Friday, June 09, 2006
Arab media reacts to al-Zarqawi's death
When people ask about Arab media reaction to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, they expect to hear one answer or the other. But like many other issues in the Arab world, reaction to events vary with nationalities, age groups, affiliations, geography, religion and many other things that play a role independently and interactively. Thus, reactions come in black, white and every shade in between.

Zarqawi was never treated in Arab media with the respect awarded to Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri. He was mainly seen as the foreign fighter who turned the struggle against occupation in Iraq into an aimless bloodbath targeting civilians, killing, beheading, bombing and terrorizing a whole nation and even a region. Most experts and commentators on Arab media blame Zarqawi for crossing the line and committing acts that "no one in Islam approves of," not even the al Qaeda leaders themselves. He is also blamed for playing on the differences within the Iraqi culture to pit Sunnis against Shiites and fan the flames of civil war.

Arab media showed the graphic images of Zarqawi's body without a disclaimer or apology. Right there on the main pages of newspapers, TV headlines. It was the subject of discussion on talk shows and the main topic of opinion editorials almost everywhere. Newspaper headlines described the "joy in the US, Europe and parts of Iraq" but warned that "the entire region awaits Zarqawi's successor and the revenge." Others thought that the strike on Zarqawi will fuel the insurgency; they predicted "the worst is yet to come."

Political cartoonists also saw an opportunity to make their opinions known. One cartoon shows a surprised Ossama bin Laden sitting on a stool representing al Qaeda. One leg of the stool is knocked off by a US missile. The severed leg lies down lifeless with the head of a dead Zarqawi.

Another cartoon from Lebanon showed a falling statue very much like that of Saddam Hussein which became the symbol of the fall of Baghdad and the Hussein regime. The statue this time is that of a masked Zarqawi wearing his insurgent outfit with the dagger and all. Under the fallen statue are images of hostages and beheadings.

A cartoon from Saudi Arabia had Zarqawi's face of terror and pencil eraser wiping off the face. On the pencil the words "New Iraq" are written in English.

Any support for Zarqawi? Sure, there were those who called him "a courageous leader who's credited for hiring hundreds of men into the insurgency." He was called a "hero" and a "martyr" by his followers who said they are more interested in death than life and promised to continue what Zarqawi has started.

On this story, the voices cheering Zarqawi's death drowned out those cheering him on in death as they did in life. The moderate opinions prevailed over those of extremism. Both sides agree on one thing, that the road ahead remains difficult and dangerous.
Posted By Octavia Nasr, CNN Senior Editor for Arab Affairs: 4:36 PM ET
  41 Comments
Well, you know the old saying, If you live by the sword, you Die by the sword.

And it really applied to this dead terrorist. This is a moral victory, but terrorist attacks will no doubt continue in Iraq.

Thanks for taking my call.
Posted By Anonymous Rollo Rogers, San Diego, CA : 5:15 PM ET
I believe that this shows how many peopl ein Iraq want peace. With the moderate opinions being heard over the extremists, that has to be a good sign. Zarqawi has not born in Iraq and many iraqis do not claim him to be theirs. I believe they were somewhat embarressed to have him proclaiming himself iraqi. Although the death of Zarqawi may bring trouble in the short term, with increased anger from the insurgency, I think in the long run it will be good with a strong member of the insurgency gone. Also it gives a boost of hope to all the soldiers fighting in Iraq that more good things are to come. Hopefully that will be the case.
Posted By Anonymous Kirsty Seddon, Mount Pearl, Newfoundland : 5:37 PM ET
unfortunaltely I do not think that Zarqawi was as big of a player in the extremist arena as the media is making him out to be. Although I am pro war because i believe that if America becomes laxed in security and protecting it self again in time like the first world trade center bombing something worse will happen. However i sympathize with the families of the soldiers lost. But this death will not play a major role in decreasing terrorist activities in Iraq. Not to sound like your president but you must remain vigilent if not you will not only loose the respect of your allies but also other terrist inhabited countries they will take it as a victory and it will only inspire them to become even more active.
Posted By Anonymous Jeanette, Nassau, Bahamas : 6:33 PM ET
He finally got what he deserved. He has been killing innocent civilians for a long time. I hope he finds that there is no 77 Virgins waiting for him, but rather a firey pit of pain and dispair. Let this be a lesson to all terrorists....... You may elude us for a while but when we find you, the payment for your crimes is your life.

