Zarqawi: the New Face of al-Qaeda

The external facts of Zarqawi’s life are easily told. The man born Ahmad Fadil Nazzal Al-Khalayleh was born in Zarqa on the edge of Amman, Jordan on 20 October 1966 (not, incidentally, 1968, as it states on the back cover of this book). A sometime petty criminal, known as ‘the green man’ because of his extensive tattoos, he left Jordan for Afghanistan in 1989, too late to fight the Soviets. After four years of training as a jihadist and imbibing the precepts of Salafist ideology, Zarqawi returned to Jordan in 1993. In 1996 he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for conspiring, as a member of the terror group Bayt Al-Imam, to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy and re-establish the caliphate. But in 1999 he was released in the royal amnesty following the death of King Hussein, enabling him to embark on travels to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria where he organised terror and violent struggle throughout the Middle East and Europe, culminating in a four- year killing spree in Iraq which ended with his death following American military action in June 2006.

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