Looks like news from the “war on terror” we are fighting “over there” in Iraq is about to temporarily distract Americans from doing battle “here” with the gay insurgents (insurgents? terrorists? dead-enders?) allegedly waging “war” on the institution of marriage.
“Insurgent Leader Zarqawi Killed in Iraq.” If the headlines prove to be correct and Abu Musab Zarqawi–Jordanian-born leader of al Qaeda in Iraq–has been killed by US forces in a raid on a house north of Baquba, this marks a perverse kind of setback for Right Zionists visions of the war in Iraq. At the level of ideology, Zarqawi was best understood as the perfect foil for Right Zionists like David Wurmser who think of Iraq as the front line of a regional war. Zarqawi is the mirror image of Wurmser.
One of the most important battles within the Iraq war has been the struggle to define the central axis of conflict. According to the first axis–call it the nationalist axis–the US has been fighting in Iraq against a national liberation army defending itself against imperialist occupation. Along this axis, the signature moment might be the April 2004 rebellion–simultaneous and sometimes coordinated–of Sunni insurgents in Fallujah and Shiite insurgents (Sadr’s Mahdi Army) in Najaf. Along the nationalist axis, any fissures between Shiite and Sunni melts into a unified national resistance to foreign occupation. Not surprisingly, Right Arabists within the US foreign policy establishment prefer to think in terms of the nationalist axis because at the level of policy it tends to commend a resolution: give the insurgents their country back. Bring back the Baathists. Return the country to its rightful owners.
According to the second axis–call it the sectarian axis–the US has been fighting a regional war on terror by tilting the regional balance of power away from Sunni extremists and the Sunni Arab dominated regimes with which they are aligned and toward the region’s embattled Shiites. Along this axis, the signature moment might be the February 2006 bombing of the Shiite Askariya shrine in Samarra. This bombing shifted the axis toward a war between Sunni terrorists and oppressed Shiites. As Adel Abdul Mahdi, a leader of the Shiite SCIRI party, so aptly put it after the bombing: This is as 9/11 in the United States.” The logic of the bombing was to put Shiites and Americans in the same boat.
Nobody did more to identify, build and maintain the significance of Sunni/Shiite split–the sectarian axis–than Abu Musab Zarqawi. Zarqawi may have hated Zionists, but his importance in Iraq was that he also hated Shiites. It was in the mind of Zarqawi–like the mind of Wurmser–that Zionists and Shiites were united. Right Zionists will not shed a tear for Zarqawi, but they may miss him when he is gone. If he is gone. For Right Zionists, Zarqawi is really an indespensible enemy. As Zarqawi’s allies might say: the US may have killed Zarqawi, but it has not yet dismantled the sectarian axis.