Friday, June 09, 2006

Zarqawi's Death: The Violence Will Continue

The Guardian reports Tony Blair's comments on the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
Mr Blair told his monthly news conference the US air raid that killed Zarqawi - the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq - would severely damage the terrorist network.
"The death of al-Zarqawi is a strike against al-Qaida in Iraq and therefore a strike against al-Qaida everywhere," he said.
Symbolically, perhaps. But Osama bin Laden didn't even have a branch office in Iraq five years ago. Zarqawi has been described as a particularly bloodthirsty thug, but it's hard to see that his death in any way affects bin Laden's ability to strike elsewhere in the world.
And as for Iraq, the NYT reports that President Bush was careful to emphasize that the violence is likely to continue:
WASHINGTON, June 8 — In celebrating the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a victory for Iraqis and Americans, White House officials were careful on Thursday to acknowledge that his death would not mean the end of the insurgency he had led.
The muted approach marked a departure from the triumphalism with which the White House has greeted some other major events in the war in Iraq. From the moment in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon when President Bush heard the first, tentative reports about Mr. Zarqawi's death, White House aides said he cautioned against jubilation.
"Zarqawi is dead," Mr. Bush said while speaking in front of the Oval Office portico, "but the difficult and necessary mission in Iraq continues. We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him."


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