I have a prediction. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will be killed or captured within the year. He is far more likely to be killed. His time is up.
So far, I am two for two in my predictions on the Huffington Post. I said back in November that George Bush's ratings would never recover. At the time everyone in the media was talking about a comeback. Tim Russert was laying out the case on Meet the Press for how Bush might rebound. I laid out the case for why Bush doesn't have the capacity for a comeback. So far, I couldn't be more right.
I also said in February that the Republicans would turn on George Bush when he hit 34%. Those numbers were simply too low for sensible politicians to stay in his corner. And since that time, the Republican Party has been at each other's throats. Their legendary party loyalty and discipline has given away to bickering and backbiting (which I must confess, I have thoroughly enjoyed).
You might say those predictions look obvious now. But that's the beauty of a really good prediction, they look so obvious in hindsight. But you can't argue with my latest call -- come on, I am predicting someone's death.
I don't pick these things out of a hat. And I'm not an astrologer. I put together facts and come up with logical conclusions. Watch, by the end of this article, you will think my prediction is obvious.
Zarqawi was told recently by Al Qaeda leaders that he should step out of the limelight in Iraq. He has apparently decided to ignore their advice and make another rap video instead. This is going to alienate him from his only remaining supporters.
He had already lost the support of a lot of the Sunni insurgents who had been on his side before. There have been excellent reports from Knight Ridder and the Christian Science Monitor in Iraq about how the local insurgency has gotten into turf battles with Zarqawi's crew in their local extortion racket.
He lost the goodwill of the Iraqi people a long time ago with his continual attacks against civilians. The Shiites in the south never liked him in the first place, and after the latest mosque bombings, now despise him.
And don't forget we have a $25 million bounty on his head and US forces are also still hunting him down.
Now on top of all this, he is also becoming reckless. Releasing a video with his face plastered all over it increases his visibility. It makes him a much more identifiable target. It gives clues to his whereabouts.
Sources have always pegged him as a bit of a clown. Recently found unedited video backs this up as he fumbles around with his weapon and looks clueless in general.
A fumbling, reckless, highly visible character with a ton of enemies and precious few friends makes for one very dead man in Iraq. The most likely scenario is that someone shoots him in the back and turns him in for the bounty. Twenty five million dollars looks more and more appealing as Zarqawi's friends dwindle and his base of support disappears.
He is not likely to be captured because my guess is that he would fight rather than be taken in. Besides which, the Iraqis or his own crew are far more likely to turn on him than we are to capture him. The locals' field of expertise is not arrest and detention. There is always a chance that he is brought in injured or alive, but anyway you slice it, he will be out of commission pretty soon. I'm saying a year just to be generous, but it is likely to be sooner.
One last prediction, when it happens, the US will claim it as a critical victory in the war on terror and in the fight against the insurgents in Iraq -- and it will be neither.