Sheikh of the Slaughterers": Abu
Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi and the Al-Qa'ida Connection
Shortly after the occupation of Iraq
in April 2003, Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi emerged as a leading terrorist in that
country. While a number of terrorist organizations are operating in Iraq
besides the insurgency movement led by Saddam's former intelligence and
loyalist groups, Al-Zarqawi's organization combines terrorist activities
with an ardent anti-Shiite zeal designed to instigate a civil war between
the Iraqi Sunnis and the Shiites.
This paper explores Al-Zarqawi's
words and actions and his linkage with al-Qa'ida under the leadership of
Osama bin Laden. Al-Zarqawi initially operated independently of al-Qa'ida.
But recently, bin Laden named him the Amir, or commander, of Al-Qa'ida in
Iraq. The meaning of this is not clear. Has bin Laden elevated Al-Zarqawi
because of his increasing notoriety and his influence among potential
Jihadist elements, hoping to forestall his emergence as the single most
important terrorist figure? Or does Al-Zarqawi need bin Laden's endorsement
to strengthen his grip on the terrorist activities in Iraq?
All the groups currently involved in
Iraq as national insurgents or foreign, primarily Islamist, terrorists share
a common purpose designed to destabilize the country by:
* Murdering the leaders of the
country and members of the security forces and terrorizing innocent
* Destroying the infrastructure and
This report focuses on Al-Zarqawi's
biographical background, his terrorist activities in Iraq and their
religious Islamist roots.
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