RAMADI , Iraq – Thousands of Sunnis rioted after a U.S. military official had leaked a copy of a twenty-five-minute sex tape found in the rubble of the “safe house” where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed on Wednesday.
The tape, which somehow survived the bomb blast that killed Mr. al-Zarqawi and seven of his associates, had been sent to a local television station, which mistakenly aired the tape last night during an episode of Funniest Home Videos.
In the tape Mr. al-Zarqawi is seen watching Muslim women in various stages of dress. He grabs his man region and growls suggestively several times while women lift their burqas away from their faces, revealing first one cheek, then the other. One woman is even seen licking her lips, swaying erotically, and sucking her left forefinger—a supreme act of sensuality/degradation in the Muslim world.
“That’s bin Laden’s mother,” laughs Mr. al-Zarqawi, who was never as close to the al-Qaida leader as some sources claimed.
Soon after the tape had been aired, thousands of Mr. al-Zarqawi’s Sunni followers gathered in the courtyard of the Ramadi Inn, waving crudely drawn posters of American president George W. Bush with an outsize penis for a nose. The demonstrators shouted slogans and swore vengeance on the “warmongering dogs” who had leaked the tape to the television station.
According to a technician at the station, the tape was dropped off by an American military officer early yesterday afternoon.
“We thought it was another one of those propaganda tapes that tries to show the American military in a good light by rebuilding a hospital they had blown up,” said the technician. “That’s why we didn’t bother to screen it. Who wants to see that [crap] over and over?”
Some observers have suggested that Mr. al-Zarqawi, 39, was watching the sex tape when the lights went out for good. If so, that would be a fitting end for a man whose twin obsessions with explosives and pornography informed his life.
Born Ahmad Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalaylah in Zarqa, an industrial city in Jordan, Mr. al-Zarqawi was a troubled youth, given to bootlegging, drinking, and brawling. He is also alleged to have been a pimp. He was fired from the only legitimate job he ever held, as a clerk in a video store, when he was caught pocketing the fines charged on overdue rentals.
When Mr. al-Zarqawi was fifteen, he participated in a robbery of a relative’s home, during which the relative was killed. Two years later, a year shy of graduation, he dropped out of school after causing an explosion in chemistry class that took the lives of three fellow students.
Although Mr. al-Zarqawi was dyslexic and barely literate, he next tried his hand at journalism in Afghanistan, where he lived from 1989 to 1993. He was a reporter for a small lifestyle magazine, Al-Bonian al Marsous.
Salah al-Hami, a correspondent for a rival lifestyle publication in Afghanistan at the time, stepped on a landmine and lost one of his legs while covering a colorful polo game in which Afghanis use a live goat for a ball. While Mr. al-Hami was recuperating in hospital, he became good friends with Mr. al-Zarqawi.
Mr. al-Hami recalled being despondent over his chances of ever starting a family with only one leg.
“A one-legged man?” he wailed on one of Mr. al-Zarqawi’s frequent visits to the hospital. “Who would want to marry him?”
Mr. al-Zarqawi promptly took pictures of several of his sisters from his wallet and told Mr. al-Hami to take his pick.
“I was overwhelmed,” recalled Mr. al-Hami, “but that was Abu. He’d give you the shirt off somebody’s back and not think twice about it.”
Mr. al-Zarqawi returned to Zarqa in 1993, and before long his fascination with explosives and pornography intersected. According to a former Jordanian intelligence official, Mr. al-Zarqawi convinced a friend to set off an explosive device in a local cinema that was showing pornographic films. The friend got caught up in the plot of one of the features, however, and forgot about his bomb, which eventually exploded and blew off his legs.
Although Mr. al-Zarqwai was never charged in that incident, he was caught hiding seven grenades in the cellar of his family’s home. When he appeared before a state security court, Mr. Al-Zarqawi said he had found the grenades while walking down the street. The judges were not amused. They convicted Mr. al-Zarqwai of possessing illegal weapons and sentenced him to fifteen years in Jordan’s Swaqa prison.
During his six-year prison stay, Mr. al-Zarqwai discovered god and physical fitness. He earned the Jordanian equivalent of a community college degree, and emerged from prison with washboard abs and all 6,236 verses of the Koran committed to memory.
After leaving prison, Mr. al-Zarqwai worked as an events planner and website designer in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In other news, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and their growing brood are expected to pull out of Namibia as early as this weekend. Namibian authorities, who fear a civil war may erupt following the Jolie-Pitts’ departure, criticized them for not having an exit strategy in place before they invaded the African nation.
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