Zarqawi Makes Recruitment Tape

Zarqawi Makes Recruitment Tape
Crackdown on Mahdi Army in Najaf

Reuters reports 18 deaths during a relatively light day of violence in the Iraqi civil war.

With regard to American casualties, the Pentagon does not even announce the wounded each day unless a soldier is killed. If you had 7 wounded, we’d never hear abour it. And, they are being badly wounded, often. Spinal damage, limbs blown off, and, MSNBC says, brain damage.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi appeared in a videotape on Monday, urging that the fight continue against the American presence in Iraq. The tape was a typical jihadi recruitment video. The foreign fighters such as Zarqawi constitute a small part of the Iraqi guerrilla movement. The Iraqi minister of the interior estimates them as a less than a thousand in the whole country. They can be deadly because of their bombing techniques and willingness to carry out suicide bombing.

I saw part of the tape on Aljazeera. At one point Zarqawi shows two rocket launchers named “al-Qaeda” and “Jerusalem.” Zarqawi clearly believes that the road to the liberation of Jerusalem from Israeli occupation lies through the destabilization of Iraq.

The bad news for Zarqawi: That theory about anything in Jerusalem “going through” Baghdad was tried out by the Washington Isntitute for Near East Policy (the Likud Party offices on the Potomac), the American Enterprise Institute (to the right of the Israeli Likud Party), AIPAC, and other Neocon think tanks, in 2003. It hasn’t worked out for them. It won’t work out for Zarqawi.

Nowawdays, ironically, the neo-conservatives are mainly arguing that there is no relationship between Iraq and the Palestinian issue. But all religious Iraqi Sunnis, and probably most Arab Iraqis, support Hamas to the hilt. The likelihood is that the killing of the four contractors in Fallujah that did so much to sink American Iraq was in revenge for Ariel Sharon’s murder of the old man in a wheel chair, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the chief ideologue of Hamas.

If Megan Stack is right that Sunni-Shiite tensions are rising in Eastern Arabia because of the Iraqi civil war, it could be a big threat to the world economy. Eastern province, where the Shiites live, produces 11 percent of the world’s petroleum every day. If it goes up in smoke the way Kirkuk has, you’d better get used to walking everywhere. The price of gas will be astronomical. I recommend Eco walking shoes.

Al-Zaman [The Times of Baghdad] reports, dateline Najaf [Ar.] that the long-simmering crisis between the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi troops and their American allies, in the Shiite holy city of Najaf south of Baghdad, has come out into the open.

Sahib al-Ameri, the leader of the Sadr Movement in the city, said that the American forces had arrested two brothers from the Movement, and had killed a third brother, Abd Muslim al-Nu`mani, after invading their home. The attack happened hours after an agreement was signed that required the surrender of security missions in the city to Iraqi forces. Al-Ameri said that the attack, killing and capture constituted an escalation and a humiliation by American forces of the Sadr Movement.

An official in the municipal government denied that American troops had been involved in the house invasion or the arrests. The source, who insisted on anonymity, said that the assault and the arrest were carried out by Iraqi forces– after the judicial authorities issued an arrest warrant for `Ala’ Abd Muslim, who stands accused of activities damaging to security in the city, including the manufacture of roadside bombs. The source said that the only US participation in the campaign will be the provision of close air cover to Iraqi forces. Iraqi forces received complete control of security in Najaf from the Americans in a ceremony held last Monday.

Al-Zaman also says that Washington has warned against the induction of entire units of sectarian militias into the Iraqi security forces, insisting that they were welcome to join as individuals.

Prime Minister-designate Jawad al-Maliki said that if the militias are not dissolved, they will drag Iraq into civil war. He said all weapons must be under the control of the security apparatuses. He said that there is no conceivable situation in which militias are necessary for security. (Al-Maliki needs to take a walk around Baghdad!)

Jonathan Finer says that Shiite militias are deploying to Kirkuk. The Kurdish militia in Kirkuk has another name: the police.

The FT says that al-Maliki is ready to compromise to form a government.

It is a toss-up as to whether corruption or sabotage is the bigger threat to the Iraqi oil industry.