On Zarqawi and supporting al-qaeda:
One brief thought on al-zarqawi and his announcement of an alliance and support for al-qaeda.
My theory is that this is his opening gambit for taking over "leadership" of this fractious group. Figure head is extraordinarily important to any cult following. For some time now, al-qaeda has been operating without the cult figure head. And al-qaeda has suffered terrible losses, both strategic and tactical, over the last few years.
Zarqawi knows that now is the time to step in and fill the absence. He has the credentials. Brutal torture and throat cutting. Suicide bombings that make Hamas look small. Wide notoriety. Infamous!
His recent announcement is intended to increase recruitment (which we've seen others mention) but that plays second fiddle to him increasing his "prestige" and opens up a path for becoming "the leader".