Friday, April 28, 2006

Iraq - Zarqawi's call to arms falls on deaf ears

CQ reports on how Iraqis are ignoring Zarqawi's call to arms.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi appeared on video earlier this week, exhorting Iraqi Sunnis to join the insurgency and defeat the United States. Today the Iraqis gave an answer to one of his lieutenants, only the message will not get hand-delivered, thanks to the Iraqi security forces:

Iraqi commando forces acting on a tip raided a house where Hamid al-Takhi and the two other insurgents were hiding in Samarra, a city 60 miles north of Baghdad, said police Capt. Laith Mohammed. All three were killed in a gunbattle.

Mohammed said al-Takhi had been responsible for many insurgent attacks against coalition forces and civilians in the area.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq — the country's most feared insurgent group — appeared in a video earlier this week trying to rally Sunni Arabs to fight Iraq's new government and denouncing Sunnis who cooperate with it as "agents" of the Americans.

Apparently, Zarqawi needs to hone his presentation skills. In an area heavily populated by the same Sunnis that he called to terrorism, the Iraqi security forces got hot intel on a key member of the insurgency and adeptly canceled his ticket. That speaks volumes for two reasons. First, the Iraqi civilians didn't buy Zarqawi's nonsense, not while his lunatics blow up everyone in sight, and they have reacted by giving out better and more useful intelligence to security forces. Second, this appears to have been an exclusively Iraqi operation. The emergence of the new Iraqi Army and police forces show the country's increasing ability to stand on its own.

And there's more signs the Iraqi security forces are operating on their own.

Add to this, the Iraqis have almost completed forming their new government, and it's clear things are moving in the right direction.

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