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Al-Zarqawi, Jihadists, & the Media

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Is the insurgent network foundation finally cracking?

News of the Jordanian reaction to al-Zarqawi’s latest proclamations and deeds indicate a prime nerve has been hit.

Rumours of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death may be exaggerated. He was reported by several Arab TV networks to have been among eight terrorists who self-detonated in Mosul on Sunday.

Still, whether or not he’s sleeping with the fishes or the 72 virgins, he’s already outlived whatever usefulness he had to the jihad.

Yes, it would appear that even the jihad needs to be concerned with image and PR.

On Friday, the allegedly explosive “Arab street” finally exploded, in the largest demonstration against al-Qa’eda or its affiliates seen in the Middle East. “Zarqawi,” shouted 200,000 Jordanians, “from Amman we say to you, you are a coward!” Also “the enemy of Allah” – which, for a jihadist, isn’t what they call on Broadway a money review.

The old head-hacker was sufficiently rattled by the critical pans of his Jordanian hotel bombings that he issued the first IRA-style apology in al-Qa’eda’s history. “People of Jordan, we did not undertake to blow up any wedding parties,” he said. “For those Muslims who were killed, we ask God to show them mercy, for they were not targets.”

Yeah, right. Tell it to the non-Marines. It was perfectly obvious to Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari and his missus what was going on when they strolled into the ballroom of the Radisson Hotel.

Is there an erosion of support starting to occur among the populace of these regions?

True, he did manage to kill a couple of dozen Muslims. But what’s the strategic value of that? Presumably, it’s an old-fashioned mob heavy’s way of keeping the locals in line. And that worked out well, didn’t it? Hundreds of thousands of Zarqawi’s fellow Jordanians fill the streets to demand his death.

Did they show that on the BBC? Or are demonstrations only news when they’re anti-Bush and anti-Blair? And look at it this way: if the “occupation” is so unpopular in Iraq, where are the mass demonstrations against that? I’m not talking 200,000, or even 100 or 50,000. But, if there were just 1,500 folks shouting “Great Satan, go home!” in Baghdad or Mosul, it would be large enough for the media to do that little trick where they film the demo close up so it looks like the place is packed. Yet no such demonstrations take place.

I guess with such a strong anti-Bush and anti-Blair mission in motion, it’s tough for the media to fit more reality in its coverage.