Zarqawi Issue Still on the Front Burner
Tony Karon at Time’s weblog and Jim Lobe in the Asia Times both write interestingly on the letter attributed to Abu Mus`ab az-Zarqawi (i.e. Ahmad Fadil Al-Khalailah), the “Arab Afghan” leader of the al-Tawhid terrorist group that has for some time had a rivalry with al-Qaeda.
A fine, professional Arabist and career diplomat at the Coalition Provisional Authority has now done a complete and more polished translation of the whole letter, , which has been posted.
After talking to some contacts in DC, I have concluded that the letter is authentic and derives from al-Zarqawi. But I maintain that he dictated the basic ideas to a literate scribe, perhaps an Iraqi, who put them in flowery standard Arabic and threw in classical allusions.
I tend to agree with Karon and Lobe that the text of the Zarqawi letter for the most part does not support the use so far made of it by the Bush administration.