Proud American
Posted By Anonymous Lasiter, San Antonio, Texas : 7:22 PM ET
TWO FIVE HUNDRED POUND BOMBS PEOPLE !!!! Are you that gullable ? There wouldn't have been a body left to show the world. Give me a break. Now they say he was alive and tried to escape. Who believes this stuff ? Not me.
Posted By Anonymous Sam Sachs Portland Or : 8:22 PM ET
I was most impressed by the comments of Michael Berg, father of the man Al-Zarqawi beheaded. He prefaced his statement by saying that it is always a tragedy when a human being is killed. I couldn't agree more. I wasn't crying any tears when I heard that Zarqawi was downed in the air raid, believe me.

However, I was a little disconcerted when I watched a morning television show and heard audience members actually clapping in celebration at the news.

I felt the same way when people cheered upon seeing the faces of Saddam's dead's sons, Qusay and Uday, plastered across every tv screen and newspaper. These are evil people yes. But I'd rather think that their deaths bring justice, not jubilation. The main difference between us and them is that WE value life. Even when an enemy's is taken, I think that's a time for reflection, more than rejoicing.
Posted By Anonymous Michele Jackson, Northridge, CA : 9:35 PM ET
Unfortunately, murderous zealots like him abound in that part of the world. Until the Islamists start policing their own, and stop fomenting violence, their is a long line to fill his shoes. I have said it many times, and I will say it again...it is better to fight them over there, where the Americans all carry guns and can defend themselves. And all the damage to buildings, roads, and society is not on American soil.
Posted By Anonymous Jeffery Bodoh, McAllen, Texas : 1:36 AM ET
You have a good point, Jeanette.
I've heard a lot of fuss about how more deaths have been caused by the Iraq war than anything the terrorists did to us. The thing is, it seems as if there would have been more had we not cracked down. We just foiled a plot in Toronto, remember.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Kirkland, WA : 1:53 AM ET
Although Zarqawi was the king of the Infidels, no one should rejoice in his death. His long string of meaningless murders and terror against innocent Iraqi wouldn't be enjoied by any richeous human.
Posted By Anonymous Osama, nowhereville, PK. : 2:22 AM ET
Does anyone else find it odd that we (Americans) maintain a "moral superiority" to the terrorists, yet we have no qualms about plastering pictures of dead bodies all over the television and Internet? Then these same news channels devote days to describing how Zarqawi struggled to get off the stretcher and died shortly thereafter. I'm disgusted by this. Remember the outrage we all had when the televised beheadings were floating around? Does anyone else realize that this inappropriate news coverage is essentially propaganda to fuel yet ANOTHER generation of children LITERALLY DYING to devestate our nation? Wake up America. Revenge does not lead to peace.
Posted By Anonymous Sean--Chapel Hill, NC : 2:31 AM ET
Great, this jerk is dead and he can no longer kill another person. I just hope that his death does not give more support to Bush for this terrible and unnecessary war. I am certain that the next terrorist will target more Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Bonnie Potts, Fairfax, VA. : 4:00 AM ET
I am Very Very Very Very happy being an American Moslem that we Get rid off this horrible creature name, Zargawi. I have no doubt at all that he will go straight to HELL. Because thats the ONLY and THE BEST place for Him. and i really don't care about what ARAB media, or People think about Our attack on this guy. Honestly, They should learn BY NOW to respect our country and our feelings like we do to them and rest of the world.
Posted By Anonymous Syed Bukhari, LA, Ca : 4:37 AM ET
I guess the fact that there is a mixed response in Iraq shouldn't come as a surprise. There seems to be a very mixed response in the US as well. There are those who think this is a good thing, those who think its good but won't really help, people who think even professional beheaders should be given a place in society, people who think Bush did this by himself, and people who are desperately hoping its all a lie - maybe he's still alive!!! Al- Zarqawi... the New Elvis!!!
Just reading this blog over the last day has been amusing. We've been able to sit back and watch all the conspiracy theorists crawl out of their bomb shelters and start their frenzied finger-pointing at random boogymen from "The Administration." Thanks for the giggle.
Posted By Anonymous Heather, Wilmington, Ohio : 9:26 AM ET
The murderer is dead. I won't use his name because that is what he wanted in life. Just like any other serial killer, he wanted fame. It's better to not use his name at all. Let him be forgotten. However, let's not forget those that died by his hand. Those that he beheaded, tortured and murdered. This week, their blood was avenged. For those who would say that his death means nothing, think about those that he murdered. He will not be around to murder anyone else. In our country alone, there have been many serial killers. One by one we find them and jail or execute them and everyone is releaved that nobody has to die from their hands again. This is no different. Yes, there will be more terrorists to come. Yes, someone else will take his place. But as for infidel, less than human and not fit to be named, his killing spree is over. Everyone wants peace, but you have to remember, it comes at a price. When the terrorists lay down their guns and knives and stop the killing, and are willing to talk about their needs and wants, then, and only then, will true peace come. Until then, let the bombs fly! Let the terrorist die! If they aren't willing to stop, then we must stop them.
Posted By Anonymous J.S. Pekin, Illinois : 9:47 AM ET
I agree with Sam in Portland Or. Two five hundred pound bombs and yet this man is fully intact with only a blood smear on his cheek. Now come to find out he was not actually in the house and survived. Ok, why is it our soldiers are dying from homemade bombs but yet this man survives a blast of two five hundred pound military bombs? Give me a break.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills CA : 10:42 AM ET
I never found joy in knowing that any human being is hurt or dead, but after reading the reports about Zarqawi's death I found my self clapping, jumping up and down and just a feeling of relief that this evil person isn't walking the earth any more, I know that his death won't be the end of the violence in Iraq and the world but at least he's gone, all I'm hoping for now is Bin Laden's and his followers to be next and maybe this world will just be a little safer for us and our children to live in...
Posted By Anonymous Sahar, Cairo. Egypt : 10:54 AM ET
Some are upset that Zarqawi's dead body was shown to the media. These are probably the same people that were upset when Saddam in his underwear was shown on TV. The point is that people in the Middle East have to be shown these pictures. Otherwise, they just claim that the US is lying and Zarqawi/Saddam are still out there, free. How else do you prove that these monsters are dead or captured? You have to show their heads on a pike.

