Al-Sarkawi: Das neue Phantom
--- Die New York Times versucht sich an einem Porträt des mythenumwobenen jordanischen Terroristenführers al-Sarkawi, dem wichtigsten Gegenspieler der irakischen Regierung. Viel mehr als über bin Laden scheint man aber auch über ihn nicht zu wissen: Ten years ago, fellow inmates remember, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi emerged as the tough-guy captain of his cellblock. In the brutish dynamic of prison life, that meant doling out chores. "He'd say, 'You bring the food; you clean the floor,' " recalled Khalid Abu Doma, who was jailed with Mr. Zarqawi for plotting against the Jordanian government. "He didn't have great ideas. But people listened to him because they feared him." According to American officials, Mr. Zarqawi has come a long way from his bullying cellblock days and is now the biggest terrorist threat in Iraq, accused of orchestrating guerrilla attacks, suicide bombings, kidnappings and beheadings. ... American forces are stepping up airstrikes on buildings they believe to be his safe houses in Falluja and have raised the bounty on him to $25 million, the figure offered for Osama bin Laden. For all that, Mr. Zarqawi remains a phantom, with little known about his whereabouts or his operations. ... people, who knew Mr. Zarqawi until he disappeared into the terrorist murk of Afghanistan four years ago, acknowledge that he may have changed. But they say that while the man they knew could be capable of great brutality, they have a hard time imagining him as the guiding light of an Iraqi insurgency. "When we would write bad things about him in our prison magazine, he would attack us with his fists," said Yousef Rababa, who was imprisoned with Mr. Zarqawi for militant activity. "That's all he could do. He's not like bin Laden with ideas and vision. He had no vision." ... American intelligence officials said Mr. Zarqawi opened a weapons camp connected to Al Qaeda in late 2000 in western Afghanistan. There he took up his nom de guerre, with Zarqawi a reference to his hometown of Zarqa. United States officials said he was wounded in a missile strike after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks when American forces went after the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Intelligence officials say he then left Afghanistan, where he had taken a second wife, and made his way to a corner of northern Iraq controlled by a Kurdish separatist Islamic group called Ansar al-Islam. ... In February, American officials in Baghdad released a 6,700-word letter - outlining a terror strategy to drag Iraq into civil war - that they said had been found on a CD from Mr. Zarqawi to Al Qaeda's leadership. But people who know Mr. Zarqawi wonder if he was the author. They said the lengthy political analysis, the references to seventh-century kings and embroidered phrases like "crafty and malicious scorpion" do not sound like him. "The man was basically illiterate," Mr. Abu Doma said, though he acknowledged that a learned acolyte could be helping him. ... The mystery remains. On May 11, a video appeared, titled "Sheik Abu Musab Zarqawi Slaughters an American Infidel." It showed the beheading of Nicholas Berg, the young Pennsylvania businessman. American officials believe that Mr. Zarqawi may have been the killer. Back in Amman, there are questions. The killer on the video cuts with his right hand. While Mr. Hami said he thought Mr. Zarqawi was right-handed, Mr. Rababa and Mr. Abu Doma, who shared the same room with him for several years, insisted that he used his right hand only for eating and shaking hands. Eine andere Sichtweise auf al-Sarkawi und den amerikanischen Spin um ihn herum präsentiert Michel Chossudovsky. Viele Fragen bleiben offen, Futter für Verschwörungstheorien gibt es zuhauf.