AMMAN (AFP) -Iraq’s resistance has replaced Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as political head of the rebels, confining him to a military role, the son of Osama bin Laden’s mentor told AFP in Jordan.
“The Iraqi resistance’s high command asked Zarqawi to give up his political role and replaced him with an Iraqi, because of several mistakes he made,” said Hudayf Azzam, who claims close contacts with the rebels.
“Zarqawi’s role has been limited to military action,” said Azzam, whose late father Abdallah Azzam was the mentor of bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda boss.
“Zarqawi bowed to the orders two weeks ago and was replaced by Iraqi national Abdullah bin Rashed al-Baghdadi,” Azzam said Sunday.
Azzam, 35, whose father was known as the “prince of mujahedeens”, said he regularly receives “credible information on the resistance in Iraq”.
He said Zarqawi “made many political mistakes”, including “the creation of an independent organisation, Al-Qaeda in Iraq”.
“Zarqawi also took the liberty of speaking in the name of the Iraqi people and resistance, a role which belongs only to the Iraqis,” Azzam said.
As a result “the resistance command inside and outside Iraq, including imams, criticised him and after long discussions demanded that he be confined to military action”, Azzam said.
“Zarqawi pledged not to carry out any more attacks against Iraq’s neighbours after having been criticised for these operations which are considered a violation of sharia (Islamic law),” Azzam said.