-terrorism officials are ignoring a wide array of fundamentalist groups at work in Iraq and surrounding countries in their effort to portray all terrorist activity in Iraq as the handiwork of a single mastermind.

"The bottom line is that America needs to create a serious public enemy who is not Iraqi so they can claim Iraqis aren't responsible for the resistance," said Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian political analyst who regularly meets with Iraqi government leaders as well as opposition militants.

A Western diplomat familiar with evidence against Zarqawi said the US government often paints terrorist activity in Iraq and Jordan with a broad brush, attributing the activities of a disparate array of terror groups and individual operatives to the "Zarqawi network."

"There are probably organizations that are not affiliated with Zarqawi," said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "There's some sense that maybe the United States has exaggerated his importance."

US officials repeatedly referred to Zarqawi as an Al Qaeda associate starting last December, although this summer they backed away from that claim, with several American officials in Iraq and Washington describing Zarqawi as an independent operator. However, Zarqawi issued a taped declaration of loyalty to Osama bin Laden last week. That suggested formal ties between his fighters and Al Qaeda are still developing.

These assessments come at a time when US and Iraqi officials are grappling to determine the role of foreign fundamentalists in the violence in Iraq. Iraqi fighters themselves confirm that foreign jihadists operate freely in their midst, often supplying funds and weapons expertise that Iraqis have trouble procuring on their own.

But it is difficult to separate fact from rhetoric. US authorities have arrested a few hundred foreign fighters in Iraq, including men from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Syria. The overwhelming majority of fighters arrested in Iraq, however, including many thwarted suicide bombers, are Iraqis.

The comparatively small proportion of foreign fighters arrested in Iraq, and the accounts of Iraqis in Fallujah who contend that most of the fighters in that city are Iraqi, are at odds with the American military's official portrayal of Zarqawi as the backbone of the militia that has controlled Fallujah for a year and a half.

Witnesses in Fallujah say that about half the roughly 400 foreign Arabs in the city answer to Zarqawi.

Last week, one fighter, a 37-year-old Jordanian named Hamad Saleh from the town of Al Mafraq, told an Iraqi reporter in Fallujah that he had abandoned his work as a truck driver to join the Iraqi resistance four months ago. But he said he loathed Zarqawi and his organization, Tawhid and Jihad. Their fundamentalism and "un-Islamic" tactics, including suicide bombings and beheading hostages, Saleh said, had tainted the reputation of fighters who had come to Iraq to join conventional battle against US forces.

"You should distinguish between Tawhid and Jihad, which ruined the reputation of the resistance, and those of us Arab fighters who answered Iraq's call for help," Saleh said. "We have nothing to do with Al Qaeda or Zarqawi."

Speaking in a downtown mosque after praying, Saleh said he and hundreds of other young men fought under the command of Iraqi mujahideen commanders, and looked forward to America's expected assault on Fallujah.

"Expect a fierce battle which history will record, speaking of young men who broke and defeated the greatest army in the world," Saleh said.

The Western diplomats and Arab observers who described American claims about the Zarqawi network as overstated still underscored that he is a dangerous and lethal man. Two years ago, in October 2002, an American diplomat, Laurence Foley, was murdered in Amman. Zarqawi has been indicted as the mastermind of that crime.

Jordanian authorities have charged him and his associates in connection with an April plot to attack foreign and government installations in Jordan, including the US Embassy.

In Iraq, Zarqawi and his group have mounted a publicity campaign as feverish as their attacks are violent, issuing videotaped statements, posting announcements to the Internet, and claiming responsibility for high-profile killings.

Last week, in a statement posted to the Internet, the group announced it was changing its name to "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia," while Zarqawi appeared to offer his services and his loyalty, formally, to bin Laden.

Inside Fallujah, however, the roughly 200 foreign Arab operatives answering directly to Zarqawi continue to refer to themselves as members of Tawhid and Jihad, according to local fighters who attended a meeting Thursday of the mujahideen shura council, suggesting that the name change to Al Qaeda was intended as a media move.

