Christian peace worker says al-Zarqawi death will not halt violence

By staff writers
June 9, 2006

Christian peace worker says al-Zaqari death will not halt violence

-09/06/06

The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the self-styled leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, has been greeted with understandable relief and rejoicing in many parts of Iraq and beyond ñ but commentators and those involved in seeking alternatives to a seemingly endless cycle of violence fear that his death in a US bombing raid is unlikely to make much difference.

Tim Nafziger, a spokesperson for the UK branch of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), told Ekklesia: ìI can understand the feelings many people have, but while the death of Mr al-Zarqawi may superficially seem to have ësolved a problemí in the eyes of those who killed him, it has done nothing to address the underlying causes of sectarian violence and resistance to occupation.î

He added: ìCPT believes that the way towards a lasting and just peace has to be to try to deal with grievances on the ground, to build relations between antagonistic factions, and to pursue peace-building in place of militarism.î

Christian Peacemaker Teams came to global prominence when four volunteers in Iraq were captured by militants last year. In March 2006 three, including Briton Norman Kember, were released. One, American Tom Fox, was killed.

CPT has sought to bring Sunnis and Shias together in small ways, to stand up for non-violence, to engage in human rights monitoring, to support churches, to accompany people in danger, and to show Muslims a different face to Christianity from that of the imperial kind.

Al-Zarqawiís killing was announced at a news conference yesterday by the new Iraqi head of state, flanked by US supporters. It coincided with the filling of important security and defence appointments which have been mired in dispute for many weeks.

The news welcomed by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. It was greeted with loud cheers and shouts from an audience of diplomats, politicians and journalists in Baghdad ñ relayed around the world by TV and radio. But long-term observers have been more sanguine about the developments and reprisals are feared.

The BBCís diplomatic correspondent, John Simpson, who has considerable experience of Iraq, pointed out that al- Zarqawi headed up only around a quarter of the insurgent groups and ñ though a pivotal and charismatic figure ñ was not necessarily the lynchpin that held it together.

The insurgents depend upon martyrs and had been given another one, he said, even if al- Zarqawiís demise was more than a symbolic victory for the government and their allies. But the myth that the resistance was all fuelled from outside the country had long been dispensed with.

Mr al-Zarqawi stands accused of sanctioning, commissioning and carrying out particularly brutal acts and killings on behalf of al-Qaeda. These include the bombing of a United Nations centre and the murder of kidnapped engineer Ken Bigley ñ who he was believed to have beheaded personally.

Mr Bigleyís brother reacted emotionally to the news of al-Zarqawiís death. A committed Roman Catholic, he said that while he personally hoped that he ìrotted in hellî for what he had done, he recognised that it was not appropriate for a Christian to celebrate the death of anyone.

Tim Nafziger of CPT UK hailed his ìhonesty and courageî after ìan appalling lossî. He stressed that to question the appropriateness and sufficiency of meeting violence-with-violence in Iraq was not in any way to condone the terrible crimes committed by any of the protagonists in the conflict.

Particularly disturbing of late has been the dramatic increase in sectarian killings. It is known that al-Zarqawi was behind many of these. Other insurgents oppose them, and came to believe that the brutal public humiliation of kidnap victims had brought shame on their cause.

Along with the killings, now running at an average of more than 1,200 a month, the hostage takings continue on a regular basis ñ mostly of Iraqis, but with most publicity going to foreign victims.

Christian Peacemaker Teams was almost alone in operating outside the ësafeí green zone in Iraq until recently. It says that with the high profile they now have that is no longer possible at the moment for security reasons, but they remain committed to trying to work with the Iraqi people and with Iraqi partners for an alternative to violence, occupation and injustice.

The group helped to reveal to the world the extent of prisoner abuse in Iraq and the involvement of coalition forces in that, including the treatment of detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

[Also on Ekklesia: Iraq hostage Tom Fox remembered by UK peacemakers 08/06/06; Norman Kember talks about life beyond his Iraq kidnap ordeal 07/06/06; UK Christian Peacemaker Teams meet to plan future 06/06/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams remain in Iraq with new plan; Briefing on Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian peacemaker Norman Kember to give first major interview to the BBC ; Christian peacemakers can make a difference, Vatican Radio told; Briefing on media accusations against Christian Peacemaker Teams; Archive of comment and features on Christian Peacemaking; Christian peacemaker Tom Fox killed in Iraq; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages; Getting in the Way: Stories From Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian peacemakers report killings of women and children by US; Joy as Christian Peacemakers are freed in Iraq; Baghdad demo planned for Christian peacemaker hostages; Christians defend Iraq non-violence tactics against critics; Peace workers hold a key to Iraq solution, says think-tank; ëPeacenikí initiative will fund peacemakers to enter hotspots; Colonel Collins' attack on Kember misplaced, say Christian peacemakers;Churches urged to consider more radical peacemaking following Iraq; Kember still evaluating Christian peacemakers' role in Iraq; Peacemaker vigils in Washington and Toronto focus on Iraq policy; Clarification sought from army chief on false Kember snub allegation; Religious leaders call for end to detention without trial in Iraq; Military expert says peacemakers didnít imperil soldiers; What Norman said - from Iraq captive Kember's BBC interview; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages; Think-tank questions 'ungrateful peacemakers' media allegations; The Simon Barrow column; Press briefing on released Christian Peacemakers; Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay]

Christian peace worker says al-Zaqari death will not halt violence

-09/06/06

The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the self-styled leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, has been greeted with understandable relief and rejoicing in many parts of Iraq and beyond ñ but commentators and those involved in seeking alternatives to a seemingly endless cycle of violence fear that his death in a US bombing raid is unlikely to make much difference.

