View Full Version : Tracking Zarqawi

12-04-2005, 08:17 AM
4 Dec. Washington Post - Buried in Amman's Rubble: Zarqawi's Support (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/02/AR2005120202370.html).

Amid the continuing bloodshed in Iraq, there is evidence of fresh thinking. The change is, ironically, brought about by Abu Musab Zarqawi himself, whose indiscriminate terrorism appears to have succeeded in uniting people there against his global jihad ideology. Since the hotel bombings in Zarqawi's native Jordan, more and more Sunni Iraqis and Arabs have condemned the terrorist leader's nightmarish vision for their societies -- one that promises further "catastrophic" suicide attacks. Their reaction represents an important turning point, both for the militants for whom this change of outlook represents a new predicament and for the U.S. government, which must recognize that securing Iraq's future stability is not up to foreign military forces but depends on local public opinion...

01-22-2006, 01:40 AM
22 Jan. London Times - Zarqawi ‘Sleeps in Suicide Belt’ (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2003822,00.html).

Iraq's most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, goes to sleep every night wearing a suicide belt packed with explosives, according to a leading insurgent who met him two weeks ago...

His account, passed to The Sunday Times by a reliable intermediary, is the first description of Zarqawi in Iraq since Washington slapped a $25m bounty on his head, the same as the reward for the killing or capture of Osama Bin Laden.

The sheikh’s two-day meeting with the Jordanian-born Zarqawi provided a rare insight into the terrorist accused of masterminding the videotaped beheadings of western hostages — including Ken Bigley, the Liverpool-born engineer, in 2004 — and countless suicide bombings and assassinations.

“He is known by America and the world as the prince of beheadings, the murdering sheikh of innocents, the blood spiller,” said Ansari.

By contrast, he said, Zarqawi seemed a “simple” man and put on a show of humility at a two-day meeting to secure the co-operation of the Army of the Victorious Sect and other groups with Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The sheikh’s two-day meeting with the Jordanian-born Zarqawi provided a rare insight into the terrorist accused of masterminding the videotaped beheadings of western hostages - including Ken Bigley, the Liverpool-born engineer, in 2004 - and countless suicide bombings and assassinations...

01-23-2006, 10:58 PM
I have extreme doubts about this report. For one thing, consider the source: a sheikh who leads a terrorist cell that just concluded an alliance with Zarqawi's group.

It seems somewhat unlikely that a man in Zarqawi's position would wear a suicide belt all the time. For one thing, homemade bombs are quite unstable and unreliable. Also, Iraq is a country where one is subject to the possibility of searches at any one of the many, many military checkpoints and in one's home. Zarqawi knows that our identification of home is tentative and outdated - his best chance to deal with one of these searches is to keep his cool. Wearing a bomb, on the other hand, would instantly finger him as a troublemaker. Moreover, it's not the kind of thing that local people would want to put up with. Even if you like having anti-us forces in your midst, guys so paranoid they're ready to blow themselves up at the drop of a hat still don't make great neighbors. Suicide bombers go through some fairly rigorous training and indoctrination procedures, as a rule, so it seems unlikely that Zarqawi is truly ready to join their ranks. Finally, the true defense of a guerrilla is invisibility - the ability to blend in with the native population. Zarqawi loses this if he differs substantially from the locals.

It would make some sense from him to plant a story like this, however. The whole anecdote plays him up as a courageous martyr - humble, pious, courteous, fearless of his own death and valuing his honor. Precisely the sorts of qualities that make him look like a serious leader, not a two bit hit man who doesn't dare set foot in his own country. It makes sense to put on a show like this around guerrillas you're trying to impress.

Question - did Zarqawi intend for this anecdote to reach the western media? This sort of legend could be useful to him in intimidating Iraqis (especially Iraqi police) who might otherwise try that much harder to identify and arrest him. It says a lot about the capability of al Qaeda in Iraq if they are cultivating western journalists as well as local ones.

Merv Benson
01-25-2006, 01:17 AM
One of the facts that gives the story some credibility is that US troops have reported killing several enemy lately who were wearing the explosive vest.

01-25-2006, 10:16 PM
I also doubt the sleeping in a suicide vest thing. If nothing else I am sure the guy has guards they should be able to wake him up with enough time to put on his vest. That way he can leave the vest in the closet and not have to worry about going to heaven over a bad dream. :D

01-25-2006, 11:09 PM
This must be a relatively new waredrobe shift for him for we know that he jumped out of a moving pick-up truck in Ramadi last year to avoid capture.

01-25-2006, 11:12 PM
By the way, didnt the Iraqi Police also report capturing and "mistakenly" releasing Zarqawi in 2005, when they failed to correctly identify him. Not quite sure how they positively identified him after the fact, but I digress.

Merv Benson
01-26-2006, 02:15 AM
He must not have been wearing the explosive vest at the time.

01-26-2006, 03:29 AM
He is covered in (jailhouse)tattoos. This is considered dirty amongst muslims and very rare.

04-14-2006, 05:18 AM
14 April Washington Times - Zarqawi, al Qaeda are Heading out, U.S. General Says (http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060413-110216-1235r.htm).

Al Qaeda in Iraq and its presumed leader, Abu Musab Zarqawi, have conceded strategic defeat and are on their way out of the country, a top U.S. military official contended yesterday.

The group's failure to disrupt national elections and a constitutional referendum last year "was a tactical admission by Zarqawi that their strategy had failed," said Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the XVIII Airborne Corps...

Gen. Vines' statement came as news broke that coalition and Iraqi forces had killed an associate of Osama bin Laden's during an early morning raid near Abu Ghraib about two weeks ago...

Gen. Vines said the foreign terrorists had made a strategic mistake when they tried to intimidate and deny Iraqis a way to vote.

"I believe Zarqawi discredited himself with the Iraqi people because of his willingness to slaughter Iraqi people," he said.

