Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: Dead Again


Let’s see. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the phantom terrorist with super-human powers, was killed in the Sulaimaniyah mountains of northern Iraq, and then he was killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, followed by a death during Operation Matador near the town of Qaim on the Syrian border, and finally he was killed, along with his mentor, Osama bin Laden, in the besieged city of Fallujah. Now we are told he was “killed in a U.S. air raid north of Baghdad [in the town of Hibhib near Baquba],” according to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Reuters reports.

The reported death—and past deaths—are simply another dimension of a rather transparent psychological operations campaign run out of the Pentagon. In April, we learned that al-Zarqawi is little more than hype, a neocon propaganda program. “The US 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,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald. “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 September 11 terrorist attacks,” or rather supposedly responsible, as no credible evidence has surfaced to date to pin blame on “al-Qaeda” (in fact, it is difficult to prove “al-Qaeda” itself actually exists). “The military’s propaganda program has largely been aimed at Iraqis, but seems to have spilled over into the US media. One “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 in February, 2004.”

I’d have to say this is backwards. In fact, the “propaganda program” was aimed primarily at Americans, who need a scary Freddy Kruger Muslim to convince them the occupation of Iraq is necessary. More scary demons will be required soon for a shock and awe attack unleashed against Iran.

Of course, it is only natural to kill off al-Zarqawi once again. Earlier this year, the Pentagon released a video, allegedly discovered “by US forces in a hideout in the Al-Yusufiyah neighborhood of southern Baghdad,” showing al-Zarqawi (or a person we are told is al-Zarqawi), wearing New Balance tennis shoes and fumbling with a U.S. M-249 squad automatic weapon. It appears the purpose of this video is to make al-Zarqawi out to be a bumbling idiot. “Is the recently released video, which consists in ridiculing rather than villainizing ‘Enemy Number One’, part of the Zarqawi PSYOP program?” muses Michel Chossudovsky.

It appears the neocon-dominated Pentagon wants to retire the al-Zarqawi PSYOP program, as al-Zarqawi has served his purpose—demonizing the resistance and kicking off a “civil war” in Iraq. Recall the retirement of Osama. “Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he’s alive at all. Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is—really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission,” said the Decider on March 13, 2002. Indeed, the “scope of the mission” became glaringly obvious almost exactly a year later, when the neocons invaded Iraq. However, in order to put a damper on embarrassing questions poised by the corporate media, this time around, instead of ambiguity, the Pentagon has decided to kill the al-Zarqawi myth with a real live bomb, thus resolving the question in a typically violent way.

Naturally, there is always the possibility al-Zarqawi will surface again, as he has done in the past. In early 2005, the “terror mastermind” (alternatively depicted as a petty criminal of sub-standard intelligence) “escaped shortly before raids on his hideouts,” according to Newsday. “Al-Zarqawi’s close calls are one sign that his militant network in Iraq has sustained serious losses and may be unraveling. Since early [February, 2005], Iraqi and U.S. forces have carried out a series of little-noticed raids in Baghdad, Mosul and other areas that led to the killing or capture of at least eight al-Zarqawi operatives. And then there was the story about the “Jordanian rebel” eluding “capture by American troops, but [leaving] behind a treasure trove of information” on a laptop computer. It was reported al-Zarqawi jumped out of a truck and ran to a safe house in Ramadi, even though he only has one leg.

Now that “civil war” has spread over Iraq, as engineered (the idea is to break up Iraq into three ethnic and religious pieces), the Pentagon may want to move on from the al-Zarqawi PSYOP program. “Has the US created, as part of a covert intelligence operation, a bogus ‘resistance movement’ made up of its own Al Qaeda sponsored ‘terrorists’? Their suicide attacks target Iraqi civilians rather than the US military,” Michel Chossudovsky writes.

The suicide bombings tend to encourage sectarian divisions not only within Iraq, but throughout the entire Middle East. They serve Washington’s interests. They contribute to undermining the development of a broader resistance movement uniting Shia, Sunni, Kurds and Christians against the illegal occupation of the Iraqi homeland. They also tend to create, at the international level, divisions within the antiwar and peace movements.

Moreover, the disinformation campaign also permeates the Iraqi and Middle East press. The latter tend to take the alleged Al Zarqawi’s statements published on the internet at face value. The Zarqawi threat to the Shia is seen as genuine. The links between Al Qaeda in Iraq and US intelligence is rarely mentioned. 

Articles by: Kurt Nimmo

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