Big fish: Senior AQ commander Abdul Hadi al Iraqi captured; Update: Al-Iraqi masterminded London bombings

posted at 12:48 pm on April 27, 2007 by Allahpundit

Biiiiig fish. Not only did he operate both in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s been in the crosshairs since the very beginning — or even before the beginning, actually. Click and scroll down towards the bottom and you’ll find him listed just a few lines below Osama himself in Executive Order 13224, executed by Bush on September 23, 2001 to block assets held by certain groups and persons in connection with 9/11. Or click and scroll just a bit and you’ll find him named, again a few lines below Osama, in a UN document posted a month before 9/11 regarding terrorists operating in Afghanistan. Newsweek published a blockbuster article about him last April that claimed he was dispatched to Iraq, where he was born, along with Saif al-Adel by Osama himself to set up AQ’s organization there after the homegrown insurgency had already broken out. A description:

The two bin Laden envoys traveled overland from Afghanistan separately. One never got to Iraq. Authorities in Iran later announced that they had apprehended the Egyptian-born Saif al-Adel, and he seems to be there still. Al-Iraqi did better. Those who know him say he fits in perfectly wherever he goes. Born in Iraqi Kurdistan about 1960, he rose to the rank of major in Saddam Hussein’s Army before joining the jihad in Afghanistan in the late 1980s. He speaks not only Arabic but Urdu, Kurdish, the Waziri tribal dialect of Pashtu and a courtly form of Persian. In the palatial salons of the gulf states he has raised millions of dollars for Al Qaeda. But dressed for the part he can easily pass for a mountain tribesman. “He’s just like any Afghan,” says Zabihullah. “He doesn’t have the arrogance and formality of other Arabs.”…

[T]he envoy said he knew at once that Zarqawi was exactly what Al Qaeda needed. “There is no —doubt that he is the best man to lead foreign and Iraqi insurgents in Iraq,” al-Iraqi told bin Laden when he got back to the caves, according to Zabihullah’s account. “He deserves our support.” The envoy has made three trips to Iraq since then. Just before the last, in September, a London-based Arabic-language daily quoted Zarqawi as repudiating bin Laden and Al Qaeda: “I have not sworn allegiance to the sheik and I am not working within the framework of his organization.” But after meeting again with al-Iraqi, the Jordanian proclaimed his loyalty to bin Laden and announced a new name for his terrorist group: “Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers.” “I’m a loyal soldier and ready to sacrifice myself to the sheik, who is our leader,” he told al-Iraqi.

It helps to have all that as background for the news of his capture announced today:

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured by the CIA as he was attempting to travel back to his native country, Iraq. He was going to Iraq, officials say, to “manage” al Qaeda’s operations, including plots on Western interests outside of Iraq.

He was captured by the CIA in late 2006…

During his time with the CIA, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was interrogated and revealed useful information about al Qaeda plots, which, officials say, have been disrupted as a result.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi had met with al Qaeda members in Iran, officials also said.

The left’s not going to like those boldfaced parts given their obvious implications for where the “real” war on terror is and Iran’s role in it. Expect some Pretty Vicious Rants questioning not only the timing but the whole damned storyline, notwithstanding Newsweek’s well sourced report from a year ago. It stands to reason that al-Iraqi would be traveling through Iran given that it’s the shortest route between Iraq and Afghanistan; it also stands to reason that if we know he’s been there, so do the Iranians and they’re letting it happen. (Which isn’t a surprise given the reports lately of Iran helping Sunni jihadis in Iraq, of which this is only the latest.) Saif al-Adel has long been known to be in Iranian custody, and in fact, as WaPo reported in February, has been used as leverage by the Iranians against the United States. Bin Laden’s son Saad is also widely assumed to be held in Iran. That’s led to some wild theories about the extent of the cooperation between the regime and AQ, but if al-Iraqi is hooking up with Sunni terrorist bigwigs in the country then the mullahs must have some idea and at least are turning a blind eye to it.

