Zarqawi’s Deputy Killed, U.S. “Close” to Zarqawi

US knows Zarqawi whereabouts: top US general (AFP)

The US military is close to locating Al-Qaeda’s frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, General John Abizaid, the commander of US forces in the region, said. “I think we have a good idea” of where to find him, Abizaid told CNN.

“We know what we’re doing in our efforts how to get him,” he said. “But I want to also stress that it’s not about one man. It’s about his network. His network exists inside Iraq. It’s connected to Al-Qaeda. It’s got facilitation nodes in Syria,” Abizaid told the US cable news channel. “It brings foreign fighters in from Saudi Arabia and from North Africa. It is connected to what is happening in Afghanistan and what is happening in Pakistan. It is a global battle that we face,” he said.

“The Zarqawi part of the network needs to be taken down. He needs to be captured or killed. But we should understand: It’s a long war ahead of us. It’s a difficult enemy that we’ll have to fight over time throughout the region,” the general said.

I’m not sure what value constantly saying that we’re about to capture Zarqawi or Bin Laden brings, unless there’s a calculation that it will help flush them out. Still, there may be something to this pronouncement:

Top Zarqawi aide ‘killed’ in US attack (Khaleej Times – CPA)

A senior member of Iraq’s Al Qaeda branch was killed recently in a US crackdown on insurgents in the Iraqi town of Qaim near the Syrian border, a Jordanian newspaper reported yesterday. Khalid Suleiman Darwish, better known as Abu Alghadiya, was among those killed in the operation, the daily Alghad quoted “well- informed sources” as saying.

Abu Alghadiya, a Syrian dentist married to a Jordanian woman, was described by Arab media as the ‘number two’ in Iraq’s Al Qaeda network and tipped to succeed its leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.

A statement posted on Thursday on a web site used by militants announced the death of another Al Qaeda fighter in the same crackdown. He was identified as Abdullah Al Rashoud, a Saudi national listed on that country̢۪s most wanted list.

Abu Alghadiya and Al Zarqawi are being tried in absentia by Jordan̢۪s State Security Court for planning to launch a chemical attack on targets in Jordan, including the US embassy.

One hopes that killing off its senior leadership will weaken the group. So far, there’s little indication of that.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    Killing the so called leaders won’t do much other than move the leadership to others in the loosely associated group. Zarqawi was a nobody when this whole thing started and he only got to the top by the audacity of his acts. I’m sure there are many out there itching to replace him.

  2. Anderson says:

    I’m not sure what value constantly saying that we’re about to capture Zarqawi or Bin Laden brings

    Well, I can’t think of anything better for Z. to see on the news while he’s eating his Wheaties.