22.6.06

Al-Zarqawi death: Myth vs. reality

Al-Zarqawi death: Myth vs. reality -:

Al Zarqawi or his myth, whether incidentally or by design, has perhaps served as the greatest propaganda tool ever utilized by the Americans, months before the invasion of Iraq and most likely long after his passing. He successfully alienated many anti-war camps throughout the world, notwithstanding many Arabs and Sunni Muslims who, rightfully, believed that his tactics were savage, un-Islamic and self-defeating. He gave rise to the widely circulated argument that the U.S.’ war is that between forces of civilization and forces of darkness, with an Arab Muslim male flawlessly representing the latter. He concurred the shaky allegation that the source of instability in Iraq was the presence of foreign Arab fighters, which helped sever inner-Arab ties and focused the pressure against Syria, accused of allowing such movement of fighters across its borders. He helped widen the chasm between Iraqi forces and sects, even those who believe in the legitimacy of their struggle against occupation.

While his death may indeed signal an end to various pretexts used and abused by the U.S. government, military and media, his absence nonetheless will have its rewards, however, temporary. One of which is the very rare opportunity that allowed Bush, Blair and U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki to declare the full formation of the ‘first democratic Iraqi government’ and the death of a menace, or a myth called Al Zarqawi, both at the same time: Western TV analysts happily jumped at the opportunity to analyze the relations between the two innocently timed declarations; U.S. military generals displayed to journalists - for the sake of transparency of information - how Al Zarqawi was blown up; Iraqi police too put on a dancing and firing in the air show for the cameras; the oil market stabilized a bit and sighs of relief poured in from various world capitals.

Al Zarqawi, or his myth has apparently outlived his usefulness. The Iraq conflict seems to be going in a new direction, though its success or failure is unknown. A new media menace will have to be concocted to suit new U.S. policies in Iraq and around the region. Al Zarqawi is dead; another Al Zarqawi is being born.

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