Zarqawi knows he is looking at defeat

World Tribune:

Sunni insurgents backing Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi have expressed alarm at the prospect of a defeat by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

An audio tape said to be from Al Zarqawi charged Muslim clerics with letting down the insurgency "because of your silence."

On Wednesday, Al Zarqawi, with a $25 million bounty on his head, was the target of a major manhunt in the Sunni Triangle, Middle East Newsline reported. Iraqi military sources said Al Zarqawi was said to have been seen in an area south of Fallujah.

Islamic sources said that for the first time in more than a year the Tawhid and Jihad group led by Al Zarqawi appears to have lost control over many of its insurgents in the Sunni Triangle.

The sources said Iraqi and U.S. assaults on major insurgency strongholds in such cities as Baghdad, Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and Samara have resulted in heavy insurgency casualties and a break in the command and control structure.

Over the last few days, Al Zarqawi supporters have appealed for help from Al Qaida and related groups. The sources said Al Qaida's allies, including the Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call, have sought to increase recruitment of Muslim volunteers to fight the coalition.

The Internet has also reflected the growing concern that Islamic insurgents would be routed in Iraq. A message posted on an Islamic website appealed for help from Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority.

The message, posted by a purported insurgency supporter who used the name Abu Ahmed Al Baghdadi, acknowledged that the Sunni insurgency has been harmed by the U.S.-led offensive in Fallujah. Al Baghdadi said insurgents have lost their haven in Fallujah, but asserted that Al Zarqawi has acquired a broader base for operations and recruitment.

For his part, Al Zarqawi has also expressed concern over the U.S. military operation against Fallujah, Mosul and other insurgency strongholds.

On Wednesday, an audio tape posted on an Islamic website and purportedly from Al Zarqawi accused Muslim clerics of failing to support the insurgency in Iraq.

"You have let us down in the darkest circumstances and handed us over to the enemy," the message said. "You have stopped supporting the holy warriors. Hundreds of thousands of the nation's sons are being slaughtered at the hands of the infidels because of your silence."

Earlier reports of Zarqawi's latest recording suggest he has lost his recording studio used in the past, because the sound quality suggested someone in a large empty room. The whining about the lack of support from Islamic clerics is good news on at least two levels. The first is the most obvious the clerics do not view Zarqawi's battle as a holy war. The second has to do with the rejection Zarqawi is complaining about. He clearly has been contacting clerics for assistance since being chased out of Fallujah. The Iraqis need to be contacting all of the Islamic clerics in the country to find out when they were contacted and get what evidence they may have as to his whereabouts.

This story along witht he news of the decreasing number of attacks in recent days point out how the loss of his sanctuary has really harmed his ability to make war. The US is still in the pursuit phase after its victory in Fallujah. The enemy is at its most vulnerable state. He must not be given time or a place to regroup. In that regard, the calls to postpone the election would be a gift of time to Zarqawi's desperate men. Keeping the election date keeps the pressure on Zarqawi. His primary objective right now is to prevent the election. Why would you make a gift to him of that objective after defeating him?

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