An audiotape attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq, has surfaced on an Islamist website claiming that he is only “lightly wounded.” The tape emerged after a week of speculation about the health of the man Osama bin Laden has identified as his deputy, which began when rebels posted a message on the internet asking those loyal to the insurgency to pray for his health.
The message, dated May 27 and addressed directly to bin Laden, could not be immediately authenticated. On it, the voice claiming to be al-Zarqawi dismissed stories that he had been incapacitated. “I think news has reached your ears through the media that I was seriously wounded… I would like to assure you and assure Muslims that these are baseless rumours and that my wounds are minor,” it says. It does not reveal any details about al-Zarqawi’s injuries but it does mention fierce fighting around the city of al-Qaim in northeast Iraq.
Last week there were conflicting reports on Islamist websites, some claiming that al-Zarqawi was gravely wounded and had handed over control of his group to a deputy, and others insisting he was leading a response to police operations in Baghdad.
Gen. Richard Myers, outgoing chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US “tends to believe” that al-Zarqawi was wounded during Operation Matador, which was aimed at capturing him, on the Iraq-Syria border earlier this month.
Al-Zarqawi already has only one leg after being hit by a United States missile in Afghanistan in 2002. With a $25 million bounty on his head, has been the most eagerly sought leader of the Iraqi insurgency since Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003.
The speaker on the tape said that al-Zarqawi was continuing his fight “against the Crusaders and the enemies of religion” despite his injuries, and that “the enemy today is living out his worst days in Iraq”. The tape also criticised Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslims and their spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is described as a “cleric of atheism” for his support of the American-led occupation. (London Times, May 31)
Meanwhile, the dogmatically paranoid blogger Kurt Nimmo thinks al-Zarqawi doesn’t really exist. He wrote May 29:
Now we’re expected to believe Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is in Iran.”Quoting a senior insurgency commander in Iraq, the Sunday Times said Zarqawi had shrapnel lodged in his chest and may have been moved to Iran. It said his supporters might try to move the Jordanian-born militant to another country for an operation,” reports Reuters.
Is it possible this “senior insurgency commander” is an idiot or possibly a rank amateur? If indeed al-Zarqawi is the “leader” of the resistance, it does not make sense for his top lieutenants to be so thoughtlessly loquacious with the media and admit the wounding of al-Zarqawi and reveal here he is. On the other hand, if al-Zarqawi is not connected to the resistance but is instead a U.S. covert intelligence operation designed to discredit the resistance and convince us they are little more than criminals and sadists (to say nothing of idiots), the United States has done an admirable job…
“Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the report in the Sunday Times newspaper was without foundation,” Reuters continues. “‘This is an unprofessional kind of fabricating news,’ Asefi told a weekly news conference.”
It is obviously fabricated news. It is a transparent effort to finger the Iranians—-who figure big, as do the Syrians, who are accused of aiding and abetting the resistance, in Bush’s Strausscon cooked-up plan to “reshape” (through bunker buster and cruise missile) the Muslim Middle East—-and make it appear the Iranians support the hobgoblin Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It does not matter if this makes absolutely no sense (the Iranians would have to be as stupid as the Iraqi resistance to have anything to do with al-Zarqawi) because facts or corroborating evidence of complicity is no longer needed—all it takes is a few declarations from anonymous “senior administration officials” and the fantasy is firmly established as truth. Never mind the conflicting and illogical nature of the al-Zarqawi in Iran story line—viz., as the corporate media keeps telling us, al-Zarqawi has a thing for killing Shi’ites and Iran is a Shi’a Muslim nation. Is there a reason a killer of Shi’ites is allowed refuge in a country teeming with Shi’ites? Does not compute.
“The United States has accused Iran of harboring al-Qaeda militants who escaped Afghanistan after U.S. troops invaded in late 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks,” the Reuters report continues. “Tehran acknowledges that al-Qaeda members have managed to cross its long and hard-to-police borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it denies providing safe-haven to al Qaeda members and has extradited scores of suspected militants who have fled to Iran in the last four years.”
In other words, since Iran “harbored” al-Qaeda, it can be assumed it is also harboring al-Zarqawi, even though, as Reuters points out, Iran has extradited “scores of suspected militants”…
“A US State Department report noted recently that al-Qaeda members had found a ‘virtual safe haven’ in Iran, adding that the country’s long rugged borders were ‘difficult to monitor,'” according to the Sunday Times-—that is to say it cannot be satisfactorily verified if al-Qaeda or al-Zarqawi are in Iran or romping at Jojo’s Circus at Disney World…
If George Bush says [al-Zarqawi] exists, well then, he exists—and like simple-minded lemmings we will march right over the precipice, as did the Good Germans and other people who instinctively buy into the lies of authoritarian sociopaths.
So, everybody who thinks that maybe al-Zarqawi exists is a “simple-minded lemming” and a “Good German” who supports Bush and the war. You really have to love this capacity for subtle reasoning.
Nimmo’s relentlessly condescending tone and claims to know more than he possibly can are both obnoxious. But we do give him big credit for using quotation marks properly in passages with quotes within quotes, something few people bother to pay attention to these days. Nice going there, Kurt. Seriously. Maybe one day his writing and logic will be as good as his punctuation.
See our last post on the charming and elusive Mr. Zarqawi.