Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Diligent Decapitation Duty Destructively Done

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s insurgency leader in Iraq has been killed by US airstrikes.

Tips from Iraqi citizens coupled with a persistent effort from the US army have eventually led to his demise. Al-Zarqawi was responsible for a plethora of inhumane acts such as beheading American hostages and Iraqi citizens. He was also behind the horrific orchestrated attacks in Amman’s hotels last November.

The US army and Iraqi citizens should certainly rejoice as his elimination marks a new turning point in the formation of the Iraqi state and modern Iraqi history. His elusions have finally ceased to exist. Al-Zarqawi, a Sunni himself encouraged attacks against the Shia majority and was the culprit in instigating further sectarian violence which brought Iraq on the brink of civil war.

The consequences of al-Zarqawi’s death need to be carefully assessed.

His termination immediately alleviated pressures off of the US economy and drove oil prices down . This further indicates how dependent the US economy has become on political events in the Middle East. As I’ve argued in my previous post ‘The ‘True’ Power of Oil’ the US will take distant strides to secure sources of non-renewable energy and to continue to beef up its behemoth, consumer-hungry economy.

Al-Zarqawi’s death might spur an internal internecine struggle within al-Qaeda’s ranks. Osama Bin Laden and other top figures will need to carefully select an eligible candidate to replace him as the new leader of the insurgency in Iraq. According to American and Iraqi officials and experts, an internal struggle is a likelihood which will continue to bring more bloodshed within the country’s borders. Al-Zarqawi has done an incredible job at maintaining the stamina of the insurgency and his followers have a seemingly infinite concessionary threshold.

This threshold will prevail. According to Bruce Hoffman, a terrorist expert at the Rand Corporation in Washington:

“al-Zarqawi may be gone, but the conflagration that he set alight continues to burn. That is the reality. He has already set in motion powerful forces that won't necessarily stop just because he is dead.”

The US’ experience with decapitation attacks has not had a successful history. On numerous occasions during the start of the war in March 2003, the US attempted to use decapitation airstrikes to target important Iraqi figure heads and had failed. Even after the capture of Saddam Hussein, the situation exacerbated. For a moment, the world including some Iraqi citizens contemplated whether Saddam’s brutal, dictatorial and draconic methods keep the country ‘stable.’ Such a contemplation was vis-à-vis the current situation which had paved the way for the insurgency and had rendered the country’s internal and external borders porous.

Similar to the case of Saddam, the capture/decapitation of al-Zarqawi will (unfortunately) serve as an ephemeral symbol of success. The insurgency will retaliate in utter wrath and will seek to maintain their impetus. The insurgency’s decentralized nature has flabbergasted the US army within Iraq’s borders. As I argued in my recent post ‘Enter Somalia’ al-Qaeda has been tantalizing America’s Achilles’ heel, carefully learning from the US’ gross failures in the past (such as Vietnam) and targeting their weaknesses with utter precision.

Iraqi authorities should take a pro-active measure in ensuring that the insurgency’s activities are not blown out of proportion. Moreover, both Iraqi and American authorities should cautiously observe the struggle for his replacement and locate holes which might lead them to cripple the insurgency further. Time is of the essence at this point.


Anonymous tommy said...

Interesting comments, Observer.

However, I believe that al-Qaeda in Iraq may be in serious jeopardy. The killing of Zarqawi was followed immediately after with assaults on 17 al-Qaeda locations. This indicates that the U.S. has substantially more intelligence on al-Qaeda than many previously believed. They may have left certain parts of al-Qaeda undisturbed so they could monitor them and get to Zarqawi. That is all over now. These raids may have a domino effect that could effectively destroy the organization over the next several months.

You have to hand it to Zarqawi: he was a wily opponent. I don't know if his successors will be as cunning or as skilled. Several of his closest henchmen have previously been eliminated with much less effort.

In any event, it will be interesting to see how things play out.

12:47 PM  
Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

@tommy. The next couple of weeks will determine the biggest consequence of his decapitation.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq will either wither away or regroup and come back stronger than they were with al-Zarqawi was alive. The situation remains delicate to say the least.

If American and Iraqi officials are able to use the imminent internal struggles among the upper echelons of al-Qaeda's ranks to their advantage, then they might be to permanently cripple the insurgency and eventually completely eliminate it.

As I conclude, time is of the essence at this point.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff:

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is outside the scope of the topic, but concerning the polls I just sent you, I found the answers to question 40 particulary interesting as they indicated an unsually high level of support for Mubarak inside of Egypt.

8:29 PM  
Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

@anonymous. Those are quite interesting responses.

However, ironically regardless of the average citizen's standard of living in Egypt, they still manage to remain very nationalistic. Moreover, many people in a way give their allegiance to Mubarak since they fear change.

The status quo has been maintained for quite a long period of time and for many that is quite an achievement.

While a random sample of 1000 people might not be very representative of the population, it in fact provides quite a clear picture of the realities in Egypt. People merely fear change and they would give up nothing for the status quo and for the risk of having a 'worse' life under a different regime.

8:58 AM  

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