April 25, 2006

Musab's Happy Video Fun Time

In a rare Internet-posted video, terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi appeared for 34 minutes, blasting the United States for a "crusader-Zionist war" against Islam. Rusty has a nice roundup going at the Jawa Report, and once you've seen that along with the analysis of Bill Roggio and Walid Phares of the Counterterrorism Blog you've pretty much got your bases covered.

That said, I did watch the entire 34 minutes, and think I have a few observations that may be of use.

Throughout the bulk of the video, Zarqawi's eyes seem "heavy," blinking slowly and not appearing to open fully. At first I thought this was possibly the result of the lighting in the room in which the video was shot, but people responding to too-bright lights tend to blink more quickly, not more lethargically. In addition, through some sections of the video, Zarqawi seems short of breath. Some of the film transitions seem abrupt, as if trying to cover this.

In addition, Zarqawi's face seems somewhat bloated when compared to admittedly outdated photos. This may simply be a function of age, fatigue, and what is likely a substandard diet, but it could also be the result of some kinds of medications. This is all blind speculation, of course, but worth considering.

The rest of the video is well covered in transcripts (Rusty's post has a rough one), and so I'd prefer to look at elements of the film not heavily covered.

First things first, I'd like to gently correct Athena at Terrorism Unveilled. Zarqawi is not wearing a suicide vest in this video, just a standard AK-style chest rig, similar to this Chinese model or this upgraded commercial version. For comparative purposes, several versions of suicide vests modeled by would-be suicide bombers can be seen here.

By the way, he does fire a M249 that was likely captured from U.S forces. It is a "hero" shot filmed for propoganda purposes, but it simply serves to remind me that a 15 lb machine gun firing 5.56mm rounds best suited for killing woodchucks is a relatively light-recoiling weapon.

Near the end of the video are several minutes of outdoor footage, including the "hero" shooting video, footage of Zarqawi walking, and a few seconds of video of the flatbed truck above, with what appears to be a machine gun on a fixed mount in the bed.

Up until this point, I'd make the argument that this video could have been shot just about anywhere, but the gun-truck footage throws that in doubt. If this is indeed a fixed-mount, it seems very unlikely that this vehicle has been anywhere near where coalition forces could have seen it. That would seem to indicate that this is either a recently-modified truck, or video was filmed in a very remote region where Zarqawi felt safe enough for an open display of weapons that are not easily hidden.

Perhaps this was not even filmed in Iraq.

And then we have this.. well, err, rocket. It appears to be homemade, and suspiciously close to the size of a paper towel roll. It was fired by a hand-lit fuse, just like every ACME rocket delivered to Wile E. Coyote. It did actually go off, but to what effect we may never know. The warhead on a rocket this small can't be much larger or much more lethal than a Cadbury egg.

The "shell fragments" would presumably melt in your mouth, not on your hands...

This larger rocket is also "ACME-fused," and is most likely unguided, but it would potentially present a downrange threat somewhere, though the rudimentary fins indicate that cold be just about anywhere on a 90-degree arc.

CNN tells us that Zarqawi is mocking the United States military in this propaganda film.

My response?

Beep, Beep.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 25, 2006 09:25 PM | TrackBack

Forget Zarqawi! What's important in this film is the panning of the background terrain in the training exercise portion. Let's hope this is broadcast on Iraqi TV.

Posted by: Bugsy at April 25, 2006 11:02 PM

I'd like to see the President do a video like this - and show some of the extent of American armament. Something like a Soviet parade with rows and rows of tanks, missles, etc.

Sure, it would be criticized over here but I wonder what the effect would be in the 14th century countries.

Posted by: John Davies at April 26, 2006 12:15 AM

I wonder if the American people would feel so defeated and hopeless if the MSM covered in more detail displays like this of "raghead rocketry" and such. If the nation really were on a war footing, this piece of agitprop would be fodder for late-nite comedy!

Posted by: BradH at April 26, 2006 01:11 AM

Seems to me a couple of our special-ops guys with .50 cal BMG Barnetts could put this gang out of business!

Posted by: Tom TB at April 26, 2006 05:25 AM

Oops! I meant Barrett.

Posted by: Tom TB at April 26, 2006 05:54 AM

This is the best they can come up with?


Teeny tiny hand-made, home-made rockets against what the US has? That you've got to hand-light?

Not even surplus Soviet stuff left?

Good lord. If this isn't a piece of disinformation, and they're hiding the really competent weaponry behind a sand-dune or something, then they're really in sad shape.


Posted by: JLawson at April 26, 2006 02:03 PM

I read an AP report in USA Today (print version) that said he was "firing a heavy machine gun.

Posted by: Bill at April 26, 2006 02:15 PM

"I read an AP report in USA Today (print version) that said he was "firing a heavy machine gun."

From the perspective of your average AP "lightweight" reporter, if it's a MG, it's really really heavy.


Posted by: WestPack at April 26, 2006 07:47 PM

Isn't this more in the area of last terrorist standing? Maybe z-man's droopy eyes
is due to him taking some of the dop
he has been giving to suicide bombers.

Posted by: James Martin at April 26, 2006 10:51 PM

Maybe it's just me, but will the Progressyves complain about al-Zarkawi's 'macho posturing'?

Posted by: JorgXMckie at April 26, 2006 11:36 PM

Did you see the New Balance sneakers? How 'bout after the first round, when his gun jammed and he had to get help? And with the way he waves it around- doesn't he know the first rule of gun safety- don't point it at anything unless you're going to shoot it? I'd be afraid to be around him just for fear of an accidental discharge!

Posted by: Cookie at May 4, 2006 06:33 PM