The Zarqawi Bin Laden factor
Coalition forces in Iraq were in desperate need for good news after the formation of the new Iraqi puppet government itself did not deflect the negative perception of the failed invasion by United States and United Kingdom forces. Whilst Blair was padding himself on the back during his visit to Baghdad for having played midwife to this illegitimate government under occupation, the rest of the world considered the role of the US and UK in Iraq already as a lost venture. In their interview with the Iranian president, for example, the German magazine Der Spiegel repeatedly and without prompt referred to the war in Iraq as having been lost by the Americans, saying "The United States has suffered a de facto defeat in Iraq", and "The United States has practically lost this war."
Enter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who was credited with every little hiccup encountered by the occupation forces in order to show how powerful an enemy the CIA-sponsored al-Qaidah really was. Like good script writers for a sitcom they now finally wrote him out of the picture with a glorious departure. Just as he was presenting a menacing face of the enemy to justify the continued operations by the coalition forces in Iraq he now, posthumously, helps to show that the Iraqi forces, who were credited with killing him, are finally up to the job and that with the help of the Americans they are turning the situation around.
There is only one thing the script writers must now be very careful about and that is not to resurrect him because of his popularity hitherto. Bin Laden, for example, a man dependent on a dialysis machine who could never have survived the aerial bombardment of Afghanistan in a cave hideout keeps popping up with recorded messages. Writing him out of the script now will be a lot more difficult, although eventually we might get this erstwhile most wanted man identified by "finger printing and facial recognition" amongst the bodies of a blast devastating a mosque or a residential dwelling. But because Zarqawi never quite gained the same kind of notoriety he might inadvertently be credited again with some insurgency action by a pundit who did not remember his demise. If the Americans want to succeed in their media war on terror they must ensure that this leader of the foreign fighters in Iraq (indeed, this is how he was often described, as if Bush and Blair were leaders of native Iraqi soldiers) will never be raised from the dead.