Monday, July 03, 2006


The assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq is old news by now, but the threads of the story continue.

Analysis of the surprisingly large amount of information gained in the aftermath – surprising in the sense it survived an airstrike – certainly continues in intelligence circles, while pundits and reporters scramble to “get the story.” Emerging is a picture of a man whose actions increasingly alienated supporters and potential allies… With perhaps a few very odd twists.

For a good, if very long read on the subject, we have a report from MEMRI:

“Al-Zarqawi Post Mortem: How He Lost His Sunni Allies Prior to His Killing”

To summarize: Zarqawi had many enemies among Iraqis and a shrinking circle of conditional allies due to his playing everyone against everyone, his brutal tactics, and his dogmatic refusal to compromise…

Sort of like Karl Rove but with a gun…

Today, however, there is a fascinating blurb that might provide insight into who some of those allies may have been – and into some surprising enemies:

VIA Huffington Post –the first major American blog to carry the story – Yahoo brings us an account of a story from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica:

“Al-Zarqawi's wife: Al-Qaida sold him out”

From the story:

“Al-Qaida leaders sold out Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to the United States in exchange for a promise to let up in the search for Osama bin Laden, the slain militant's wife claimed in an interview with an Italian newspaper. The woman, identified by La Repubblica as al-Zarqawi's first wife, said al-Qaida'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.”

On an unrelated but potentially explosive note, the article goes on to claim the memory of Zarqawi’s cellphone contained “telephone numbers of senior officials” which “included ministry employees and members of parliament.”

FoxNews has published a similar account of the cellphone numbers find.

Fascinating… What a tangled web this may become…

There are a lot of problems with this story, not the least of which are the questions of how and how much does this Jordanian woman know about the Al-Qaeda leadership. But still…

There were already reports of a sellout. The day after the airstrike, IHT ran a story claiming the US found Zarqawi by following his “"spiritual adviser," a man named Sheikh Abd al-Rahman.” IHT went on to claim the tip that allowed the US to zero Rahman came from “an Iraqi informant inside Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.”

“Zarqawi betrayed by Qaeda insider”

At the same time, ABC news “The Blotter” reported the breakthrough came from the Jordanian intelligence service:

“Captured Zarqawi Aide Spilled the Beans”

According to ABC:

“An Iraqi customs agent secretly working with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror cell spilled the beans on the group after he was arrested, Jordanian officials tell ABC News.
Ziad Khalaf Raja al-Karbouly was arrested by Jordanian intelligence forces last spring.
Officials say Karbouly confessed to his role in the terror cell and provided crucial information on the names of Zarqawi commanders and locations of their safe houses.”

Neither of these versions were confirmed in their entirety by US officials…

Which brings us back to the original… What if??? The accounts of MEMRI, among others, supply the insight that Zarqawi had few friends and many enemies, although the most recent account suggests some surprising friends. Earlier reports - some going back months - had suggested Zarqawi was often at odds with the Al-Qaeda leadership.

What if? What if Osama Bin Laden concluded Zarqawi was too much of a loose cannon to be trusted? What if the dogs were getting too close?

Would he sell one of his own? I find this a reasonable suggestion.

Would we buy?

I wish I could find this an unreasonable suggestion… But I can’t. I wish I could accept that our government has done everything it could to find OBL… But I can’t.

A 49 year-old with a kidney condition who was in a Pakistani military hospital on 9/11/01 has eluded an honest effort mounted by the best army in the world, backed by the best intelligence money can buy?

I don’t believe I’m the only person who finds this hard to believe…

Would we buy? We needed Zarqawi’s head – we needed a victory. The Administration and the party it leads needs political points badly; control of the government likely hangs by a thread in the next election. Would we buy a certain kill with a promise to forebear, at least temporarily?

Would the United States government deal with terrorists, or a “terrorist state” behind the people’s backs, perhaps even in violation of US law?

Do you remember Iran-Contra???

How bad does the Administration want OBL, anyway? After all, if we catch him, if we “decapitate” Al Qaeda, will that not lead immediately to calls to declare the war on terror “won?”

Millions of Americans - dare I suggest most all Americans - want peace; want to go back to “a pre-911 world.” How many are there who don’t want that? And who are they?

