Outtakes show al-Zarqawi as poor gunman


May 4, 2006, 02:56 PM
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is seen as a less-than-accomplished gunman on a "complete" version of last week's Web video, according to a U.S. military commander.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch on Thursday showed excerpts of the full video, found in a raid in Yusufiya south of Baghdad, that depict al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, and his aides appearing all-thumbs with firearms.

In the version posted on the Web, al-Zarqawi spoke directly to viewers, mocking the United States and the Iraqi government and exhorting his supporters to fight the U.S.-led operation.

The video also showed the militant, dressed in black fighter's garb, standing in an open field and firing a machine gun. ( Watch the video of al-Zarqawi released last week -- 2:57)

Lynch showed parts of the "complete video" that pictured the militant leader and what he called "supposedly competent" aides after al-Zarqawi was seen firing the machine gun.

Al-Zarqawi is seen walking toward a white pickup truck in "New Balance tennis shoes" with associates around him, called "his trusted advisers" by Lynch.

They "do things like grab the hot barrel of a machine gun and burn themselves," Lynch said, narrating the video to reporters.

In another portion, Lynch said, "Here's Zarqawi, the ultimate warrior, trying to shoot his machine gun.

"It's supposed to be automatic fire. He's shooting single shots one at a time. Something's wrong with his machine gun. He looks down, can't figure it out. He calls his friend to unblock the stoppage and get the weapon firing again."

CNN reviewed the tapes later.

After the shooting scene, al-Zarqawi heads toward a white truck and hands his gun to someone else, suggesting that the video might have been staged strictly for the camera.

At one point after the shooting scene, al-Zarqawi looks straight at the camera and says something, but the audio is muted.

At least one masked man behind him appears to be cheering him on.

Lynch said that what was seen on the Web last week was what al-Zarqawi "wanted the world to see."

"Look at me," he said al-Zarqawi was trying to impart, "I'm a capable leader of a capable organization and we are indeed declaring war against democracy in Iraq and we're going to establish an Islamic caliphate."

"What he didn't show you were the clips that I showed you," he said, adding, "it makes you wonder."

Lynch was asked how al-Zarqawi can be a "terror mastermind" if he can't handle a firearm.

"You'll probably need to defer that question to his followers," Lynch said, noting that they have allowed him to be established as a leader.

Lynch said the images he showed indicate that al-Zarqawi "tends to have a problem" with mastering his own weapons system and with finding capable and competent aides.

"Why he's their leader, I don't know."

When asked about the al-Zarqawi video, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he hadn't seen the clips, but said the terrorist leader was "trying to engage in desperate attempts to derail the transition to democracy in Iraq.

"Here's another al Qaeda leader that is under a lot of pressure," McClellan said. "Zarqawi and his terrorist allies were dealt a real blow in Iraq by the formation of a unity government that represents all of Iraq's communities.

"Now we know that they're determined and they want to continue to carry out attacks and that's why we're partnering with Iraqi security forces ... and we will continue to do so."

Source: CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/05/04/iraq.al.zarqawi/index.html)

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May 4, 2006, 03:18 PM
I doubt that firearms handling skills are as important as bomb building, logistics, finance, OpSec, planning and the infinite list of skills needed to run a terrorist operation.

Trying to make fun of this guys personal weapons handling skill is as stupid as being critical of Patton's singing.

Phantom Warrior
May 4, 2006, 03:40 PM
I was thinking the same thing as hso...

May 4, 2006, 04:03 PM
Whoops, I didn't see the story has already been posted earlier by Camp David. Mods, please merge this with the "Terrorist a Bad Shot!" thread - thanks muchly.

May 4, 2006, 04:06 PM
Hey, it's not like he shot his friend in the face or something.

May 4, 2006, 04:23 PM
The video:

May 4, 2006, 04:39 PM
Like these are the people who recruit homicide bombers.
Stop and think about that for a moment,,,,,,

May 4, 2006, 04:50 PM
Our military people released this to show Zarqawi is not all perfect in military ways,something the people in Mid-East countries expect of their leaders. A bumbling Zarqawi and his advisers might mess with the minds of those who wish to do his bidding. At least our people are hoping so,I'm thinking; What I'd like to know is, has Al-Jezerra played this?

