So, do we gain more from his death because his organizational and leadership skills are no longer directing the religious elements in the terrorist organization, or do we lose because the al Qaeda leadership asserts more control, and curbs the bloodier attacks on women, children, mosques, etc?
As the old saying goes, "choose your friends carefully, and your enemies even more carefully." Al Zarqawi's bloody minded attitude towards Shia Arabs (because Islamic conservatives consider Shia to be heretics), and Iraqi civilians in general, has made him the most hated man in Iraq. Because of al Zarqawi's tactics, al Qaeda has seen its "approval rating" plunge throughout the Arab world. The recent bombing of a wedding in Jordan, which al Zarqawi took credit for, turned many pro-al Qaeda Jordanians against the terrorists. Al Zarqawi sensed his gaffe a few days later, and released a video of him trying to explain what really happened, and that his suicide bomber actually hit a secret meeting of Israeli and American secret agents. That did not go over well with grieving, and very ticked off, Jordanians.
It's only a matter of time before Arabs start insisting that al Zarqawi is really an Israeli agent, working from the inside to destroy al Qaeda. Meanwhile, let's try and keep our guy ali, er, on the run.
Killing Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi could be a defeat in the war on terror. On November 20th, a raid on a house in Mosul, Iraq, resulted in a number of terrorists blowing themselves up rather than be captured. It was thought that al Zarqawi was in the house. His death would be a mixed blessing. While he's certainly been an effective terrorist leader, able to inspire the suicide-happy wackos to some spectacular atrocities, he's also been, in some ways a liability for al Qaeda, and the Sunni Arab groups fighting their government. Attacks on women, children, mosques, clerics, have been PR disasters. Operations like these appear to have put al Zarqawi on the outs with at least part of al Qaedas more senior leadership, including Osama bin Laden.