Call this a fool’s muse if you dare. But if you do, tell my why. Is it merely that you trust the administration of GWB? I don’t trust them: They have lied too many times already. They have dealt dirty before - as has every administration of the last 40 years except perhaps Carter’s. I can’t accept they wouldn’t deal dirty again.

After all, there is a war to promote… Maybe Zarqawi’s sorry carcass wasn’t the only thing “sold out” this time…

You do know that Saddam was sold out, too? As was his two bloodthirsty kids?

You can apply motive, but the only way to catch these guys is by their being soldout.
I have to say that I think you are a little off the deep end on this one, mostly because it comes from such an extreme partisan perspective.

Example – The initial Karl Rove comparison to Zarqawi.

Lets take the main question you raise: why haven’t we been able to track down UBL, an old man with a kidney condition?

I think that you are quite right that if he were captured there would be many who would say we could declare victory and go home. This would be short sighted.

One thing that is undeniable – the Bush administration has always been completely forthright with the goal in Iraq.: Get rid of Saddam for violation of his surrender terms and WMD’s and establish a democracy thereby stabilizing the region and making it, and the surrounding areas, less of a generator of terrorists. Bush has said this repeatedly and said it at the outset of the war. Few bothered to listen, preferring to call him stupid. Bush has also said many times that this would not end with the capture of UBL. He has been asked the same question you ask. The answer has been constant – this doesn’t end with UBL. Do we maybe have UBL pinned down and are not capturing him for reasons you raise? Perhaps. However that would only constitute lying or dealing dirty if our stated goal had been solely to capture UBL.

Does this mean I trust the administration completely? Of course not. However I think one really has to be a little “out there” to go on and on about the Bush administration being liars when it comes to Iraq. Saddam wanted everyone in the world to think he had WMD’s. Everyone in the world thought he did. Saddam did everything in his power to convince us of that fact by flagrantly violating the terms of his surrender among other actions. To turn that into some big dirty deal by Bush, or claim Bush lied is a little silly. After all, if Bush had knowingly lied about WMD’s it seems a little odd he wouldn’t plant them there upon our ousting of Saddam.
r Huse...

"The initial Karl Rove comparison to Zarqawi."

That's called a joke, you humorless conservative... :-) But there is a lot of truth to it: They have/had very similar personalities. Rove is very much the Zarqawi of politics... Or maybe Zarqawi was the Rove of terrorism... And Rove may have dodged his airstrike, but they are still on his tail...

WMD's... Neocons are in denial on this. As to Saddam "wanted" us to think he had them - I remember the UN declaration that said exactly the opposite. The official Iraqi position - We have no usable weapons or active production operations - has been verified. Live with it...

The rest was a muse. Still, the day after, HuffPo carried the story:

"C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden"

Make of it what you like.
The fact is Saddam might have said he had no WMD's and that might have been the case, but lets face facts, he said it and then did everything in his power to make us believe he was lying. Do we need to go through the list?

1) He kicked out the inspectors

2) When asked to provide proof that he had destroyed them, he produced what even the UN referred to as pretty much a joke box of evidence.

3) In fact he hadn't destroyed them as has been shown recently.

4) He was informed by the UN that the evidence he had provided was laughable and was given a second chance to produce something a little more convincing prior to our invading. He didn't.

Conclusion - Like it or not, Saddam failed to live up to the terms of his surrender in that he did not produce proof he had destroyed the WMD's. Why? Because he wanted the world, especially Iran, to think he still ad them . As I recall some of his ex cabinet members have even said as much. To draw any other conclusion really is about as far in denial as one can go. Live with it.
"He kicked out the inspectors"

In 1998, over still unresolved allegations of spying...

"When asked to provide proof that he had destroyed them, he produced what even the UN referred to as pretty much a joke box of evidence."

Not true. The US dismissed the final Iraqi report. The UN did not. The inspectors claimed it "contained nothing new." The Iraqis claimed there was nothing new to tell. They have been vindicated.

"In fact he hadn't destroyed them as has been shown recently."

You refer to Santorum's bullcrap tirade? BTW, I tried to get that report and couldn't... I say Santorum is a liar. Those were degraded fragments and pieces that had been lost - and found. NOT usable weapons. None were newer than 1992, according to Democrats who claim to have the same report. This coincides with leaks we had earlier of the same finds.

