Monday, June 12, 2006

The New Leader?

Much like any institution, al-Qaeda in Iraq has to deal with the high costs of "turnover."
Al-Qaida in Iraq said in a Web statement posted Monday that a militant named Abu Hamza al-Muhajer was the group's new leader. Al-Muhajer succeeds Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed Wednesday by a U.S. airstrike on his hideout northeast of Baghdad, Iraq.

The purported successor was not immediately known. The name al-Muhajer, Arabic for ''immigrant,'' suggested he was not Iraqi.
When, or if, this is independently confirmed, al-Qaeda in Iraq, it seems, is still a foreign body within the insurgency. This is a good thing. I can't see ordinary Iraqis warming up to this small but vicious part of the insurgency as al-Qaeda in Iraq is much more a colonial aggressor than coalition forces. We should take the widespread celebration of ordinary Iraqis and from within the government as an indicator that Iraq does not want to fall under the sway of jihadism. But this also means that the majority portion of the insurgency is homegrown and may be reaching the point of a masse levee. If Iraq does become a mass uprising, there is only one thing the U.S. can morally do: Withdraw. Hopefully the killing of al-Zarqawi will increase Iraqi goodwill toward U.S. so that the U.S. and the Iraqi military can take the fight to the undeterrable jihadis while offering amnesty or diplomatic aggreements to the more moderate aspects of the insurgency.