Tim Nafziger, a spokesperson for the UK branch of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), told Ekklesia: ìI can understand the feelings many people have, but while the death of Mr al-Zarqawi may superficially seem to have ësolved a problemí in the eyes of those who killed him, it has done nothing to address the underlying causes of sectarian violence and resistance to occupation.î

He added: ìCPT believes that the way towards a lasting and just peace has to be to try to deal with grievances on the ground, to build relations between antagonistic factions, and to pursue peace-building in place of militarism.î

Christian Peacemaker Teams came to global prominence when four volunteers in Iraq were captured by militants last year. In March 2006 three, including Briton Norman Kember, were released. One, American Tom Fox, was killed.

CPT has sought to bring Sunnis and Shias together in small ways, to stand up for non-violence, to engage in human rights monitoring, to support churches, to accompany people in danger, and to show Muslims a different face to Christianity from that of the imperial kind.

Al-Zarqawiís killing was announced at a news conference yesterday by the new Iraqi head of state, flanked by US supporters. It coincided with the filling of important security and defence appointments which have been mired in dispute for many weeks.

The news welcomed by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. It was greeted with loud cheers and shouts from an audience of diplomats, politicians and journalists in Baghdad ñ relayed around the world by TV and radio. But long-term observers have been more sanguine about the developments and reprisals are feared.

The BBCís diplomatic correspondent, John Simpson, who has considerable experience of Iraq, pointed out that al- Zarqawi headed up only around a quarter of the insurgent groups and ñ though a pivotal and charismatic figure ñ was not necessarily the lynchpin that held it together.

The insurgents depend upon martyrs and had been given another one, he said, even if al- Zarqawiís demise was more than a symbolic victory for the government and their allies. But the myth that the resistance was all fuelled from outside the country had long been dispensed with.

Mr al-Zarqawi stands accused of sanctioning, commissioning and carrying out particularly brutal acts and killings on behalf of al-Qaeda. These include the bombing of a United Nations centre and the murder of kidnapped engineer Ken Bigley ñ who he was believed to have beheaded personally.

Mr Bigleyís brother reacted emotionally to the news of al-Zarqawiís death. A committed Roman Catholic, he said that while he personally hoped that he ìrotted in hellî for what he had done, he recognised that it was not appropriate for a Christian to celebrate the death of anyone.

Tim Nafziger of CPT UK hailed his ìhonesty and courageî after ìan appalling lossî. He stressed that to question the appropriateness and sufficiency of meeting violence-with-violence in Iraq was not in any way to condone the terrible crimes committed by any of the protagonists in the conflict.

Particularly disturbing of late has been the dramatic increase in sectarian killings. It is known that al-Zarqawi was behind many of these. Other insurgents oppose them, and came to believe that the brutal public humiliation of kidnap victims had brought shame on their cause.

Along with the killings, now running at an average of more than 1,200 a month, the hostage takings continue on a regular basis ñ mostly of Iraqis, but with most publicity going to foreign victims.

Christian Peacemaker Teams was almost alone in operating outside the ësafeí green zone in Iraq until recently. It says that with the high profile they now have that is no longer possible at the moment for security reasons, but they remain committed to trying to work with the Iraqi people and with Iraqi partners for an alternative to violence, occupation and injustice.

The group helped to reveal to the world the extent of prisoner abuse in Iraq and the involvement of coalition forces in that, including the treatment of detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

[Also on Ekklesia: Iraq hostage Tom Fox remembered by UK peacemakers 08/06/06; Norman Kember talks about life beyond his Iraq kidnap ordeal 07/06/06; UK Christian Peacemaker Teams meet to plan future 06/06/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams remain in Iraq with new plan; Briefing on Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian peacemaker Norman Kember to give first major interview to the BBC ; Christian peacemakers can make a difference, Vatican Radio told; Briefing on media accusations against Christian Peacemaker Teams; Archive of comment and features on Christian Peacemaking; Christian peacemaker Tom Fox killed in Iraq; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages; Getting in the Way: Stories From Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian peacemakers report killings of women and children by US; Joy as Christian Peacemakers are freed in Iraq; Baghdad demo planned for Christian peacemaker hostages; Christians defend Iraq non-violence tactics against critics; Peace workers hold a key to Iraq solution, says think-tank; ëPeacenikí initiative will fund peacemakers to enter hotspots; Colonel Collins' attack on Kember misplaced, say Christian peacemakers;Churches urged to consider more radical peacemaking following Iraq; Kember still evaluating Christian peacemakers' role in Iraq; Peacemaker vigils in Washington and Toronto focus on Iraq policy; Clarification sought from army chief on false Kember snub allegation; Religious leaders call for end to detention without trial in Iraq; Military expert says peacemakers didnít imperil soldiers; What Norman said - from Iraq captive Kember's BBC interview; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages; Think-tank questions 'ungrateful peacemakers' media allegations; The Simon Barrow column; Press briefing on released Christian Peacemakers; Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay]

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