2. Zarqawi’s tactics were extreme — even for bin Laden
The mastermind of 9/11 disagreed with Zarqawi’s strategy of attacking fellow Muslims. “What he was trying to do was create a civil war between Sunni and Shia,” said McChrystal. Fighting between the two factions created problems for the U.S.-led military coalition.
Today, ISIS continues to use these tactics by targeting Muslims who don’t follow its interpretation of Islam.
In March, a man wearing a belt rigged with explosives walked into a soccer stadium full of families about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Baghdad and blew himself up, killing at least 25 people and wounding 90 others. ISIS claimed responsibility.
“What we see ISIS doing now is an escalation of what we saw al-Zarqawi do, targeting Muslims first and foremost,” said Amanda Rogers, a research fellow at Georgia State University.
3. Zarqawi almost single-handedly changed the course of the Iraq War
“He was the person that suddenly made it clear we could lose in Iraq,” said McChrystal.
In 2004 in Falluja, U.S. generals saw the war make a huge shift from Saddam Hussein’s former soldiers to forces — many of them foreign fighters — who were loyal to Zarqawi.
The First Battle of Falluja started as a military response to the brutal killing of four U.S. contractors whose mutilated bodies were hanged from a bridge. Soon, it became a “siege,” McChrystal said.
By the time war planners decided to pause and regroup, 27 American servicemen were dead. When coalition forces returned seven months later, they fought the bloodiest military battle since Vietnam.
Flash forward to January 2014.
Falluja was the first Iraqi city captured by ISIS, which used it as a staging area to send suicide bombers to nearby Baghdad. Fighting between Iraqi and ISIS forces for control of the city spiked again this summer.
Source By Thom Patterson, CNN