It is unclear whether Zarqawi's group is responsible for all the attacks to which it is linked, including the August 2003 suicide bombings at the United Nations, the Jordanian Embassy, and the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf.

The American military contends it has uprooted the group's leadership structure, but its campaign does not seem to have stemmed the nationwide wave of suicide bombings and targeted killings of Iraqi police and soldiers.

Since Sept. 2, the US military in Baghdad has made at least 30 announcements about operations against the Zarqawi network. During that period, covering less than two months, the US military contends to have killed at least 100 members of the Zarqawi network in Fallujah while bombing 25 safe houses, four illegal checkpoints, a training camp, and five weapons depots. And the US military announced the capture of 11 militants linked to Zarqawi. There is a $25 million reward for his capture the same amount offered for Saddam Hussein last year.

Jordanians who knew Zarqawi in prison say they doubt Zarqawi and his group alone could be behind all the terror attacks.

Two Islamists who spent time in prison with Zarqawi in the 1990s, Yusuf Rababa, 35, and Khalid abu Doma, 36, said that Zarqawi's group was but one of many cells that attracted young men looking for the kind of jihad many Arabs experienced in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Since the US invasion, the men said, dozens of Jordanians have left for Iraq to fight American forces with Islamic extremist groups, most of them not Zarqawi's.

"What is happening in Iraq is like what is happening in Jenin [in the West Bank]," said abu Doma, who contended he renounced terrorism after serving six years in prison for building car bombs. "We Arabs are of one language and one religion. The nationalist feeling moves us to fight."

The two men watched the beheading videos claimed by Zarqawi's group in Iraq, Tawhid and Jihad, and listened to the recorded statements attributed to him. They said they recognized him severing the head of American hostage Nicholas Berg, but in other cases are not certain it is Zarqawi.

They are convinced that the flowery language of communiques attributed to Zarqawi, including the December letter outlining Tawhid and Jihad's plans to sow instability in Iraq and the recent oath of loyalty to bin Laden sound far too sophisticated to have been authored by Zarqawi, who is said to be an inarticulate high school dropout.

"He was clever but uneducated," said Abdullah abu Ramman, a Jordanian journalist who spent four months in prison with Zarqawi in 1996. Zarqawi had memorized the Koran in prison, he said, but always relied on more senior religious figures to provide guidance to his followers.

A learned cleric, Abdullah al-Maqdesi, provided the gravitas to Zarqawi's jihadist program in the 1990s. Maqdesi was arrested two years ago, so Zarqawi brought another Jordanian with him to Iraq to serve as the spiritual guide for his terror cell, writing the fatwas that authorized tactics like suicide bombings and beheadings.

That man, Abu Anas Shami, was killed in a targeted US bombing in Fallujah Sept. 17.

In prison, each group had an emir, or prince, who was akin to a block captain, taking care of practical needs; in addition, each group of political prisoners had a "ka'ed," or leader, usually someone educated, who offered moral authority. Zarqawi was an emir, according to Rababa.

"The prince supplies what you need, and you have to obey him," Rababa said. "The leader has special qualifications, charisma, ideology, that draw people to him and win their confidence."

His followers stayed close to him not because of his charisma, but because of his strict personal code and his loyalty.

Rababa and abu Doma said Zarqawi carried a paraplegic member of his group "gently, like a baby." If friends needed money, he would borrow it on their behalf.

In 1999, Zarqawi and the other prisoners were freed in an amnesty. By then, abu Doma said, Zarqawi had branded him a "kafir," or infidel, because of their political disagreements.

Zarqawi never spoke of bin Laden in prison, the men recalled.

A year after his release from prison, Jordanian officials charged him with planning a terror attack against a religious site. Zarqawi went underground, and within two years was linked to several crimes, including Foley's murder.

Dr. Basel Ishaq abu Sabha, who treated Zarqawi and his followers in prison from 1998 until 1999, believes that American officials have attributed larger-than-life qualities to Zarqawi and his terrorist band, and that Jordanian officials have done the same by indicting Zarqawi in several thwarted plots, including an alleged plan to set off a chemical bomb in Amman a plan some Western officials said was exaggerated.