The worst aspect of this whole thing is that we spent $500 million going after this guy. It would have been nice to tell the average Iraqi that we spent that money on schools, dams, or roads. But that didn't happen because he had enough support to keep going. Hopefully we will take that $500 million out of the Sunni pot. Let them get their roads or hospitals from someone else.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 12:03 PM ET
As they say in Arabic.....Ahsan mino rahu. I hope those virgins are ready for that ugly monkey........
Posted By Anonymous Mustafa, Ann Arbor MI : 1:05 PM ET
A nice report that reinforces my belief that 99.9% of the people on this planet want nothing more than to wake up, get through the day and make their future a little better for themselves and their families´┐Żpeacefully. While the remaining percentage of terrorists, militants, and politicians seem to desire nothing more than to make life miserable for everyone else.
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Indianapolis, IN : 1:12 PM ET
The second best piece of news from last week was the finding, targeting and killing of the vicious Zarqawi. The best piece of news was learning that he was alive when U.S. troops arrived. I can't tell you how much I love the idea that the last thing he saw before the lights went out was a U.S. soldier standing over him, going, "How you like me now?"
Posted By Anonymous Bob Phillips, Novi, Michigan : 6:55 PM ET
I understand that people have opinions and are usually glad to share them, but what in the world are some of you people smoking? Why shouldn't we be happy he is dead? Why shouldn't we rejoice when a leader of a terrorist faction is taken out of the fight? After all, this is what the war is all about. If we keep eliminating the leaders who have proven themselves to be the pillars of the insurgents, this war will eventually end. I don't see it ending anytime really soon, but sooner than some may think.

Sam Sachs, you obviously haven't been involved in war or you just don't have any clue about current munitions and weapons that we use. Who said it landed directly on him? Who says it wasn't the fragmentation that killed him in the end? The kill radius is very different from the blast radius. Read up before you make assumptions.