Huthayafa Azzam, whose father was seen as a political mentor of bin Laden, told reporters in Jordan in early April that Zarqawi had been replaced as head of the terrorist fight in Iraq in an effort to put an Iraqi at the head of the organization.

Azzam said Zarqawi had "made many political mistakes," including excessive violence and the bombing last November of a Jordanian hotel, and as a result was being "confined to military action."...

Merv Benson
04-16-2006, 04:49 PM
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch (http://www.mnf-iraq.com/Transcripts/060413.htm) at his weekly press briefing said:


... There has been, from this 14-day period -- 15 to 28 March -- to the most recent 14-day period -- 29 March to 11 April -- a decrease in the number of attacks. And there's been, in terms of Baghdad proper, about two attacks less per day in that reporting period, about an IED less per day and a small-arms fire attack less per day. The enemy's still out there. Baghdad's the center of gravity. He wants to stop the formation of a national unity government. So operations continue, and he's doing these most horrific acts.

The one that's most notable over the last week is the bombing of the Shi'a mosque up in Buratha with four suicide bombers. Horrendous affect in terms of innocent civilians killed and wounded -- the innocent men, women and children of Iraq that are the target of Zarqawi and al Qaeda in Iraq. And what he tried to do in that day last week is he tried to inflame sectarian violence. Let's take four suicide bombers, let's take them to that Shi'a mosque, let's detonate, let's kill a lot of innocent civilians, let's damage the mosque if at all possible and let's see what happens. Let's cause this cycle of violence to continue. Let's see the Shi'as now, as a result of this attack, turn against the Sunnis and conduct significant attacks.

That didn't happen. It didn't happen. And people say, well, why didn't that happen? That's because we've got effective security force presence on the streets in Baghdad. It's because the government of Iraq appealed to the people of Iraq for calm. It's because religious and local leaders said enough is enough and break the cycle of violence.

So Zarqawi's still out there. Al Qaeda in Iraq still wants to inflame sectarian violence. That is an indication of what he's capable of doing, and we will continue our operation with the Iraqi security force to keep him from doing what he wants to do.


04-18-2006, 04:38 PM
Why not move your jihad to the Xinjiang Province China? Go blow up their new Caspian oil pipeline and terrorize the Han Chinease, instigating heavy handed retrobution against the Uigur muslims(in Tianamen like fashion). The Uigers already get crapped on by the oppressive government and the encroaching Han; they should be ripe for insurrection. ;) I bet all your militant islamic jihadist buddies from Pakistan and Afghanistan will follow suit. Heck, they are right next door! :D

(4GW smorjee-W) :cool:

04-29-2006, 11:33 AM
28 April Christian Science Monitor - Zarqawi: The Man, The Image, The Video Star (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0428/p09s01-coop.html).

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the elusive leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, made his screen debut this week. In a 35-minute video, the man responsible for the car-bomb deaths of hundreds of Iraqi civilians and the beheadings of numerous foreigners, dismissed the new Iraqi government as an American "stooge" and a "poisoned dagger" in the heart of the Muslim community. He promised more attacks.

The Zarqawi video comes, perhaps not coincidentally, days after another call by Osama bin Laden that Muslims support Al Qaeda in its war with the West. In addition, there was a triple bombing at an Egyptian resort that killed two dozen and injured many more, and double suicide bombings at a multinational peacekeepers' base in the Sinai peninsula. In the midst of the carnage and the threats, what to make of Mr. Zarqawi's message? Here are five points to consider:

1. Zarqawi's video is designed for Iraqi fighters as much as it is for Arab and Western eyes. He is trying to rally Sunni Iraqis and foreign militants to continue the fight. With the selection of a new Iraqi prime minister and president, allowing the country's Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish leaders to start assembling a government, Zarqawi can't let the Sunni-led resistance lose steam...

2. The tape mocks reports of his demise and marginalization. Press reports have told of skirmishes between Al Qaeda and homegrown Iraqi fighters, at least partly due to the indiscriminate car and suicide bombings of civilians...

3. Zarqawi must have thought hard before revealing his face for the first time (he previously relied on audiotapes): A video increases the risk to his security. But evidently he decided that the benefits of joining the shadowy show-biz world of his mentors, Mr. bin Laden and deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, outweighed the dangers...

4. Although Zarqawi acknowledges "our emir and commander Osama bin Laden," his video is all about self- promotion and self-aggrandizement...

5. Far from being over, the Zarqawi horror play will be with us for a while. Expect more devastating attacks and, tragically, more bloodshed...

04-30-2006, 09:44 PM
From USIP: What Makes Zarqawi Tick? (http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2006/0424_zarqawi.html)

...In cooperation with the Middle East Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Muslim World Initiative at USIP invited Gilles Kepel, director of the Middle East–Mediterranean Program at Sciences-Po in Paris, to present his analysis of al Qaeda operations in Iraq. Dan Brumberg, special advisor at USIP and professor at the Department of Government at Georgetown University, and Dan Byman, professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, commented on the implications of Kepel’s analysis for the broader struggle against radical Islamism. This event was moderated by Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Kepel focused on three main issues:

- Zarqawi's efforts to mobilize the (Sunni) masses in Iraq;
- Ideological divergences within al Qaeda precipitated by Zarqawi’s violent tactics;
- The prominent role Iran is playing in Iraq, and Iran’s effect on the political process.

05-04-2006, 11:30 PM
4 May American Forces Press Service - Coalition Shows Zarqawi Outtakes During Press Event (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2006/20060504_5016.html).

Coalition officials here today showed the "outtakes" of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's latest anti-coalition screed, and it became quickly apparent why they ended on the cutting-room floor, so to speak.
In one, Zarqawi -- the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq -- has trouble trying to operate an automatic weapon. An associate has to show him how to do it. Later in the same shot, an associate takes the weapon from Zarqawi by the barrel and burns his hand. In another, the feared terrorist is shown in a black uniform and bright blue "tenny pumps."

Coalition troops found the tape during a raid on a hideout for foreign fighters. "He is far from being a capable military leader," coalition spokesman Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said during a news conference today.

