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Iraq: The death of Zarqawi
The elimination under US fire of the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq gives Amin Howeidi* pause to reflect on the motives and methods of two seemingly opposed forces
I don't know much about Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to offer you additional insight into his life and death. But I would like to discuss the role he played in the current conflict. The man has lived and died in the midst of hardship and turmoil. Even his real name is not one that many remember. Ahmed Fadil Nazzal Al-Khalayla was a member of the Bani Hassan clan, one of Jordan's major tribes. Terror experts called him the joker, for he was a bit of a wild card. I prefer to call him the lame, for he had lost a foot while fighting in Afghanistan. Even in death, he remains controversial. Some see him as a criminal who left a trail of mayhem and destruction wherever he went. Others see him as a freedom fighter. These days, people differ a lot when it comes to making a distinction between terrorists and heroes. Often victims are depicted as culprits and vice versa.
Zarqawi died at 6.15am the morning of Wednesday 7 June in a house in Habhab, close to the town of Baquba. Two F-16s bombed the house, then Iraqi and US troops were sent in to comb the site. Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki announced the news at a press conference attended by George Casey, the commanding general of coalition forces in Iraq, and Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador to Baghdad. President Bush also held a news conference in Washington to tell the world that Zarqawi was no more. The US president said he was to discuss the future of US deployment in Iraq via videoconference with the Iraqi prime minister and the US ambassador to Baghdad.