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"Beheaded" Continued...

U.S. Ambassador Gnehm, who was a friend of Laurence Foley and said "friends of friends" were killed by Zarqawi in last year's Amman bombings, said, "Everybody is right to be cautioning that this insurgency will go on. But Zarqawi was a unique figure, in that he was a skilled planner and also a motivator of people." Mr. Gnehm said other al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders may arise in Zarqawi's place, but "his death will improve the situation. There is no one else in the organization with his charisma and his mental scope. Zarqawi was the most prominent insurgent, and the fact that he is now gone will make a difference."

Iraqis hope his death will ease rising Shiite-Sunni tensions also. "He put the Sunni leadership in Iraq in a precarious position of self-preservation," said Mr. Gnehm. To protect their positions, Sunni leaders were asked to side with the insurgents or be killed. "With him gone I believe that we will see maybe that is not the problem it has been."

Mr. Maliki, the first to release news of the successful killing at a Thursday afternoon press conference in Baghdad with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalizhad by his side, at the same time announced the completion of his cabinet. He named Shiite Javad al-Bolani to head the interior ministry and Sunni Gen. Abdelkadir Jesim to lead the defense ministry. With their appointment approved by parliament, the country launched its first day without Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with its first democratically elected permanent government.

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.


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