"Abu Musab, he is one guy. You will find a thousand like him in Iraq now," abu Sabha said. "This is a state fighting America, not just Abu Musab's small group. I think they can't do all these things."

Zarqawi letter PSY OPS fabrication Feb 2004

The following news story was the product of a psychological operations campaign conducted by the US military known generally as 'leveraging xenophobia.' The icon of one Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was built up with artificial news stories such as this one. The fabrication of this letter by the US military was confirmed by the Washington Post in early 2006.

In an election year, it was nice to have a well-defined enemy to claim expertise at obliterating. Elements of this letter found their way into Bush speeches within days.

It is likely (to me at least) that this letter is both illegal covert propaganda and a violation of the Espionage Act, which forbids the knowing distribution of fake information into the American intelligence community. FBI, where are you guys?

February 9, 2004 Monday
Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A; Column 4; Foreign Desk; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 1456 words
THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: INTELLIGENCE;
U.S. Says Files Seek Qaeda Aid In Iraq Conflict

BYLINE: By DEXTER FILKINS; Douglas Jehl contributed reporting from Washington for this article.
DATELINE: BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 8

American officials here have obtained a detailed proposal that they conclude was written by an operative in Iraq to senior leaders of Al Qaeda, asking for help to wage a "sectarian war" in Iraq in the next months.

The Americans say they believe that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who has long been under scrutiny by the United States for suspected ties to Al Qaeda, wrote the undated 17-page document. Mr. Zarqawi is believed to be operating here in Iraq.

The document was made available to The New York Times on Sunday, with an accompanying translation made by the military. A reporter was allowed to see the Arabic and English versions and to write down large parts of the translation.

The memo says extremists are failing to enlist support inside the country, and have been unable to scare the Americans into leaving. It even laments Iraq's lack of mountains in which to take refuge.

Yet mounting an attack on Iraq's Shiite majority could rescue the movement, according to the document. The aim, the document contends, is to prompt a counterattack against the Arab Sunni minority.

Such a "sectarian war" will rally the Sunni Arabs to the religious extremists, the document argues. It says a war against the Shiites must start soon -- at "zero hour" -- before the Americans hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis. That is scheduled for the end of June.

The American officials in Baghdad said they were confident the account was credible and said they had independently corroborated Mr. Zarqawi's authorship. If it is authentic, it offers an inside account of the insurgency and its frustrations, and bears out a number of American assumptions about the strength and nature of religious extremists -- but it also charts out a battle to come.

The document would also constitute the strongest evidence to date of contacts between extremists in Iraq and Al Qaeda. But it does not speak to the debate about whether there was a Qaeda presence in Iraq during the Saddam Hussein era, nor is there any mention of a collaboration with Hussein loyalists.

Yet other interpretations may be possible, including that it was written by some other insurgent, but one who exaggerated his involvement.

Still, a senior United States intelligence official in Washington said, "I know of no reason to believe the letter is bogus in any way." He said the letter was seized in a raid on a known Qaeda safe house in Baghdad, and did not pass through Iraqi groups that American intelligence officials have said in the past may have provided unreliable information.

Without providing further specifics, the senior intelligence officer said there was additional information pointing to the idea that Al Qaeda was considering mounting or had already mounted attacks on Shiite targets in Iraq.

"This is not the only indication of that," the official said. The intercepted letter also appears to be the strongest indication since the American invasion last March that Mr. Zarqawi remains active in plotting attacks, the official said.

According to the American officials here, the Arabic-language document was discovered in mid-January when a Qaeda suspect was arrested in Iraq. Under interrogation, the Americans said, the suspect identified Mr. Zarqawi as the author of the document. The man arrested was carrying it on a CD to Afghanistan, the Americans said, and intended to deliver it to people they described as the "inner circle" of Al Qaeda's leadership. That presumably refers to Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The Americans declined to identify the suspect. But the discovery of the disc coincides with the arrest of Hassan Ghul, a Pakistani described by American officials at the time as a courier for the Qaeda network. Mr. Ghul is believed to be the first significant member of that network to have been captured inside Iraq.

