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The Zarqawi Phenomenon
By Dahr Jamail
Wednesday 06 July 2005
A remarkable proportion of the violence taking place in Iraq is regularly credited to the Jordanian Ahmad al-Khalayleh, better known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and his organization Al Qaeda in Iraq. Sometimes it seems no car bomb goes off, no ambush occurs that isn't claimed in his name or attributed to him by the Bush administration. Bush and his top officials have, in fact, made good use of him, lifting his reputed feats of terrorism to epic, even mythic, proportions (much aided by various mainstream media outlets). Given that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has now been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be based upon administration lies and manipulations, I had begun to wonder if the vaunted Zarqawi even existed.
In Amman, where I was recently based, random interviews with Jordanians only generated more questions and no answers about Zarqawi. As it happens, though, the Jordanian capital is just a short cab ride from Zarqa, the city Zarqawi is said to be from. So I decided to slake my curiosity about him by traveling there and nosing around his old neighborhood.
"Zarqawi, I don't even know if he exists," said a scruffy taxi driver in Amman and his was a typical comment. "He's like Bin Laden, we don't even know if he exists; but if he does, I support that he fights the U.S. occupation of Iraq."
"The Americans are using him for their propaganda," he insisted. "Think about it -- with all of their power and intelligence capabilities -- they cannot find one man?"