June 12, 2006


How the Media Made -- and Killed -- Zarqawi (Brian Shott, June 12, 2006, New America Media)

[Editor's Note: Jamal Dajani is the director of Middle Eastern programming at Link TV. Here, he looks at Arab media's news coverage of the lethal airstrike on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq.] [...]

BS: What about reports that he was betrayed?

JD: If you listen to Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki, he essentially thanked the public. If the government was able to work with some of the Sunni tribal leaders to give up Zarqawi, that's a shift in tactics and a major achievement. Zarqawi's base is not really Al Qaeda and the foreign fighters, it's really the Sunnis. He managed to hide between them, between those tribal areas. One analysis I've seen is that it's not a coincidence he got betrayed -- people got tired of his indiscriminate killing.

And another analysis, this one from an Egyptian analyst more to the left, is that now the strongest spy agency in Iraq is coming from Iran, and this might be an Iranian gift to the United States. After all, Zarqawi had killed indiscriminately, but he's really been hitting Shiites hard. And of course Iran has strong ties with Iraqi's Shiite population. [...]

BS: So what took coalition forces and the Iraqi government so long to find him?

JD: The argument here is about the complexity of Iraq. That you cannot just come in with 150,000 troops and you're going to control the area. At the end of the day, you need an Iraqi, someone who knows the terrain, the language. The Americans can maybe go and surround a town and destroy it, but they don't have the informers, the knowledge from within.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2006 7:41 AM
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