...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

June 09, 2006

Cautious Optimism?

Here's two articles from the anti-war, often anti-American Associated Press, that give cause for optimism to those of us who want victory.

Ignore the predictably negative headline and check out some key quotes from this article:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death doesn't mean an end to the insurgency in Iraq — but it could mean a change in strategy.

"What Iraqi Sunnis want in Iraq is different from what al-Zarqawi wants," said Sadeq al-Musawi, who until February was President Jalal Talabani's political adviser. "Sunnis want to push out foreign forces from Iraq. Al-Zarqawi ... wanted Islamic rule and wanted to instigate civil war between Sunnis and Shiites."

The death on Wednesday of the al-Qaida in Iraq leader could also provide an opening for the Iraqi government to try to woo Sunni insurgents.

Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, a Sunni, said the national unity government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was open to contacts with armed groups except those involved in the killing of civilians or opposed to the U.S.-backed political process.

There have been contacts in the past between envoys of the U.S. and Iraqi governments and various insurgent groups, but none is known to have produced any deals or progressed beyond the preliminary stages.

"Al-Qaida in Iraq and its supporters must be shaken by al-Zarqawi's death," al-Zubaie said Friday. "It has given security forces a boost," al-Zubaie said.

An even more optimistic AP story looks at the beating Al Qaeda leadership has taken around the world in the last two years. A partial rundown:
A 2004 Associated Press analysis named a dozen young terror suspects as front-line leaders, their hands stained with the blood of attacks from Bali to Baghdad, Casablanca to Madrid.

Al-Zarqawi, who sat atop the 2004 list as the biggest threat after bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, died Wednesday when U.S. forces dropped two 500-pound bombs on his hideout northeast of Baghdad.

. . .

Globally, security forces have also had considerable success. Another four of the top 12 young militants in the 2004 list have met violent ends — in shootouts in Saudi Arabia, under U.S. bombardment in Iraq, or in an Algerian terror sweep. The seven who remain at large are on the run, and none has been able to match al-Zarqawi's success at launching large-scale attacks since mid-2004.

. . .

Joining al-Zarqawi in the list of dead militant leaders is Nabil Sahraoui, who took over the North African Salafist Group for Call and Combat in 2004 and announced that he was merging it with al-Qaida. Sahraoui did not have much time to savor his power play. The militant, who was in his 30s, was gunned down by Algerian troops that same year east of Algiers.

Habib Akdas, the accused ringleader of the 2003 bombings in Istanbul, Turkey, and another member of the class of 2004, died during the U.S. bombardment of the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November of that year, according to the testimony of an al-Qaida suspect in U.S. custody. Turkish security forces believe the account and say Akdas, who was also in his 30s, is dead.

Syrian-born Loa'i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa, who has emerged as an even more senior leader of the Istanbul bombings, but who was not included in the 2004 list of top terror suspects, is in a Turkish jail awaiting trial on terror charges.

Two other men who were on the 2004 list met their ends at the hands of security forces in Saudi Arabia.

Abdulaziz al-Moqrin, 30, who rose from high school dropout to become al-Qaida's leader in the kingdom, was cornered and killed by security forces in Riyadh in 2004, shortly after he masterminded the kidnapping and beheading of American engineer Paul M. Johnson.

In 2005, Saudi forces shot and killed Abdelkrim Mejjati, a Moroccan in his late 30s who was believed to have played a leading role in the May 2003 bombings in Casablanca that killed more than 30 people. Mejjati came from a privileged background, attending an exclusive French school in Morocco before turning to terrorism. He was sent to Saudi Arabia on bin Laden's orders, becoming one of the kingdom's most wanted men.

For most of those at large, life is anything but easy.

Let's not forget the parliamentary approval of Iraq's new Defense and Interior ministers, and the newfound momentum of American troops against the insurgency. Add to those bits of good news, the announcement by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki two weeks ago that "Our forces are capable of taking over the security in all Iraqi provinces within a year and a half," and things look even better.

I've always been an optimist on Iraq and the War on Terror. I remained so even during the darkest days when the temptation to jump sides became too much to resist for better conservatives than I.

Still, I've never been one who, on this blog, was quick to announce certain "victories" as "turning points" or signs of "light at the end of the tunnel." I know that in war, as in life, the road to victory is often tortuous (definition 1). For every bit of good news, there's some bad news that the opposition will trumpet, so it's hard being an optimist when no one knows the ultimate outcome with certainty. But I'm a lot more hopeful today than I was a week ago. Maybe, just maybe, we've crested a hill over there.

Posted by annika, Jun. 9, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


The demise of the Z-man sure lifted my spirits. It's the series of small incremental victories that will turn the tide and give the democratic forces the momentum needed for final victory. I hopeful, but still cautious.

First time I've been to your site, since for some reason it is blocked at my work. Nice to find another Sac blogger.

Posted by: richj on Jun. 9, 2006

If annika's journal is blocked at your work, that's a good reason to find another job, i say.

Posted by: annika on Jun. 9, 2006

Working on it.

Posted by: richj on Jun. 9, 2006

Hey! Blogging from a Blackberry can be fun!

Rich, the host of mu.nu has apparently been having DNS issues. I lost access to Anni's blog from home a few days ago. My ISP said that the host posted he'd have the problems fixed in a while.

Annika, what you've done this whole time is what everyone should've been doing: Stay levelheaded. Unfortunately, such a virtue is in short supply nowadays. Keep being an example. God knows the rest of this country needs it.

Posted by: elmondohummus on Jun. 9, 2006

My problem is that my corp's filter seems to be rather selective. I get an internal error message from our network letting me know that the site is blocked because it is designated as "pornography". And dissappointedly I find no porn here when I stopped in tonight from home. Unless I just haven't looked hard enough.

Posted by: richj on Jun. 9, 2006

Maybe it's Annika's "Sex Please" rubric that sets off the porn filters or the drunk dog fucking video.

Posted by: reagan80 on Jun. 10, 2006

Actually the porn is available only to premium subscribers of annika's journal.

Posted by: annika on Jun. 10, 2006

I think I've misjudged your blog... I went off a spoof of something and read through your posts with that mentality.

No harm meant!

Posted by: trisa on Jun. 10, 2006

And I was just about to announce the "death of satire," Trisa. Or re-announce it, anyway. Seriously, I sometimes forget how sarcasm is difficult to pull off in print.

Anyways, no harm taken. Thank you for your service and come back anytime!

Posted by: annika on Jun. 11, 2006

elmondohummus is exactly right about staying level headed. Everytime we take out another higher up in the terrorist food chain we garner more respect from Iraqi civilians who don't want us to abandon them to the insurgents.

Iraq is a tough situation full of complex issues that our military is handling well, but contrary to some rhetoric on the left, good and bad are easily discernible and we still have to kill the bad guys.

P.S. Could that crazy Washington animation set off the porn filters?

Posted by: Mike C. on Jun. 11, 2006

Zarqawi AND Bin Laden kick ass!

Capitalism = Racism = Death!

Posted by: I. M. Asocialist on Jun. 12, 2006

I happen to be a fan of de Borgrave's, even if he does write for the WT, as his book "The Spike" opened my eyes years ago. What do you think of this column?

Posted by: will on Jun. 13, 2006