Zarqawi has the most to lose as Iraq forms its national unity government, the general said. Al Qaeda leaders understand that democracy in Iraq means failure for the extremist organization.

Zarqawi's al Qaeda mission is to destabilize any government in Iraq, to drive the coalition from the country, and to impose an extremist government and expand it across the region.

Lynch said the coalition has made good progress against foiling suicide bombings, the most deadly attacks in Iraq. "The suicide attacks are where the innocent men, women and children of Iraq are being killed or severely wounded," the general said.

About 90 percent of those launching suicide attacks are foreigners recruited and outfitted by Zarqawi. "We have planned and launched operations over the past couple of weeks to deny him that capability," Lynch said.

Over the past year, the coalition has cut the number of suicide attacks Zarqawi can launch. First, operations in the Euphrates River Valley disrupted the flow of foreign extremists from Syria, and now intelligence has allowed coalition forces to kill or capture a significant number of foreign fighters.

A year ago, Lynch said, there were on average 75 suicide attacks per month. Today there are less than 25 per month.

Lynch said coalition officials have targeted suicide bombers. "Since April 8, coalition forces have killed 31 foreign fighters," he said. "These are people that Zarqawi brought into Iraq to be suicide bombers who were killed before they could launch their attacks."

Suicide bombers most often come from Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Jordan. Most come into Iraq over the Syrian border. Lynch said that once captured, suicide attackers have often given coalition officials "actionable intelligence."

4 May Voice of America - U.S. Military Says It is Closer to Capturing Al-Qaida's Leader in Iraq (http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-05-04-voa3.cfm).

The U.S. military says it is closer to capturing al-Qaida's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

A military spokesman made the remark Thursday in Baghdad, following the recovery of documents and an unedited copy of an al-Zarqawi video that aired last week on international television.

U.S. Major General Rick Lynch mocked al-Zarqawi while playing unedited video showing the terrorist wearing a black uniform and American-made running shoes. The video also shows him struggling to fire an automatic weapon.

General Lynch said U.S. forces discovered the video in April in a series of raids south of Baghdad, near Yousifiyah. He described the area as a planning and staging post for insurgent suicide attacks.

On Edit - ABC has footage of the Zarqawi "bloopers" posted here (http://abcnews.go.com/International/IraqCoverage/story?id=1922602). Hat tip to Bill Roggio at the Counterterrorism Blog. (http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/05/hunting_zarqawi_and_tales_of_t.php)

05-05-2006, 12:12 AM
Bill Roggio at the Counterterrorism Blog - Hunting Zarqawi and Tales of the Tape (http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/05/hunting_zarqawi_and_tales_of_t.php).

ABC News has the footage of the 'Zarqawi Bloopers' (http://abcnews.go.com/International/IraqCoverage/story?id=1922602). CENTCOM has a 20 second clip (http://www.mnf-iraq.com/) of Zarqawi misfiring the SAW. He is receiving instructions and definitely does not know how to handle this weapon. His handler clears the weapon for him. FOX News has a four minute clip (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,194260,00.html).

In today's weekly media briefing from Baghdad, Major General Rick Lynch stated Coalition and Iraqi forces are closing in on Zarqawi and his network. "We believe it is only a matter of time until Zarqawi is taken down. It's not if, but when," said Maj. Gen. Lynch, "He's willing to pull his people from outside the perimeter of Baghdad into Baghdad to go full out on operations inside of Baghdad. Which leads us to believe his personal location is probably somewhere close to those operations. Zarqawi is zooming in on Baghdad, we are zooming in on Zarqawi." Zarqawi's focus on Baghdad is forcing him to concentrate the organization's resources and energy on the capitol (I noted on December 10, 2005 that the insurgency is focusing on the 'core' of Iraq - Baghdad and the surrounding regions, and reiterated this at the end of March). The focus on Baghdad is exposing his network to Task Force 145 - the hunter-killer teams of Special Operations Forces put together to track down Zarqawi and al-Qaeda in Iraq high command...

06-08-2006, 08:19 AM
8 June Washington Post - Insurgent Leader Zarqawi Killed in Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/08/AR2006060800114.html).

Abu Musab Zarqawi, leader of one of the most entrenched insurgent operations in Iraq, has been killed, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Thursday.

Maliki, flanked by U.S. Gen. George Casey, who commands U.S. troops in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, announced at a hastily called news conference: ''Today Zarqawi is defeated.''

Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, has been reported injured or sick several times in the past; it has been impossible to independently confirm those reports. He last was seen in a video in early May in which he was shown fumbling with a weapon, but audiotapes bearing new messages from him were released as recently as last week.

An Interior Ministry inspector general, who refused to be identified, said an aide of Zarqawi was arrested last night in a raid by U.S. and Iraqi special-operations forces. The aide led U.S. and Iraqi officials to a site outside Baghdad, the Interior Ministry official said. After a fierce firefight, authorities entered the site and found the bodies of 13 people. The captured aide identified one as Zarqawi...

06-08-2006, 10:14 AM
In the SWJ Daily News Links for 8 June (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/news/060608.htm)...

Here is the Voice of America (http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-06-08-voa3.cfm) report...

Iraq's most-wanted terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been killed north of Baghdad in a joint operation by U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Zarqawi's death at a news conference in the Iraqi capital, broadcast live around the world. Standing with Mr. Maliki were General George Casey, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

Reporters and the Iraqi and American officials in the room burst into applause when Mr. Maliki announced that "Zarqawi was eliminated."

The prime minister said seven of Zarqawi's associates died with him late Wednesday in a "safe house" near the city of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad.

General Casey said Zarqawi was holding a meeting as a U.S. air strike began. Ground forces on the scene immediately afterwards identified Zarqawi through his fingerprints and known scars, as well as "facial recognition."

General Casey said the operation to hunt down Zarqawi began about two weeks ago.

Zarqawi was responsible for thousands of killings, Ambassador Khalilzad said, so his removal marks a great success for Iraq and the global war on terror.

