Saturday, December 31, 2005

Zarqawi-Kurd ally connection

From NPR's "All Things Considered " an interview with coauthor Daniel Benjamin of The Next Attack. Benjamin briefly discusses Zarqawi's association with a Kurdish extremist group in the area protected by the No-Fly Zone in Iraq and the administration's awareness of the existence of the camp. The group had been working to produce ricin, a poison everyone should be familiar with at this point. Al-Zarqawi was allowed to operate within an American ally's de facto national borders(Iraqi Kurdistan) prior to the invasion. According to Benjamin, the Ansar al-Islam camp's existence was known, but administration officials decided not to attack the camp after American forces had crossed the border into Iraq, despite the desire by American forces. I remember an Ansar al-Islam camp having been destroyed rather early in the invasion of Iraq by special forces. It must not have been Zarqawi's camp.

Benjamin posits the view that the War on Terror has been distracted by the Iraq War, not enhanced. There are a number of al-Qaeda wannabe groups inspired by the death and destruction wrought against Americans and Iraqis who would prefer not to be destroyed in the name of Allah. Seems to me it's a lot like the hate-group phenomenon in the U.S. where the old standard hate groups of American history have faded into oblivion with a more sinister motley collection of skin-head groups with no central communication, except the internet and are more difficult to monitor and discover their crimes. Al-Qaeda as a movement has morphed into a collection of isolated cells inspired to be creative in their murderous ends among groups of folks who have no idea who their compatriots are, but serving the same goal inspired daily by jihadist websites and their sympathizers (some might argue Al Jazeera is adding to a bandwagon effect throughout formerly peaceful communities in various Islamic countries where jihadism is rising in popularity).

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