posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 07:58 PM
There are two scenarios that come to mind. First, that the American intelligence operation produced the needed info where Zarqawi would be and when.
But it is also possible that people who know Zarqawi and his associates “gave him up” to the Americans.
Here is an oddity: The air strike that killed Zarqawi took place at 6:15 PM Baghdad time on Wednesday, June 7. His death was broadcast worldwide that
night at 11:37 PM. At 12:17 AM, Thursday, 40 minutes later, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki announced the last three positions in the new Cabinet had
been filled. A Sunni had been appointed to the critical post, defense minister. Why was such an important appointment announced in the middle of the
night, minutes after Zarqawi’s death went public, rather than at a press conference in the morning? Was this just coincidence? Or serendipity?"
There is another point. Shortly after announcing Zarqawi’s death, U.S. forces said they conducted raids on 17 other locations in and around Baghdad.
They claimed the raids were based on intelligence gathered at the home where al-Zarqawi was killed, which had been blown up by two 500-pound bombs.
Between 6:15 PM and early Thursday morning, the U.S. claims they sifted the rubble and found so many intact and readable documents they were able to
carry out 17 raids around the City of Baghdad, a city of 3 million people without delay.
That is possible. But it is hard to imagine finding the material, analyzing it and tasking 17 separate raiding parties in the time involved. It could
be the case, but a more easily believable scenario is that the same source that provided the intelligence on the location of al-Zarqawi's safe-house
also provided intelligence on the 17 other locations.
The juxtaposition of the new Sunni appointee to the Cabinet and the “giving” up of Zarqawi’s safe house location, followed by a roundup at 17
locations around Baghdad may have been the Sunni signal to PM al-Maliki they were ready to deal.
The Sunni payment must now be reciprocated by a Shiite payment: a resolution on the status of the Shiite militias, which have been killing Sunnis in
reprisal for jihadist attacks and torture suffered under Baathist rule, among other reasons. The Shia can move the political process forward by
bringing their militias under control. If this is not the deal, then by Shia inaction, Iraq will return to the status quo. Clamping down on the
Shiite militias will be a difficult process that will cause gut wrenching tensions in the Shiite community. That looks to be the price for a unitary
Iraq in which Shiite power dominates but is limited by Sunni and Kurdish interests.
The plan PM al-Maliki had laid out prior to Zarqawi’s death was that the Shia militias would be integrated into the Iraqi army. The response from
the Sunni head of Iraqi intelligence, which came shortly after al-Zarqawi's death, was that this was not an acceptable solution. If the militias were
simply integrated into the Iraqi army as whole units, they would be able to continue carrying out their political function in uniform. The solution
was to disarm the militias and turn them into unarmed civil servants.
Iraq under Saddam Hussein saw Iran play an important role in preserving some of the interests and power of the Iraqi Shia. The relationship between
the Iraq and Iran communities isn't as simple as one might think. There are real and deep theological differences between An Najaf (Iraq) and Qom
(Iran), the two centers of the Iraqi and Iranian Shia. There is also the unforgettable differences between Arabs and Persians. Just as the delivering
up of al-Zarqawi represented a critical step in showing the Shia that there did not have to be permanent civil war with the Sunnis, getting control of
the militias would be the Shiite way of demonstrating that the Sunnis don't have to fear the Shia permanently.
The Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is not a careless man. He took a position crucial to the Coalition Forces success to date. In March, 2003, he
issued a “fatwa” that good Shia should not interfere in the U. S. invasion of Iraq. Not all fatwas are bad.
Pres Geo W's visit to Baghdad this week celebrated one moment in this long and deadly process, and it was an important one. The next step in the
drama will be difficult and painful, but the logic now is on the side of a long-term settlement and a long-term decline in the war. Let us hope so.
[edit on 6/14/2006 by donwhite]