Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, self-proclaimed head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed today in an air strike jointly conducted by Iraqi and US forces. Al-Zarqawi was born in Jordan and was one of the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan that with Osama bin Laden drove out the Soviets in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was connected with Ansar al-Islam, a militant base connected with Al Qaeda that was the tenuous thread justifying the invasion of Iraq. His methods were so destructive that even Al Zawhiri said that he was ruining the image of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is made up mostly of Shiite Muslims, who tend to be more fundamentalist in practice, and the Sunni Al Zarqawi’s brutal targeting of Shiites created a real public relations problem for Al Qaeda.
In June’s Skywatch I wrote:
Around June 8 we will begin experiencing the addition of the combustible energy of Mars to the tension of the Saturn/Chiron/Jupiter T-square when Mars approaches a conjunction with Saturn. The opposition of Saturn and Chiron applies a great deal of pressure to force the healing of issues that have been pushed underground, and Jupiter expands the emotions and encourages a sense of righteousness and superiority. Adding the impatience of Mars to the mix can force an eruption before the process of healing is truly ready, creating more pain than was possibly necessary for the process to take place.
The death of Al Zarqawi at the hands of the Shiite-led fledgling Iraqi government may not do much to settle the situation in Iraq, which is fueled primarily from a long-standing enmity between the Shiites and Sunnis. The extent of his popularity is unknown, but the planetary environment with the introduction of Mars (god of war) to the Saturn/Chiron climate shows that his death is likely to ignite a firestorm of conflict between the Shias and Sunnis, forcing a recognition by the US and its few remaining allies that the true problems in Iraq are more complex than they would like to think. The Saturn/Chiron dance forces us to see the realities (Saturn) of a situation, no matter how painful (Chiron) it may become. Only time will tell, but sometimes a situation has to worsen before it can improve. In the best of all possible scenarios, the Sunnis in Iraq will have become exhausted after three years of fighting, and without a strong leader will lose their center and begin to lose interest in the battle. In the worst, the country will disintegrate deeper into civil war.