« No Threat, No Response | The RCP Blog Home Page | Lieberman's Tin Ear »

How We Got Zarqawi

This article on the backstory of the military's targeting of Zarqawi reads like a Tom Clancy novel. And guess who may have played a key role in facilitating the intel that got us Zarqawi? The man who has proven more indispensable to our cause in Iraq than any other so far: Zalmay Khalilzad. The AP reports:

What may have changed the Americans' luck was U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's efforts to mend relations with Iraq's minority Sunni Arabs, alienated by the U.S. invasion and by the new Shiite-dominated government.

"Khalilzad shaped the environment so they could open lines of infiltration," O'Connell said.

At the same time, the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi, stung by U.S. efforts to deride him as a foreigner killing Iraqis, began cozying up to Sunni insurgents. That was probably his undoing, since Khalilizad was doing the same thing, O'Connell said.

"Once that happened, all we needed was a guy inside the insurgency to tell us where he was and, bam, we got him," he said.

You really need to read the whole thing.

To see what other people are saying about Zarqawi's death, check out the plethora of commentary on the subject via RCP Buzztracker.