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Thread: Tracking Zarqawi

  1. #21
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    Some immediate analysis from CSIS: Zarqawi's Death: Temporary "Victory" or Lasting Setback
    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...

  2. #22
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    John Robb
    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
    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.

  3. #23
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GorTex6
    ie jailhouse tattoos. He is covered in them.
    that would be he was covered in them 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

    Quote:
    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.
    Best
    Tom

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    Default Welcome...

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    Default Briefing / Air Strike Videos / Slides


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    Default Bin Laden Keeps Lower Profile Than Zarqawi

    8 June Associated Press - Bin Laden Keeps Lower Profile Than Zarqawi.

    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...

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    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...

  8. #28
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    Default Now for the Bad News

    19 June issue of the Weekly Standard - Now for the Bad News 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...
    Last edited by SWJED; 06-11-2006 at 02:47 PM.

  9. #29
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    Default AQ in Iraq: On the Run?

    15 June Washington Times - Papers Reveal Weakening Terror Group 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...


  10. #30
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    Default ZANLA's commander had similar doubts

    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.
    Last edited by jcustis; 06-16-2006 at 07:39 PM.

  11. #31
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    Default Terrorist Defeatism

    16 June New York Post commentary - Terrorist Defeatism by Ralph Peters. H/T MilBlogs.

    ... 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...

  12. #32
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    Here's a slew of links to related resources at the USMA Combating Terrorism Center:

    Al Qa'ida in Iraq SitRep: Arabic English

    Instructions to Abu-Usamah: Arabic English

    Security Report from Abu Azzam: Arabic English

    Al-Qa`ida in Iraq Hampered by Bureaucracy and Loss of Sunni Support, 20 Apr 06

    Abu Ayyub al Masri/Abu Hamzah al Muhajir: The Challenge of Leadership, 14 Jun 06

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

  13. #33
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    Default Where are they running to?

    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?

  14. #34
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    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.

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    Default War as defined in the cold war?

    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.

  16. #36
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    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).

  17. #37
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    Default Al-Zarqawi's Cell Phone Reportedly Yields Surprises

    4 July AP via CNN - Al-Zarqawi's Cell Phone Reportedly Yields Surprises.

    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...

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    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.

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    Default Tracking Zarqawi

    Mark Bowden in The Atlantic, May 07: The Ploy
    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.....

  20. #40
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    Default Hiccup in reading?

    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.

    Davidbfpo

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