The Zarqawi Files

Major stories on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi since 2004, from the archives of

"Avoiding Attacking Suspected Terrorist Mastermind," Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, March 2, 2004
The generals wanted to kill Zarqawi before the war. The administration said no.

"Experts Dispute Bush Line on Zarqawi," Chris Shumway,, July 16, 2004
Debunks the idea that Zarqawi was ever a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

"Newsweek: Franklin Confesses AIPAC Under Separate FBI Investigation," Juan Cole, Aug. 30, 2004
Professor Cole explains how Iran had captured Zarqawi and offered to turn him over to the U.S. in exchange for some Mujahideen e-Khalq, and how the neocons sabotaged the deal.

"God, Drunks, and America," Michael Scheuer,, June 2, 2005
On al-Qaeda’s succession policy and Zarqawi’s wounding.

"Chasing Zarqawi," Dahr Jamail and Tom Engelhardt,, July 6, 2005
On Dahr Jamail’s trip to Zarqawi’s hometown and why his death will be just another "turning point where nothing much turned."

"The Myth of Zarqawi," Loretta Napoleoni,, Nov. 11, 2005
In early 2003, Zarqawi was not tied to Iraq’s government or to Osama bin Laden, as Colin Powell claimed at the UN. After the invasion, as the U.S. blamed every bombing on him, Zarqawi grew into the myth the U.S. government had created around him and began to spread his attacks to neighboring countries. See also "Al-Zarqawi Group Claims Attack on U.S. Ships" and "Zarqawi’s Network Asserts It Launched Attacks in Amman."

Interview of Loretta Napoleoni, Scott Horton, Nov. 12, 2005
On her book, Insurgent Iraq: Al-Zarqawi and the New Generation.

"The New al-Qaeda: More Dangerous Than the Old Version," Ivan Eland,, Nov. 15, 2005
The invasion of Iraq has made America’s jihadi problem worse.

"The Zarqawi Dilemma," Charles Peña,, Nov. 24, 2005
"Iraq may be a more potent training and breeding ground for Islamic terrorists than Afghanistan was in the 1980s because it is a real-world laboratory for militants to hone their tradecraft in an urban combat environment."

"No-Timetable Policy Rules Out a Deal on Zarqawi," Gareth Porter,, Dec. 6, 2005
On Bush refusing Iraqi Sunnis’ offer to capture Zarqawi and turn him over to the U.S.

"Has al-Qaeda Demoted Zarqawi?," Arthur Bright, Christian Science Monitor, April 5, 2006
A roundup of stories on reports that Zarqawi had lost his leadership role in Iraq as the result of "political mistakes."

"Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi," Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, April 10, 2006
The Washington Post on the Pentagon’s psy-ops campaign.

"A Deadly Duet," Loretta Napoleoni,, April 28, 2006
On the relationship between Zarqawi and Osama in the spring of 2006.

"The Short, Violent Life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," Mary Anne Weaver, The Atlantic, June 8, 2006
"Before leaving Amman, three months before al-Zarqawi’s death, I had asked the high-level Jordanian intelligence official with whom I met whether al-Zarqawi, in his view, was a potential challenger to Osama bin Laden."