Friday, January 28, 2005

To Know Which Way the Wind Blows

The Iraqi elections began today for expatriots. The first polls opened in Australia. On Sunday Iraqis in Iraq will brave the killers and go to the polls themselves.

Meanwhile it's been quite a bad week for Zarqawi. The Iraqi government announced that two more top Zarqawi "associates" have been captured and are in government custody. One of the executive level killers, "Salah Suleiman al-Loheibi, headed al-Zarqawi's Baghdad operation and had met with the Jordanian-born terror leader more than 40 times over three months."

On Monday the government announced that they had captured Zarqawi's top bomb maker on Jan. 15.

Just to reminder you, Zarqawi is not an "insurgent." He's not an Iraqi nationalist who wants his country freed from foreign troops. He's not even Iraqi. He's a Jordanian from the town of Zarqa, hence his nom de guerre . He's the head of "Al-Qaeda in Iraq" who is filled with a towering hatred of the majority of Iraqis (he called the Shia "the most evil of mankind"). He's a self-declared enemy of democracy, and a psychopathic serial killer.

On January 4, there was a report that Zarqawi himself had been captured. This was quickly denied by the U.S. military. However, on Jan. 22, the Iraqi interior minister refused to comment on the subject, issuing neither a confirmation nor a denial.

This leads Power Line to write this morning that one of two things has happened: "either 1) the Iraqi authorities have steadily rolled up Zarqawi's network to the point where they are on the doorstep of catching the master terrorist himself; or 2) rumors that Zarqawi himself was caught several weeks ago are true, and the reason why his closest associates are now being captured is that Zarqawi is squealing on his friends."

Did the Allawi government capture the local al-Qaeda leadership earlier this month? Are they spreading out the individual announcements for maximum political effect? If so, will they announce Z-man's arrest tomorrow, the day before the election?

As much as I would like to believe this, it doesn't ring true to me. He is still out there, plotting some atrocity for Sunday. But his days are numbered. He's not hiding in a distance and scarely populated mountain region. He's in Baghdad. Sooner or later someone will rat him out or he'll make a mistake. Or he'll simply hit an unlucky break: a bomb will accidentally explode (as happened to the Weather Underground) or he'll get stuck in urban traffic and a lowly beat cop or U.S. private will drag him out of a car and beat him down on the streets of Baghdad. Or better yet, someone will recognize him and an enraged mob of Iraqis will lynch him. It happened to another serial killer. In any case, the wind is blowing against you, Abu.

But I would love to be wrong and wake up tomorrow and see that bastard in shackles. Here's hoping.
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