Saturday, June 10, 2006

Al-Zarqawi Goes KABLAMO.....

Al-Zarqawi, could be singing lead for the Gap Band, "You dropped a bomb on me." Well, not one but two, courtesy of Hugo Chavez' favorite plane, the F-16.

Finally some good news out of Iraq, a real scumbag gets what he fully deserves.

Thoughts:

1. As everyone has been saying, this is hardly the end of the violence or the insurgency. The insurgency is largely Nationalist, Sunni, and Baathist.

2. His removal takes away the most blatant instigator of sectarian violence in Iraq. For the past two years his bloody anti-Shiite campaign provoked the Shiite's to take bloody reprisals and set neighbor against neighbor in areas where they both had lived side by side for ages.

3. Al-Zarqawi was a self-created new-media star in the Jihadi world, in addition to being a battleground tactician. It seems he had somewhat of a personality cult going. By all accounts he was a charismatic leader, who was skilled at recruiting, organizing, planning and coordinating attacks. In that respect he is similar to Pablo Escobar in Colombia and Gonzalo in Sendero Luminoso.

4. His death, creates a leadership vacuum that will be difficult to fill, considering how tenuous his organizations roots are in the zone of operations. His fighters are foreign jihadists and Iraqi islamists, who have an extremely uneasy relationship with the broader-based, Sunni anti-US insurgency. Arguably, it was Al-Zarqawi's leadership that kept the Al-Qaeda movement intact as a fighting force. Now the foreigners will be much more vulnerable to both the Coalition forces AND the Sunni's who don't necesarily want them around.

5. This creates an opportunity to bring the nationalist, Baathist, Sunni side to the table to cut a deal.


6. Al-Zarqawi in terms of Al-Qaeda was no more than a franchisee. He basically was a freelancer who self-promoted himself to the point where Al Qaeda "adopted" him. But in terms of the larger struggle against Al Qaeda he was a bit player.

7. I was opposed to this whole deal from the beginning due to the piss-poor planning and arrogance of Rumsfeld, the unilateralist arrogance of the Bush White House who angered people who might have goodwill towards the US because of 9/11, an finally the fact that this had little or nothing to do with 9/11. But, getting rid of Saddam was good, and the goal of putting some sort of democratic government in Iraq is a worthwhile goal, that long term might be good for the Iraqi people and the US (and the West's) long term interests.

3 comments:

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Norman said...

Old hat, but I disagree that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The thing is that 9/11 changed the US formula for dealing with terrorism. Up until then, we accepted absorbing a first hit then going after the responsible individuals (e.g. the USS Stark incident). Following 9/11, the U.S. could no longer afford to absorb a first hit. It would have been irresponsible to watch a known threat build and not take pre-emptive action. We've been second guessing since we went into Iraq. Personally, I think we could have waited a little longer for Saddam to do something stupid, but he was an expert at salami politics, taking just a little slice more each time; constantly pushing the limits. I think this whole scenario might have played out better if, while crossing into Iraq, the US military behaved more as liberators than as conquerors. That young soldier that wiped the US flag on the face of the Hussein statue did irreparable damage. Each abuse in any prison has multiplied it. Going into Iraq, IMHO, was slightly premature but necessary. Failure to follow our own rules of conduct once in, failure to maintain the moral high ground; that is what damaged us. That is what allowed Al Zarqawi to gain the level of influence he did.

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