June 8, 2006
Breaking News: Al-Zarqawi KilledHe's finally dead:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, has been killed in a US airstrike, it was announced today.Al-Maliki was joined by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and the top U.S. Commander in Iraq General George Casey who said in a statement:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Coalition Forces killed al-Qaida terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and one of his key lieutenants, spiritual advisor Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, yesterday, June 7, at 6:15 p.m. in an air strike against an identified, isolated safe house.Zarqawi's body was identified via fingerprints, facial recognition and known scars. He was rumored to wear an explosive belt, but no mention of that in reports.
The U.S. and Iraqi forces certainly deserve kudos for the operation. If there's anyone in Iraq who deserved to die, Zarqawi was it.
The Jerusalem Post reports the Jordanians provided information that helped in tracking and killing the terrorist.
Al-Jazeera's take, including reports of the American troops' close encounters with Zarqawi.
Meanwhile, oil falls to $70 a barrel on the news of Zarqawi's death.
Tony Blair called Zarqawi's death "a very important moment for Iraq and a blow to al Qaeda everywhere".
Blog reaction was mostly jubilant, but as Oliver Willis pointed out, his death is not the magic wand that would suddenly make the Iraqi civil war go away:
Of course, leave it to Fox to take it one step too far. According to the anchor on Fox, the apparent death of Zarqawi will unite all the Iraqi factions, bring peace to the land, etc. Come on.Zarqawi's death is good in that Iraqis at least don't have to worry about him sowing terror anymore. But terrorist cells are like nine-headed monsters: you cut off one and it still operates with the others. Even worse, a new head grows in its place.
Also, Larry Johnson astutely pointed out:
The sad truth is that we are not fighting an effective counter insurgency campaign. We treat the threat as simply a terrorist threat and hope that if we kill enough of Zarqawi’s leaders and followers that the violence will subside. That was the belief 15 months ago. Since then our forces have carried out many dramatic and effective counter terrorist operations. Yet, as of June 2006, the number of attacks continue to increase. The trend line is up and the victims tend to be the average Iraqis that healthy communities rely on to rebuild public order.
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