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Zarqawi dead.

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AzZarqawi dead.

The leader of al Qaida in Iraq, puppet master of the deadly insurgency that has plagued coalition forces and citizens alike, the terrorist who personally beheaded Nicholas Berg, has been killed in a bombing raid north of Baghdad.

U.S. officials says they confirmed the identity of the Jordanian-born Abu Masab al-Zarqawi through fingerprints and facial recognition. At a news conference today in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Zarqawi was killed along with seven associates Wednesday evening in a house 30 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Residents of the area had reported his whereabouts to Iraqi security forces, who told U.S. officials, Miliki said. Helicopter gunships headed for the house before sundown.

CIA analysts believe it was Zarqawi who held the knife in the May 2004 video that showed the decapitation of Berg, 26, a West Chester, Pa., businessman captured by al Qaida operatives as he was seeking telecommunications work in Iraq.

His father, Michael Berg, told Reuters this morning that he found no solace in the news of Zarqawi's death. He said by phone, "I have no sense of relief, just sadness that another human being had to die."

Michael Berg, running for a Congressional seat on Delaware's Green Party ticket, told the Associated Press: "I see more death coming out of al-Zarqawi's death." He said he would have preferred Zarqawi receiving "restorative justice" -- such as being sentenced to work in a hospital for maimed children.

At a news conference in Iraq, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad described Zarqawi as "the godfather of sectarian killing and terror in Iraq."

Blogs of all political stripes have begun weighing in.

The conservative PoliPundit:

It is very clear that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi represented the Center of Gravity for al-Qaida in Iraq. This is a major victory for the United States, Coalition Forces and the People of Iraq.

This will be seen as a very significant moment in the fight against the insurgency, early in the life of Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

Lefty talk-show host Taylor Marsh:

This is a psychological lift, but reality remains terribly grim in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi's killing doesn't dent the insurgency reality.

Nickle, a diarist at The Daily Kos:

The United States needs to stop acting like this is a one man show. Word is that the man was hated on the street, and a terrible leader. And we all know that much of the violence is not masterminded plots of terrorism.  Instead it is the result of sectarian violence and general resistance.

Chris at AmericaBlog:

I suppose in the coming months that we will find out if he was behind all of the trouble of just a piece of the big puzzle. He's been demonized (clearly he was a bad guy) as the central figure in the problems over there so it will be interesting to see the actual impact of his death.

Phares, writing in the Counterterrorism Blog , on the way local pundits are pitching the news:

Reacting to the killing of Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi in Iraq, pro-Jihadi commentators on al Jazeera rushed to assert that the "death of Zarqawi won't weaken al Qaida but will actually unify the organization." Abdelbari Atwan, the editor of al Quds al Arabi accused Jordanian and US intelligence of penetrating the inner circles of Zarqawi and were successful in getting to him." He added that the killing of Zarqawi was coordinated with the appointment of the ministers of defense and interior in Baghdad.

Projecting further terror, Atwan said the "Jihadists will increase their operations in Iraq. For the more the organization is repressed the more it will produce Jihadists." He stated that in any event, Zarqawi was isolated inside the organization and restrained to military operations." Other commentators also stated that the near future will show that al Qaida is a movement not a group of supporters to one man.

But Iraqi leaders, including the speaker of the Kurdish Parliament, responded on al Jazeera that "the Iraqi people has memorized the names of all those who were involved in Terror against civilians, and will continue the struggle."

Who was Zarqawi? A BBC feature calls him "Iraq's most notorious insurgent -- a shadowy figure associated with spectacular bombings, assassinations and the beheading of foreign hostages."

"He ran with a fast crowd, fought easily and covered his skin with tatooes:" a Los Angeles Times profile from July 2, 2004.

The BBC's news package includes Zarqawi at his own words.

Global reaction.

How Arab TV covered the raid.

The New York Times has the announcement from Gen. George W. Casey Jr. at today's press conference in Iraq. President Bush's statement: "delivered justice."

The Glittering Eye has been collecting reactions from Iraqi bloggers. One, Thoughts From Baghdad, writes:

Iraqis have been suffering for decades now, going from war to war to war to sanctions to war (Iraq-Iran War, Kuwaiti invasion, Gulf War ‘91, sanctions, invasion). They are tired. They want to move on. They are not happy that their country has been invaded, and much less so that the situation has only deteriorated after this invasion in terms of security and peace.

Zarqawi and his operatives added to this mess. Perhaps they meant to fight the occupation, but their fight did not discriminate between Iraqi and non-Iraqi, occupier and occupied. Their roadside bombs, car bombs, mortars, etc killed more Iraqis than they did Americans. Their kidnappings and public beheadings hurt the image of Islam in the West.

I can safely say that most Iraqis are happy, even ecstatic, with this news, but skeptical. Zarqawi was not a lone worker. He had a following, and they can continue their work without him. Iraqis will remain wary in their daily life, and aware that anything can happen. In fact, I would not be surprised if his followers decided to prove a point tomorrow and in the coming days, with some major bombings.

