Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Al Qaeda's Comeback Artists

This from The Washington Post report on the killing of Zarqawi's supposed Number Two:

...U.S. and Iraqi officials said Abu Azzam was killed Sept. 25 during a raid on his hideout in a high-rise apartment building in Baghdad when he refused to surrender to Iraqi and American troops.
The officials identified Abu Azzam as the operational commander for al Qaeda in Iraq, a group led by Zarqawi, whose insurgent network has been responsible for some of the deadliest attacks in the country.
A statement purportedly posted on an Islamist Web site Tuesday by al Qaeda in Iraq denied that Abu Azzam was Zarqawi's deputy and said the group was not yet sure if he had been killed. The statement called him "an al Qaeda soldier who heads one of al Qaeda's units operating in Baghdad." The authenticity of the statement could not immediately be confirmed.
"By taking Abu Azzam off the street, another close associate of Zarqawi, we have dealt another serious blow to Zarqawi's terrorist organization," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a spokesman for coalition forces, said in a statement....

The problem is, we've been here before. In January, as Newsweek reported at the time, an Iraqi general claimed to have rounded up key Al Qaeda operatives after a suicide bomber miraculously survived, was meticulously interrogated, and named a lot of names:

...General Kamal says information supplied by al-Shayea helped Coalition forces round up several of Zarqawi's key lieutenants within a matter of days.
Among them is Abu Umar al-Kurdi, real name Sami Muhammad Saeed al-Jafi, a terrorist demolition man who confessed to 32 car bombings over the last two years. Even if Zarqawi continues to elude capture, nailing al-Kurdi was a critical score. It might—just might—eventually help change the course of this war that has seemed to defy political or military solutions, despite last weekend's elections, and despite an enormous toll in blood that included the loss just last week of 31 Americans in a nighttime helicopter crash.

The situation is not noticeably better today. Indeed it's notably worse.--CD

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