Saturday, January 22, 2005

Zarqawi Update

In a tantalizing piece from AP (via the Jerusalem Post):
"Iraq's interior minister on Saturday refused to comment on rumors that the top terror leader in the country had been taken into custody.

'I wouldn't like to comment for the time being,' Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said when asked about rumors that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been arrested. 'Let's see. Maybe in the next few days we will make a comment about it.'

Pressing him, a reporter asked, 'Does that mean he is in custody?'

'No comment,' the minister repeated. "
It seems to me that this quote could be taken one of two ways: Either (a) the Interior Minister is playing games, knowing that Zarqawi is not in custody, but figuring that the interim government could use the uncertainty to its advantage or (b) they (or we) do have Zarqawi, but don't want to release the information until later, again to maximize the advantage of the lack of hard information.

The former course -- pure gamesmanship -- seems to me unlikely: there could be a tremendous public relations backlash if it is revealed that the interim government is playing everyone for fools. The latter course -- which I would, of course, prefer in any event -- seems more likely.

I do have to add, however, that there may be psychological factors playing here that I don't fully appreciate as a non-Muslim or non-Iraqi.

Again, we'll just have to wait and see.

UPDATE: Media Lies is also covering this story.

Captain Ed is also on the case, and urges us to exercise caution in our expectations.

UPDATE 2: Pictured below (from ABC News) is the Iraqi Interior Minister quoted above. He does seem pleased by something...

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