al Qaeda in Iraq: Next in Line

al Qaeda in Iraq: Next in Line

The Times Online reports Zarqawi was seriously wounded as he fled the battlefield during Operation Matador. According to an ‘insurgent commander’; “Shrapnel went in between the right shoulder and his chest, ripped it open and is still stuck in there.” He is believed to have been taken to a “non-Arab country”, which would be Iran.

The Kuwati News Agency (KUNA) is reporting that Zarqawi has been spotted in a town north of Baghdad and is surrounded:

A force of Iraqi commandoes, supported by US forces, have surrounded the village of Abu Shallal, north of here, after reports indicated that Abu Musab Zarqawi might have taken refuge there, Interior Ministry sources told KUNA on Friday. The sources have indicated that Zarqawi has been spotted by eyewitnesses driven in a red Opel in the village of Abu Shallal, near an area called al-Tarmia. He was said to have taken refuge in the home of an individual named Sheikh Hatem al-Amir.

The news on Zarqawi is all over the place. He’s dead. He’s fine. He’s in Iran. He’s in Syria. He’s traveling with a pair of Arab doctors. One thing is consistent throughout these reports: Zarqawi appears to have been injured, perhaps seriously, and is on the run.

Yesterday I rounded up the names being thrown around as Zarqawi’s successors, and take a wild guess at who may be al Qaeda’s new king of Iraq. This is based on the little information available about the potential successors and al Qaeda’s penchant for selecting highly networked and successful leaders.

Recent Background Posts on Zarqawi from Bill & Dan Darling:

Zarqawi Successors

* The Struggle for Zarqawi’s Throne

* Zarqawi’s Destination: Which Country?

* Zarqawi: “Chest Pains” and More Middlemen

* Wounded Z, Revisited

* Wounded Z?

* Zarqawi’s Laptop

* Zarqawi in Context: Is He al Qaeda?

* Special Report: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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