The document is written with a rhetorical flourish. It calls the Americans "the biggest cowards that God has created," but at the same time sees little chance that they will be forced from Iraq.

"So the solution, and only God knows, is that we need to bring the Shia into the battle," the writer of the document said. "It is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between the infidels and us. If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands" of Shiites.

The author offers his services and those of his followers to the recipients of the letter, who American officials contend are Al Qaeda's leaders.

"You noble brothers, leaders of the jihad, we do not consider ourselves people who compete against you, nor would we ever aim to achieve glory for ourselves like you did," the writer says. "So if you agree with it, and are convinced of the idea of killing the perverse sects, we stand ready as an army for you to work under your guidance and yield to your command."

In the period before the war, Bush administration officials argued that Mr. Zarqawi constituted the main link between Al Qaeda and Mr. Hussein's government. Last February at the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said, "Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda lieutenants."

Around that time, the Americans believed that Mr. Zarqawi was holed up in the mountains at the Iranian border with Ansar al Islam, a group linked to Al Qaeda that is suspected of mounting attacks against American forces in Iraq.

Since the war ended, little evidence has emerged to support the allegation of a prewar Qaeda connection in Iraq. Last month, Mr. Powell conceded that the American government had found no "smoking gun" linking Mr. Hussein's government with Al Qaeda.

In the document, the writer indicated that he had directed about 25 suicide bombings inside Iraq. That conforms with an American view that suicide bombings were more likely to be carried out by Iraqi religious extremists and foreigners than by Hussein allies.

"We were involved in all the martyrdom operations -- in terms of overseeing, preparing and planning -- that took place in this country," the writer of the document says. "Praise be to Allah, I have completed 25 of these operations, some of them against the Shia and their leaders, the Americans and their military, and the police, the military and the coalition forces."

But the writer details the difficulties that he and his comrades have been experiencing, both in combating American forces and in enlisting supporters. The Americans are an easy target, according to the author, who nonetheless claims to be impressed by the Americans' resolve. After significant losses, he writes, "America, however, has no intention of leaving, no matter how many wounded nor how bloody it becomes."

The Iraqis themselves, the writer says, have not been receptive to taking holy warriors into their homes.

"Many Iraqis would honor you as a guest and give you refuge, for you are a Muslim brother," according to the document. "However, they will not allow you to make their home a base for operations or a safe house."

The writer contends that the American efforts to set up Iraqi security services have succeeded in depriving the insurgents of allies, particularly in a country where kinship networks are extensive.

"The problem is you end up having an army and police connected by lineage, blood and appearance," the document says. "When the Americans withdraw, and they have already started doing that, they get replaced by these agents who are intimately linked to the people of this region."

With some exasperation, the author writes: "We can pack up and leave and look for another land, just like what has happened in so many lands of jihad. Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases.

"By God, this is suffocation!" the writer says.

But there is still time to mount a war against the Shiites, thereby to set off a wider war, he writes, if attacks are well under way before the turnover of sovereignty in June. After that, the writer suggests, any attacks on Shiites will be viewed as Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence that will find little support among the people.

"We have to get to the zero hour in order to openly begin controlling the land by night, and after that by day, God willing," the writer says. "The zero hour needs to be at least four months before the new government gets in place."

That is the timetable, the author concludes, because, after that, "How can we kill their cousins and sons?"

"The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the sons of this land will be the authority," the letter states. "This is the democracy. We will have no pretexts."

URL: http://www.nytimes.com

GRAPHIC: Photo: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is said to be behind an appeal to Al Qaeda. (Photo by Petra, via Associated Press)(pg. A6)

LOAD-DATE: February 9, 2004

Zarqawi's crimes exaggerated, say U.S. agents in Iraq

All Rights Reserved
The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia)
October 4, 2004 Monday
Final Edition
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. A5

LENGTH: 687 words

HEADLINE: Zarqawi's crimes exaggerated, say U.S. agents in Iraq

BYLINE: Adrian Blomfield, Daily Telegraph

DATELINE: FALLUJAH

FALLUJAH -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist leader believed to be responsible for the abduction of Briton Kenneth Bigley, is "more myth than man'', according to American military intelligence agents in Iraq.

