While thousands of Iraqi police and troops round up hundreds of terrorist suspects in Baghdad, American troops have begun another sweep west of Baghdad, where al Qaeda has established bases since they were driven out of Fallujah late last year.
Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi was wounded in action about a month ago, shot in the chest, and hastily treated. The wound didn't heal, and al Zarqawi has been taken to a foreign country for treatment. Now al Qaeda members are being told that al Zarqawi had been wounded and should be prayed for. A web site announcement appears to be an attempt to prepare al Qaeda supporters for al Zarqawi's death. Because al Qaeda has invested so much in building up al Zarqawi's image and stature, his demise would be a major blow to the terrorist cause. Just admitting, on a known al Qaeda web site, that al Zarqawi was wounded, is bad PR. Al Qaeda lives and dies by its public image. In the last few months, that image has been taking a major beating throughout the Arab world.