Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Zarqawi Not Dead

says Iraq Al Qaeda. The story is a "lie." That word is getting a little overplayed lately, isn't it?
"The media has lately circulated this news that was announced by the Crusaders (U.S.) about the death of the leader of the group in an armed confrontation ... which was an additional lie," the group said on a Web site statement.
Uh huh. The foreign minister of Iraq - just another crusader.

The left might think that this past month has been bad for Bush, but it's been worse for Zarqawi.

Jack Kelly points out that "If it turns out Zarqawi was among seven al Qaida leaders killed in Mosul Saturday, it'll have been a really bad week." Snort. I'd say that makes it worse than anything Bush and Cheney have gone through. Although, Kelly points out, even if Zarqawi is still alive, he's now the most unpopular man in Jordan and, as I pointed out below, his family have revoked their protection over him, making it possible for people to kill him with no recrimination on their part.
This is a big deal, said Jim Robbins, who teaches at the National Defense University: "One of the reasons I thought the report of Zarqawi's death was credible at first was that his tribe had forsaken him," Robbins wrote.

"Extended tribal ties among groups in al Anbar province in Iraq may be what has kept him safe thus far." It could have been a tip from a disgruntled relative that led U.S. and Iraqi troops to surround the house in Mosul where seven men and a woman died, several by blowing themselves up. More likely, they were ratted out by Iraqis who had once been friendly to al Qaida, but are turning against it.

There has been a surge in tips from Iraqis over the last month, a U.S. intelligence officer told the Washington Post. "These tend to be traditional Iraqi leaders -- sheiks and imams -- upset with the organization, especially its recent execution of Sunni Arabs in Ramadi," the official said.

Ramadi, the capital of al Anbar province, is a smuggling center that long has been as lawless as Dodge City before Wyatt Earp became marshal. There have been running gun battles betweenlocal insurgents tied to the former regime of Saddam Hussein and al Qaida. There also have been gun battles between al Qaida and U.S. troops in Ramadi, which have gone badly for al Qaida.

Nearly 200 "insurgents," most of them al Qaida members, have been killed or captured in Operation Steel Curtain, now in its second week, a joint Marine-Iraqi operation which has been cleaning out hideouts along the Syrian border.

Zarqawi has lost a number of key lieutenants in recent weeks, thanks to the increasing number and timeliness of tips. The most recent were Abu Ahmed, the "Emir" of Sadah, nabbed on day three of Steel Curtain, and Abu Ibrahim, a technology expert who manufactured triggering devices for roadside bombs, taken in Baghdad Oct. 31st. More of Zarqawi's command network was lost in the house in Mosul, even if he himself got away.

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