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Zarqawi and Al Qaeda Leaving Iraq?

Updated

This is fantastic news if it turns out to be true:

Al Qaeda in Iraq and its presumed leader, Abu Musab Zarqawi, have conceded strategic defeat and are on their way out of the country, a top U.S. military official contended yesterday.

The group's failure to disrupt national elections and a constitutional referendum last year "was a tactical admission by Zarqawi that their strategy had failed," said Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the XVIII Airborne Corps.

"They no longer view Iraq as fertile ground to establish a caliphate and as a place to conduct international terrorism," he said in an address at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Gen. Vines' statement came as news broke that coalition and Iraqi forces had killed an associate of Osama bin Laden's during an early morning raid near Abu Ghraib about two weeks ago.

If this is true, I will watch with glee John Murtha, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean and the rest of the anti-war, America surrender first crowd squirm as they try to spin this as another defeat for America.

Update: Ed Morrissey offers his analysis:

If true, it will demonstrate that the US has the will and the strength to face down terrorists. We will have gone some distance in reversing the damage done in retreats from Somalia, Beirut, and Teheran over the past three decades as well as our unwillingness to engage terrorists after attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, the Khobar Towers blast, the demolition of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the USS Cole. We should all hope that General Vines' analysis proves correct in the coming weeks.

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Comments (37)

Clearly, the civil war ther... (Below threshold)

Clearly, the civil war there has gotten so serious that even Al-Qaeda is leaving.

I dunno, after Cheney's "la... (Below threshold)

I dunno, after Cheney's "last throes" comment, I'm going to have to sit down and watch this one materialize.

I'm guessing he's heading f... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

I'm guessing he's heading for a teaching slot at Yale.

This is good news, but on a... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

This is good news, but on a limited scale.

For some time now it has been members of the
indigenous population who have been trumping
the foreign terrorists. As with most Arab tribal
traditions, the presence of an outgroup like
AlQaeda is an irritation to the locals who
are fiercely territorial. I believe the official
estimates of insurgent numbers outdistanced the
foreign element 100 to 1. The civil war has already
begun, yet it is very personal and certainly
not civil. Bouncing Betties will continue
to crop up until the Shiite infiltration of the
army and police forces (ala Sadr) have a
complete stranglehold over the country.

"Dave Schuler" above nails ... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

"Dave Schuler" above nails the "bad news spin" we will soon see. The other spin will be that the "civil war" we "stupidly caused" "forced" AQ to move to a new, unexpected location where it will be harder for us to find and to defeat them. Just like our occupation of Germany in WWII was a "mistake" because it forced the Nazis to "move" to new, secret locations in South America ...

Many Iraqis believe Zarqawi... (Below threshold)
Aaron:

Many Iraqis believe Zarqawi is just a straw man anyway -- i.e., like the weapons of mass destruction, he doesn't really exist, and is just an excuse to justify the U.S. being in Iraq. "Because the Al Qaeda terrorist Zarqawi is in Iraq, we have to be there! It's the central front in the war on terror!" Well, now the good news is that Zarqawi has admitted defeat, and is leaving Iraq. Hey, maybe this means the US can declare it has defeated terrorism in Iraq, and we can now pull our troops out. Mission Accomplished! We won! Isn't that convenient? But wait, oops, doesn't that mean Zarqawi escaped? Ohhhh, I know! He's going to flee to Iran to justify our invasion there next!

Um, people, this is a story... (Below threshold)
jim:

Um, people, this is a story from the Washingon TIMES. Remember? The right wing Fox News-type paper owned by the Moonies.... You buyin it.....?

For some reason I place a little bit more stock in the SIX former Generals who have called for Rummy's head....

For some reason I place ... (Below threshold)

For some reason I place a little bit more stock in the SIX former Generals who have called for Rummy's head....

Key word: "former." What do generals currently serving say?

Oh, how painful -- speaking... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Oh, how painful -- speaking here strictly as a card-carrying member of the "anti-war, America surrender first" crowd, of which we now count no less than six retired U.S. generals having served in George's Little War -- oh! Oh! You've destroyed my beautiful wickedness!

