The LA Times reports today that Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda group in Iraq is growing in influence and support, primarily because it has begun attracting a large number of Iraqi nationals to its organization:
Zarqawi “is bringing more and more Iraqi fighters into his fold,” a U.S. official said, adding that Iraqis accounted for “more than half his organization.” … “They’re the best game in town, the most organized organization,” said a U.S. official, who added that Zarqawi’s network was also a “well-funded organization that is willing to pay people for their work” when many Iraqis, particularly police, have little or no income.
But the U.S. military spokesman in Iraq apparently hasn’t received the memo. From the Washington Post:
The top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, said the surge in bombings represented the kind of occasional spikes in attacks that the military has been expecting. Lynch told reporters, “Zarqawi is on the ropes.”