I believe that Zalmay Khalilzad is painting a bit overly rosy a picture, as other details in this article suggest. However, it is good to see that Abou al-Farouq was captured on a tip from residents. Muslim-on-Muslim violence always arouses a disgust with the mujahedin that violence against non-Muslims does not arouse, and it may be that he found his former protectors turning on him after the destruction of the Golden Mosque. From AP:
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi security forces announced the capture of a senior al-Qaida in Iraq figure as they sought to deflect criticism of their handling of a surge of sectarian violence. The U.S. ambassador said the risk of civil war from last week’s crisis was over.
Wow, that’s terrific. Just like that, civil war averted. Ancient hostilities smoothed over. I feel so much better.
In Tikrit Tuesday, a bomb exploded at the mosque where Saddam Hussein’s father is buried in northern Iraqi, police said….
Meanwhile, violence throughout Iraq killed 36 people Monday, as fierce fighting broke out between Iraqi commandos and insurgents southeast of the capital. But sectarian clashes have declined sharply since the bloodletting that followed the destruction of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra, and Baghdad residents returned to their jobs after three days of a government-imposed curfew….
“That crisis is over,” U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad declared.
“I think the country came to the brink of a civil war, but the Iraqis decided that they didn’t want to go down that path, and came together,” the ambassador told CNN. “Clearly the terrorists who plotted that attack wanted to provoke a civil war. It looked quite dangerous in the initial 48 hours, but I believe that the Iraqis decided to come together.”…
The captured al-Qaida figure was identified as Abou al-Farouq, a Syrian who financed and coordinated groups working for Iraq’s most wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, according to an Interior Ministry officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the media.
Acting on a tip from residents, members of the Interior Ministry’s Wolf Brigade captured al-Farouq with five other followers of al-Zarqawi near Bakr, about 100 miles west of Baghdad, the ministry officer said….
Sunni leaders accused the Shiite-dominated police and army of standing by as Shiite militiamen sprayed their mosques with machine-gun fire and took over some of them.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that more than 1,300 Iraqis were killed in the violence following the Samarra shrine attack, according to Baghdad’s main morgue, far higher than previously reported. Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi, an official with the Interior Ministry, which collects statistics from police nationwide, put the figure Tuesday at 216.
The Defense Ministry said Monday that a curfew in Baghdad and three surrounding provinces curtailed the violence….
Interior Ministry commandos fought a three-hour gunbattle with Sunni-led insurgents near Nahrawan, about 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, after about 15 Shiite families were driven from their homes in the nearby village of Saidat, police said. At least eight commandos and five insurgents were killed in the fighting, which also injured six commandos and four civilians, police said.
The body of an official with Iraq’s largest Sunni Muslim political group was delivered to the Health Ministry morgue Monday with signs of torture, his party said. Waad Jassim al-Ani, a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, was seized from his home Saturday by an unspecified “security agency,” the party said. Sunni leaders accuse Iraq’s Shiite-led Interior Ministry of running death squads that target them “” a charge denied by the ministry.