Sunnis Will Nab Zarqawi When Ready

Rowan Scarborough recounts the bizarre claim by some Sunni leaders that they could capture Abu Musab Zarqawi at any time they like but are waiting until they’re ready.

Sunnis will nab Zarqawi when ‘ready’ (Washington Times, p. 1)

Sunni “fence sitters” in Iraq say they would be willing to take on master terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi and rid the country of foreign saboteurs if the Shi’ite-run government’s new political structure is acceptable to them, according to a senior U.S. official. “The Iraqis will kill every foreigner who comes into their neighborhood when they’re ready,” said the senior official who has spent months in Iraq. “They don’t want foreigners in Iraq.”

The official, who has held numerous meetings with what he called “influential fence sitters,” said the representatives have told him they are only tolerating foreign terrorists because they are a “pressure tool” to force the Shi’ites and the U.S. to consider Sunni political demands for more representation in the Baghdad government. “We’ll catch him when we’re ready,” the official quoted one Sunni as telling him, referring to Zarqawi.

The official also said the Sunnis are demanding that Shi’ite security forces cease what the Sunnis consider harassing search-and-seizure measures that target innocent Iraqis. “We’re getting a lot of bad guys,” the official said. “Are non-bad guys being killed? Absolutely. … A civil war has started to a degree.”

The source agreed to a lengthy interview with The Washington Times on condition he not be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the press. “The Sunnis are broken up into many fragmented groups,” the official said. “Many don’t want us to leave. Iraqi intelligence is telling us this every day.”

They’ve only let him go so long out of kindness, I suppose.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jim Henley says:

    I said a week or two ago I thought the foreign terrorists were the useful idiots of the native insurgency.

    I’m now thinking that something is genuinely afoot. You bump this against Billmon’s analysis of the rhetorical shifts in last night’s speech and the hint about a full withdrawal I ID’d in the piece you linked below, and I think we’re seeing, if not a dance yet, two parties eyeing each other across the room and sending signals.

    Per Billmon and me, you have the President clearing rhetorical space for direct deals with at least some insurgent factions on one side. Per this article, you have some insurgent factions putting an offer on the table (we’ll deal with the foreign jihadis) on the other side. There may be more news afoot than I immediately credited.

    (Note: Billmon of course finds Bush’s rhetorical shifts reprehensible. I don’t. Now that I look, I think they’re rather skillful.)

  2. Lt bell says:

    Yep, thats right ,and Bush is just waiting for the right time to step in and pick up Osama Bin Laden.

    Remember all those terror alerts during the election, Rove has replaced them with “we can do it whenever we want talk”
    OK smart guy! What are they waiting for?

  3. Donnie says:

    Nice Pancho and Lefty reference!

  4. Fersboo says:

    Donnie has the quicker draw.

  5. dw says:

    Gawd, there’s a filk hidden in this post.

    Zarqawi he can’t sing the blues
    All night long like he used to
    The sand that Al-Queda bit in Iraq
    Ended up in Zarqawi’s crack

    The day they laid Al-Queda low
    Zarqawi split for Cairo
    Where he got the bread to go
    Only the Saudi Arabians know

    All the Sunni clerics say
    They could have had him any day
    They only let him slip away
    Out of kindness I suppose