Enjoying death

George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard must be so proud:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq’s al-Qaeda leader and the nation’s most wanted man, has been killed in a US air raid north of Baghdad.

The glee with which this news has been received in the West is remarkable. The Iraqi insurgency – of which al-Zarqawi’s foreign group consisted of around five per cent – will be little affected by his death. There are many to take his place. The Western media, still happy to parrot government spin on killing “terrorists”, were complicit in creating the “mastermind” tag for al-Zarqawi (today’s Sydney Morning Herald doesn’t disappoint.) He was nothing of the sort. The vast majority of murders in Iraq are carried out by US-backed, Shiite death squads.

This is the real face of Iraq:

The women of Basra have disappeared. Three years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, women’s secular freedoms – once the envy of women across the Middle East – have been snatched away because militant Islam is rising across the country.

Across Iraq, a bloody and relentless oppression of women has taken hold. Many women had their heads shaved for refusing to wear a scarf or have been stoned in the street for wearing make-up. Others have been kidnapped and murdered for crimes that are being labelled simply as “inappropriate behaviour”. The insurrection against the fragile and barely functioning state has left the country prey to extremists whose notion of freedom does not extend to women.

The death of al-Zarqawi is a symbolic blow to al-Qaeda, but little more (and why, by the way, are Western leaders so content praising the murder of “terrorists” and civilians from a great height?) Jihadist ideology isn’t about one man, or even a group. It’s a movement feeding off the discontent of occupation and invasion. An occupied people have the legitimate and legal right to resist occupation.

The death of al-Zarqawi will be as effective in killing off the insurgency as the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common