The slain terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi purportedly believed that Iraq's
Shiite Muslims were more dangerous than U.S. forces and more evil than dictator
Saddam Hussein, according to a posthumous interview published Friday on the
The 33-page interview,
conducted sometime before a U.S. fighter bomber killed the former al-Qaida in
Iraq leader in June, could not be immediately authenticated. It was posted on a
Web site known to be a clearing-house for al-Qaida material.
This is an undated file photo
released in Amman, Jordan, Dec. 14, 2002, of Jordanian-born terrorist
mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The late leader of al-Qaida in Iraq
purportedly saw the country's Shiite Muslims as more dangerous than U.S.
forces and more evil than dictator Saddam Hussein, according to a
posthumous interview published on the Internet Friday, Dec. 8, 2006. The
33-page interview, carried out some time before a U.S. fighter bomber
killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June, could not be authenticated but it was
posted on a Web site known to be a clearing-house for al-Qaida material.
The posting, which comes amid ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq, said the
interview had been kept in al-Qaida's archive but did not explain why the terror
group had decided to release it six months after his death.
In the interview, al-Zarqawi is quoted as saying the leader of Iraq's
Shiites, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is a "satan" who publicly tells Shiites
to stay above the violence but secretly tells them to attack.
"Al-Sistani has ordered his followers not to fight the Americans ... and yet
they hit Sunnis with assassinations, forcing them to flee their homes and
attacking their mosques," said al-Zarqawi, a Sunni from Jordan. "For us, the
Shiites are far more dangerous than the Americans."
"The mass graves that Saddam perpetrated, and all his other crimes over the
past decades, do not amount to one-tenth of what the Shiites have done in the
last three years," al-Zarqawi is quoted as saying.
Earlier this week, a bipartisan commission in the United States warned "the
situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating" and recommended fundamentally
different U.S. policies to combat the sectarian violence roiling the country.
The Iraq Study Group report also concluded that al-Qaida in Iraq is now
largely made up of Sunni Arabs. Some 1,300 foreign fighters are believed to
support the group or be available to carry out suicide bombings, the study
In the interview, Al-Zarqawi condemns the attacks of Iraq's Shiite Muslim
militiamen on the country's Sunni Muslim community. Yet it was al-Zarqawi who
had fomented Shiite-Sunni strife as the best way to scuttle the U.S. plans to
rebuild Iraq as a democratic state after Saddam's overthrow.
Al-Zarqawi, whose real name was Ahmad Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalayleh, was
responsible for the most vicious of the wave of attacks that occurred in the
first years of the Iraqi insurgency. He is believed to have personally beheaded
at least two American hostages. The U.S. had put a $25 million bounty on his
head, the same amount as for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
In the interview, al-Zarqawi also rails against the leader of the Lebanese
Shiite militant group Hezbollah, implicitly accusing Sheik Hassan Nasrallah of
being in league with Israel.
Al-Zarqawi accuses Nasrallah of being two-faced in his opposition to Israel
and suggests it is not an accident that Israeli aircraft have not killed him as
they have killed several leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
"Hassan Nasrallah sits for hours at a military parade and Israeli aircraft
don't bomb him. Who is he kidding?" al-Zarqawi is quoted as saying.