Several sources said the importance of Zarqawi, blamed for many of the most spectacular acts of violence in Iraq, has been exaggerated by flawed intelligence and the Bush administration's desire to find "a villain" for the post-invasion mayhem.

U.S. military intelligence agents in Iraq have revealed a series of botched and often tawdry dealings with unreliable sources who, in the words of one source, "told us what we wanted to hear."

"We were basically paying up to $10,000 a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq," the agent said.

"Back home, this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one."

The sprawling U.S. intelligence community is in a state of open political warfare amid conflicting pressures from election-year politics, military combat and intelligence analysis. The Bush administration has seized on Zarqawi as the principal leader of the insurgency, mastermind of the country's worst suicide bombings and the man behind the abduction of foreign hostages.

He is held up as the most tangible link to Osama bin Laden and proof of the claim that the former Iraqi regime had links to al-Qaida.

However, fresh intelligence emerging from around Fallujah, the rebel-held city that is at the heart of the insurgency, suggests that the insurgency is led and dominated not by Arab foreigners, but by members of Iraq's Sunni minority.

Pentagon estimates have put the number of foreign fighters in the region of 5,000. However, one agent said: "The overwhelming sense from the information we are now getting is that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed several hundred and is perhaps as low as 200.

"From the information we have gathered, we have to conclude that Zarqawi is more myth than man. He isn't in the calibre of what many politicians want to believe he is.

"At some stage, and perhaps even now, he was almost certainly behind some of the kidnappings. But if there is a main leader of the insurgency he would be an Iraqi. The insurgency, though, is not nearly so centralized to talk of a structured leadership."

Military intelligence officials complain that their reports to Washington are largely being ignored. They accuse the Pentagon of over-reliance on electronic surveillance and aerial and satellite reconnaissance carried out for the CIA.

In recent weeks American military command in Iraq has claimed a series of precision air strikes on targets in Fallujah identified by the CIA as housing known associates of Zarqawi.

It has denied that there were any civilian casualties, despite television footage showing dead and wounded women and children being pulled from the rubble of flattened homes on several occasions.

Both U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have, to varying degrees, conceded that intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction program was misleading. But both continue to maintain that the continued violence since Saddam was ousted is because Iraq is now the front line in the "war on terror."

No concrete proof of the link between Zarqawi and bin Laden was offered until earlier this year when US officials trumpeted the discovery of a computer disk, allegedly intercepted by Kurdish Peshmerga. Among its files was an apparent draft of a letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden.

But senior western diplomats in Baghdad claim the letter was almost certainly a hoax.

They say that, while the two men may have met in Afghanistan, it appeared they never got along and there has been a rift for several years.

The diplomats describe Zarqawi as deeply ambitious. His actions are aimed as much at boosting his position in the Islamic terrorist fraternity as striking at the United States.

Copyright 2004 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
October 4, 2004, Monday
10:03:18 Central European Time
SECTION: Politics

LENGTH: 567 words

HEADLINE: British daily says Jordanian terrorist Zarqawi largely a "myth"