The Jordanian-born terrorist mastermind led the "al-Qaida in Iraq" group on a bloody campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and beheading of hostages across Iraq. The United States had offered a $25 million reward for his capture.

06-08-2006, 10:19 AM
Also via Voice of America (http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-06-08-voa5.cfm)

"Coalition forces killed al-Qaida [in Iraq] terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and one of his key lieutenants, spiritual adviser Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, yesterday, June 7th, at 6:15 p.m. in an air strike against an identified, isolated safe house," said U.S. General George Casey.

"Tips and intelligence from ... senior leaders from his network led the forces to Zarqawi and some of his associates, who were conducting a meeting approximately eight kilometers north of Baquba when the air strike was launched."

Casey also told reporters gathered in Baghdad that "Iraqi police were first on the scene after the air strike [and] ... coalition forces were able to identify Zarqawi by fingerprint verification, facial recognition and known scars."

The U.S. commander had applauded a few minutes earlier, when Iraq's prime minister confirmed Zarqawi was dead.

"Zarqawi and al-Qaida in Iraq have conducted terrorist activities against the Iraqi people for years, in attempts to undermine the Iraqi national government and coalition efforts to rebuild and stabilize Iraq. He is known to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis," added Casey.

"Zarqawi's death is a significant blow to al-Qaida and another step toward defeating terrorism in Iraq."

Casey concluded his remarks with a warning that terrorists are still active in Iraq.

"Although the designated leader of al-Qaida in Iraq is now dead, the terrorist organization still poses a threat," the American commander said. "Its members will continue to try to terrorize the Iraqi people and destabilize their government as it moves toward stability and prosperity. Iraqi forces, supported by the coalition, will continue to hunt terrorists that threaten the Iraqi people until terrorism is eradicated in Iraq."

Bolded emphasis by SWJ / SWC.

06-08-2006, 06:23 PM
known scars
ie jailhouse tattoos. He is covered in them.

06-08-2006, 06:34 PM
Some immediate analysis from CSIS: Zarqawi's Death: Temporary "Victory" or Lasting Setback (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/060608_zarqawi_death.pdf)

There is no doubt that the Iraqi government and US forces in Iraq have scored a major political and propaganda victory by killing Abu Musab al Zarqawi. What is less clear that this victory will have a major impact over time. Its lasting importance depends on two things. The overall resilience of the insurgency in Iraq and how well the new Iraqi government can follow up with actions that a build a national consensus and defeat and undermine all the elements of the insurgency...

06-08-2006, 06:43 PM
John Robb (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2006/06/iraq_zarqawi_is.html)

This is excellent news, but it needs to be put into context (this is a brief for decision makers/analysts/thinkers and not motivation for the rank and file, so don't expect fluff -- as is often said, only the paranoid survive and every good commander I know understands this). Zarqawi is best categorized as violence capitalist, very similar to bin Laden, that supported and incubated guerrilla entrepreneurs of the new open source warfare model. In this role he was instigator of violence and not the leader of a vast hierarchical insurgency.


Col. Lang (http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2006/06/will_the_next_z.html)

Zarqawi was a bad and deluded man. He is dead. Good. Is it important? Not very much.

We Americans and our Israeli friends are obsessed with our own conception of what the mentality of people different from us ought to be. We can not deal with the reality of completely different and adversarial world views and mind sets. We account for systematic hostility toward adoption of our ways by attributing this "backwardness" to "bogey men" who from sheer evilness and perversity lead their fellows astray. Having done this, we then build them up in our minds and media as "supermen" whose elimination will end resistance to our "program" of "modernity."

Zarqawi was largely the creation of the collective American mind. In fact, he was the leader of less than 10% of the Iraqi insurgents. His people like to blow themselves up on "their way home." Will his pious madmen stop doing that now? We will see. Present thinking is that AQ in Iraq is now overwhelmingly Iraqi in its personnel.

The other 90% of the people in the Iraq insurgent groups are whatever they have always been.

Tom Odom
06-08-2006, 07:37 PM
ie jailhouse tattoos. He is covered in them.

that would be he was covered in them :D past tense of course in his case being a good thing!:)

I agree with Pat Lang and I thank you for posting his comments:

Col. Lang

Zarqawi was a bad and deluded man. He is dead. Good. Is it important? Not very much.

We Americans and our Israeli friends are obsessed with our own conception of what the mentality of people different from us ought to be. We can not deal with the reality of completely different and adversarial world views and mind sets. We account for systematic hostility toward adoption of our ways by attributing this "backwardness" to "bogey men" who from sheer evilness and perversity lead their fellows astray. Having done this, we then build them up in our minds and media as "supermen" whose elimination will end resistance to our "program" of "modernity."

Zarqawi was largely the creation of the collective American mind. In fact, he was the leader of less than 10% of the Iraqi insurgents. His people like to blow themselves up on "their way home." Will his pious madmen stop doing that now? We will see. Present thinking is that AQ in Iraq is now overwhelmingly Iraqi in its personnel.

The other 90% of the people in the Iraq insurgent groups are whatever they have always been.


06-08-2006, 08:49 PM
... to MilBlog (http://www.mudvillegazette.com/milblogs/) readers and a H/T to Eddie. Be sure to check out the rest of the forum and the Small Wars Journal's (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/) extensive resources to include the Reference Library (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/reference.htm) and Online Magazine (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/swjmag_current.htm). The Daily News Links (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/worm.htm) page provides a quick roundup of news, editorials, commentary, and blogs........ [ /shamelessplug ]

Message From Above


Cox and Forkum (http://www.coxandforkum.com/)

06-08-2006, 09:32 PM
MG William Caldwell (USA) (http://pentagonchannel.feedroom.com/iframeset.jsp?ord=604299) in Baghdad

Air Strike Video (http://www.mnf-iraq.com/zarqawi/video/Zaqarwi_Clip.wmv)

Briefing Slides (http://www.mnf-iraq.com/Transcripts/Slides/060608-zarqawi.pdf)

06-09-2006, 01:47 AM
8 June Associated Press - Bin Laden Keeps Lower Profile Than Zarqawi (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/08/AR2006060801206.html).

