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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi dead?

The media will focus on al-Zarqawi, of course, since he personifies the insurgency, and the main stream media reports in short hand. But intelligence officers in the US, the UK, Israel, and elsewhere, will be just as interested in the identify of the seven other causualties. If Debka is accurate about the presence of al-Zarqawi's "top team", then this might represent a seriously deep blow to al-Zarqawi's organization, perhaps two or three layers of "senior management" eliminated in a single blast.

Some of these people might represent the top nodes of independent sub-trees within the insurgency, that is, it is only at this level that these two or three distinct groups of terrorists interface and share planning information. This could be a severe blow to the insurgency and its ability to coordinate attacks across the country, such as the simultaneous attacks on the Hamra hotel in Baghdad and the Sheik Murad mosque in Khanaqin, some 90 miles away, last Friday, that killed over 70 people. This could be more significant than just the death (welcome as it is, if it turns out to be true) of al-Zarqawi.

Given the nervousness being show in some political circles, a success like this might have come just at the right time:

The Republican-controlled House spurned calls for an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq in a vote hastily arranged by the GOP that Democrats vociferously denounced as politically motivated.

"To cut and run would invite terrorism into our backyards, and no one wants to see troops fighting terrorism on American soil," Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Friday night after the House, as planned, rejected a GOP-written resolution for immediate withdrawal.

"Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on our present course," [Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn)] said. He said the GOP resolution was not the thoughtful approach he had suggested to bring the troops safely home in six months.

I guess we'll see over the coming days as the smoke clears and the facts are revealed.

[Hat tip to reader dh and Michelle Malkin]
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