Dan Roth
Posted 06/08/2006 08:51:24 AM
The Nicholas Berg saga has always left me wondering about his role...a young rogue techie operating indepedently? a kid with ties to both sides who pissed off the wrong tribal chief? a random American killed because of his nationality? anything at all to do with Langley?

Which leads me to one of my sicker pet projects....the gruesome tour of Philly...you can start with Berg's unmarked grave in Rockledge, almost walk the mile or so to St. Cecilia's to retrace the last gasping steps of Eddie Polek, hop the bus down Broad to the Gary Heidnik homestead, then stop for lunch, if you still have the appetite for your English-only Cheesecake.
Then it's off to West Philly to the vicinity of the MOVE bombing, then out West Chester Pike to the op-site of one of the Delaware Valley's first terroristas, Springfield Mall and the inimitable Sylvia Siegrist. Finally, make the drive to Haym Solomon Memorial Park in "Down Goes Frazer" to check out where Jim Croce lives these days. For dinner, it's a bit of a hike down Lancaster Ave. to dine at Thai Pepper (a LeBan fave, I believe), where stripper-lorn Craig Rabinowitz took Bryn Mawr alumn Stephanie Newman for sweet/sour before she met her demise in her bathtub a few miles away.

If I've forgotten any, it's because my stays in Philly (62-72), (86-91) and (03-05) have been intermittent.

Mmmmmmmm...cheesecake


Dan Roth
Atlanta
Dave Schuler
Posted 06/08/2006 09:14:27 PM
Thanks for the link, Daniel.  The Iraqi blogosphere is my beat—I edit a weekly round-up of Afghani and Iraqi bloggers for Dean's World (www.deanesmay.com), reading a couple of hundred blogs every week to do it.

Some additional Iraqi bloggers have weighed in and I've updated the post accordingly.  Check it out.
Bruce
Posted 06/11/2006 06:45:58 AM
I think I'll celebrate the news of Zarqawi's death by writing and recording a new song.  Then I'll make it into an mp3 and give it away.   I'll be back when the song is complete.................................

I'm back, and here is that song:

Now that Zarqawi's Gone
words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006
http://www.drblt.com/music/nowthatzarq.mp3

Now that Zarqawi's Gone (acoustic mix)
words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006
http://www.drblt.com/music/now.mp3



Now that Zarqawi’s Gone

words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006


we can breathe a whole lot easier

now that Zarqawi’s gone

we can cautiously celebrate

now that Zarqawi’s gone

now that Zarqawi’s gone

we’ve got a reason for a brand new song

no, it ain’t over

but we’re feelin’ mighty strong

now that Zarqawi’s gone

when I heard it on

the evening news

I told myself

This must be wrong

But when I saw

The photographs 

Upon the screen

I soon became convinced 

Zarqawi’s gone

Now I know they’re gonna say

This doesn’t matter

‘cause we opened up a hornet’s nest

you know

yeah, some will say

it doesn’t matter

but it does to me

we’ve crushed the head of a serpent--

a serpent in his sleep

now that Zarqawi’s gone

we’ve got a reason for a brand new song

no, it ain’t over

but we’re feelin’ mighty strong

now that Zarqawi’s gone
jay lassiter
Posted 06/11/2006 08:50:41 AM
After several years, thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, Al-Zarqawi is dead. Good riddance.

But considering that Al-Zarqawi's cult of personality was ostensibly created by George Bush in the first place, I have a hard time seeing how Al-Zarqawi's death is worth all this fuss.
ping: no-deposit-casino -->
Posted 06/20/2006 10:34:26 AM

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Posted 06/14/2006 07:14:05 PM

ping: Al-Zarqawi Allegedly dead in Iraq -->
Posted 06/08/2006 02:09:20 PM
 AP is reporting Zarqawi dead! Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose bloody campaign of beheadings and suicide bombings made him the most-wanted terrorist in Iraq, was killed when U.S. warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on his isolated safe house, officials said ...
ping: Zarqawi killed in Iraq (updated with link to airstrike video) -->
Posted 06/08/2006 10:27:38 AM
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the most active terrorist in the world, was killed by a bombstrike in Iraq today:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq who waged a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and...
ping: al-Zaqawi -->
Posted 06/08/2006 09:31:19 AM
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an air raid.  Dan Rubin points to an interview with Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg who was decapitated on video allegedly by al-Zarqawi.  Berg said:
I have no sense of relief, just sadness that another human b...
ping: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Killed (Video) (Updating) -->
Posted 06/08/2006 07:15:29 AM
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead, finally killed in one of the air strikes sent in to do the job. 
[Unless otherwise noted, all boldface emphases mine.]
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaidas leader in Iraq who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and...
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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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