February 12, 2004

A pain and a thorn

I hadn't seen this highlighted in the Zarqawi letter, allegedly a communication from al Qaeda on its strategy in Iraq, so I thought it worth pointing out:

Kurds these are a pain and a thorn, and it is not time yet to deal with them. They are last on our list, even though we are trying to get to some of their leaders. God willing.

If the letter is genuine, Al Qaeda truly are monsters. The thing that fascinates me about it is that they seem to assume that all they have to do is foment violence, and once they do everything will work out to their advantage. That was the strategy of Sept. 11, and we've all seen how effective it is.

Posted by Ideofact at February 12, 2004 11:46 PM

Check out this piece in MEMRI by Abu Ubeid al-Qurashi that explains the organization's combat doctrine. In it, he takes note of the organizations activities in Somalia and Chechnya as well as Hezbollah's campaign in southern Lebanon, all the while dancing around the problem that with all of their violence and victories, they still haven't managed to set up one Islamic utopia yet.

I'm going to analyze the Zarqawi letter in full later today, but I find it interesting that he's so contemptuous (racist?) towards the Kurds given that they provide the backbone of Ansar al-Islam in Iraq, including one of the suicide bombers used in the Irbil attack.

Posted by: Dan Darling at February 13, 2004 12:35 PM

I think it takes a lot of assuming to read this as a racist comment.

One can assume that the Kurds who are his enemy are those who are allied with the Occupation Authorities. It is because of this and/or because they oppose Islaamic rule that they would be considered enemies (like other secular, western supporting Muslim groups) not because they are Kurds.

At least that's what I would assume it means.

I don't know anything about Zarqawi so maybe you read it right...but I would want more evidence to assume that this is what this statement would mean.

In fact, the mere fact that he uses the terms 'pain and thorn' would indicate to me that he is talking about the organized Kurdish militia and their work on behalf of or allied with the Americans to fight against Ansar al-Islam or other anti-occupation insurgents.

Then again, Dan surely knows more about Al-Qaida than I do, but I also think that he is a little willing to attribute anything negative he can to them.

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at February 13, 2004 05:12 PM

One can tell that Zarqawi isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, so perhaps by Kurds he means only "the vast majority of Kurds who aren't eager to be brutalized by a totalitarian state that me and my fellow al Qaeda sociopaths will run," but given the hatred evinced toward the Shi'a as well as the Kurds, it seems like the gentleman has some serious issues.

Posted by: Bill at February 13, 2004 05:30 PM

Zarqawi was imprisoned for nearly a decade by the Jordanian government, so I think that might account for a number of his anger problems. It was in prison where he became radicalized to begin with, just the way that a lot of inmates in American prisons do today.

I'm still combing through the letter and will blog the full text later today on RC, but he certainly appears contemptuous if not racist towards Kurds in general as well as Shi'ites. I think that the fact that this letter was intended for internal distribution within al-Qaeda reflects a lot of the bluntness of the message - he can air his real views on these subjects without sugar-coating it for his superiors.

Posted by: Dan Darling at February 13, 2004 06:48 PM

Zarqawi is detailing al Qaeda’s long-held 'underpants gnome' strategy.

The basis of this theory was pioneered by South Park’s underpants gnomes, whose mission statement was:

A)steal underwear
B) ???
C) profit

Al Qaeda’s variant on this theory is to:

A) Randomly kill people
B) ?????
C) Victory!

The underpants gnome theory of management & victory seems to be popular throughout the many levels of the Fundamentalist hierarchy.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said:

“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of (other) countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world."

Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a source of inspiration for bin Laden, said:

"…Every Moslem on earth should unsheathe his sword and fight to liberate Palestine. The Jihad is not limited to Afghanistan. Jihad means fighting. You must fight in any place you can get. Whenever Jihad is mentioned in the Holy Book, it means the obligation to fight. It does not mean to fight with the pen or to write books or articles in the press or to fight by holding lectures."

And we know that Qtub shared the idea that jihad “does not mean to fight with the pen or to write books or articles in the press or to fight by holding lectures.” Apparently, he was one of the original believers in the then cutting-edge underpants gnome theory.

Posted by: mary at February 16, 2004 04:15 PM