Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Zarqawi is not Al Qaeda

This is the first time that it has been made
explicit that Zarqawi is not an Al Qaeda activist.
The interview is credible and Al Hayat would not have
carried it if the source was not credible.

Jordanian militant Ahmed A Khalayleh, better
known as Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, who is blamed for the
wave of guerrrilla attacks, kidnappings and beheadings
in Iraq, has never been an Al Qaeda activist; nor has
he sworn allegiance to Osama Bin Laden although he
shares Bin Laden's militant ideology.
This is the assertion made by an unidentfified source
— an "Islamist Arab" — who is said to have recently
met Zarqawi in the Iraqi town of Fallujah, according
to an interview carried by the respected London-based,
Saudi-owned Al Hayat Arabic-language daily.
Al Hayat quoted the source as saying in reply to a
question whether Zarqawi and Bin Laden were linked
with each other:
"I wish that he (Zarqawi) was an Al Qaeda
representative in Iraq. But the truth is that Zarqawi
has his own organisation. He is not an Qaeda member
and has no connection to Sheikh Osama (Bin Laden).
They only employ the same method.
"There is no organisational connection between them –
on the contrary, many Arab youth have said that they
will swear allegiance to Zarqawi provided that he
swear allegiance to Sheikh Osama. They say that so far
he has not sworn allegiance, and that he used to say:
'to this day I have not sworn allegiance to Sheikh
Osama and I am not acting in the framework of his
The assertion of the source fitted in with the view of
seasoned observers in the retion that Bin Laden and
Zarqawi were not working together.
Reports have spoken about how Zarqawi went to
Afghanistan in late 80s, but was disappointed that the
Soviet army had by then left that country, worked as a
writer before returning to Jordan where he was
imprisoned for several years because of suspected
links with Bin Laden.
However, observers and analysts say that there has
never been any evidence that Bin Laden had enlisted
Zarqawi in is Al Qaeda group.
Those who knew Zarqawi in prison in Jordan say he was
too independent-minded to affiliate himself with Bin
Zarqawi went back to Pakistan/Afghanistan in late 1999
and stayed there but he operated his own group based
in Peshawar in Pakistan and in Kandahar in Afghanistan
where he had his own camp unconnected with Al Qaeda.
No one has reported seeing Zarqawi and Bin Laden
Zarqawi has never claimed to speak on behalf of Al
Qaeda; he has said he leads the Al Tawhid Wa'Al Jihad
organisation, which he calls an independent group
dedicated to "replace Arab regimes" with Islamist
In the interview carried by Al Hayat, the unidentified
source made the following points (Pls note the quotes
and unquotes):
Zarqawi believes that "we are fighting in Iraq but our
eyes are raised not only to Iraq but also to other
places, such as Jerusalem." He "has a strategy and an
aspiration to expand the fighting to the entire
Zarqawi "came to this arena only to expel the
Americans from the Muslims' country (Iraq) and to
establish an Islamic government. This is part of the
goal, because if this is not done, how will we be able
to bring about coups d'etat in neighboring countries?
How can we rescue Jerusalem when we have no base from
which to set out? Rescuing Jerusalem and the
neighbouring countries will come only after the rise
of an Islamic state from which the youth will set out
to liberate the neighboring areas."
On killing of hostages, according to the source,
"Zarqawi is convinced that his operations are
permitted by Shari'a [Islamic law], and that the
hostages are not truly hostages. There is a difference
between a hostage and a spy or a captive. The sentence
for spies is death. But there is some dispute about
how it is to be carried out – by the sword or by
According to the source, Zarqawi "accepts comments"
from ulema (Muslim religious leaders) regarding
whether his killing operations are permitted or
forbidden according to Islam — provided that the ulema
are not connected to a regime and are offering
opinions out of personal conviction, and not to please
their rulers."
Zarqawi believes that "there is evidence in the
Shari'a that his killings are permitted, even if they
include the mutilation of corpses: 'Allah has
permitted us to repay them in kind, with the same
means that they use. If they kill our women, we will
kill their women'."
Zarqawi rejects the suggestion that he is attacking
Shiites in Iraq.
According to the source, "Zarqawi's position [on
Shi'ites] is clear… The entire Salafi stream believes
that the Shi'ite is an infidel ideology. I believe
this and Zarqawi believes that the Shi'te is heresy.
But this does not mean that we declare the Shi'ite
masses infidels. We must call upon them to atone to
Zarqwi maintains that "anyone who enters this country
(Iraq) together with the Americans in the context of
their occupation is an infidel. We are not talking
about an apostateregime, regarding which there is
disagreement whether it should be declared infidel.
(But) there is no dispute regarding anyone who
collaborates with the occupation – he is a traitor and
he must be killed, regardless of whether he is a
Sunni, a Shi'ite, or a Turk."