The Brain Drain in Qaim
Saudi Arabian security forces bagged the latest leader of al Qaeda in the Kingdom. Younus Mohamed Al-Hayari has been killed in a raid Riyadh, and three unnamed members of the organization have been captured and are undergoing "questioning" – no doubt a bit more severe that those asked at Gitmo. Al-Hayari, a Moroccan, was al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia's leader, as the domestic variety appear to be in demand these days. A Saudi professor goes so far as to boldly state "The group which calls itself Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been brain dead since the killing of Muqrin, Faisal Al-Dakheel and (Yemeni) Khaled Bin Haj."
Immediately after the issuing of the most wanted terrorists list, some parents of the 36 reported that they received phone calls declaring the death of their sons in Iraq. Some families said that their sons had been killed in fighting between Iraqi resistance and the Allied Forces in Al-Qa'im and Fallujah, whereas others stated that their sons had died in suicide operations. It was announced on a fundamentalist website that Fares Al Zaheri, whose name appears on the most wanted list, had died during the Hijri month of Shawwal and that his family has been receiving condolences for his death."
The area surrounding Qaim on the Syrian border is becoming a graveyard for al Qaeda. High-ranking members such as Khalid Suleiman Darwish, Zarqawi's second in command, and Abdullah al-Rashood, a leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia have recently been killed in the region. And the Americans aren't the only ones opposing al Qaeda.
More reports of red-on-red fighting between local insurgents and al Qaeda are being reported in the area. US Marines are being treated to some Fourth of July festivities, watching members of the insurgent-friendly Sulaiman tribe and al Qaeda exchange high-caliber fireworks. Zarqawi's brand of governance is catching on like wildfire.
Following al-Qa'eda's seizure of the main buildings a number of residents fled. Arkan Salim, 56, who left with his wife and four children, said: "We thought they were patriotic. Now we discovered that they are sick and crazy.
"They interfered in everything, even how we raise our children. They turned the city into hell, and we cannot live in it anymore."
"Sick and crazy" looks awful on a campaign poster, and even worse in practice. Zarqawi has advocated for a civil war inside Iraq, but likely he did not anticipate the one brewing between the foreign and domestic Sunni 'insurgents'.