Zarqawi Confirmed Dead, Press Repression in Jordan - 06.08.2006

Today Abu Musab Az-Zarqawi was pronounced dead, first by coalition forces and later in a report from al-hesbah, a website regularly utilized by Al-Qa’eda for transmissions from Iraq and other areas of influence.

Until we see a body however, this shouldn’t be considered to negate previous reports from men close to Zarqawi that he died in Afghanistan or in north Iraq early on in the war.

We haven’t seen a body, and so far CNN in Amman has only carried some random pictures of what is allegedly the location of the “safehouse” where Zarqawi was meeting with seven colleagues, all of whom are presumed killed in the US airstrike yesterday evening in Hibhib, a village near Baquba in Iraq’s Diyala province.

While CNN was musing over the possible implications of Zarqawi’s death, and really providing little newsworthy, Al-Jazeera travelled to Zarqa, Abu Musab’s place of birth.

CNN provided us some real insight into how the news media work now in Baghdad, speaking with their correspondent in Baghdad. Although CNN acknowledged that their correspondent was not travelling outside the Palestine Hotel compound, they still asked him to give a “sense of the feeling of Iraqis” in response to news of Zarqawi’s death.

Today as the announcement came of Zarqawi’s death, Iraq’s parliament finally named Ministers of Defense and the Interior, as well as someone to preside over issues of national security.

It is unclear whether the decision to put forward the nominees was confirmed before Zarqawi’s death, but it seems likely the fast nomination and acceptance was pushed through by Nuri Al-Maliki on the heels of this announcement.

CNN decided to spin the Zarqawi death by saying, “This is the kind of message this government needs.”

Meanwhile in Zarqa, Al-Jazeera was conducting a live interview with Abu Musab’s brother-in-law, Abu Qudama. He spoke well of Zarqawi, saying he was always looking for martyrdom and he was happy to die for Allah.

At 2:20 PM, Jordanian time, he was arrested by Jordanian police. Just before he was arrested he was denouncing members of the press for not always speaking the truth about his brother-in-law, making him into an evil man, and not just a fighter for god.

After Jordanian agents stopped the interview they arrested Abu Qudama as well as at least one Al-Jazeera correspondent on the scene. We are waiting to see what will happen next in this incident.

Please contact CPJ.org and Reporters Without Borders, requesting they look into this incident and immediately contact Jordanian authorities about the detention of a journalist simple doing his work.


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