If he was captured in late 2006, though, why announce it now? Two possibilities, and they’re not mutually exclusive: one, the CIA wanted to keep it on the downlow lest it cause AQ operatives in the field to go to ground, and two, al-Iraqi’s name was on a letter mentioned in that UK intel report leaked earlier this week alleging plans for a “Hiroshima or Nagasaki” in Britain. Quote:

Details of a separate plot to attack Britain, “ideally” before Blair steps down this summer, were contained in a letter written by Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi Kurd and senior Al-Qaeda commander.

According to the JTAC document, Hadi “stressed the need to take care to ensure that the attack was successful and on a large scale”. The plan was to be relayed to an Iran-based Al-Qaeda facilitator.

Pretty embarrassing for AQ to have us frogmarching their guy to Gitmo days after he’s announced his big, big plans for the Brits. Incidentally, the same report “appears to provide evidence that Al-Qaeda is active in Iran,” but stresses that the regime might not be actively aiding the organization. They might be merely … “turning a blind eye.”

I leave you with a MEMRI video from 2005. Click the image to watch.

iraqi.jpg

Update: Roggio’s got more background on al-Iraqi and notes that he’s not the first AQ capo based in Afghanistan to try to get his jihad on in Iraq.

Update: He was an even bigger fish than we thought. Bombshell:

Abd al-Hadi, 45, was regarded as one of al-Qaeda’s most experienced, most intelligent and most ruthless commanders. Senior counter-terrorism sources told The Times that he was the man who, in 2003, identified Britain as the key battleground for exporting al-Qaeda’s holy war to Europe.

Abd al-Hadi recognised the potential for turning young Muslim radicals from Britain who wanted to become mujahidin in Afghanistan or Iraq into terrorists who could carry out attacks in their home country. He realised that their knowledge of Britain, possession of British passports and natural command of English made them ideal recruits. After al-Qaeda restructured its operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas he sought out young Britons for instruction at training camps. In late 2004 Abd al-Hadi met Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, from Leeds, at a militant camp in Pakistan and, in the words of a senior investigator, “retasked them” to become suicide bombers.

They were sent back to Britain where they led the terrorist cell that carried out the 7/7 bombings, killing 52 Tube and bus passengers.

Pakistani intelligence sources said that Abd al-Hadi was also in contact with Rachid Rauf, a Birmingham man now in prison in Pakistan and alleged to be a key figure in last summer’s alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners in mid-flight.


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Score.

Ringmaster on April 27, 2007 at 12:50 PM

channeling a liberal:

i question the timing; a day after the senate vote. bush had him for months and just now released the info.

lorien1973 on April 27, 2007 at 12:52 PM

From Charles at LGF:

Reached for comment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for Al-Iraqi’s immediate release. “How can we surrender to him while he’s being tortured in the Guantanamo concentration camp?” Reid asked, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blinking furiously at his side.

TheBigOldDog on April 27, 2007 at 12:55 PM

From Charles at LGF:

Reached for comment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for Al-Iraqi’s immediate release. “How can we surrender to him while he’s being tortured in the Guantanamo concentration camp?” Reid asked, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blinking furiously at his side.

TheBigOldDog on April 27, 2007 at 12:55 PM

It would be funny if it weren’t true.

Glynn on April 27, 2007 at 12:58 PM

Biiiiig fish. Not only did he operate both in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s been in the crosshairs since the very beginning —

Anyone care to explain how he got between both Iraq and Afganistan?

Tim Burton on April 27, 2007 at 12:59 PM

Karl Rove trick.

petefrt on April 27, 2007 at 1:03 PM

Please tell me he’s being waterboarded as we speak.

CurtZHP on April 27, 2007 at 1:05 PM

Anyone care to explain how he got between both Iraq and Afganistan?

Guess you didn’t read the post, huh? Well, good to know I get paid for nothing.

Allahpundit on April 27, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Guess you didn’t read the post, huh? Well, good to know I get paid for nothing.

Allahpundit on April 27, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Me too!! /huggles

Ringmaster on April 27, 2007 at 1:10 PM

Come on folk…connect the dots………..Senior Al Qaeda Intelligence officer caught sometime last year, Seven terrorist cells and 172 terrorists including Al Qaeda operatives arrested in S.A. both stories release at almost the exact same time…If your not getting the obvious clue here…Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi has been in US custody for over a year and singing like a canary…….Remind you of any other senior Al Qaeda officers……

Rock on…………

doriangrey on April 27, 2007 at 1:10 PM

Blah blah blah. Al Qaeda has more “Senior Vice Presidents” than the local car dealership.