And to Michele Jackson, I know I was rather happy when the Saddam brothers were killed. And I am happy that this guy is gone. I will rejoice even more with every insurgent body that is found. Why should we mourn, or as you say "reflect", when these scum are killed. I bet you would sing a different tune if you were out here trying to rid the world of these guys.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Afganistan : 7:00 PM ET
The best part of this whole thing is that a known terrorist, murder, and hateful "man" is dead. A "man" who's sole doctrine was the destruction on a society that was not aligned with his own. Enjoy Hell Sir, you should fit right in there, and save a seat for Osama who will be along shortly.
Posted By Anonymous Steve AB, Canada : 7:38 PM ET
tremendous job.this so-called human being was nothing but a murderer.he has got what he deserve.i do hope this serve as a warning to all faceless terrorists wordwide.
Posted By Anonymous lambert joseph guyana south america : 8:50 PM ET
...meanwhile back in the American media it's:
-why has it taken so long?
-why still no Bin Laden?
-he really wasn't that important a terrorist (!)
-this is just a political ploy by Mr. Bush to coincide with the '06 election

But I guess negativity and being anti-anything gets bigger ratings
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago IL : 9:35 PM ET
It wasn't long ago that the looney,liberal left was bashing the administration because they hadn't disposed of Zarqawi. Now that it's been accomplished they are saying "it's no big deal" and practically declaring a day of mourning for him.
Posted By Anonymous Perry, Dallas, Texas : 10:42 PM ET
I agree with Sam Sachs from Portland, OR. I had the very same reaction. Two 500 hundred bombs and Zarqawi was still in one piece, identifiable and lived briefly. Come on. Let's get real. If special ops knew where he was, why didn't they capture him alive to obtain sorely needed information about his network of mad dog killers? I'm afraid by killing Zarqawi, we only served to put more of our brave and tired fighting men and women in more harms way, as well as innocent Iraqis. If they obtained info about his network then put Zarqawi on trial like we have Saddam, also a maddog killer? I thought we are fighting to bring Democracy into Iraq? If so, this sure isn't the way. He deserved to die but by a judge and jury who would not have hesitated to sentence Zarqawi to death by Democratic means. Another lost chance for peace and Democracy in Iraq so that we can start bringing our brave soldiers back home to their waiting families and thankful and always supportive American public. I haven't met an American yet who doesn't support our troops and want them home safely, no matter what their politics may be.
Posted By Anonymous NR, South Pasadena, CA : 7:29 AM ET
Zarqawi is now irrelevant. Good. Perspective: On the day zarkman died (as EVERY other day), 9,000 children died in Africa from disease and starvation. Some people get way to much attention.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Chantilly, Virginia : 7:59 AM ET
So, one down how many more to go? a 100 a 1000? The US military has spent sacrificed 2500 young Americans, has spent over 1/2 trillion of our tax dollars for what. If the US had a sensible and working foreign policy, all this would not be necessary but we want to tell the world that we are a peace loving nation interested in democracy when in reality we are not. The US is a violant country, hypocritical and not a role model for teh rest of the world. Zarqawi is dead and so what? Why is this Government destrying its own country while fighting an illegal war abroad? Why is this Government not taking care of its own people first? Because this Government has ababdoned its citizens a long time ago and that is shameful. Zaquawi dead or life makes little difference.
Posted By Anonymous Armin Baur, Litchfield, CT : 10:05 AM ET
The administration & news medial alike seem to be caught up this dilusion that the death of Zarqawi will somehow curtail the insurgency. All we read about is the positive hype now that he has been eliminated. If anything, his death will only serve to stengthen and unify the insurgency. This war will not end here. Israel has been killing Terror leaders for over 50 years and they are still at war.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Bonita Springs Fl : 10:29 AM ET
I cannot help but be happy that he is not around anymore to inflict even more pain. I wish these people could be
captured and put on trial, but of
course that's not feasible (or not
easily done).

