Left: Photo courtesy of Yahoo News
(Baghdad) It was with mixed emotions that I allowed myself to get sucked into the television coverage of the reported death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Salafi Muslim militant and the self-proclaimed leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
A visceral part of me felt the urge to pump a fist in the air for the death of the twisted thug who sliced off the head of American contractor Nick Berg. A piece of advice: do not EVER watch the video footage of al-Zarqawi cutting off Berg's head, unless you want to suffer nightmares.
I simultaneously grew irritated at the coverage on FOX and CNN, both of which trumpeted the death of al-Zarqawi as some sort of pivotal historical moment.
Make no mistake - as a political and military leader, al-Zarqawi's death will be a temporary loss to the al-Qaeda network. There is, however, no shortage of militants to take his place.
Indeed, within hours of the announcement of al-Zarqawi's death, two separate explosions tooks the lives of 15 civilians and wounded another 36 people.
We should also remember that, prior to the invasion of Iraq, al-Zarqawi was essentially a bit player in the al-Qaeda movement. He had spent most of the prior decade either in a Jordanian prison or on the run from authorities. The presence of US troops in Iraq and resultant political chaos gave al-Zarqawi an opportunity to put his sociopathic mind to greater exploits.
The violence that al-Zarqawi helped begin will continue without his physical presence. We should consider the dead terrorist as nothing more than a spark in a large tinderbox, as the flames of violence would have ignited eventually, and they will not be diminished with his death.