May 4, 2006, 05:46 PM
He doesn't need to fire guns.
His pawns do it for him.
But they don't do it well either, most of the time...

May 4, 2006, 06:14 PM
Is it just me, or was that CNN anchor doing his best to make excuses for Zarqawi (i.e. "it's an american weapon with a hard trigger that is difficult to fire unless you've had training")?

Anyone with SAW experience care to chime in on the difficulty of using it relative to other military small arms?

May 4, 2006, 06:29 PM
He does appear intimidated by the firing of the SAW.

I do like the way he sweeps his cohort's head with the gun, as well as the pickup and whoever else is standing off-camera.

May 4, 2006, 06:50 PM
LOL.... Even this guy is better than "super soldier" Zarqawi:

As for the SAW, it is pretty funny how intemidated he looks considering it is only a 17LB belt fed 5.56x45. When I was in the Army I had to use a SAW just often enough to stay familiar with it. I prefered the M60 a whole lot more than the SAW. With the way Zarqawi looked firing the SAW I could only imagine him standing on his feet firing the M60. :D

May 4, 2006, 07:03 PM
I do like the way he sweeps his cohort's head with the gun, as well as the pickup and whoever else is standing off-camera.

Oh for a well-timed ND, yes? :p

That said.. I can't help but think about how they likely got the SAW and M4 :mad: :(

May 4, 2006, 08:03 PM
We can only hope they're black market knock-offs.

May 4, 2006, 08:04 PM
Is it just me, or was that CNN anchor doing his best to make excuses for Zarqawi (i.e. "it's an american weapon with a hard trigger that is difficult to fire unless you've had training")?

Anyone with SAW experience care to chime in on the difficulty of using it relative to other military small arms?
I was never exposed to the SAW before I went to Iraq and spent some time as a rear-gunner, so I had no prior military training with it. Apart from being heavier than I expected, it's a very controllable weapon - quite easy to tap off single shots or double-taps.

As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't have to be a good triggerman - he has the brains and he's successfully evaded Coalition Forces for too long.

May 4, 2006, 08:08 PM
Doesn't look like Ol'Zarquawi has missed many meals.

May 4, 2006, 09:15 PM
I think they are hoping this video might keep a few of those peons from joining up with him.

I would love to fire a SAW. I would probably look awkward as well, but I would have a huge smile plastered on my face.

May 4, 2006, 09:59 PM
hso, Phantom Warrior, I agree that at the end of the day it's basically irrelevant, but it is funny and maybe a little revealing in view of how terrorist leaders love to pose with firearms. And he does totally and wantonly sweep Mr. Mask Face, who, to his credit, doesn't appear to flinch despite his commander's accident-waiting-to-happen gunhandling skills.

May 4, 2006, 10:11 PM
Zarqawi doesn't need firearms skills.

Remember, he prefers his victims on their knees, in orange jumpsuits, with their hands bound behind their backs.

His preferred weapon is a big knife......of have we already forgotten all his beheading videos?


May 4, 2006, 10:29 PM
Since when is a SAW a "very heavy machine gun?" I thought it was a light machine gun, expressly for the purpose of having a man-portable, shoulder-mounted automatic weapon for rifle teams. (Also, it's arguably not an American weapon, being that it's operating principles and design are based directly on the FN Minimi, a weapon of Belgian origin - although the M249 is made in the U.S.).

Just the press getting their facts mixed up again, I guess. Either way, that video is funny, even if it's mostly inconsequential to anyone's cause.

As for muzzling his cohorts, that's part of the culture, as I understand it (being an outsider, I admit to having no primary experience in this). From what I've read and heard, it's the Will of Allah if the trigger accidentally touches off a round into your buddies leg, arm, torso, or face. There's nothing you could have done, so you may as well be easy about things.

