Monday, April 03, 2006

Zarqawi demoted

Over on Al-Jazeera, an al-Qaeda representative claims that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been stripped of his position as political head of the Iraqi resistance following "mistakes", retaining only a military role.

Azzam said he regularly receives "credible information on the resistance in Iraq. He said al-Zarqawi had "made many political mistakes", including "the creation of an independent organisation, al-Qaeda in Iraq".

"Zarqawi also took the liberty of speaking in the name of the Iraqi people and resistance, a role which belongs only to the Iraqis," Azzam said.

As a result "the resistance command inside and outside Iraq, including imams, criticised him and after long discussions demanded that he be confined to military action".

Not quite the same thing as repudiating his tactics, such as attacks on civilians. And the claim is totally unconfirmed, so take it with a grain of salt. But it squares with reports of friction between Zarqawi's group and Iraqi insurgents. The good news is that the friction appears to be moderating Zarqawi's tactics; the bad news is that he and the Iraqis are still working together.

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