Zarqawi breaks with mentor?

Al-Jazeera reported July 6 that Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, spiritual mentor of Iraq’s al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been arrested in Jordan, after a brief period of being free under close surveillance. He was freed following his acquittal on terrorism charges, and it is uncertain on what charges he is now being held. Ironically, the arrest comes immediately following an interview with al-Jazeera in which the Sheikh criticized his protege’s brutal tactics. “I have reservations on expanding jihadi operations or what others call suicide or istishhadiya [martyrdom],” he said. He was apparently referring to suicide attacks on civilians. Al-Zarqawi did not appreciate the criticism, immediately issuing a communique blasting his mentor. “This [criticism] does not harm me as much as it harms this jihad…the blessings of which are apparent to anyone who has eyes,” said the statement posted to an Islamist website and signed by Zarqawi. “Do not follow in the devil’s footsteps or you shall perish, and beware, our virtuous sheikh, from the cunning of God’s enemies and from being lured into dividing the mujahideen.” (The Peninsula, Qatar, July 13)

See our last post on Iraq and on al-Zarqawi.

  1. Heroic Iraqi resistance declares war…on Shi’ites
    From Occupation Watch:

    Zarqawi Reportedly Forms New Armed Wing

    The militia will fight the Shiite Badr Brigade, an audiotape attributed to the militant says.

    Times Wire Services
    Los Angeles Times, A5
    July 6, 2005 Wednesday


    Al Qaeda’s suspected leader in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi, said his group had formed a new armed wing to fight the Badr Brigade, a Shiite Muslim militia, according to an audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet.

    The voice on the tape, which sounded similar to previous recordings attributed to Zarqawi, also said that the U.S.-allied Iraqi army was his enemy.

    “Some say that the resistance is divided into two groups — an honorable resistance that fights the nonbeliever-occupier and a dishonorable resistance that fights Iraqis,” the speaker said. “We announce that the Iraqi army is an army of apostates and mercenaries that has allied itself with the crusaders who came to destroy Islam and fight Muslims. We will fight it.”

    Hadi Amery, the leader of the Badr Brigade, a powerful Shiite militia allied with the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq that fought Saddam Hussein from exile in Iran, has denied sending hit squads against Sunni Muslims.

    Although the group now calls itself the Badr Organization and says it is a political movement, many Iraqis believe it is still a fighting force.

    The tape said Zarqawi’s new “Omar Brigade” would “eradicate” the Badr Brigade.

    Zarqawi’s spiritual mentor, who Al Jazeera television said was arrested by Jordanian authorities Tuesday, reportedly criticized militant suicide attacks in Iraq and those against Shiites.