Thursday, June 08, 2006
Frustrations of Empire. There is something ironic about the only super power on earth taking so much pride and pleasure in the killing of Zarqawi. These are the frustrations of Empire; an empire that moved tens of thousands of troops into Iraq and used massive violence and employed the most advanced weapons ever manufactured and yet it had to chase for 3 years a man from Jordan by the name of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi. There was something odd about the president of the US making a special speech to take credit and to derive “political capital” from the killing of Zarqawi. This is a small time criminal-turned deadly terrorist, but he alone is not responsible for the problems that US occupation face in Iraq. But I have seen this before. We all remember when we all were told that the insurgency will come to an end once `Udayy is captured or killed; no, once Qusayy is captured or killed, or Barzan or Taha Yasin Ramadan, or…We also remember the mood of self-congratulations that surrounded the capture of Saddam Husayn; we all read newspaper articles about how Saddam carried on him a briefcase which contained all the information and contacts of the Iraqi insurgency. There were analysts who predicted that the insurgency was coming to an end. For skeptics in the Arab world—including in Iraq and Muqtada As-Sadr has expressed such views among others, the news will only confirm widely held views that Zarqawi does not exist as a person and that he is a mere figment of CIA’s imagination. No matter how much I told people in the region that he is a real person, and that there are people, and journalists in Jordan, who have served time in jail with him, many refused to believe that Zarqawi ever existed. The pictures of the bloated face will not eliminate those suspicions. In fact, it can easily be argued that America’s problems in Iraq may only increase. And let us face it; US commanders in Iraq are fully aware that the hundreds of attacks on US troops in Iraq in the month of May were largely and overwhelming at the hands of groups that are not connected with Zarqawi. Furtheremore, Zarqawi was a stigma for the Iraqi resistance movement, and his death may in fact improve the image of the resistance and focus its energies on attacking the occupation troops. And the death of Zarqawi will not end the acute sectarian divisions in Iraq; those divisions have been engineered and manipulated by many factors that include Saddam’s long record in power, the policies and actions of US occupation apparatus, the policies of the ruling and actions of the ruling coalitions of Iraq, and the actions and murders by sectarian Sunni fanatical groups (like Al-Qa`idah) and by Shi`ite sectarian groups (like Badr militia). But in fact this rush to celebration by the Bush administration is a sign of incompetence and of misjudgment. This could be another small version of “mission accomplished.” This could be false assertion of optimism, but this is an election year and the president is willing to try anything new to lift up his sagging approval ratings. This is an administration that is not capable of restraint, even when it is in its own political interest. But the Bush administration is desperate for victories, and so desperate for signs of “progress in Iraq” that anything would do. Furthermore, there are still those “senior aides” to Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi who are being captured—if we believe the US media coverage—at the rate of one-a-week at least. And there are those who are slated to inherited his position in Al-Q`idah: Al-Masri or Al-Baghdadi or Al-`Iraqi, or whoever. Foreign occupation always looks for signs for indications of “watershed” in the hope that occupation could become smooth and comfortable. With or without Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi, US occupation in Iraq will not proceed according to those early plans of the war enthusiasts. And Zarqawi seems to feel that his bloody sojourn in Iraq was coming to an end; his latest video in which he was clowning with his guns did not seem serious and did not seem to indicate concern for security. A man who had sent scores of young people on suicide missions, may have made his last suicide video. One worries whether a cult following will soon develop among the fanatical groups. After all; he was killed by a missile and did not go through the dental exam to which Saddam Husayn was subjected.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 9:36 AM