The image portrays Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi, the former head of al-Qa`ida in Iraq, shooting the American flag, cutting out the caption: “al-mawt lakum” (“death to you [pl.]”). The halo around the figure’s body, along with the other visual elements in the image, remind the viewer of the importance of martyrdom through the death of Zarqawi himself.

The American flag, or parts thereof (such as the stars and stripes), are widely used in jihadi propaganda to evoke negative sentiments towards U.S. foreign policy and military campaigns. The stars and stripes are also used to color other symbols in an image, thereby linking the symbols to U.S. foreign policy, politics and military intervention in the Muslim world.

More Information
Group Name AQI
Group Type Jihadist Group
Group Affiliation AQ Affiliates / Associates
Dominant Colors Red, Yellow
Secondary Colors White , Blue
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Al-mawt lakum
Image Number 0404
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Iraq
Weapons Firearms, Sub / Machine Gun, Ammo Belt / Vest
Air Analysis Sun
Air Celestial Bodies, Clouds / Fog, Sky
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Country Flag, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis U.S. flag
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid)
People Analysis Abu Mus`ab al-Zarqawi (AQI/JTJ)
Topography Mountain
Visual Themes Images of mountains are also a common motif in jihadi visual propaganda and may allude to regions with completed or ongoing operations, such as Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir. More generally, however, like in this image, mountains intend to evoke divine omnipotence, eternity and grandeur.

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