Thursday, June 08, 2006

ZARQAWI DEAD

From the BBC:
Militant [So much for the BBC deciding to use the T-word where appropriate] leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has announced.

"We have eliminated Zarqawi," Mr Maliki said at a news conference, sparking sustained applause. The US said he was killed in an air raid near Baquba.

The Jordanian-born leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq was considered the figurehead of the Sunni insurgency.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been blamed for hundreds of bombings that have killed thousands of Shias and US forces.
Pretty militant then. But good news regardless of the language the BBC choose to use.

Omar at Iraq the Model gives a little more background:
Hibhib is a small town several kilometers to the northwest of Baquba and most of its people are from the Azzawi tribes. This small town was traditionally nicknamed Um al-Arak as it was famous for producing some of the finest Arak in Iraq, an industry that flourished in the area for the abundance of date palms. It's even said that Hibhib's Arak can make the fox get drunk!

Of course that was before the Salafi Zarqawi tide reached this once peaceful town.

It was quite visible lately that Hibhib became a place for intense terror activity, especially after the phenomenon of severed heads appeared. Severed heads of civilian Iraqis were found twice in fruit boxes in and around Hibhib; a terrible crime that shocked Iraqis.

Also a few days ago 19 passengers, mostly students were murdered in cold blood just north of Hibhib which indicated that a seriously bloody terror cell was in this area.

There had been several reports about Zarqawi fleeing Anbar to Diyala after the tribes in Ramadi turned against al-Qaeda but obviously, Diyala and its suburbs and Iraqi tribes were not willing to endorse the head chopping criminal.
When heads start cropping up in fruit-boxes, you can understand why the locals weren't too keen to grant Zarqawi an extended stay.

Even Hezbollah hated him with a passion. From Michal Totten:
I mentioned before that I interviewed Hezbollah's Mohammad Afif in the suburbs south of Beirut and that he had almost nothing to say that wasn't boilerplate propaganda. It was boring and useless and I saw no point in publishing it. But he did say two interesting things. The first I quoted here [Also worth a read]. And here is the second:

I asked him what he thought of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Zarqawi's head-chopping mosque-burning faction in Iraq. I knew he would condemn them, of course, but I didn't expect to find his condemnation convincing.

But I did, as it turned out, find his condemnation convincing.

"We hate them," he said. "They call us cockroaches and murder our people."

It's hard to think he came up with that answer just to assuage me. Hezbollah is Arab and Shia just as many of Zarqawi's victims in Iraq are.
Responding to Glenn Reynolds' theory - "Is it just me, or is the Middle East a lot like 7th Grade with RPGs? - Totten writes:
It's also a bit like a loony bin with RPGs. I mean, for God's sake, Zarqawi is accusing Hezbollah of being a cover for Israel. He would be hilarious if he weren't a psychopath.
Thanks to information from Jordanian security services and handy pointers from locals, that's one less psychopath the world has to deal with.


UPDATE: Bagrec makes a great point - hopefully this news will really annoy Yvonne Ridley:
She described Abu Musab al-Zarqawi himself, after he took responsibility for the Jordanian terrorist attack and was subsequently denounced by his remaining Jordanian family, as a brother she’d much rather put up with than have a traitor or sell-out for a father, son or grandfather – by which she means the Jordanian king. Ridley calls the family renunciation of al-Zarqawi "cowardly".
You backed a losing horse there Yvonne.

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