There is no chance of this ... (Below threshold)
Craig:

There is no chance of this being true. Islamic culture has no concept of "quit while you're ahead." Fighting lost causes is part of their culture.

You're just getting our hopes up!

6 out of how many thousand ... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

6 out of how many thousand retired generals?

Hmm.

The spins certainly is fast... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

The spins certainly is fast around here.

1. To the person who rejects the report because the Washington Times printed it, the point is that General John Vines, the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, told this to a policy conference. If it is true that he said this, the source doesn't matter. What matters is whether it is true that Zarqawi is leaving, and if so, whether that means that the level of violence in Iraq is going to go down.

2. As to the 6 former generals, they weren't speaking on whether Zarqawi is staying or leaving. They don't contradict the report.

3. As to whether Zarqawi is a "straw man," or a figment of US storytelling, the commenter "Aaron" says "many Iraqis" see him this way -- but does "Aaron" think he doesn't exist? Or that even if he exists, he is a "straw man?" Will the level of violence stay constant, or increase, even if he leaves? That is the question that matters.

Sissoed, the point is that ... (Below threshold)
jim:

Sissoed, the point is that the Moonie Times runs to the rescue of the Bush debacle. If six former generals, including the commanders of the 82nd airborne division, and the Big Red One, say that the situation in Iraq is a debacle and only removing Rummy will give us a chance to get out with a shred of honor, gee, I for one am willing to listen.

And was Rush Limbaugh's practically calling them traitors today another example of how the right wing "supports our troops"?

Just my opinion, but AQ is ... (Below threshold)
Imhotep:

Just my opinion, but AQ is leaving Iraq because the nuclear fallout from Iran Nuking Isreal will be lethal.

Jim, I just did a search to... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

Jim, I just did a search to see who else covered the Vines statement, and found this instead from NPR, which makes my point in a different way. From June 22, 2005:

"NPR: Iraq General Says Iraq Insurgency Not Diminishing, by Alex Chadwick
"Day to Day, June 22, 2005 · Alex Chadwick talks to Andy Mosher, deputy foreign editor for The Washington Post, about the press conference Army Lt. General John Vines gave Tuesday assessing the situation in Iraq. Vines believes the insurgency, while small, is not diminishing -- an opinion contrary to recent statements by the Bush administration."

So when Gen. Vines says something that undermines the administration, NPR covers it, and when Gen. Vines says something that helps the adminstration, the Washington Times covers it. Do you really think I should pay attention to Gen. Vines, and judge the administration accordingly, only when NPR reports what he says, but ignore Vines when the Washington Times reports what he says? To the contrary, what matters is what Vines actually said. If the reporting is accurate, that is what counts. The source matters only to the extent that you think that the source is likely to be inaccurate. Or do you think that accurate things that happen to help the administration should not be reported by anyone? Or may be reported only by NPR or the NYTimes?

As to Rush, I didn't hear him, in fact I've never heard his radio show, but for far too long, whenever a Republican criticizes the judgment of a military person, the left mis-describes the criticism as directed not at bad judgment but as an attack on patriotism and character. Yet surely a true patriot may have bad judgment, and if so, a critic may challenge the judgment without impugning the character. I have looked at a number of these Republican "attacks" and in my opinion they are criticisms of judgment, not attacks on patriotism. So while I have not heard Rush's comments, I question whether your characterization of Rush's comment is accurate.

The islamic culture has no ... (Below threshold)
virgo:

The islamic culture has no concept of quit when your ahead ? YOU NAILED IT, there 1200 years behind.

It isn't true.... (Below threshold)
Sam:

It isn't true.

If this is true ,its bad n... (Below threshold)
MoeCurryLarry:

If this is true ,its bad news for the dems, the next thing will hear is Bush , Rove and Rumsfeld paid off al quaeda to wait till after the mid terms to start slaughtering again ! so that they can all share in the big oil profits of Haliburton..

They're fasicts, they won't... (Below threshold)
Peter F. until:

They're fasicts, they won't quit they're dead. Let's help them...