DATELINE: London

BODY:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist leader linked to al Qaeda and held responsible for the beheading of Western hostages in Iraq, is "more myth than man", Britain's Daily Telegraph reported Monday, quoting unnamed U.S. intelligence agents. Sources in U.S. military intelligence in Iraq had said that the persona of Zarqawi had been largely manufactured to provide a "villain" for consumption in the United States, the London daily reported. The sources spoke of "botched and often tawdry dealings" with unreliable sources who "told us what we wanted to hear", the Telegraph's correspondent in Iraq said. "We were basically paying up to 10,000 dollars a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq," one agent said. "Back home this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one," the agent added. The Telegraph, a conservative daily which backed the U.S.-led invasion and tends to support U.S. President George Bush, said the U.S. intelligence operation in Iraq was "in a state of open political warfare" as a result of political pressures in a U.S. election year. Zarqawi, 38, is depicted as the man behind the most sensational atrocities in Iraq, from car bombs to the abduction and beheading of a series of Western hostages. His group, Tawhid and Jihad, is held responsible for the beheading of U.S. worker Nick Berg in May this year and for the beheading of two U.S. hostages seized in Baghdad on September 16, Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong. Most reports say Zarqawi carried out the killings in person. British engineer Ken Bigley, 62, abducted with Hensley and Armstrong, is apparently still being held by the group. The Telegraph cast doubt on the significance of Zarqawi, saying that evidence from Fallujah indicated that the prime movers in the insurgency centred on the largely Sunni city west of Baghdad were native Iraqis, not foreign jihadists. Disputing Pentagon estimates of 5,000 foreign fighters in the Fallujah region, one agent told the Telegraph: "The overwhelming sense from the information we are now getting is that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed several hundred and is perhaps as low as 200. "From the information we have gathered we have to conclude that Zarqawi is more myth than man. He isn't in the calibre of what many politicians want to believe he is. "At some stage, and perhaps even now, he was almost certainly behind some of the kidnappings. But if there is a main leader of the insurgency he would be an Iraqi. The insurgency, though, is not nearly so centralized to talk of a structured leadership," the agent said. The Telegraph also questions Zarqawi's alleged links to Osama bin Laden, saying the only evidence was a letter on a CD intercepted by Kurdish peshmerga guerrillas. It said unnamed senior diplomats in Baghdad believed the letter was almost certainly a hoax. The two men might have met in Afghanistan but it appeared they never got on and there had been a rift for several years, the diplomatic sources said. The paper also said reports that Zarqawi had had a leg amputated after an injury also appeared to be incorrect. dpa rpm emc

Zarqawi: An October Surprise

This article provides a complete view of how the Zarqawi icon built up by the miltiary reframed the 2004 presidential election, complete with Cheney's hedged statements and inserting fear of imminent death into the brains of Americans.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
October 10, 2004 Sunday
Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section 4; Column 1; Week in Review Desk; The World: Heart of Darkness; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 1782 words
HEADLINE: Who Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?
BYLINE: By DON VAN NATTA Jr.
DATELINE: LONDON

FROM a safe house in Falluja last January, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi wrote a rambling, 17-page letter to Osama bin Laden. The letter asked Mr. bin Laden to send Al Qaeda operatives to Iraq to help Mr. Zarqawi continue the guerrilla war against the American occupiers and their allies.

In the letter, Mr. Zarqawi, a 38-year-old Jordanian, had a weary, desperate tone that contradicts the nearly mythic invulnerability ascribed to him by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who have described him as one of the world's most dangerous terrorists. Mr. Zarqawi is, they say, the clearest link between Saddam Hussein's deposed regime and the Qaeda terror network.

In his letter, Mr. Zarqawi hardly sounded emboldened by his guerrilla campaign. Instead he ticked off a lengthy list of obstacles to victory -- a shortage of manpower, the wobbly will of some insurgents and peril lurking around every street corner.

''Our backs are exposed and our movements compromised,'' he wrote in the letter, which American forces seized in February from a courier in northern Iraq and later released to the public. ''Eyes are everywhere. The enemy is before us and the sea is behind us.''

Without question, Mr. Zarqawi is the most hunted man in Iraq. Nearly every week, coalition forces attack suspected safe houses where he may be hiding. Since writing his plea, Mr. Zarqawi has been portrayed by American officials as the world's most prolific terrorist, preaching jihad and practicing it, often while the world watches in horror -- most recently in the beheading of a 62-year-old British engineer, Kenneth Bigley, that was confirmed on Friday.

Who is Mr. Zarqawi? Is he Al Qaeda's point man in Iraq, as the Bush administration has repeatedly argued since weeks before the invasion of Iraq? Or, as some European and Middle East intelligence officials argue, is he a staunch rival of Mr. bin Laden's network whose importance has been exaggerated by the United States in an attempt to dramatize a link between Al Qaeda and the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein?