May 4, 2006, 10:48 PM
....someone should compile a training video called "How not to Handle a Firearm"....Starring Zarqawi, the DEA Agent who shot himself, and a cast of other brilliant Einsteins.

May 4, 2006, 11:22 PM
goodness what a waste of a news story. as was mentioned the reporter is more of an embarassment than the terrorist. a 'very heavy machine gun' with a 'hard trigger'....boggles the mind. is it THAT hard to do even a smidgen of research? i guess so...just make s**t up instead.....very professional.

and instead of going to bat for a terrorist because he might very well be unfamiliar with a foreign weapon, why didn't the 'journalist' criticise him for putting himself on tape with a weapon that he didn't take the time to BECOME familiar with beforehand? i hate the press. someday he will be burning in hell while being forced to watch and read his own news 'stories'.....over and over and over......and over.

May 4, 2006, 11:34 PM
default said "...how terrorist leaders love to pose with firearms..."

Yeah that kinda makes me laugh too, but then again Pres Bush loved the camera when he landed on an aircraft carrier to celebrate the end of major conflict ;-) And what's an aircraft carrier but just about one of our biggest weapons.

I think most leaders like to pose with the macho stuff.... their loyal followers probably like it too. "Look Ma! The guy we voted for/support looks strong today!!!!"

IMO - it's not a terrorist thing... it's more like human nature, and not just the human nature of the leader/bad guy, but that of his followers too.

May 5, 2006, 12:02 AM
nplant, ya beat me to it. The SAW is not a "heavy machine gun." You could consider it to be "heavy," I suppose, as compared to most rifles, but even then "very heavy" is hyperbole.

It's also not, strictly speaking, an American weapon, any more than an AK variant made in the US is an American weapon.

AND, the trigger really isn't that heavy.

The talking head also claims that "it might be quite understandable that anyone, even someone with weapons experience, [but who] isn't familiar with this particular weapon, might have trouble firing off more than a single shot." That's complete bull****. Anyone who'd ever fired any belt-fed could pull the bolt back and try again, rather than calling an underling to pull the bolt back. Then it's only a matter or whether or not the weapon is clean.

Making excuses is right.

Zarqawi flinches the entire time the weapon is firing.

May 5, 2006, 02:37 PM
Might have been dirty, gas system gunked up. Just twist the ole' gas regulator to "wide open throttle" and let 'er rip.

That's what happens when you give advanced Western tools to medievalists. They didn't invent 'em, didn't perfect 'em and can't maintain or use them to their full potential. Kalashnikov was their saving grace. :D

May 5, 2006, 03:32 PM
Zarqawi comes from a culture built on misogyny, machismo, and bluster-filled, chest-thumping declarations one's manliness.

An inability to handle the infidel's weaponry makes him look like a pathetic weakling.

May 5, 2006, 05:19 PM
Might have been dirty, gas system gunked up. Just twist the ole' gas regulator to "wide open throttle" and let 'er rip.I wasn't even assuming that much knowledge, just enough to keep the thing clean.

May 5, 2006, 05:22 PM
The SAW is mind boggling easy to use.... You are talking to a ROTC cadet here whos introduction to the M249 was something like this "Here you can carry the SAW."

Step one: Insert linked ammo in loader tray thingy where it fits, only really goes one way.

Step two: pull charging all the way back and push foward all the way untill it clicks.

Step three: take safty off. Its the big button by the trigger.

Step four: take aim and fire in full auto only. It does not have a selector switch its full auto only. :D

Now, if it does not fire then you pull the handle back again, push foward and try again. If that does not work, lift tray lid, undo link put new shell in and repeat above steps.

Easy as pie.....

Also they put those nice handles o the top for a reason. So you don't burn your hand lifting the gun. :p

May 5, 2006, 05:30 PM
(Unfortunately) my wife gets a subscription to TIME. THey had a piece on him in a recent issue.

In the end, he grew up nothing more than a street thug. In prison in Jordan, he "found" Islam. He has also found that mixed with his thuggish ways, radical Islam can be a very influential way to get minions to do his duty.

