Zarqa: The Word on the Street

ZARQA, Jordan – In this rundown industrial town where the al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was born, residents expressed anger, skepticism and dismay Saturday that one of their own could be behind Amman’s triple bombings that killed 57 people, mostly Arabs and Muslims. If there were still any people with any sympathy left for al-Zarqawi, it’s gone now.

It has backfired on him, said Zuheir Najjar, 45. What does an attack on a wedding with women and children have to do with fighting the Americans?…. in the desert town of Zarqa, 15 miles northeast of the capital Amman, many regarded Wednesday’s bloody attacks as a barbaric act that had nothing to do with Islam. Any person who would do such an act must be considered a heretic, said Abu Ibrahim, a 56-year-old merchant standing outside his shop, several hundred yards from al-Zarqawi’s high-walled house, where his relatives still live. A small light was on at al-Zarqawi’s two-story family home and shoes were seen at the doorstep, but nobody answered reporters who came knocking on their door Saturday.

Close by, neighbors sat warming themselves around a metal bin filled with flaming coals, drinking tea and coffee and discussing politics. Some voiced anger of al-Zarqawi’s attack on fellow Jordanians, but others were unsure that he was involved at all, saying it could have been a bogus claim. Others blamed Israel, which despite its 1994 peace treaty with Jordan is still seen as a pariah by many here, who trace their roots back to the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. I don’t even know if the man is still alive or not, Abed el-Momany said of al-Zarqawi. I would not discount the Israeli Mossad. Israel is the worm in the Arab world, he added.

Ayman Tawalby, sitting cross legged on the ground and stroking his Osama bin Laden-style beard, said he opposed any terrorist attacks inside Jordan. I support the resistance against the Americans in Iraq and against the Israelis everywhere, said the unemployed 47-year-old. Those are our enemies. But I don’t support bombing innocent civilians. In the town’s center, Nabil Daoud said he supported bin Laden when he fought the Soviets and, later, the Americans in Afghanistan, just like he backed al-Zarqawi’s insurgency against the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq. But when they started targeting Muslims, I stopped sympathizing with them, said Daoud, who is in his early 20s. I don’t understand it anymore.

One thing I found odd in this article is the phrase Osama bin Laden-style beard. I’m wondering if the reporter knows that Muslims have been growing beards for the past 1400 years. Osama isn’t a fasion trailblazer, it’s not like it went out of style and Osama is bringing it back. In the context of everything this isnt a big deal but i was peeved about it and God dammit I’ll blog about it.

Second, I honestly have a lot of sympathy for the Zarqawi clan. Imagine being stuck with a name so tarnished abroad and now ruined at home. This family needs to move, heck the government should change their names or something, like the witness protection program.

Third, the Zarqawi myth. The reality is no one knows. It’s fun to assume but realistically no one has any real evidence to prove he’s alive, nor is their any evidence suggesting he’s dead. Over the past 2 years since the Iraqi war there are many accounts by all sources, including AlQueda, America and Israel, concerning his death. No one really knows. All we have are letters released on the internet. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out how easy that is to do. I’m also willing to bet that none of these suicide bombers even met or heard from Zarqawi. He’s like Charlie in Charlie’s Angels and none of the viewers even know if Charlie is real or just some recording on a loudspeaker. I don’t support nor can I really deny any of these theories. I really don’t care either. AlQueda is like this insect that once you cut it up it divides and becomes two insects. And with America’s supposed war on terror this insect has divided and divided and is now growing. The U.S. has become the fuel on the fire and now the flames are spreading to neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan.

If Zarqawi is indeed real and operating than the Iraqi war isn’t really important as he has always been hell bent on destroying the monarchy in Jordan even before the war ever started. So the war has served only as an excuse. I think he was expecting Jordanians to cease some oppertunity and overthrow the regime, as if he was the one who tripped the first domino in the maze, only to discover it never existed. What threw him off? Was it the poll they took a few months back that showed 60% of Jordanians support AlQueda? Is that why he’s so suprised at the Jordanian street reaction? Well like Zuheir Najjar If there were still any people with any sympathy left for al-Zarqawi, it’s gone now. It has backfired on him.

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