I see no reason to doubt th... (Below threshold)

I see no reason to doubt that Al Qaeda is giving up on Iraq. They've been trying to fight us there for three years and have failed. They aren't stupid, they will retreat, fall back and try to attack us somewhere else.

But we'll be ready for them. Al Qaeda has no chance of winning.

As to my claim that many Ir... (Below threshold)
Aaron:

As to my claim that many Iraqis think Zarqawi isn't real, I will quote an actual Iraqi living in Iraq, since I think she'd know more about what other Iraqis think than the rest of us (but I don't know if others will attack this source for whatever reason):

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2004_11_01_riverbendblog_archive.html
"Everyone here knows Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi isn't in Falloojeh. He isn't anywhere, as far as anyone can tell. He's like the WMD: surrender your weapons or else we'll attack. Now that the damage is done, it is discovered that there were no weapons. It will be the same with Zarqawi. We laugh here when we hear one of our new politicians discuss him. He's even better than the WMD- he has legs. As soon as the debacle in Falloojeh is over, Zarqawi will just move conveniently to Iran, Syria or even North Korea."

Wow... is she psychic? She predicted this happening well over a year ago....


Do I think he's real and/or in Iraq? Well, I don't know if he's there or not, but if he is, then yeah, his role is probably being exaggerated....

(this is just some place a news search turned up - the same story can be found elsewhere, and I don't know anything about this source)
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/10/1348221
"US Exaggerating Zarqawi Role in PR Effort
The Washington Post is reporting the Pentagon is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of al-Qaeda figure Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. Some military intelligence officials believe the campaign may have exaggerated Zarqawi's importance and helped the Bush administration link the Iraq war with the September 11 attacks. The propaganda effort has also been reportedly used to build sentiment against non-US foreigners in Iraq. One military briefing was entitled: "Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response." Another document lists "U.S. Home Audience" as a target audience for the campaign."

And if he's there and he leave will that cause the violence to go down? Why would it? As it stands, we know the foreign fighters are really a very small percent of the violence going on in Iraq.... So even if it did somehow make a difference, unfortunately, no, it's just not going to make a big difference.... I'm sorry, but wishful thinking won't change that.

If six former generals, ... (Below threshold)

If six former generals, including the commanders of the 82nd airborne division, and the Big Red One, say that the situation in Iraq is a debacle and only removing Rummy will give us a chance to get out with a shred of honor, gee, I for one am willing to listen.

Well, if we are going to go beyond hearing, and actually consider the opinions of these six generals, I think that we need to know ...

... did these generals speak this frankly to the previous President and his SECDEFs, when that Administration REFUSED to act decisively to defeat terrorists (including Saddam, which Bill Clinton certainly talked about as an enemy and supporter of terror) and then win this War on Terror at a far lower cost in blood and treasure than what we are paying now?

I don't think so ... show me that I'm wrong.

If they did not speak with that frankness against that folly back then, their present statements ring quite hollow ... for they are not based upon wisdom.

They certainly could speak out in public about the missteps of the Clinton years now, just as they are doing about this Administration. Has the cat got their tongue?

Could it be that their statements today are based on political ambition ... book deals ... sour grapes ... and fighting the last war?

Hmmm ...

The conventional wisdom ... more troops/leadership changes/better (read: longer) planning, working to unify the non-unifiable (read: BDS sufferers) ... would not have, and will not, bring victory. In fact, it can be shown that such measures were and are COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to this war effort.

There is one essential ingredient for victory at this time ... RESOLVE.

We must not only defeat them ... we must outlast them, and prove to them that we will continue to forcefully oppose them, wherever they appear, in perpetuity.

That was the missing element in our foreign and defense policies ... even while these generals were serving this nation prior to 11 Sept 2001. If they were wise, at least they would have spoken up to correct this error as they were counseling our Presidents (past and present), with the same forcefullness they are using now in public. (If they did, let them speak up now and corrrect the record.)

Instead, who was it that brought RESOLVE to the table, after a long absence?

George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Condolezza Rice ...

... and Donald Rumsfeld.