He is nothing more than a very smart, very manipulative criminal that has found Islam as a way to create an enemy against the West. By being "the ultimate follower of Muhammed" he has a packaged formula for exerting power.

Firing a SAW is only a propoganda piece.

May 5, 2006, 05:33 PM
Also they put those nice handles o the top for a reason. So you don't burn your hand lifting the gun. Common misconception. That handle isn't strong enough to carry the SAW for very long without bending. It's properly used only to change barrels.

May 5, 2006, 06:13 PM
Somebody made this clown up. He is fat, has baby skin, wears white tennis shoes and can't handle a gun. Great attributes for a killer. I swear he is as real as Ronald McDonald or Mr. Goodwrench.:fire: :fire: :fire:

May 5, 2006, 06:18 PM
Fact is, I have a very hard time believing that his propaganda machine would release a video like that. They had to know the effect it would have upon his followers. He looks like a damn fool. I ain't buyin' it.

May 5, 2006, 06:19 PM
He also did a pretty good muzzle sweep of the sand ninja at the end.

The SAW is a 'very heavy' weapon? The what is Ma Duce? A BFG? (Well, it is!)

I wanted to kick that 'senior pentagon' reporter in the nuts.. only thing he didn't do is tell zar-cowi that he wanted to have his baby.

May 5, 2006, 07:26 PM
From what I understand, the original footage was found during a raid - it's still raw and unedited.

May 5, 2006, 07:28 PM
Aha! That explains much.


May 5, 2006, 08:19 PM
The M249 is not an American Made weapon. Spec's at the bottom (ignore the stated rates of fire), copied off of USMC Official site. Saddly, those are most likely capured weapons from the US arsenal... good thing, they may capture our weapons, but they rarely get enough ammo to sustain much of a fight.

The SAW is essentially a great "rabit chaser" it is a pain at times to use, if you don't know what you're doing with it, if it's under lubed or it's grossly dirty; it either won't fire propperly or you'll have a run away gun. But at almost 1000 rounds per min with the gas reg cranked down, it will cut through cement walls and 'saw' down 'armed' men behind cover. It's about 22lbs, and the newer ones have shortened barrles and collapsable stocks, when in experianced hands, and with enough ammo, it will keep an enemy pinned down if not cut through thier cover till a flanking can be completed.

All you need to know; lube it till it's soaked, brass to the grass, (open bolt weapon) off safe, cock the chargeing handle, place weapon on safe when not aimed in, click off safe and squeeze off 10-20 round bursts. Only load with the bolt forward. Do not try to quarter cock the SAW.

Primary function: Hand-held combat machine gun
Manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale Manufacturing, Inc.
Length: 40.87 inches (103.81 centimeters)
With bipod and tools: 15.16 pounds (6.88 kilograms)
200-round box magazine: 6.92 pounds (3.14 kilograms)
30-round magazine: 1.07 pounds (.49 kilograms)
Bore diameter: 5.56mm (.233 inches)
Maximum effective range: 3281 feet (1000 meters) for an area target
Maximum range: 2.23 miles (3.6 kilometers)
Rates of fire:
Cyclic: 725 rounds per minute
Sustained: 85 rounds per minute
Unit Replacement Cost: $4,087

May 8, 2006, 12:38 AM

Not All See Video Mockery of Zarqawi as Good Strategy
Published: May 6, 2006

An effort by the American military to discredit the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by showing video outtakes of him fumbling with a machine gun — suggesting that he lacks real fighting skill — was questioned yesterday by retired and active American military officers.

In an outtake reportedly taken from a videotape made by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist leader needed some help firing a machine gun.

The video clips, released on Thursday to news organizations in Baghdad, show the terrorist leader confused about how to handle an M-249 squad automatic weapon, known as an S.A.W., which is part of the American inventory of infantry weapons.

The American military, which said it captured the videotapes in a recent raid, released selected outtakes in an effort to undermine Mr. Zarqawi's image as leader of the Council of Holy Warriors, formerly Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and suggested that his fighting talents and experience were less than his propaganda portrays. But several veterans of wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, as well as active-duty officers, said in telephone interviews yesterday that the clips of Mr. Zarqawi's supposed martial incompetence were unconvincing.

