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June 27, 2005
Another Jihadi Gets His Wish

The UAE-based Khaleej Times reports that US and Iraqi forces killed the number-two man in the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi network over the weekend, using a Jordanian newspaper as its source. Khalid Suleiman Darwish had apparently been regarded in Arab circles as Zarqawi's successor during the period when Zarqawi's condition appeared serious enough that a transition appeared possible. Now the dentist has transitioned himself into the ground:

A senior member of Iraqs Al Qaeda branch was killed recently in a US crackdown on insurgents in the Iraqi town of Qaim near the Syrian border, a Jordanian newspaper reported yesterday.

Khalid Suleiman Darwish, better known as Abu Alghadiya, was among those killed in the operation, the daily Alghad quoted well- informed sources as saying.

Abu Alghadiya, a Syrian dentist married to a Jordanian woman, was described by Arab media as the number two in Iraqs Al Qaeda network and tipped to succeed its leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.

A statement posted on Thursday on a web site used by militants announced the death of another Al Qaeda fighter in the same crackdown. He was identified as Abdullah Al Rashoud, a Saudi national listed on that countrys most wanted list.

I noted the earlier statement regarding Rashoud last week. The operation in Qaim appears to have been based on some excellent intelligence indeed, if two generals of the foreign-based insurgency got caught up and killed in open battle. With both Darwish and Rashoud now gone, it leaves Zarqawi even more exposed. That may be why the commander of US forces in Iraq, Gen. John Abizaid told CNN yesterday that Coalition forces have a "good idea" where to find him now.

Zarqawi, on the other hand, kept himself busy by reacting to the news that some insurgent groups had met with Americans to attempt a negotiated end to their part of the conflict:

Earlier Sunday, Zarqawi warned militants against contacts with the "enemies of God" and dismissed as lies revelations that US officials had been in contact with insurgents in Iraq.

"We are warning anyone who meets the Jewish, the Crusaders and their agents," according to an Internet statement attributed to Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda Organization in the Land of Two Rivers.

This all comes as good news to the Coalition and the Iraqi government. One of the efforts that the US clearly has made in its negotiations is to split the insurgency, based primarily on ethnicity. It wants native insurgents to return to their families and eventually assimilate, as long as it's done peacefully, because in the long run that's less expensive in lives and reconstruction than killing every last one of them. However, the foreigners who claim to be insurgents are the terrorists that we would face here at home eventually if they weren't being drawn to Iraq instead, trying desperately to keep Iraq from establishing a modern, liberal democracy that would undermine all of their efforts to impose Islamic dictatorships throughout the ummah.

If we can create enough tension between the different factions, they will wind up spending more time attacking each other than ordinary Iraqis and the US forces in the area. It will hasten an end to the native insurgency and wind up isolating the foreigners, both within the native groups and in Zarqawi's network. Iraqi security forces will have much less trouble if the issue narrows down to that kind of focus -- allowing them to take over that much quicker.

So much of this war occurs behind the scenes, where strategies play out subtly and without much fanfare. Bush warned that the majority of the war would not comprise well-publicized battles but low-key campaigns that would escape much notice by the media. The signs are all there; it appears that many have forgotten and instead have their eyes only open for the fireworks.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 27, 2005 5:13 AM

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