The very people the critics are now villifying, brought the essential element for victory and peace to bear upon our enemies, once again.

That you critics do not acknowledge this truth is an indictment of the "wisdom" you possess ... and makes your criticism ring very hollow.

So Bill Clinton is to blame... (Below threshold)
Case Dolt:

So Bill Clinton is to blame for Bush's incompetence?

Ha ha ha ha ah. What a dumbass.

It seems that some people w... (Below threshold)

It seems that some people want us to fail in Iraq, and the rest of the war on terror. Why else would all good news be dismissed, as some in this thread are doing?

Dolt -- you wouldn't know "... (Below threshold)

Dolt -- you wouldn't know "incompetence" if it bit you ...

... because if you did, you would have joined us in demanding a decisive resolution to this conflict, years -- even a decade or two -- ago.

What you and the America-denigrating Left can't get through your thick, highly-degreed skulls is that a far greater error was committed by not only the Clinton Administration, but the administratons that preceded it, regarding confronting Middle Eastern terrorism decisively, early on ... even administrations who exercised resolve against other, greater enemies, and brought them down. Their success in those conflicts is also an indictment of their INACTION in the Middle East ... and the INACTION endorsed by people like you.

Yet, you ... like the generals ... only focus on this Administration ... and in many cases like yours, because you use the war as a convenient club to beat this President with, since this President won't indulge your Utopian and/or hedonistc fantasies by endorsing them as policy.

To people like you, this is all about defeating a President who you don't like.

Google:

"History's Verdict" "Victor Davis Hanson"

and see another example of the kind of "incompetence" you accuse this Administration of. Looks to me like they are in good comapny ...

... while you and those like you persist in the delusion of "peace through negotiation" that our enemies have exploited, to make this INEVITIBLE war longer and more costly than it could have been.

The very people you villify, through their leadership are now correcting this greater error.

Their errors pale in comparison to yours.

No case dolt Clinton is to... (Below threshold)
virgo:

No case dolt Clinton is to blame for His own incompetence. but i dont think that makes him a dumbass !just a dumb lib..

I makes me very uneasy to r... (Below threshold)
LadyMac:

I makes me very uneasy to read just one post that suggests AQ may be leaving because They know something We don't know...As in: future fallout in the area, direct hits due in the area, etc.
These people do not 'give up' or run away...They've been brainwashed to believe death brings virgins fer cryin' out loud! Remember their threats to set fire to the ground beneath our soldiers' feet...

IMHO this should be considered...

I suppose this is good news... (Below threshold)

I suppose this is good news, hopefully leading to more stability there (admittedly, wishful thinking). But if they are leaving Iraq, where are they going? I sleep better at night knowing that my country's best trained fighters are defeating the enemy in a far away land rather than the enemy doing battle with flight attendants and pilots.

If these Zarqawi type extr... (Below threshold)
virgo:

If these Zarqawi type extremists are so gung ho on getting the virgins, why dont they spend all their time and energy trying to find them in the here and now. and what makes them think a virgin would want their skanky murderous asses anyway.

sick in the head man !

case doltwhy don't... (Below threshold)
Case Dolt:

case dolt

why don't you blame reagan for running with his tail between his legs after beirut? hmmm? who got the lockerbie bombers? wasn't that clinton?

who was it kissing iraqi ass? don bumsfeld? who made buddies with the taliban? georgie porgie #1.


dumb ass republicans.

Virgo,You should o... (Below threshold)
Virgo is a Virgin:

Virgo,

You should offer yourself up. You're ugly and I'm sure you've never had sex. In other words, just the perfect vestal virgin for an ambitious terrorist-in-training.

Dolt -- I do criticize Mr. ... (Below threshold)

Dolt -- I do criticize Mr. Reagan for listening to the likes of you, and not acting decisively in Lebanon. (Of course, my criticism is somewhat softened by the distraction he was dealing with at the time, called the Soviet Union).

And, so what that Clinton got the bombers ... he gave Saddam and Osama a lesson in feline origami (as in paper tigers) by cutting and running in Somalia.

