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[Opinion] Al-Zarkawi

Posted June. 22, 2004 22:30,   


“There is a much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network. It is a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Abu Massad Al-Zarkawi is the one that plays a major role in the nexus.” U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell referred to Zarkawi while emphasizing the legitimacy of the invasion to Iraq at the United Nations early last year. This marked the first time when the leader of the radical Muslim terrorist group was spotlighted on the international stage.

The Iraq/al-Qaeda connection was officially denied last week by the “9-11 Investigation Commission” of the U.S. Congress. However, his notoriety has not faded away. He has been leading the terrorist group, which has kidnapped and threatened to kill Mr. Kim Sun-il.

While the background of Osama bin Laden was well known, there is not much information on Zarkawi. Even wanted posters put his height and weight as unknown. All the information available is that he was born to a poor Palestinian family in Jordan in 1966, lost his parents and dropped out of high school. The analysis that he cooperated with bin Laden is also ambiguous. Rather, it is said that he has challenged bin Laden’s leadership. CNN identified him as “a lone wolf.” It is because he has been independently carrying out terrorist attacks apart from al-Qaeda, in a wide variety of places ranging from the Middle East to Asia to Europe.

Even though he first dived into jihad against the Soviet Union, which invaded Afghanistan, now the enemy of Zarkawi is the United States and democracy. The religious extremist idea is that democracy, where men rule over men, does not fit with Islamic principles, which emphasize human obedience to the only god. The problems of the Arab world, such as corruption, extreme disparity among the rich and the poor, and youth unemployment, are all projected on the enemy named the United States. Last month, as he beheaded an American, Nicholas Berg, he shouted, “where is the anger for God`s religion?” However, he completely turned a blind eye to the rage of the world against his barbaric behavior.

It is said that as circumstances move toward more revolutionary directions, radicals usually gain power. For example, during the French Revolution, radical Jacobins won over moderate Girondins, and Bolsheviks over Mensheviks in the Russian Revolutionary era. However, I am afraid that radical terrorist Zarkawi’s mercilessness might cause Koreans, who have wanted to help Iraq, to let go of a bit of support and pity toward the Muslims.

Kim Soon-duk, Editorial writer, yuri@donga.com