08 June 2006

"A network of networks."

Good news from the Washington Post.

BAGHDAD, June 8 --Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the
mastermind behind hundreds of bombings,
kidnappings and beheadings in Iraq, was killed
early Wednesday by an airstrike --north of
Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday.

Not so good news from Juan Cole.

There is no evidence of operational links
between his Salafi Jihadis in Iraq and the real
al-Qaeda; it was just a sort of branding that
suited everyone, including the US. Official US
spokesmen have all along over-estimated his
importance. Leaders are significant and not
always easily replaced. But Zarqawi has in my
view has been less important than local Iraqi
leaders and groups. I don't expect the guerrilla
war to subside any time soon.

A helpful reminder from Eric Alterman.

It’s nice that they got Zarqawi.  Too bad they
didn’t try harder before the invasion, when they
lied about his membership in Al-Qaeda to create
their phony link between bin Laden and Saddam
Hussein.  Remember, in arguing for war,  Bush
referred to a "very senior al-Qaeda leader who
received medical treatment in Baghdad this
year."  But the administration has given no
indication that Abu Musab Zarqawi collaborated
with senior Iraqi officials.

A not-so-helpful reminder from Donald Rumsfeld.

Given the nature of the terrorist networks,
really a network of networks, the death of
Zarqawi, while enormously important, will not
mean the end of all violence in that country.