… (I really enjoy calling him that – in case you don’t know, Austin Bay lives in Austin, TX)… elaborates on the Zarqawi Perplex today in an interesting post “What do we know and when do we know it?: Zarqawi, Al Qaeda, and Saddam“. After quoting from the Iyad Allawi report discussed here yesterday, Austin writes:
Unfortunately a vast swath of the US national media “concluded” in the run up to the 2004 presidential campaign that “Al Qaeda-Saddam connections weren’t proven.” “Not proven” is accurate, at least not proven to support a court case – but we’re in a war and operating inside the fog of war. I use the verb “concluded” instead of “argued”: the cynical tone and intensity of the MSM “argument” vis a vis Iraqi-Al Qaeda connections left the impression that these connections didn’t exist at all. The truth is there were numerous indications of connections and possible collaboration, indications that would have raised eyebrows prior to 9/11 but would not have raised alert levels. But “not proven” echoed “no WMD,” and both worked into the 2004 press template “Bush lied, people died.”
A covert, terrorist organization survives via stealth. It has to cover its tracks. Some information about Al Qaeda, its people, its connections, its intentions, will take years to uncover. King Abdullah and former PM Allawi now offer evidence of Saddam-Al Qaeda connections and Allawi’s suggest potential collaboration. Abdullah’s information implies a tangential conection, but Allawi’s indicates direct dealing. Where’s the front-page reporting and 24/7 cable chitchat? Newsweek needs to follow this lead. Will Dan Rather – while he’s looking for Lucy Ramirez – try to find Faruq Hajizi, the “former ambassador” Allawi names? That’s a 60 Minutes interview we all need to hear.
“Indeed!,” as Glenn of Knoxville would say, though if by “intentions” Austin means Al Qaeda’s overall policy, I think that’s pretty clear by now and it’s really quite simple. Bin Laden has stated it and it was reiterated by one of their terrorists who blew up the Atocha station in Madrid, when he said they wanted “Al Andalus” back. Al Qaeda intends to impose or reimpose the Caliphate on as much of the world as possible. You could say on the one hand they haven’t made much progress; but if you look at places like Indonesia, you have to wonder.
UPDATE: Now there are rumors that the wounded Zarqawi has “fled” Iraq.
AND NOW: Some of his aides have apparently been arrested. This is not the best of times for Zarqawi. Let’s hope soon it will be the worst of times.