Reader “Moose” Hagopian points out this story in al Jazeera, which says that al Zarqawi has been booted out of his leadership role in the Iraqi “resistance”:
Hudayf Azzam, 35, who claims close contacts with the fighters, said on Sunday: “The Iraqi resistance’s high command asked Zarqawi to give up his political role and replaced him with an Iraqi, because of several mistakes he made.
“Zarqawi’s role has been limited to military action. Zarqawi bowed to the orders two weeks ago and was replaced by Iraqi national Abdullah bin Rashed al-Baghdadi.”
Al Jazeera’s informant is the son of a man who was described as Osama bin Laden’s mentor. Zarqawi’s mistakes reportedly included the hotel bombings in Jordan, but his indiscriminate murders of Iraqi civilians presumably played a role as well.
The terrorists have a serious problem: they have no weapons except terror, but terrorist acts cause the civilian population to despise them and to cooperate with Iraqi and American authorities in tracking them down. So it’s easy to blame Zarqawi, who no doubt is extremely unpopular in Iraq, but it isn’t so easy to come up with an alternative strategy.
If this report is accurate, Zarqawi’s role has been limited to “military action,” which I suppose is a euphemism for terrorist attacks that are directed against Iraqi and coalition forces.