Pentagon forgets to give villagers script on Zarqawi
"Zarqawi. Zarqawi. Zarqawi. That's all we hear about. Zarqawi was not here. This home belonged to displaced people," said a village resident, holding up a teddy bear and a child's knapsack buried in the destruction.Someone at the Pentagon should have filled local residents in on the PR stunt. Startled villagers didn't know what to make of US claims that the infamous Zarqawi lived, and was killed (yet again), among them.
Standing on rubble left by the U.S. air raid that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraqis in the village of Hibhib expressed disbelief on Thursday that the al Qaeda leader had been living among them.
"I don't know anything about Abu Musab or anyone else being here," said a teenager who declined to give his name, inspecting blankets amid crushed concrete.
"The Americans have a habit of bombing places and then claiming Zarqawi or others were there."* * *
Hibhib, about 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad, is typical of the rural Iraqi villages where U.S. troops hunt Sunni Arab insurgents and al Qaeda militants.
Located in Diyala, one of the country's most dangerous provinces, it is a tiny place with one road surrounded by date palm orchards and streams.
Not three. Not two. But, only ONE road. This was no mega city, where you barely know your next door neighbor let alone the guy up the street. If Zarqawi - a man with a 25 MILLION DOLLAR bounty on his head - had been there, they would know.
Zarqawi is said to have moved to Diyala as part of a strategy of constantly moving around to evade U.S. and Iraqi forces. The province is a volatile mix of majority Shi'ites and Arab Sunnis and Kurds that has suffered some of the grisliest violence.That's easy. It can't.
But Hibhib seems worlds away from the insurgent and sectarian bloodshed pushing Iraq toward civil war.
That may be why residents seemed so surprised by news that an al Qaeda leader who had a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head was in their midst.
People in a nearby cluster of houses said they had no idea who was living in the pulverized home.
"All we know is there was someone named Sayed Yassin there. How can it be possible that Zarqawi was there?" asked one.
Thanks, Looking Glass News and Damien, for links.