It just does not matter if Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead. US troops searched a house in Mosul where guerrillas took their own lives rather than be captured for signs that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi might be among the dead.
A later US press release said that it doubted that al-Zarqawi had been killed.
Meanwhile, Some 57 members of the al-Khalaylah family (al-Zarqawi’s real last name) took out a half-page ad in a Jordanian newspaper to denounce their relative, to say that they had cut him off forever, and to declare their allegiance to the Hashemite monarchy.
Thousands of Jordanians protested the hotel bombings, attributed to al-Zarqawi, last last week.
If al-Zarqawi really exists and really does head up a terrorist organization in Iraq, it just probably does not matter so much if he is killed. Talent is a precious commodity, and it could be that he has some, so the death would not be trivial. But Bayan Jabr Sulagh, the Minister of the Interior, put the number of foreign fighters in Iraq at only 900 recently. Even if that is an under-estimation, it is not a huge one. They are mainly cannon fodder. When the volunteers come in, the local ex-Baathist guerrilla leadership gives them a car bomb to drive. It isn’t as if the car bombs are being imported from Jordan.
If al-Zarqawi died or were captured, there would be many increasinlgy experienced guerrilla fighters to take his place.
People kept saying that when Saddam was captured, that was the end of the “insurgency.” Guerrilla movements, though, are social movements, and do not typically depend on one man.
The US government is still stuck in the “Great Man” mode of historiography, and does not seem to recognize the achievements of the social group.
Nothing much would change if al-Zarqawi were killed, in my view.