TIMELINE FOR ZARQAWI (Cheney-bush) to alQuaeda in Iraq then to ISIS/ISIL/DAESH
:-$ O:-) :-$ =-O
“On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq
*in 2003, a 36-year-old Jordanian who called himself “the Stranger” slipped into the suburbs of Baghdad armed with a few weapons, bags of cash and an audacious plan for starting a war he hoped would unite Sunni Muslims across the Middle East.
The tattooed ex-convict and high school dropout had few followers and scant ties to the local population. Yet, the Stranger — soon to be known widely as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — quickly rallied thousands of Iraqis and foreign fighters to his cause. He launched spectacular suicide bombings and *gruesome executions targeting Americans, Shiites and others he saw as obstacles to his vision for a Sunni caliphate stretching from Syria to the Persian Gulf.
Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006, but the *organization he founded is again on the march. In just a week, his group —
*formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq and
*now called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — has seized cities and towns across western and northern Iraq at a pace that might have astonished Zarqawi himself.
…became the first of two life-changing events: a stint fighting communist forces in Afghanistan, followed by five years of incarceration in Jordan for his role in a foiled terrorist plot by local jihadis. He emerged from prison in 1999 as a hardened and committed Islamist with a cadre of disciples eager to follow him.
He returned to Afghanistan after his release from prison, but, distrusted by bin Laden, he established his own training camp in the western Afghan city of Herat, hundreds of miles from bin Laden’s base at Kandahar.
*In late 2001, when U.S. warplanes began bombing Taliban strongholds throughout Afghanistan, he sought refuge in the rugged mountains of northeastern Iraq, in a Kurdish region regarded as
*beyond the reach of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. There, he briefly joined forces with Kurdish militants and began a series of crude, unsuccessful attempts to create weapons from common poisons such as cyanide.
Zarqawi’s Iraqi camp eventually attracted the attention of the
George W. Bush administration,”
[*Cheney-bush/Powell administration (NOT author’s term)]
*made Zarqawi a central pillar of its effort to link Hussein to al-Qaeda.
*Secretary of State Colin L. Powell mentioned Zarqawi 20 times in his Feb. 5, 2003, speech before the United Nations making the case for war against Iraq.
*Famous almost overnight, Zarqawi began receiving cash and support from sympathizers from Europe to Central Asia.
*The administration’s allegations of operational ties between Zarqawi and Hussein’s forces proved to be *false. But Zarqawi did use his Iraqi sanctuary to prepare for what he believed would be the ultimate confrontation between the Islamists and the United States.
*Within weeks of the U.S. invasion, he had established connections with Iraqi opponents of the occupation, as well as a Syrian network for delivering cash, weapons and volunteers into western Iraq.”
[(*)added by CalHall for easy reference]