Thursday, September 29, 2005

Iraq: Suicide Notes

Anyone who's read much Jihadist literature will be struck by the weirdly chivalric tone of it. These guys love to see themselves as heirs of Salah el-Din, whose knights fought and defeated the Crusaders to re-take Jerusalem. If you've seen Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven," it will give you some notion of that vision. There's much of the same spirit in the biographies sketched by this fascinating New Republic article:

THE ONLINE BIOS OF IRAQ'S "MARTYRS."Suicidologyby Husain Haqqani & Daniel Kimmage Post date 09.26.05 Issue date 10.03.05

n 2003, a 26-year-old Moroccan who called himself Abu Osama Al Maghribi took the proceeds from the restaurant he owned with his father in Tangier and went to Baghdad. There, Al Maghribi, who named his own son Osama in honor of Osama bin Laden, turned a car purchased with his restaurant money and the sale of a plot of land he owned into a weapon of jihad. A friend who accompanied him describes what happened: "Abu Osama came back and got his bride--his car--and flew ahead of me. I was behind him, in my car. There was a lot of traffic, and he started to maneuver between the cars as though he were on a race track going for first place. I couldn't keep up. My strength flagged, I stopped the car, and I cried. I saw him pulling away from me and drawing nearer to his target. His heart grew still to tear out the criminal hearts. He will be blessed, and the criminals will face hardship; he will rise, and they will fall. I saw a column of smoke rise 20 meters into the sky amid a deafening roar. He felled 50 infidels."
This account comes from "The Martyrs of the Land of the Two Rivers," a collection of 430 biographies of insurgents who are connected by conviction, if not organization, to a global jihad symbolized by Al Qaeda. As suicide bombings--not to be confused with other insurgent groups like Sunni Baathists--continue to rock Iraq on an almost daily basis (including a dozen that took place on a single day, September 14), these biographies provide the most extensive account thus far of how these jihadists see their mission. ...

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