Thursday, June 08, 2006

Terror post Zarqawi

It seems as though CNN has dropped this crucial detail from General Casey in their latest update:
"Tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network led forces to al-Zarqawi and some of his associates who were conducting a meeting approximately eight kilometers north of Baquba when the airstrike was launched.
The network has added analysis from Bush and Rumsfeld, however:
Al-Zarqawi's death gives Iraq a chance to "turn the tide" in the fight against the nation's insurgency, President Bush said at the White House.

"The ideology of terror has lost one of its most visible and aggressive leaders," Bush said. "Zarqawi's death is a severe blow to al Qaeda."

"Zarqawi personally beheaded American hostages and other civilians in Iraq," Bush said. "Now Zarqawi has met his end and this violent man will never murder again."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said al-Zarqawi's death will have "worldwide" effects. "Let there be no doubt the fact that he is dead is a significant victory in the battle against terrorism in that country, and I would say worldwide because he had interests well outside of Iraq."
The Los Angeles Times shows an apparent inconsistency from the Iraqi PM as compared to Casey:
Nouri Maliki said the attack on Zarqawi was the result of intelligence reports provided to Iraqi security forces by residents in the area, and U.S. forces acted on the information.
Were the tipsters residents of the area or Iraqi members of his organization? Or both? It's important to know this.

The Washington Post reports:
A statement purportedly from al-Qaeda in Iraq posted today on mosques in Ramadi, a violence-wracked city in western Iraq, claimed that the organization would be led by "a new prince" who had been named by Zarqawi to succeed him in the event of his death. "He will be a copy" of Zarqawi, the statement said.

Casey, the commander of coalition forces in Iraq, acknowledged that "although the designated leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq is now dead, the terrorist organization still poses a threat."
President Bush's announcement. Prime Minister Tony Blair's remarks.


John Leicester of the A.P.:
PARIS (AP) — The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi deprives Islamic terrorism of one of its most high-profile and violent poster boys. But it leaves largely intact the threat of attacks from small, independent cells — the "100 bin Ladens" that Egypt's president once said could be spawned by the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

Once they absorb the psychological blow of his death, al-Zarqawi's followers and other militants outside of Iraq not directly associated with him could regroup and continue with their bomb plots and killings.

Al-Qaida has shown great resilience, and its network of networks and followers has continued even as top leaders have been killed or captured. Even with Osama bin Laden in hiding, other militants have stepped forward to make good on his calls for terror attacks. Hundreds of arrests in France, Britain, and elsewhere in Europe have thwarted plots but did not stop the attacks on transport systems in Madrid, Spain, and London.
Ned Parker in the Times of London:
"One of the most interesting things about the news of his death is the timing. There have been talks going on since the election last December by US and Iraqi officials to try to bring the homegrown insurgency back into the political process. Certainly there was tension between the homegrown Iraqi insurgency and Zarqawi's foreign fighters.

"So it's possible a deal was finally cut by some branch of the Iraqi insurgency to eliminate al-Zarqawi and rid themselves of his heavy-handed influence.


"Nor was he ever the reason why there was so much violence in Iraq, although he did contribute to that violence. Iraq' s insurgency was fueled by the power vacuum and Sunni alienation after the fall of Saddam. He capitalised on the chaos and forged alliances and perhaps eclipsed the homegrown Sunni resistance.

"The bigger question is whether Iraq's homegrown Sunni insurgency can now be co-opted and brought into the political process. If you can do that, then obviously it will be harder for those foreign insurgents to operate, and you can partially cut off the flow of money and suicide bombers coming into the country."
Former hostage Rory Carroll in the Guardian (blog):
There is no question that his death in a US bombing raid north of Baghdad is a major propaganda coup for the Iraqi government and the the US military and a setback for those who regarded Zarqawi as a symbol of resistance. But what impact it will actually have on the conflict is impossible to predict, an uncertainty born of a figure who was as much a myth as a man.

We can assume that al-Qaida in Iraq will attempt reprisal attacks as soon as possible, to show it is still in business; also that the organisation will operate at less than full steam while it tries to fill its leadership void.

Beyond that, the significance of this week's US strike on Baquba, 40 miles north of the capital, is difficult to gauge. Too much mythology, too much spin, encrusts the name Zarqawi to know at this stage whether his death is a turning point or a footnote.
The Atlantic was publishing this as a profile of Zarqawi, but it has since been rebranded as an obituary. It addresses the elements of myth-making in his brutal career.


Post a Comment

<< Home