9.6.06

ROLLING UP THE MOB. In death, Abu Musaf al-Zarqawi gives the editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, no fans of the War on Islamofascism, cause for cautious optimism.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death in Iraq is a singular triumph for peace and representative government in Iraq. U.S. bombs ended both his life and his role in leading a reign of terror as al-Qaida's man in Iraq, a role that led to countless deaths and has been a major obstacle to stability there.

The Iraqi parliament dismantled another obstacle shortly after, approving defense, interior and national security ministers. Together, the events offer a glimmer of hope to what has been a steadily deteriorating situation.

The issues are linked because two of the new ministers will control much of the Iraqi security forces, entities suspected to varying degrees of abetting - by inaction, inability, incompetence or active participation or fomenting - much of the sectarian violence wracking the country.

Al-Zarqawi's death removes another such fomenter and offers the chance of some breathing room so the ministers can fix their ministries' internal problems and bring Iraq closer to being able to defend itself without U.S. troops and bombs. The tip on al-Zarqawi's whereabouts may have even come from within his own terror network.

Hammorabi offers a similar perspective, from Iraq.

The attack was first by the US forces with an air strike to a selected target where they cockroaches were hiding in. On the same time and in the ground were the Iraqi forces making an advance towards the target and securing the area before and afterward.

Zarqawi without doubts went into the bottom of the Hell with blood of manyinnocent children, women and men in his dirty hands.

There were celebrations going on now in the holly city of Najaf and Kerbala. On the other hands there are sadness and shock among his allies in the region and abroad like Al-Jazeera Qatari TV and other Arab pro-terrorists thugs.

The tip, and the aftermath, are the important elements. Apparently nearly a score of terrorist nests were taken down concurrently with the bombing of the decapitator's hideout. Austin Bay, who served in Iraq, explains the patient work that is required to make such a simultaneous takedown work.
The hard, slow work of collecting and analyzing intelligence leads might yield an ephemeral intelligence breakthrough, one requiring near-instantaneous rapid reaction in order to launch a successful strike on the terrorist and his cohorts.
He also puts the aftermath in perspective.

Zarqawi's death is not a turning point. The War on Terror is a war of ideological and political attrition, and in wars of abrasion there are few turning points, only long trends. The long-term trends in Iraq are positive -- an emerging democracy in the heart of the politically dysfunctional Arab Muslim Middle East is astonishing news.

Zarqawi's death does give Iraq a significant psychological boost, and provides Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new government with a huge political and media opportunity.

And if a score of the supporting cast are in custody or having their hard drives read or their ratlines unraveled, the trend gets a boost. But our troops might have to fight it out on this line if it takes more than one summer. (The reality behind many of the Holy Grail legends: nearly 1500 years of conflict between adherents of Christ and Islam.)

Jessica McBride, who opened her radio program (currently audible the old fashioned way in these parts until 8.30 pm) with this (hat tip: Dave at Dean's World), has a roundup of Iraqi reactions. Blackfive's comrades have supplied his site with gun camera shots and video.

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