Sunday, June 11, 2006

The 'C' word is back

You are a journalist. You have what is a good story, the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which is already collecting dust. You need to spin out a story, preferably bad, that will have some shelf life for you. What do you do? You ignore the fact that the death of Zarqawi could have a weakening effect on his organization and instead link Zarqawi's death to a line you know has legs: Civil War.

The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi raised hopes that Iraq's slide toward civil war or sectarian disintegration could be arrested, but there are signs that Shiite-Sunni antagonism may now be too deeply rooted.

Perhaps, but what this theory neglects is that there are going to be others who are jockeying to become al Qaeda of Iraq's next Zarqawi. That is going to temporarily weaken the organization, which is going to make it susceptible to both infiltration and a divide and conquer policy by the U.S., and also to home grown Iraqi insurgents that want nothing to do with al Qaeda. Zarqawi's band of idiots have never been overly popular in Iraq, and right now they risk finding out how true "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" can be.

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