Saturday, October 22, 2005

Zarqawi's Rise Is An Opportunity

From Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence officials say Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has expanded his terrorism campaign in Iraq to extremists in two dozen terror groups scattered across almost 40 countries, creating a network that rivals Osama bin Laden's.

This could be a good thing. In fact, it might be in our interest to encourage him for a little while. Then, he will get greedy, and try to overthrow Osama, which could very well lead to a war within the terror ranks.

The director of the National Counterterrorism Center considers bin Laden a strategic plotter who is deep in hiding and out of regular contact with his followers, while al-Zarqawi is involved broadly in planning of scores of brutal attacks in Iraq.

"He is very much a daily, operational threat," said Scott Redd, who is in charge of the government's counterterrorism strategy and analysis.

In figures not made public before, counterterrorism officials say that Zarqawi's network of contacts has grown dramatically since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and now includes associates in nearly 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Those Muslim extremists are members of at least 24 groups, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to much smaller organizations in Indonesia.

This is a significant piece of information. It probably wouldn't surprise any CUANAS readers, but to those who are educated by the MSM this might come as a shock. The accepted wisdom of the MSM is that the terrorist attacks around the world are committed by "separatists," and "rebels," and are unrelated to each other.

His network remains somewhat of a puzzle. The U.S. officials say precise figures on its size are hard to come by, as are details about how his associates coordinate with the native Iraqi insurgency, largely made up of Sunnis.

One U.S. intelligence official said just 2 percent to 5 percent of attacks, generally those involving suicide bombers, can be directly blamed on al-Zarqawi.

Al-Zarqawi has 2,000 to 5,000 hard-core fighters, while the larger Iraqi insurgency easily numbers over 20,000, with over 100,000 broadly defined supporters.

The persistence of their attacks and subsequent media exposure have made al-Zarqawi the public face of al-Qaida and the broader insurgency. He has become so central to al-Qaida's operations that some evidence suggests he is providing money to bin Laden.

See, that's the kind of thing that will become a problem as time passes. Zarqawi will start to question what he is getting for his money. He will wonder instead, if Bin Laden ought to be the one paying him money.

This all sounds very threatening, but I think Zarqawi's rise could be an opportunity for America to create a fission which could lead to the eventual shattering of the various terrorist networks.