"He was informed by the UN that the evidence he had provided was laughable"

Under pressure from the US - arm twisting like that isn't part of the diplomatic process.

Bush could have legally invaded over real violations of the treaty: The inspector flap, shooting planes in the no-fly, etc. Slick Willie could have as well. But they didn't. Instead, the shrub made up a stack of pure compost, "sexing up" the truth because he didn't think the people would support him with just the truth.

Bush lied; thousands died. And we have a disaster on our hands.

I'd have supported a legal invasion. I refuse to support a liar.

Bush lied; thousands died.

Live with it.
1) The US dismissing the report, the UN saying it contained nothing new.

You do leave out the key thing here - the UN in fact did declare Saddam in material breach of the surrender terms. Sorry.

2) "You refer to Santorum's bullcrap tirade? BTW, I tried to get that report and couldn't"

Well that and I think the 500 tonnes of yellow cake among other things. Look, the fact that you couldn't obtain a report doesn't mean everyone else is a liar. That's is called paranoid logic. The fact remains, they were WMD components that Saddam was compelled to account for by his surrender agreement. He didn't.

3) 'Under pressure from the US - arm twisting like that isn't part of the diplomatic process.

Hate to say it but this pretty much is the diplomatic process. What are you saying here, that unless the UN makes a decision entirely without US input that somehow it is invalid? Come on.

4) "Bush lied; thousands died. And we have a disaster on our hands."

How come you libs always say this yet virtually every returning soldier from Iraq says the exact opposite? Oh well, I suppose another mystery

Look, the fact remains clear - It is inarguable that Saddam violated the terms of his surrender. The UN declaration said he was in material breach of the terms. Bush was quite clear that we were going to invade based on that breach. You might not like that, but it doesn't change that one fact. Failure to listen on a libs part does not a lie make on a conservatives part. Learn it love it live it!
"the 500 tonnes of yellow cake" had been known and declared for years. Sorry, NewsMax didn't tell us anything new here... It was under UN supervision from 1992 on...

And yellowcake is so far from a weapon that the inclusion is silly... Sorry, but that's the way it is. Iran, for example, is years ahead of this stage today in their program. If you would like more science, let me know. I'm a chemist, not a physicist, but I still know a bit...

Saddam, or more accurately, Iraq violated the cease fire repeatedly from the Shiite massacre on, through airspace violations, up to the inspectors flap in 1998. There was enough to move on from the Shiite massacres forward - but two Presidents didn't.

Then the shrub - after ignoring adequate provocations for most of a year - invented more to make it politically palatable.

I'd have supported the sonofabitch if he'd have publically declared he was going to kill Saddam because Saddam was ugly and dressed funny.. He lost me forever when he juiced the books.

He can't be trusted - live with it, if you can...
"And yellowcake is so far from a weapon that the inclusion is silly.."

Well, not exactly. Fact is most fissionable materials have to be highly processed or refined before you have bomb grade stuff. Even just the mechanics of positioning the conventional explosives have to be highly engineered and precisely machined. Gotta start somewhere right? Bottom line - he didn't have the yellow cake to pop in an Easy Bake oven, and he wasn't trying to buy centrifuges and precision machinery to whip up cocktails.

"Then the shrub - after ignoring adequate provocations for most of a year - invented more to make it politically palatable."

Most of the world thought Saddam had WMD's The left constantly tries to rewrite history on that point, most people don't buy it. If your going to blame anyone for making up things you might want to look to George Tennant. He was the Clinton appointee running CIA who told Bush the WMD's were a "slam dunk". However, I do see that you felt Saddams provocations were adequate. Bush did list most of the ones you have listed as part of Saddams surrender violations so I take it we are in agreement on the war being justified.

"He can't be trusted - live with it, if you can... "

I like the lied - died thing better, at least for bumper sticker stuff.. One thing that is very interesting though is to watch how Bush has been transformed in the hive mind of most libs. He has gone from complete bumbling fool, to a liar who is so conniving, devious, evil and twisted that he fooled virtually all the worlds intelligence agencies and all the Democrats in congress. Alfred E. Neuman to Darth Vader in something like a year, astounding..
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