One of the most insightful commentators on the current conflict has been Michael Ledeen, who, while not always advocating the correct means, seems to understand the problem we are facing more clearly than most. In his latest essay he comments:
Zarqawi was a very important man in the terror network. I first noticed him some years ago, reading the German and Italian press. Several terrorist cells in those countries had been rounded up, and court documents showed that in both countries the network had been created from Tehran, by Zarqawi. Thus, years before we went into Iraq, Zarqawi was already a major player in international terrorism, and in recognition of his skills he was sent into Iraq as one of the organizers of the terror war against us and the Iraqi people.As usual, the connection to Iran is not evident in most reports on this murderer, though perhaps this is because it seems difficult to see how Iran would want to work with such an explicit hater of Shi'ites. Yet, Ledeen points out
Despite his intonations against the Shiites, and his manifest efforts to promote civil war in Iraq, Zarqawi was happy to work with the radical Shiite regime in Tehran, and they were happy to work with him. It is quite wrong to view him as a leader of one faction in a religious war; his promotion of religious conflict was simply a tactic designed to destabilize Iraq and drive out the Coalition. He and his Iranian backers/masters were desperate to promote all manner of internal Iraqi conflict: Kurds against Arabs, Turkamen against Kurds, anything that worked. It’s The Godfather all over again: the terror masters put aside their differences, sat down around the table, and made a war plan in which Sunni and Shia, Syrian and Saudi, Iranian and Iraqi cooperated against their common satanic enemy, the United States.Although his recent pronouncements against Iran's leader and Hezbollah make me wonder whether the Iranians perhaps decided that he had outlived his usefulness. Nevertheless, before his untimely death he appears to have been quite busy (though fortunately unsuccessful):
Reports from Canada recount contacts between the ‘home-grown’ terrorists arrested by the Mounties and Zarqawi himself (See the ‘Mississauga News,’ June 7: ‘The arrest of 17 suspects...is said to be the latest stage in dismantling a terrorist network that’s linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi...’). Those arrests seem linked to those carried out in Atlanta, Georgia, by the FBI, and to other arrests in Sarajevo, England, and Denmark. It will be surprising if we don’t find Zarqawi’s claw prints in several of those venues, as the Canadians have said. Remember, it was publicly announced a few months ago that Zarqawi was no longer the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, that henceforth the Iraqi Sunni ‘community’ would run the terror war there, and that Zarqawi would devote his efforts to the international jihad. It seems he did just that — and failed.Michael Ledeen is one of the few analysts who sees through the complexity of the terrorists world and argues that
we should conceive of terrorism as a kind of galaxy, with numerous components — ranging from Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the rump of al Qaeda and, most importantly, Hezbollah — who worked together, organized a division of labor, and were held in their orbits and epicycles by the Iranian intelligence apparatus, from the official ministry to the specialized units in the Revolutionary Guards.Sadly we are still wasting time treating the Iranians with kid-gloves when open warfare has long been overdue. As the elimination of Zarqawi shows, this war is winnable, these murderers are not invincible, our military is more than capable of destroying them. All that is required is that we commit ourselves to American self-defense.