There is no dispute that Mr. Zarqawi has brazenly led a campaign of car bombings, mortar attacks, kidnappings and beheadings in Iraq, asserting his responsibility for the devastating attack in August 2003 on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.

But is Mr. Zarqawi responsible for ''most of the major car bombings that have killed or maimed thousands of people,'' as Mr. Cheney charged at the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday?

He may not be quite the prolific terrorist mastermind that the Bush administration claims. Just as little is known about the Iraq insurgency, there is little known about his organization, the Tawhid and Jihad movement. Estimates vary on the size of his group, anywhere from 50 to 100 ''foreign fighters'' and former Saddam Hussein loyalists to as many as 1,000.

Many intelligence officials in Europe doubt that the man jailed 13 years ago for sexual assault in Jordan possesses the organizational skills or manpower muscle to launch even a small percentage of the nearly 100 insurgents' attacks that occur across Iraq daily.

''I do not think that anyone in Europe or the Middle East honestly believes that he is responsible for everything that the United States says he has done in Iraq,'' said a senior European intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ''The guy is on the run. He is hiding from the U.S. forces, and he is probably changing houses every night. It would be almost impossible for him to calmly plan and execute the operations all over Iraq that some people believe he has done.''

In fact, in the months following the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Zarqawi was virtually unknown to anyone other than Jordanian intelligence officials, who saw him as a dangerous militant with a strong desire to turn Jordan into an Islamic state.

Mr. Zarqawi was literally introduced to the world in February 2003 when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the United Nations that Mr. Zarqawi was a ''collaborator and associate'' of Mr. bin Laden's. Mr. Powell also described him as a Qaeda chemical weapons expert who had relocated to Baghdad with Saddam Hussein's blessing and organized a cell of 20 operatives there.

Since then, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have repeatedly portrayed Mr. Zarqawi as the clearest link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's deposed regime. Mr. Zarqawi's presence in Iraq before the war, and his emergence since then, they say, justifies portraying Iraq as a centerpiece of the war against terrorism. During a recent campaign speech in Ohio, President Bush said: ''Zarqawi is the best evidence of connection to Al Qaeda affiliates and Al Qaeda. He's the person who is still killing.''

However, fresh doubts about Mr. Zarqawi's ties to Iraq were raised by American intelligence officials last week in a report prepared for Mr. Cheney. The Central Intelligence Agency determined that there is no conclusive evidence Saddam Hussein's regime provided safe haven to Mr. Zarqawi in the months leading up to the American invasion of Iraq. This assessment follows a similar finding in June by the Sept. 11 Commission, which concluded that there was no ''collaborative relationship'' between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime.

But at the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday night, Mr. Cheney said the C.I.A. ''had not yet reached the bottom line, and there is still debate over this question of the relationship between Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein.'' Mr. Cheney also said that the C.I.A. assessment reported that several of Mr. Zarqawi's associates had been arrested, and that Mr. Hussein ''personally intervened to have them released, supposedly at the request of Zarqawi.''

Mr. Cheney added that prior to Sept. 11, Mr. Zarqawi had operated a Qaeda training camp in western Afghanistan, near the Iran border. After Sept. 11, he ''migrated to Baghdad,'' Mr. Cheney said. ''He set up shop in Baghdad, where he oversaw the poisons facility up at Kermal, where the terrorists were developing ricin and other deadly substances to use.''

After Sept. 11, Mr. Zarqawi was believed by senior American officials to be working closely with Ansar al-Islam, the Kurdish group based in northern Iraq that was formed to attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein. This represents a fundamental contradiction about Mr. Zarqawi's apparent alliances, some terrorism experts say.

''I have always been quite puzzled by the story that Zarqawi was allegedly closely linked to Ansar al-Islam but also allegedly linked with Saddam Hussein's regime, the very regime that Ansar al-Islam aimed to destroy,'' said Jessica Stern, who lectures on terrorism at Harvard. ''I have been genuinely confused by that.''