Tracking down Osama bin Laden has proven tougher than getting to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi because the top al-Qaida leader does almost nothing to call attention to himself and is protected by a ring of far more faithful followers, intelligence experts said Thursday.

The mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks avoids using satellite phones and the Internet. He is likely holed up along the Pakistani-Afghan border in rugged, remote terrain, protected by loyal tribesmen.

Al-Zarqawi was killed Wednesday just 30 miles from the Iraqi capital. In late April, he was featured in a videotape firing a machine gun in the desert and talking to insurgents...

Steve Blair
06-09-2006, 02:45 PM
I think one of the more important things about the Zarqawi strike is that a number of his 'advisors' were killed with him. I work around Air Force folks, and they were all carrying on like Hitler had been taken out in the first weeks of World War Two. They didn't seem to understand that when you're dealing with an insurgency or terrorist group there are always leaders waiting in the wings to take over from their fallen comrade(s). Getting a bunch of them at once is always more useful than just getting one. In my opinion, anyhow...;)

06-11-2006, 01:52 PM
19 June issue of the Weekly Standard - Now for the Bad News (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/323hbcsd.asp) by Reuel Marc Gerecht.

ABU MUSAB AL ZARQAWI is among the least interesting Islamic terrorists since modern Islamic terrorism took shape in Iran and Egypt in the 1950s and '60s. Compared with Osama bin Laden, with his elegant prose, his appreciation for redolent historical Muslim narrative, his seemingly conscious imitation of the Prophet Muhammad, and his refined, almost feminine movements, Zarqawi was Islamist trailer trash, a crude man whose love of violence was unvarnished, organic, perhaps perversely sexual. But Zarqawi was a man of his age: He is a big red dot on the graph charting the Islamic world's moral free fall since modernity began battering traditional Muslim ethics, with ever-increasing effectiveness after World War One.

It is by no means clear that Zarqawi is near the bottom of this plunge. His joy in massacring infidels--along with all the Muslims the extremists deem apostates--could even become the defining feature of bin Ladenism in the future. Zarqawi's death is a cause for jubilation, especially among Iraq's Shiites, whom he zealously slaughtered. No single man did more to bring on the sectarian strife that is crippling Iraq. If the Shiites give up on the idea of Iraqi brotherhood--which grows ever more likely as half-hearted, undermanned American counterinsurgency strategies continue to fail--and grind the Sunni Arab community into dust, possibly provoking a vicious duel among Sunnis and Shiites across the region, Zarqawi can posthumously and proudly take credit.

Zarqawi was tailor-made for post-Saddam Iraq: a barbaric, very modern Sunni fundamentalist in a society pulverized and militarized by Saddam Hussein. Through oppression and support, Saddam had energized Sunni militancy. Starting in the late 1980s, the Butcher of Baghdad became one of the great mosque builders of Islamic history, and under his domes, Islamic fundamentalists increasingly gathered. Long before Saddam fell, a reinvigorated Sunni Islamic identity was replacing the desiccated, secular Baath party as a, if not the, lodestone of the Sunni community. Always looking outward toward the larger Sunni Arab world (and away from the Shiite Arabs and Sunni Kurds, who comprise about 80 percent of Iraq's population), Iraq's Sunni Arabs were playing catch-up with their foreign brethren, who had already downgraded, if not buried, secular Arab nationalism as an inspiring ideology and given birth to bin Ladenism...

06-16-2006, 12:00 PM
15 June Washington Times - Papers Reveal Weakening Terror Group (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20060616-122154-4649r.htm) by Rowan Scarborough.

The U.S. military in recent weeks has seized a "huge treasure" of intelligence materials on al Qaeda in Iraq, including a revealing document in which the terror group acknowledges its own "bleak situation" caused by losses on both the public relations and war fronts.

The documents seized in the weeks leading up to the June 7 killing of Abu Musab Zarqawi also have provided intelligence that has helped direct nearly 500 allied combat operations and resulted in the killings of 104 insurgents, the U.S. command in Baghdad said yesterday...

The seized al Qaeda in Iraq document released yesterday reflects discouragement by the terror group's leadership.

"Time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance," the documents state.

It lists a number of allied successes against the terrorist "resistance":

• "Undertaking massive arrest operations, invading regions that have an impact on the resistance, and hence causing the resistance to lose many of its elements."

• "Undertaking a media campaign against the resistance resulting in weakening its influence inside the country and presenting its work as harmful to the population rather than being beneficial to the population."

• "By tightening the resistance's financial outlets, restricting its moral options and by confiscating its ammunition and weapons."

• "By taking advantage of the resistance's mistakes and magnifying them in order to misinform."

Zarqawi's strategy, as disclosed in previously seized letters, was to spark a civil war between Sunni Muslims, who supported Saddam Hussein, and the majority Shi'ites, who now hold political power. Zarqawi did this by recruiting foreign Sunni suicide bombers to attack Shi'ite markets, schools, mosques and other public places...

More / Related...

