Quite an upbeat p-one Chi Trib story here, in which we read about progress in Iraq, with only secondary, brief reference to the usual day’s death toll.
The U.S. military pressed its offensive against Al Qaeda in Iraq on Friday, staging an additional 39 raids based mostly on information uncovered during the hunt that led to the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air strike.
The fresh raids came as Al Qaeda in Iraq issued urgent appeals for money and volunteers to fight American forces, a day after the news of al-Zarqawi’s death left the organization without a clearly identifiable leader.
is the lede, details follow:
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell displayed a suicide belt, explosives and Iraqi army uniforms uncovered in 17 raids conducted soon after al-Zarqawi’s death. The raids targeted people whom the U.S. had been monitoring in the buildup to the strike, which was delayed until al-Zarqawi had been pinpointed because they were giving “indicators at different points in time as to where Zarqawi might be,” Caldwell said.
An additional 39 raids were conducted Friday, some of them directly related to information obtained in the earlier raids, Caldwell said without giving further details.
That’s us. They?
[A web-site] statement in the name of Hamil al-Rashash (Holder of the Rifle) struck a more desperate note [than one by head of the Iraqi Mujahadeen umbrella group pleading for volunteers].
“Help, help! Support, support!” it said addressing the Islamic ummah, or community. “Assistance, assistance! Where is your money? And where are your men? There is no excuse for you.
“America won’t benefit you. History won’t be merciful to you. Wake up before it gets too late and before all the curses of Earth and heaven fall upon you.”
A bit of analysis in mid-story points out the role Zarqawi played:
As for leadership, it is unlikely Al Qaeda will quickly be able to replace al-Zarqawi with someone with the same name recognition and appeal to the global Islamist community, experts say. Helped in part by the repeated condemnations of U.S. officials and by his own headline-grabbing tactics, such as the gruesome, videotaped beheadings of hostages, al-Zarqawi had catapulted to worldwide fame over the past two years. [Italics added]
In a war of nerves as well as physical devastation, such things matter greatly. Let’s hear it for experts, this time anyhow.