Wounded Z, Revisited

Rumors that al Qaeda’s Commander in Iraq Abu Musab al Zarqawi has been wounded prior to and during Operation Matador are beginning to resurface. When Zarqawi’s lap top was seized, it was believed he was taking painkillers while recovering “from a wound to his stomach.” A week ago Zarqawi was reported to have visited a hospital in Ramadi with a serious stomach wound. The doctor on the scene was interviewed by US intelligence and reportedly a DNA test was requested.

Today an al Qaeda linked website has called for prays for Zarqawi (the purported speaker is Abu Maysarah al-Iraqi, the Director of al Qaeda in Iraq’s Media Wing and senior advisor to Zarqawi, certainly a man in the know) :

A statement on the website of the Al-Qa’eda Organistion for Holy War called on followers to pray for Zarqawi’s recovery.

The statement, posted by the group’s media coordinator, Abu Maysarah al-Iraqi, said: “Let the near and far know that the injury of our leader is an honor, and a cause to close in on the enemies of God, and a reason to increase the attacks against them.”

Athena from Terrorism Unveiled believes Zarqawi is indeed wounded (I concur) and postulates the release was issued to buck up the morale of the jihadis and their global supporters:

In my opinion, Zarqawi could actually be dying. After the initial report that Zarqawi had been wounded, a website released a letter praising Zarqawi, ending with, “By Allah, I love al-Zarqawi.”

It seems like it could be the case that Zarqawi was badly wounded in the al-Qaim assault near the Syrian border, was shuffled to Ramadi, (which is on the road to Baghdad, and part of the Sunni triangle) quickly left, and is now in serious condition with his wounds.

This most recent posting, could actually be an attempt to rally the Muslims, so if he does recover, the people can argue it was because of the prayers of the Muslim people.

Time will tell whether Zarqawi is indeed dead, and we are best off waiting for confirmation before dancing on his grave. Zarqawi is al Qaeda’s most dangerous operator. He has a long history, including some plots on a incredible scale. He is a rising star in al Qaeda, and a senior member; his demise would be a strategic victory for the Coalition and the Iraqi people. While al Qaeda stresses the organization and cause over the value of the individual, ruthless and competent operatives and leaders such as Zarqawi are a valuable asset and are difficult to replace.

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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