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Mosque Bombing Signals Al Queda Split

Whether the terrorist bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra pushes Irag into full-scale civil war or not, it does appear to signal a definitive and irrevocable split between Al Zarqawi's Al Queda in Mesopotamia and the Bin Laden/Zawahiri headquarters of Al Queda in Pakistan.

The destruction of this holy Shiite site has to be the work of Zarqawi. Given that this shrine has existed peacefully in Samarra for a thousand years, it's highly doubtful that any Sunni Iraqi nationalist would have done this:

But why, especially after Al Queda headquarters' No. 2 Zawahiri warned Zarqawi last year that continued https://onrealt.ru/rostov-na-donu/snyat-kvartiru-posutochno-nedorogo attacks on Iraq's Shi'a population would be bad PR, did Zarqawi go ahead and order such a bold strike?

One answer is that splits are inevitable among fanatical ideologues. Forty years ago, the splits were between Russia versus China, China versus Albania, leftists versus ultra-leftists. Nowadays, the splits are between Jihadist versus ultra-Jihadist.

Then, too, Zarqawi is an ambitious man. He knows he's at the nexus of international Jihadism, and I suspect his ambition fuels a desire to supplant the Bin Laden/Zawahiri "old guard" for leadership of the global Jihad.

If the violence in Iraq continues to escalate, watch for a public pronouncement from Zawahiri urging Muslims to unite against "divisions" and "sectarianism." Of course, he won't blame Zarqawi, but rather "Zionists and Crusaders."


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Wait a minute. What split? bin Laden and Zarqawi have always been ideological enemies. There never was a unified Al-Qaeda as such.

Al-Qaeda has to be understood as an ideology, not an organisation. And as with all ideologies, every group will have it's own idea of how to pursue their ideological goals. bin Laden does not condone the killing of muslims, no matter which strand they follow.

Zarqawi, on the other hand, does.

It is that simple.

And please, do not call them jihadists. That term is vague, inexact, and ignorant of muslim customs.

Of course you're right, xenmate, that "Al-Qaeda has to be understood as an ideology, not an organisation."

There are indeed many different organizations, but at the same time, they do tend to orbit around one or another guiding center.

For a time, it looked like the Bin Laden center was unchallenged. Last year, Zarqawi pledged his personal loyalty to Bin Laden. This is no small matter.

So if today he is openly defying Zawahiri's request that he stop attacking innocent Shia, this is significant, indeed.

Really, the similarities here with the global Marxist-Leninist movement of the 1960s and 1970s is striking. One over-arching ideology -- in the case of the M-Ls, the overthrow of the international capitalist system and now, in the case of Jihadis, the overthrow of infidel dominion -- but ever-growing splits leading to divergent, and often fueding, organizations and centers.

One thing you can count on: all absolutists eventually split and fight amongst themselves. It's their nature.

Btw, why do you say the terms "Jihadists" or "Jihadis" are pejorative? I've spent many years in the Muslim world, and this is not my experience.

Is it pejorative where you come from?


What split? bin Laden and Zarqawi have always been ideological enemies. There never was a unified Al-Qaeda as such.

Oh, that must be why Zarqawi very conspicuously rechristened his organization al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Hee, hee. Rechristened...

Zarqawi would not have tied up the guards.

Not his style.

bin Laden never killed Muslims?

Tell that one to the Algerians!

"Please do not call them jihadists."

OK! How does "bloodthirsty mass-murderers" work for you?

Yeah, seriously, I've read numerous Muslim commentaries and news reports that use the term Jihadis or Jihadists.

What's wrong with the term?

Hamas uses the J-word all the time. "JIHAD." It does not mean "trying to improve myself" when Hamas uses the term.

So what are we supposed to do? Ignore a bunch of religious kooks who have been preaching and practicing violence for OVER THIRTY YEARS NOW?

P.S. I was in Algeria when Black September killed the Israeli Olympic athletes. I remember.

I'm no expert, so I'll let the experts talk for me:

"Though in very broad terms committed to a similar agenda, Islamic militants, like Conrad's anarchists, are a quarrelsome bunch, riven by personal jealousies and ambition. A new generation of younger, less educated, less political operators now challenge senior leaders such as Osama bin Laden. Zarqawi, who grew up in a breezeblock house in a rough, poor city north of Jordan's capital, became involved in Islamic militancy in Afghanistan in the late 90s, at about the time that 47-year-old bin Laden started his 'al-Qaeda' project.

The younger man, far from being an 'affiliate', as the Americans say, has always resented the Saudi-born militant's pre-eminence and his wealthy upbringing. The executions, perhaps even by Zarqawi's own hand, are a strong challenge to a man who has, for 15 years, sent others out to fight and die and is confined to the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, far from the killing grounds of Falluja.

However, Zarqawi does not share bin Laden's strategic intelligence. The Saudi's aim was to radicalise and mobilise the masses of the Middle East and he has been careful not to alienate his core constituency by attacking only targets symbolic of the West's might. But, judging by the reaction of much of the Islamic world to this year's string of executions, Zarqawi has misjudged his audience. Only the most extreme seem to support his actions. Though numerous enough to do serious harm, they are vastly outnumbered by moderates. This offers hope of a sort."

As for the term jihadist:

yes, the muslims around me do see this term as pejorative, as they don't believe the radical salafists like Zarqawi and bin Laden as muslim at all. To describe them using one of the sacred precepts of Islam does make them cringe.

To the person who said that the fact that Zarqawi called his organisation 'Al-Qaeda in Iraq' was proof that the two are in coalition... does the term hijaking mean anything to you?

That's an excellent analysis you quoted, xenmate. Where's it from?

Meanwhile, mileage apparently varies on the use of the term Jihadi or Jihadist. Some use it, some resent it, others could care less. So what else is new?

As for Zarqawi's relations with Bin Laden, my whole point is that splits are inevitable among ideologues -- and my guess is that there's one now between these two centers of radical Islam.

There is no doubt, however, that two years ago Zarqawi pledged personal fealty to Bin Laden and his leadership of the global Jihad. There's a religious term in Arabic to describe that sort of binding pledge of loyalty, but I forget what it is.

Anyway, thanks for some very informative comments.

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