Zarqawi's successor in prison for 7 years?

Fearing a fear-vaccuum, the Bush administration quickly named Abu Ayyub al-Masri the bogeyman successor to Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi after the Al Qaeda-Iraq leader's death last month. They put a $5 million price on his head.

In a potentially embarrassing turn of events, however, Zarqawi's successor may already be in an Egyptian prison. For the past seven years.

From Aljazeera:


Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, the purported successor of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is in an Egyptian prison and not Iraq, a lawyer has claimed.
...
"Sharif Hazaa [al-Muhajir] is in Tura prison, and I met him two days ago while I was visiting some of my clients," Ismail, a lawyer known for defending Islamist groups, told the newspaper.
It's all a farce anyway, of course, because Zarqawi or no Zarqawi, Abu Ayyub al-Masri or no Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the insurgency is going to continue. We're talking about tribal war + liberation struggle + Hobbesian clusterfuck. This isn't a charismatic leader situation where one man can be "taken out" and the insurgency paralyzed. As Newsweek wrote at the time of Zarqawi's death:
According to two U.S. counterterror officials, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitive subject matter, at least seven Islamic extremist groups besides Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq are believed to be members of the Mujahedin Shura Council, an umbrella organization set up to coordinate activities among religiously motivated insurgent factions.
And, as Tim Grieve wrote, after reading an interview with Newsweek's Rod Nordland: "conditions in Iraq are 'much worse' than they're described in the U.S. press." (CLG, War Room)

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