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July 22, 2005
Zarqawi Continues To Alienate Muslims

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi continued his strange new strategy of alienating Muslims by kidnapping yet another diplomatic envoy to Iraq. This time, terrorists captured the Algerian charges d'affaires nearby his embassy in an ambush:

Algeria's top diplomat in Iraq was abducted Thursday by masked gunmen, witnesses said, nearly three weeks after the group called al Qaeda in Iraq kidnapped and killed an Egyptian envoy and threatened to seize more diplomats.

Ali Belaroussi, the charg d'affaires at the Algerian Embassy, was accosted by gunmen about 100 yards from the embassy in the west Baghdad neighborhood of Mansour and forced into the back of a car, according to witnesses. One witness said a bodyguard was abducted along with Belaroussi; another said that only the envoy was seized. ...

Because Algeria has not posted an ambassador to Iraq, Belaroussi is chief of his country's diplomatic mission here. No Arab country has sent an ambassador since Iraq's transitional government was formed in late April; the first was to have been Ihab Sherif, the Egyptian diplomat who disappeared on the night of July 2. Three days later, on a day when two other diplomats were attacked in apparent kidnapping attempts, al Qaeda in Iraq said that it had kidnapped Sherif, then announced July 7 that Sherif had been executed.

Perhaps Zarqawi wants to use the kidnapping to foment an Islamist uprising in Algeria, although the religious extremists have mostly fled the North African nation over the past few years. How the kidnapping and eventual killing of an Algerian envoy in Iraq will boost standing for Islamists among Algerians, however, is beyond me. It would instead reinforce the perception among Algerians that Islamists cannot operate from reason nor from Islam, and that to negotiate with them necessarily means surrender to them. As a tactic it does nothing except provide them with a slim chance for a ransom, and as a strategy it defeats their purposes elsewhere.

Maybe this is all they have left. They have failed to eject the Americans and Britons from Iraq. They failed in their attempts to create the Terrorist Fortress in Fallujah, getting their asses kicked out of there as soon as the Marines were seriously unleashed in the City of Mosques. The terrorists couldn't stop the Iraqis from going to the polls and electing representatives to govern Iraq instead of lunatics with bomb belts imposing their tyranny. They haven't stopped the constitutional process from moving forward. Now they're trying to isolate Iraq from the Arab world by killing Arab envoys -- a method which will ensure their alienation from even potential allies in the region.

It doesn't take much brains to become a suicide bomber. I think we're seeing that it doesn't take much more mental ingenuity to lead them, either.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 22, 2005 6:16 AM

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Tracked on July 22, 2005 5:48 PM

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