I just read some breaking news that Iraqi Prime Minister alMaliki has announced the killing of Zarqawi Wednesday night.
How do I feel about that? Or more importantly, how does my Iraqi family feel about this?
Iraqis have been suffering for decades now, going from war to war to war to sanctions to war (Iraq-Iran War, Kuwaiti invasion, Gulf War '91, sanctions, invasion). They are tired. They want to move on. They are not happy that their country has been invaded, and much less so that the situation has only deteriorated after this invasion in terms of security and peace.
Zarqawi and his operatives added to this mess. Perhaps they meant to fight the occupation, but their fight did not discriminate between Iraqi and non-Iraqi, occupier and occupied. Their roadside bombs, car bombs, mortars, etc killed more Iraqis than they did Americans. Their kidnappings and public beheadings hurt the image of Islam in the West.
I can safely say that most Iraqis are happy, even ecstatic, with this news, but skeptical. Zarqawi was not a lone worker. He had a following, and they can continue their work without him. Iraqis will remain wary in their daily life, and aware that anything can happen. In fact, I would not be surprised if his followers decided to prove a point tomorrow and in the coming days, with some major bombings.
I remember one of the times that had me really angry at these people. During the first Iraqi elections, January 2005, many Iraqis were ready to vote for the first time in their lives for the party they really wanted. But for Sunnis especially, this process became dangerous, as they were warned that they would be targeted and killed if they joined in this process. I remember the morning of the elections, seeing the fear in my neighbors' eyes, as they sized up the situation before risking their lives and walking to the polling centers. I remember them coming home, all happy that they were still alive. I remember them washing their ink-marked fingers with bleach to remove the sign that they had voted. And I remember that many others of my neighbors, especially the women, stayed home from the polling centers, because there was no need to risk death for it. That was one of the many times I was angry at him and his forces.
I remember when the Iraqi Islamic Party decided to join the new Iraqi government, decided that their resistance to the occupation would be a political one, instead of an armed one. I remember Zarqawi coming on television warning Sunnis not to follow this 'misguided party.' I remember that the next day the sister of this party's president was killed in broad daylight (Maisoon Al Hashimi, April 27th, rahimahaAllah).
I do not wish death or punishment on anyone, not even those who hurt me. I only wish them guidance. I think Zarqawi thought he meant well, but he did it in all the wrong ways. May God show us what is right and allow us to follow it.
UPDATE- Some other thoughts:
* Just watched part of the press conference that Maliki held to make the announcement. Evidence of Iraqi happiness: Iraqi reporters starting cheering, ululating and chanting, 'Allahumma salli ala Muhammad wa ali Muhammad.'
* Arabiya channel reported that Iraqis are celebrating with gunfire (unfortunately, normal form of celebration here). Haven't heard anything in my neighborhood, yet.
* The timing of this announcement is a bit suspicious. Came right before announcement of Iraqi Defense and Interior Ministers and during Haditha investigation. Timing seems to be everything in the political order of the day.