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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Zarqawi video outtakes: Life imitates Family Guy?

Earlier this season Family Guy began an episode with an hysterical scene of Osama bin Laden screwing up the making a videotape announcing "Death to Americans." (Future copyright infrigment lawsuit Clip here.) Now, in what can only be seen as a direct challenge to bin Laden's manhood, al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has released his own outtakes footage from his most recent film. (For The Cranky Insomniac's review of "Chasing Zarqawi," click here.)

The Washington Post reports that the video was discovered "in raids last month on insurgent safe houses south of Baghdad," according to US military spokesman Major General Rick Lynch.

In contrast to video excerpts that Zarqawi's group posted on the Internet last month, showing him mocking the U.S. military and presiding over insurgent training, parts of the video that were not posted showed he was unable to fire a machine gun properly, Lynch said, the Associated Press reported. He said the video was found in a purported safe house of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Zarqawi's group, in the Yusufiyah area 12 miles south of Baghdad.

Lynch said Zarqawi's weapon was supposed to be on automatic fire but that he was shooting single shots in the video.

"Something is wrong with his machine gun, he looks down, can't figure out, calls his friend to come unblock the stoppage and get the weapon firing again," Lynch said, narrating a snippet shown to reporters at a news briefing. Then, as Zarqawi walks away, "he's wearing his black uniform and his New Balance tennis shoes as he moves to this white pickup. And, his close associates around him . . . do things like grab the hot barrel of the machine gun and burn themselves."

Hot Air has some of the video, as well as a good roundup of recent stories lending credence to that idea that US forces may be closing in on Zarqy. Hot Air also links to a fascinating ABC News story, which details a document also discovered in the Yusufiyah raid (which apparently barely missed capturing Zarqawi himself). According to ABC, the document "appears to sketch out a new strategy for Al Qaeda in Iraq: Reduce attacks in the Sunni dominated areas in the West and concentrate attacks inside Baghdad."
It also calls for attacks on the Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad, "Move the battle to the Shia depths," the document says. "Put pressure on them to leave their areas."

It states the strategy is aimed at two goals:

1) Incite people against the Shia and provoke sectarian war.

2) Bringing down the government or at least weakening it (and then destroying the Shias' four year rule).

There is quite a bit of detail in the document with targets mentioned, and tactics ("plant [explosives] by night; explode by day").

There is also some interesting self-criticism.

The document complains that the losses of American forces in Baghdad "are hardly worth mentioning" compared to American losses in the Western provinces. And, in the concluding paragraph, the document says the "rank and file" of the mujahideen in Baghdad know their leadership does not have "a broad view" or "a well-knit plan" and that "this has led to strategic losses for us." [Is Rumsfeld running things for them, too? -Cranky]

ABC also confirms that the raid was conducted by the vaunted Task Force 145. This no-longer-top-secret special operations group is comprised of the baddest of the bad from the US and the UK. The invaluable Bill Roggio at Counterterrorism Blog reports that not counting whatever intel units are assigned to it, TF-145 is made up of "Army Delta Operators, Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Rangers, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the Air Force’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron, British Special Air Service, and British paratroopers." Which seems almost unfair. Which is fine by me. (Read Roggio's whole story on the strategy being employed to get Zarqawi.)

I guess we'll know when we've captured or killed Zarqawi when the headline in the New York Post reads: "Zarq-Owwie!"

Update: Video now available for download in .wmv format at the US Central Command's website. Homepage here, direct link to video here.

Anonymous Richard Davis said...

Prayer for our Troops:

God bless our troops and give them the courage, wit, and power to destroy all the terrorists, especially Zarqawi and Bin Laden.

Richard Davis
Phila, PA
USN Ret

19:19  
Blogger Paul said...

Great clip. It'd be great if we really were close, but it seems like we're always thinking we're close. I take more comfort in knowing we've got at least some good intel about his plans. I wonder how much his capture will really matter, though. Every sect in Iraq seems to take pleasure in terrorizing the others. They don't need this asshole to spur them on.

19:57  
Blogger The Cranky Insomniac said...

Richard,

Amen, brother.

Paul,

I agree. I originally had a line in my post about having heard before that "we're close," but it apparently didn't survive the editing process.

-Cranky

20:18  

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