The weapon in question is complicated to master, and American soldiers and marines undergo many days of training to achieve the most basic competence with it. Moreover, the weapon in Mr. Zarqawi's hands was an older variant, which makes its malfunctioning unsurprising. The veterans said Mr. Zarqawi, who had spent his years as a terrorist surrounded by simpler weapons of Soviet design, could hardly have been expected to know how to handle it.

"They are making a big deal out of nothing," said Mario Costagliola, who retired as an Army colonel last month after serving as the operations officer for the 42nd Infantry Division in Tikrit, Iraq.

An active-duty Special Forces colonel who served in Iraq also said that what the video showed actually had little relationship to Mr. Zarqawi's level of terrorist skill. "Looking at the video, I enjoy it; I like that he looks kind of goofy," said the Special Forces officer, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on military matters. "But as a military guy, I shrug my shoulders and say: 'Of course he doesn't know how to use it. It's our gun.' He doesn't look as stupid as they said he looks."

The release of the captured video reflected the dueling public relations efforts between the American-led forces fighting in Iraq and the terrorists and insurgents. It also reflected increasing interest by the military and civilian strategists in trying to ridicule Mr. Zarqawi.

"In Arab and Muslim societies, pride and shame are felt much more profoundly than they are in Western culture," said J. Michael Waller, a professor at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school in Washington. "To find video like this that can cut him down to size and discredit him is a real way of fighting terrorism." A paper written by Professor Waller advocating the use of ridicule against the insurgents has been circulating at the Pentagon and among military commanders with experience in Iraq recently, according to several military officers.

But the retired and active officers said the public presentation of the tape did not address elements that were disturbing, rather than amusing: the weapon was probably captured from American soldiers, indicating a tactical victory for the insurgents. And Mr. Zarqawi looked clean and plump.

"I see a guy who is getting a lot of groceries and local support," said Nick Pratt, a Marine Corps veteran and professor of terrorism studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany. "You cannot say he is a bad operator." He added, "People should be careful who they poke fun at."

David S. Cloud contributed reporting for this article.

[emphasis mine]

An outright lie. It takes a lot of training to be good at it, but about 2 minutes to be able to fire it. Maybe he just didn't bother to have an evil henchman clean it first.

And how do they know it's an "older variant?" Because it doesn't have a skeleton stock? The video's too blurry to tell much more than that, and the ones we had when I was in Iraq were that variant, and worked fine.

May 8, 2006, 03:04 AM
I taught 12 non-English-speaking Thai Recon Marines how to assemble, reassemble, function check, fire and perform IA drills on the M249 in a short afternoon by "monkey see, monkey do" and comedic (though still hard core ;) ) hand and arm signals and shooting noises.

We had a great time but they did as well as any USMC recruits I ever saw. They watch closely, pay attention, discuss among themselves. I doubt they'll need much of a refresher, those men can learn.

Not sure why a guy who had all the time in the world to prep for a video he planned, who could have used the newest finest weapon they had, should get any sort of pass.

May 8, 2006, 03:07 AM
comedic (though still hard core )As only a Marine could do! :D

May 8, 2006, 07:32 AM
Doc.... ugh what a story. The CNN guy was bad enough, making the thing sound a Chinese puzzle box held together with 50-pound springs. :scrutiny: I know it shouldn't be surprising anymore just how far some reporters will go to paint us as savage idjits and them as brave enlightened freedom fighters, but every now and again it still gets so deep from 'em it's apalling. :(

It's a gun. Guns are simple machines. You get used enough to guns in general, you can pretty much figure any of 'em out in short order. Which would be a wise thing to do before making a video showing how tough and macho you are. Punk.

That said.. agreed his skill doesn't need to be knowing guns, when he can convince other people to go blow folks up. Punk. Here's hoping he funds himself on the other end of a SAW sometime in the near future. :mad:

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