Iraqi Security Advisor: Al-Qaida in Iraq Facing Its End (http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-06-15-voa26.cfm) - Voice of America
Picture of a Weakened Iraqi Insurgency (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0616/p01s04-woiq.html) - Christian Science Monitor
Papers Show 'Gloomy' State of Insurgency (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAQ_TERROR_BLUEPRINT?SITE=DCSAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT) - Associated Press
Text of Zarqawi Document (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/14824892.htm) - Associated Press
Post-al-Zarqawi Raids Kill 104 Insurgents (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060615/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq) - Associated Press
Al Qaeda in Iraq Disrupted; Iraqi Operation in High Gear (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jun2006/20060615_5425.html) - AFPS
Zarqawi's Plan to Pin Blame on Iran (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19484555-601,00.html) - The Australian
U.S. Portrayal Helps Flesh Out Zarqawi's Heir (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/16/world/middleeast/16iraq.html?) - New York Times
Suspected Heir to Zarqawi Is Given a Face (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-masri16jun16,1,2148099.story?coll=la-headlines-world) - Los Angeles Times
Al-Masri Identified as Apparent Zarqawi Successor (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/15/AR2006061500702.html) - Washington Post
A Treasure From The Trove (http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/007211.php) - Captain's Quarters Blog
Report Card Adds Up To A Turning Point (http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/007210.php) - Captain's Quarters Blog
Zarqawi's Thumb Drive Fingers Associates (http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/007210.php) - Captain's Quarters Blog
Zarqawi Document Text (http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/06/press_conferences_yield_new_in_1.php) - Counterterrorism Blog
Forward Together! (http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2006/06/forward-together.html) - Iraq the Model Blog
Forward Together Part II (http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2006/06/forward-togetherday-2.html) - Iraq the Model Blog

06-16-2006, 07:33 PM
ZANLA, with some 10 000 trained men within Rhodesia, persisted in its effort to secure political control of the Shona tribes. Despite those numbers, by September 1979 ZANLA was in dire straits in the opinion of its commander, Rex Nhongo, because of Fire Force, the external raids, the unease of the host country, and the effect of the deployment of the auxiliaries. Nhongo believed that ZANLA would have found it difficult to get through the next dry seasons of mid-1980. Peace came none too soon for ZANLA.

From the website: http://www.rhodesia.nl/wood2.htm

The insurgents fighting against the Rhodesian Government seem to have had similar misgivings. Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe and Mugabe has strangled gold egg-laying goose for years. Sure, it's a different time and different place, but any AQ self-admitted uncertainty does not necessary translate into a measure of effectiveness we should hang our hat on. If nothing else, the insight gleaned from the documents should be unsettling, warning us that AQ is not flat-footed and considering changing TTPs on an operational scale to achieve their endstate.

Edited to add: The optimism about ground gained due to Zarqawi's death highlights a steady and disturbing trend; focusing on the symptoms and not staying on the attack against the root cause.

06-17-2006, 12:58 PM
16 June New York Post commentary - Terrorist Defeatism (http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/after_zarqawi__theyre_losing_opedcolumnists_ralph_ peters.htm) by Ralph Peters. H/T MilBlogs (http://www.mudvillegazette.com/milblogs/2006/06/17/#005725).

... We're winning.

Yeah, the good guys. Our troops. And the Iraqi army. We're winning. We were winning big even before we nailed Zarqawi. The terrorists themselves said so. In their state-of-the-troubled-union message to themselves.

According to al Qaeda in Iraq, critics of "stay the course" need to stick it where the sun don't shine: One key captured document states that "time is beginning to be of service to the American forces."

Guess we ought to pull our troops out now. Right, Nancy? Howard? Teddy? John?

And that's just a fraction of the good news that was plaguing the masters of terror. Zarqawi's inner circle had concluded that:

* The Iraqi military and security forces had become painfully effective, paralyzing terrorist efforts in parts of Iraq where they'd previously moved freely.

* Losses due to U.S. and Iraqi strikes had badly sapped terrorist strength - and they were having grave difficulty gathering new recruits. Guess not everybody wants a Saturday-nighter with the virgins of paradise.

* While elements in our own media continued to claim that the terrorists couldn't be defeated, the terrorists themselves felt that the Iraqi media's reporting on terrorist atrocities had badly undercut their base of support.

* The terrorists were suffering from the loss of financial resources, as well as a shortage of weapons - old allies were bailing out on them, while their dwindling assets were being seized by Coalition and Iraqi-government forces.

* In the terrorists' view, regional and world opinion had moved behind the Coalition and the elected Iraqi government.

Desperate, Zarqawi's butchers laid out a program to try to regain the initiative they'd lost. Here's what the terrorists hoped to do:

* In their own words, "use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance." That is, exploit the prejudices of the Western media, the terrorists' last allies.

* Infiltrate Iraq's army, which was pinning them to the mat (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em).

* Unify the resistance - which was falling to pieces amid squabbles over tactics, over turf and even over who was the real enemy.

* Most ambitious, the terrorists hoped to spark a war between the United States and Iran, to "create a second front" that would take pressure off them. To that end, they planned to implicate Iran in staged terrorist events and to provide disinformation about Tehran's having ties to terrorist groups targeted by the United States.

* Just in case that didn't work, the terrorists also hoped to ignite civil wars between Sunni and Shia, Americans and Shia, Shia and Shia, Kurds and Shia - and even between different Sunni factions. A Vietnam-era U.S. officer was ridiculed for saying, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it," but al Qaeda is willing to destroy all of Iraq in order to save it for a fanatical vision...

06-17-2006, 05:41 PM
Here's a slew of links to related resources at the USMA Combating Terrorism Center:

Al Qa'ida in Iraq SitRep: Arabic (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/IZ-060316-01-Orig.pdf) English (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/IZ-060316-01-Trans.pdf)

Instructions to Abu-Usamah: Arabic (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/IZ-060316-02-Orig.pdf) English (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/IZ-060316-02-Trans.pdf)

Security Report from Abu Azzam: Arabic (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/IZ-060316-03-Orig.pdf) English (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/IZ-060316-03-Trans.pdf)

Al-Qa`ida in Iraq Hampered by Bureaucracy and Loss of Sunni Support (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/CTC%20--%20Zarqawi%20Letters%20Analysis.pdf), 20 Apr 06

Abu Ayyub al Masri/Abu Hamzah al Muhajir: The Challenge of Leadership (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/research/The%20Challenge%20of%20Leadership.pdf), 14 Jun 06

...and, for those who aren't already aware of the site, here's the FMSO OIF Document Portal (

Bill Moore
06-18-2006, 02:57 PM
While we should celebrate our operational and tactical victories against Al Qaeda (AQ), especially important ones like the death of the Zarqawi, we should also remember our President’s words shortly after 9/11, “this will be a different kind of war”. That also means victory won’t be determined solely by battlefield successes (true in most small war scenarios). AQ in Iraq is hurting, just as they were in Afghanistan, but hurting is far, far, from defeat. Some say they are on the run? Where are they running to? How does an ideology run away?