Some terrorism analysts and European-based intelligence officials say captured associates of Mr. Zarqawi have said he had forged stronger ties with Iran and Syria than Iraq.

''Zarqawi spent more time in Iran than anywhere else after Sept. 11,'' said Peter Bergen, a fellow at the New America Foundation and an adjunct professor of international studies at Johns Hopkins University. ''Zarqawi called Saddam a devil on one of his Web site postings this year.''

It's not only the Bush administration that suspects Mr. Zarqawi has played a dominant role in other terrorist attacks and plots. Some officials in Jordan and several European countries have suspected that Mr. Zarqawi's network played a role in a host of terror attacks, and disrupted plots, over the past two years.

Some say that his burgeoning network assisted in the Madrid train bombings last March, as well as helping to organize a plot to carry out ricin attacks in Britain and France in January 2002 and a disrupted plot last spring to launch a massive chemical attack in Amman, Jordan.

However, further investigation into all three plots has raised substantial doubts that Mr. Zarqawi played any role, several senior European officials said.

''It defies common sense to believe Mr. Zarqawi has managed, from a hideout in Iraq, to build a worldwide terror network that has attacked so often,'' one European-based counterterrorism official said.

While much about Mr. Zarqawi's operations remain unknown, some senior intelligence officials in Europe and the Middle East, as well as some terror experts, argue that the United States has purposely overstated Mr. Zarqawi's importance, turning him into an almost mythic figure. This portrayal may have enhanced his aura with young recruits, helping his organization entice new jihadists in Europe and the Middle East to join his group's ranks, they say.

Mr. Zarqawi sees himself not as a disciple of Mr. bin Laden but as a rival, some officials and analysts said. Mr. Zarqawi's group often competes for recruits with Al Qaeda, particularly in Europe, they say.

''Zarqawi was never part of the leadership of Al Qaeda -- he has never sworn allegiance to bin Laden,'' said a senior German intelligence official, who refused to be identified. ''He has been an independent agent, with his own network and ways of doing things that are distinct from Al Qaeda's way of doing things.''

Shadi Abdullah, a Tawhid member apprehended in Germany in 2002, told investigators that Mr. Zarqawi's group saw itself to be ''in rivalry'' with Al Qaeda, according to several senior German officials.

Unlike Mr. bin Laden, who has remained in hiding since the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Zarqawi relies on high-profile kidnappings combined with sweeping demands, like calling for the release of all women prisoners held by coalition forces in Iraq. And he does many of the beheadings himself, officials believe. On May 11, a video titled ''Sheik Abu Musab Zarqawi Slaughters an American Infidel'' appeared on an Islamic militants' Web site that showed the beheading of Nicholas Berg, the young communications engineer from Pennsylvania. American intelligence officials say they believe that Mr. Zarqawi used a kitchen knife to slit Mr. Berg's throat.

Mr. Zarqawi, who has never sworn fealty to Mr. bin Laden, does not regard himself as one of Al Qaeda's lieutenants, some officials and analysts said, but rather as an equal fighting for a similar cause.

For example, in his January plea to Mr. bin Laden, Mr. Zarqawi referred to a divide between his group and the Qaeda network. He approached the Qaeda chief as a fellow terror network leader with a proposal that might be mutually beneficial. Mr. Zarqawi told Mr. bin Laden that any Qaeda recruits sent to Iraq to fight would ''work under your banner.'' Mr. Zarqawi concluded by saying he would not harbor ill will if Mr. bin Laden refused to provide additional men.

''We are brothers,'' Mr. Zarqawi wrote, ''and the disagreement will not spoil friendship.''

URL: http://www.nytimes.com

GRAPHIC: Photos: Without question, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the most hunted man in Iraq. (Photo by John Moore/Associated Press)
There is disagreement over whether Abu Musab al-Zarqawi played a part in the Madrid train bombings last March. (Photo by Paul White/Associated Press)(pg. 7)
(Photograph from Petra via Reuters)(pg. 1)Drawing (Illustrations by Jonathon Rosen)(pg. 1)