LONDON -- The convenient emergence and sudden disappearance of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi signals the end of an era. Although Washington and London insist on telling us that the "good news" of his death doesn't necessary mean an end to Iraq's bloodshed, the giddiness in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's voice has profusely conveyed the greater hope of Iraq's occupiers.

As a young man, al-Zarqawi joined Afghanistan's mujahedin militias against the Russian occupation in the 1980s. Following the Russian defeat, he returned to Jordan and, like other returnees to various Arab countries, clashed with his government and was imprisoned on charges of conspiracy to effect regime change. Amnesty by the late King Hussein set him free after he spent seven years in prison.

Certainty over the man's life, death and legacy ends here. The rest, concluded with his dramatic demise, is shrouded in inconsistencies, state propaganda and half-truths.