Our security forces, out of necessity, are getting better day by day, and they have created a tougher operational environment for AQ in “certain” areas, but it will be years before we can have that level of security globally. There are large areas of Iraq, and huge areas globally that still allow AQ elements freedom of movement. Even in secure areas in the West we will always be subject to attack (NYC, Madrid, London, etc.).

The old small war adage, “we have to be successful 100% of them time, and they only have to be successful once”, applies. Numerous planned attacks in the West have been preempted, but did that lessen the impact of the successful attacks? The media feeding frenzy will rapidly multiply the effects of any attack a thousand fold, so assuming we cannot create a perfect security environment in NYC with its numerous layers of competent local, state, national, and private security forces, then one can easily come to the conclusion that we won’t create a secure environment in Iraq (the President recently said as much). Hopefully AQ will lose momentum in Iraq, but they will always be able to conduct attacks in Iraq and will as long as we are still there. They won’t run they’ll simply adapt their strategy and tactics. I think we will be severely tested over the coming months, and while we’ll prevail AQ will continue to wage its global war, and one key battlefield for them will continue to be Iraq. [AQ is only one of many security problems in Iraq, but for this discussion I want to keep focused on AQ].

The beast we have been unable to slay is the ideology of AQ. While we think it is bankrupt, it lives on in cyberspace and by word of mouth throughout Mosques and coffee houses around the world. We frequently point out that mainstream Muslims reject it, but what is more important is the number that accept it, even in W. Europe and the U.S. you have fringe elements that hear the call of AQ. Until they slay the idea, this war will continue indefinitely.

This is far from classical UW, and our COIN doctrine does not address adequately address this threat. It may address the certain elements that are waging the insurgency like the FRE or Taliban, but not the AQ. I think 4th GW is new, and we still have not figured out to fight a non-state sponsored global insurgency. While the farmers by day, guerrillas by night scenario may be players in some locations, they are simply one arm of this beast. Key factors such as a global economy, failed states, web enablers, transnational criminal enterprises, WME, WMD, and several others have facilitated a new generation of security threats. Perhaps saying warfare is misnomer, because it implies there is a military solution? Maybe it is simply 4GW security threats?

Steve Blair
06-18-2006, 03:25 PM
4GW, or perhaps more accurately advanced 3GW isn't especially new. What has changed is the speed with which a group or idea can transition between active and passive modes and their ability to "get the word out."

Any insurgency, from our own in the 1770s to Sitting Bull's titular leadership of the Sioux-Northern Cheyenne alliance in 1876, to the Cuban rebels in the late 1800s to Mao and Ho Chi Minh and AQ, relies on "getting the word out" in order to remain viable beyond a single geographic location. The internet has made this job MUCH easier, and allows a group to move from the organization to active phases quicker than ever before. Likewise, it allows them to ramp back their operations when under pressure. This is clearly warfare, but the problem lies with our Cold War definition of warfare. The U.S. spent too many years planning "the good fight" at Fulda, and now we're faced with something that is about as far from that as you can imagine.

The strength of an insurgency has always been its ability to break into smaller elements under pressure. Taking an example from our own Indian Wars, one reason the Apache were among the last tribal groups to be subdued was that they were most decentralized and mobile of all the tribes. Not relying on either the horse or the buffalo, the Apache were able to exist in regions that the U.S. Army found especially difficult to campaign in. The basic Apache group was also very small and fluid, allowing them to scatter when under pressure and then regoup later in safe regions.

Although on a much different scale and multiple battlefields (including cyberspace) we face an opponent today with many of the same strengths. But as AQ grows, they will also develop weaknesses. A large insurgent or terrorist organization develops logistical webs that can be struck, an infrastructure that can be likewise targeted, and eventually comes to depend on a recognizeable leadership and command structure that is more vulnerable than their early decentralized model.

Not an easy situation by any means, but I also don't believe that it's as mystical a 4GW situation as some might imagine.

Bill Moore
06-18-2006, 05:32 PM
We’re all guilty of trying to rewrite history so it supports our ideas, but let’s look at Fulda realistically. The U.S. rightfully spent a good many years planning the good fight in Fulda, and because we did we were successful in preventing that fight and defeating the USSR. The USSR’s only options available were fighting proxy battles in the 3d world, and while our COIN approach may not have been ideal, let’s not forget we did win the war. The Cold War was a much more serious threat to our nation than AQ, so we need to keep that in perspective when we use our 20/20 hindsight. The mistake was continuing to focus on Fulda after the wall came down. AQ now poses a serious threat to our way of life and the global economy, but not to the survival of our nation. They can hurt us, they can’t destroy us.

What is happening today can be compared to historical insurgencies, but simply saying it is the same is akin to making the same error we did when it continued to focus on Fulda based scenarios after the wall came down. This is a global non-state movement that is able to get its message out globally through numerous channels. Speed is not as important as reach.

Don’t confuse a survival tactic with strength. In traditional insurgencies when insurgents were forced to break into smaller groups that meant they were on the losing end during that period of time. Yes they could survive to emerge again “if” the government allowed social conditions to develop that would support their resurgence.

The current global insurgency is not structured like this, their strategy is different. They want to get us and keep us in multiple fights globally in an attempt to defeat us economically and wear out our will. There is no requirement to win in a military sense. While all analogies of complex situations are imperfect I like comparing their movement to Vivax Malaria, which is the form of malaria that will reattack you periodically throughout the remainder of your life if you get it. The mosquito is the idea, and it is global. The periodic attacks are simply an expression of that idea, some are worse than others, but you know you still have the disease and to date we don’t have cure for it. Using this analogy we have a hostile ideology that is endemic globally and epidemic in some locations. Until we figure out how to eradicate the idea we’ll have to learn how to live with the threat, but it appears that our current response with overt, large military deployments is actually putting that idea into overdrive. Attacking Iraq and Afghanistan may play well with select groups of voters that wanted to see a response after 9/11, but perhaps a more effective response would have been one unseen (IO, clandestine, covert, persuading host nations to take action without our faces present to feed the AQ propaganda). That would be political suicide, but perhaps the only way to win the war.