Maybe he should have concentrated on Osama, or Saddam, instead ... he certainly talked about them both, but did nothing substantial against them.

As for Rumsfeld -- if those like you wouldn't have jerked your knees at every hint that we would use our forces in a decisive fashion, maybe we wouldn't have had to lower ourselves to playing Iraq off against Iran that way ... for we would have dealt with Iran ourselves, then dealt with Saddam as soon as he showed his true colors.

Besides, our dealings with Saddam were mere conversations over coffee, compared with the whore's bed he shared with those hero nations in the eyes of anti-warriors like you ... France and Germany.

Finally, if we did make errors -- in many cases, by listening to the wishes of people like you -- isn't it proper that we rectify the errors?

That is what is being done by this Adminsitration now, in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are doing what we should have done, three decades ago ...

... were it not for critics like you, Dolt, who questioned our virtue, when we needed such virtue to fuel our RESOLVE.

Waaaah. And what about Bus... (Below threshold)
Case Fold:

Waaaah. And what about Bush #1? How come no mention about him? Selective memory, is it?

Rich, you're a fool, worse, you're a hypocrite masking yourself in false erudition. Your wisdom is hollow, your rhetoric empty. I feel sorry for your kids, you sad fuck.

Dolt (aka Fold):OK... (Below threshold)

Dolt (aka Fold):

OK ... you shouldn't assume I consider GHW Bush blameless, simply because I didn't mention him. I was just trying to keep it simple for you.

First, this is the same GHW Bush who, after acting decisively to remove Saddam from Kuwait, let Saddam be in 1991, when common sense said otherwise -- again, because he listened to "dolts" like you and your siren song of peace through accommodation.

The same GHW Bush who left the Shiites hanging ... again, in the name of "diplomacy" ... your kind of diplomacy, that is.

Since he listened to you on those matters, is it no wonder that he might have also (wrongly) respected the soverignty of the Taliban, and gave them NON-MILITARY aid to help their people, again in the name of "diplomacy" ... and of course, that was before we saw the Taliban's evil in full flower.

Still doesn't discredit my last post, in the least. As I said ...

if we did make errors -- in many cases, by listening to the wishes of people like you -- isn't it proper that we rectify the errors?

That is what is being done by this Adminsitration now, in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are doing what we should have done, three decades ago ...

... were it not for critics like you, Dolt, who questioned our virtue, when we needed such virtue to fuel our RESOLVE.

Quick question, why is ever... (Below threshold)
Mark Fradl:

Quick question, why is everyone here talking like AQ and foreign fighters are the only cause of trouble in Iraq? Every report I've seen says they are the tiniest fraction of agressors. It's about Shiites and Sunnis attacking/retaliating/re-attacking/re-retaliating. Simple as that. Bush Sr.'s people went on record after the first war as saying the reason we didn't invade was because we'd be stuck trying to hold the country together (the situation we're in now) In fact, we let the Revolutionary Guard escape Kuwait because we knew without that strong military the country would disenegrate.

Mark -- it's not as "simple... (Below threshold)

Mark -- it's not as "simple as that". We now have Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds (oh my!) attempting to work together to form a government, with support from religious and other "traditional" leaders.

We now have millions of Iraqis willing to vote to establish a government based on ballots, instead of bullets.

The only organized element in Iraq that, across its entire membership, wants to see a continuation of the chaos until they emerge on top?

The foreign jihadis ... and the Iraqis are on to them, and tired of them, and dropping the dime on them.

Unlike the other groups, the jihadis will not be turned ... for they have no place in a democratic, rights-respecting Iraq.

The "stability of the strongman" approach ... i.e. maintaining tyranny in the name of preserving peace among a people supposedly too immature as humans to make peace otherwise ... was wrongheaded, for it sells short the innate humanity of the people under the tyrant's thumb -- and is unsustainable.

Sooner or later, the tyranny leaks out.

To the lesbian above who s... (Below threshold)
virgo:

To the lesbian above who stated virgo is a virgin ..a ? Bend over and take your al Quaeda butt buddie up your bunghole queer !




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