Those Frenchmen seek him everywhere.
Is he in Heaven? - Is he in hell?
That damned annoying Pimpernel."
(from The Scarlet Pimpernel)
A journalist from Asia Times looks at the ever-elusive but ubiquitous Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who seems to be everywhere yet nowhere in and around Iraq. Most of the Jordanians he meets are all of similar opinion: they don't think Zarqawi exists or perhaps alive, but they support the cause that he supposedly backs. A typical sentiment: "He doesn't exist except in the minds of American policy-makers."
"His wife and their three children still live over there," he adds. "But don't go talk to them. They won't allow it." He believes Zarqawi was killed, "100%," and then says emphatically, "If he is still alive, why not show a recent photo of him? All of these they show in the media are quite old."
Our driver insists that Zarqawi is alive and well in Iraq. "I'm certain of it, because if he was dead they would show his picture and make the announcement. He has always been so strong. When we were in Afghanistan, any time we got a new machine to learn or French missiles, he was the first to learn them."
The most obviously true statement was the following:
"The jihad in Iraq is not just Zarqawi. It is up to Allah if we prevail, not dependent on the hand of Zarqawi. If he is killed, the jihad will continue there."