Penultimate Zarqawi primer, Part 1
This is the story of a man who set out to liberate his people from servitude and sin. It is the story of a hoodlum and drunkard who found strength in religious faith and then used that faith to cudgel unbelievers. It is a story with no foreseeable end – even if the man were to die today, the world would be struggling with his legacy for a long time to come. It is the story of Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh, better known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most dangerous man in the world. Today, no one is quite sure how this story began.

But if it began at any specific point, then on the afternoon of August 19, 2003 on Canal Street, in the north of Baghdad, when a gardener with dusty hair and blood-streaked overalls stumbled onto the street. As he died, he was holding a hoe in his hand. He had probably been weeding the lawn in front of U.N. headquarters when a van packed with 1000 kilograms of explosives blew up below the office window of Sergio de Mello, the U.N. special representative in Iraq. De Mello himself lay trapped in the rubble. Rescue workers kept giving him water. When his strength began to wane, he sent a final message to his family. Just over an hour later, he bled to death.

Posted by: Dan Darling 2006-03-11