I don't know where you see an infrastructure developing that we can target. Almost all studies I have read have pointed to the opposite. They had an infrastructure that we seriously crippled; now they are decentralized. AQ is now a decentralized umbrella strategy with several small groups (some large groups) and "individuals" developing their own emerging strategies complete independent of an AQ infrastructure, which makes them more dangerous not less. There aren’t simply two or three bank accounts that we need to attack, or one to three master bomb makers. The idea is on the web and in thousands of minds. Furthermore the knowledge on how to conduct terrorist acts is on the web.

Steve Blair
06-18-2006, 11:52 PM
I don't deny the need to plan for a Fulda-type scenario during the Cold War - but I do contend that the Army focused on in to the real exclusion of other, more probable conflict scenarios. And one could also advance the proposition that we won the Cold War by spending the USSR into the ground; a form of advanced 3GW (economic warfare), perhaps. This has been a doctrinal problem with the army in particular, and to a bigger extent perhaps with the Air Force, for many, many years. And I would contend that large military deployments when other options may be preferable is a hangover from the Fulda scenario.

As for infrastructures, they will appear once AQ moves back into a more advanced attack posture. Right now they are digging in politically and ideologically and making pinprick attacks in locations outside their current main areas of interest (Iraq and Afghanistan). That is assuming they want to swing into action against larger targets again.

Nor do I contend that AQ is "the same as" historical insurgencies. I use historical examples to point out that we have been here before in many ways. Obviously the scale and scope is different, but we have encountered and dealt with insurgencies before. To my mind, denying the relevence of historical experience is just the same as being slavishly devoted to "lessons of the past" (with the prime example being those who contend that Iraq is another Vietnam).

07-04-2006, 05:40 PM
4 July AP via CNN - Al-Zarqawi's Cell Phone Reportedly Yields Surprises (http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/03/zarqawi.ap/).

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had the phone numbers of senior Iraqi officials stored in his cell phone, according to an Iraqi legislator.

Waiel Abdul-Latif, a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party, said Monday that authorities found the numbers after al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a U.S. air strike on June 7.

Abdul-Latif did not give names of the officials. But he said they included ministry employees and members of parliament.

He called for an investigation, saying Iraqis "cannot have one hand with the government and another with the terrorists."

Meanwhile, al-Zarqawi's wife told an Italian newspaper that al Qaeda leaders sold him out to the United States in exchange for a promise to let up in the search for Osama bin Laden.

The woman, identified by La Repubblica as al-Zarqawi's first wife, said al Qaeda's top leadership reached a deal with U.S. intelligence because al Zarqawi had become too powerful.

She claimed Sunni tribes and Jordanian secret services mediated the deal...

07-05-2006, 11:01 AM
This should have been expected. This should surprise people as much as any revelation that segments of the Pakistani ISI and military still asssit AQ and the Taliban. It should surprise people as much as revelations that the US is "protecting" what remains of the MEK - a designated FTO.

04-12-2007, 02:36 AM
Mark Bowden in The Atlantic, May 07: The Ploy (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200705/tracking-zarqawi)

The inside story of how the interrogators of Task Force 145 cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle—without resorting to torture—and hunted down al-Qaeda’s man in Iraq.....

04-12-2007, 09:13 AM
Good morning. Alas the article is currently available only to subscribers to the magazine. Perhaps it will migrate onto a free site one day, especially as Mark Bowden is such a good reporter. No, I've not checked on Google.


04-12-2007, 09:47 AM
The Ploy (http://www.ocnus.net/artman/publish/printer_28511.shtml) as reposted (in-full) by Ocnus.net...

It was a macabre moment of triumph. At a closed compound within Balad Air Base in Iraq, behind Jersey barriers 30 feet high, the men and women of the interrogation mill crowded around a stark display: two freshly dead men, bare and supine on the floor.

The audience members were expert interrogators, most of them young, some of them military, others civilian contract workers. They called themselves “gators,” and they were the intelligence arm of Task Force 145, the clandestine unit of Delta Force operators and Navy SEALs who hunt down America’s most-wanted terrorists. For years, their primary target had been Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian leader of the grandly named Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the gloating, murderous author of assassinations, roadside bombings, and suicide attacks. Together, living and working inside this “Battlefield Interrogation Facility,” the gators had produced leads for the Task Force to chase. They had put in thousands of hours probing, threatening, flattering, browbeating, wheedling, conning, and questioning, doing what Major General William B. Caldwell IV, in his press conference the next day, would call “painstaking intelligence gathering from local sources and from within Zarqawi’s network.” It was, as Caldwell would put it, “the slow, deliberate exploitation of leads and opportunities, person to person,” all striving to answer just one critical question: Where is Zarqawi right now?

This day, June 7, 2006, had finally produced the answer.

And so here he was, stretched out on the floor, stiff, pale, gray, and swollen in death, his “spiritual adviser,” Sheikh al-Rahman, lying alongside him. The men had been killed, along with two women and two small children, when an American F-16 had steered first one and then another 500-pound bomb into the house they occupied in a palm grove in the village of Hibhib. Task Force operators had recovered the men’s bodies and carried them as trophies to Balad. Both now had swaths of white cloth draped across their midsections, but were otherwise naked. Zarqawi’s face*wide, round, and bearded, his big eyes closed, a smear of blood still lurid across his left cheek*was unmistakable from his frequent videotaped boasts and pronouncements. He had been more sought-after than Osama bin Laden, and in recent years was considered the greater threat...