However, Iraq is in the throes of a
bloody civil war - all talk of the
"insurgency" makes it seem as if the American presence there is the main
problem, but the ongoing settling of
scores has less to do with us and a lot
more to do with years and years of injustice and oppresion suffered by the
Shiites at the hand of a Sunni government. Unfortunately, once Saddam's oppresive regime has been removed, the sectarian hatreds are boiling over. There is little Americans can do to quell such deep divisions - I only wonder how many American soldiers have to die before someone opens a
history book or re-reads the horrible recent accounts of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia ?
Posted By Anonymous Anna Wynn, Tacoma, Washington : 12:14 PM ET
I'm a proud American who values life. But, I'm proud when we "get" one of these guys. I don't care how or by what means, I rejoice as should all Americans who want to get rid of these nuts. One at a time.
Posted By Anonymous Amy Wallingford, CT : 8:09 PM ET
It is nice to read that there are Muslims out there who do not support a lunatic such as Zarqawi. I just wish they would be more vocal more often.
Posted By Anonymous Beverly A. Cortese, Town of Tonawanda, New York : 11:23 AM ET
I think the reason for his lack of respect from the Islamic press is due to the fact that we was viewed as pitting Muslim against Muslim. My only hope is that he some how manages to speak from the grave and tell the truth. "Don't do it! It is really hot down here and the 70 virgins story is a lie!"
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Odenton MD : 11:49 AM ET
I found the picture repulsive. Why do we need to look at a man who was a monster? He especially did not need to be viewed in such a morbid way. Why is it not enough just to report his demise? Spare me the grotesque viewing.
Posted By Anonymous Shana Daniels Sacramento, California : 1:04 PM ET
"The moderate opinions prevailed over those of extremism."

This is the only way the citizens of Iraq will know peace. Once our troops leave, it is the moderates in all parties who will have to forge relationships to govern in peace.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Youngstown, OH : 1:16 PM ET
In my opinion, the public did not need to view such a gruesome picture of an unworthy man. His monstrous ways are well known publicly. I guess seeing him dead was a delight to those who truly hated him, but the picture was unncessary, because this does not make America any better than they are.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy Cohen New York, New York : 1:55 PM ET
I'll say "Amen" to Michelle Jackson and others of you who have already voiced some of what I am feeling.
But no one in the press is asking the question, "Why a bombing? Why didn't we take Zarqawi alive?" There was a woman and a child in the house who were killed along with Zarqawi. How can we say that we defend the rule of law when we support the killing of innocent civilians? Why didn't we capture him and turn him over to a UN terrorist tribunal? Can we ever teach killers not to kill by killing them? I say we need to support the rule of law in dealing with terrorists, not resort to their tactics.
Posted By Anonymous Ruth Kocisko, Esq., Sioux Center, IA : 3:23 PM ET
Why is our government hailing this as the defeat of the world's number one terrorist? I thought Bin Laden was number one? Oh wait, we have more important issues these days, like flag-burning and gay weddings. Nevermind.
Posted By Anonymous Estelle, New Orleans, Louisiana : 5:00 PM ET
Alot of people nowadays are using the term terrorist to describe anyone who engages in non-traditional or a-symmetrical tactics. Now I am not trying to forgive those who blow themselves up in a crowded street or snipe at our troops from a dark alleyway, but from this definition of terrorist our brave soldiers in the revolutionary war would be considered terrorists. Just remember that your point of view is not the only point of view and just because someone disagrees with you does not necessarily make them wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Lowell, MA : 5:21 PM ET
For those that don't follow the news, the people watching the safe house wasn't a big enough force to take it down safely. Since there was a real possibility Zarqawi might leave at any moment, the call was made to use F-16s to take him out. It was a tactical decision by the guys on the ground. If you have a better way of running the war, please enlist and get on the front lines.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 9:29 PM ET
While I understand our government wishes to offer tangible evidence key
Iraqi leaders/terrorists have, in fact, been killed (to send a message
to terrorists and to "reassure" the people), in fact, this grisly
display is no different than the barbaric parading of enemy heads on sticks
throughout some of the darker ages of human history. America is not
gaining any credibility worth the damage to our global reputation for
this self-serving ruthlessness and indecency. These images are not
alleviating our "fears", but in fact are glorifying and reveling in the
deaths of human beings. No one should rejoice in the death of any living
person, whether they merit death or not. If war and death penalties are
necessary to preserve the safety of the law-abiding, so be it. But to
parade the head of a corpse says one of two things, depending upon your
perspective:
A.) it is a strong message to the enemy meant to demoralize and
horrify, a form of "fighting terror with terror's own weaponry"
or B.) it is an opportunity to high-five, congratulate and celebrate
"winning one for the team", regardless of the seeming sobriety and
"delicate handling" with which it is presented
Mankind does not need to see these images in order to believe; if this
photo must be a public record, then make it one that must be actively
sought out only by those determined to fill their minds with such
things.
Posted By Anonymous Anne Brown, Jacksonville, FL : 7:25 PM ET
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