The Coming New Wave of Jihad

(Boston Globe) Rita Katz - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has suddenly disappeared. A year after it assumed the name Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers (Iraq), Zarqawi's group took a back seat. In an Internet message posted Jan. 15, Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, the group's spokesman, announced the establishment of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq, an alliance of six Salafi jihadi groups. A few days after the council was established, Al-Qaeda in Iraq ceased to post communiques. In a letter from Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda's second in command, to Zarqawi in July 2005, Zawahri described al-Qaeda's plans: ''The jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals. The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq. The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or emirate...a caliphate - over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas. The third: Extend the jihad wave." Zawahri then addressed the timing of the changes: ''Things may develop faster than we imagine...we must be ready to start now, before events overtake us, and before we are surprised by the conspiracies of the Americans....The Sharia emirate that is necessary requires fieldwork starting now." Zarqawi had not intended to remain in Iraq forever anyway; he used Iraq only as a springboard for his long-term goal - establishment of a global caliphate. Toward that goal, attacks by Zarqawi's group have expanded beyond Iraq's borders. His group participated in the rocket attack on U.S. Navy ships at the Jordanian port of Aqaba on Aug. 19, 2005, the rocket attack on the Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona on Dec. 27, 2005, and the suicide attack on Western hotels in Amman on Nov. 9, 2005. Thus, Zarqawi and his Al-Qaeda in Iraq are not gone; they have simply moved to the next stage of their jihad against the West.

2006-03-15 00:00:00

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