Lehuster on April 27, 2007 at 1:11 PM

So we nab the guy in “late 2006″ and it isn’t long after that we start nabbing Iranians inside Iraq. Interesting. I would say that we waited until now to release the fact we had him because we learned about the Saudi operation from him and wanted to roll that up before we said that we had him. To release it earlier might have allowed those guys to scatter.

crosspatch on April 27, 2007 at 1:11 PM

Cha-Ching!

Good thing we were leaving Iraq so that these terrorists would then leave Iraq too right?

Defector01 on April 27, 2007 at 1:12 PM

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi had met with al Qaeda members in Iran, officials also said.

Robert Spencer has been saying this long before the media. Just the other day, some Washington idiot was saying there’s no link between AQ and Iran.

PRCalDude on April 27, 2007 at 1:16 PM

Now that we’ve squeezed what we can out of him and this has gone public, I vote we put a bullet in his head, and bury him in an unmarked grave with a dead pig.

georgej on April 27, 2007 at 1:19 PM

Guess you didn’t read the post, huh? Well, good to know I get paid for nothing.

Allahpundit on April 27, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Poor guy – they treat you like a drive through window!

I’ll have some Photoshopping with a direct link please…

Bradky on April 27, 2007 at 1:21 PM

This guy looks American to me. Is he a Dem blogger?

faraway on April 27, 2007 at 1:22 PM

Oh, another thing. I noticed an odd sweep yesterday in Iraq where over 200 people, maybe it was over 250 people … in too much of a hurry to check right now … were arrested in a sweep of Baghdad in a 24 hour period. I saw those reports yesterday and they would have happened Tuesday or Wednesday Baghdad time. Boatload arrested, only 1 killed. Unusual pattern for Baghdad both in number and in the kill/arrest ratio. Wonder if it was related. Here is what I have seen over the past 24 hrs reported:

1. Huge sweep in Baghdad
2. 6 Iraqis arrested in Greece
3. Huge sweep in Saudi

crosspatch on April 27, 2007 at 1:24 PM

Now that we’ve squeezed what we can out of him and this has gone public, I vote we put a bullet in his head, and bury him in an unmarked grave with a dead pig.

georgej on April 27, 2007 at 1:19 PM

And a soaked Koran.

amerpundit on April 27, 2007 at 1:29 PM

Rove you magnificent bastard!!!

csdeven on April 27, 2007 at 1:34 PM

Allah,

No, I read it, but I just wanted to emphasis the point. Iran is the fulcrum of the issue (Well, Islam is, but you won’t allow me to point that out).

Tim Burton on April 27, 2007 at 1:34 PM

Here’s to our forces for another bad jerk in custody, and may we get many more of them. Maybe just maybe he or another will rat out the cave address of the biggest fish of all.

flutejpl on April 27, 2007 at 1:58 PM

Expect some Pretty Vicious Rants questioning not only the timing but the whole damned storyline, notwithstanding Newsweek’s well sourced report from a year ago.

This is just more of rightwing Newsweek’s attempts to sell Dubya’s next Oil War. Anyone who gets their information from anyone other than Keith Olbermann is a fascist.

Enrique on April 27, 2007 at 2:06 PM

Iraq and Al-qaeda in same sentence, passing through Iran….not good for the MSM, this will be burried.

jp on April 27, 2007 at 2:11 PM

Not to worry – Senators vow to restore Gitmo detainees’ rights, because the rest of the world doesn’t love us any more…tears…baby…

Entelechy on April 27, 2007 at 2:17 PM

Score!

Lawrence on April 27, 2007 at 2:30 PM

This would mean a lot more to me if I had the “Sopranos Crime Family Flow Chart” for Al Qaeda, you know, big “X” over the guys we “whacked”, red circle over the guys in “custody”, etc…… Anyone have a link to one?

PinkyBigglesworth on April 27, 2007 at 2:46 PM

“There is no —doubt that he is the best man to lead foreign and Iraqi insurgents in Iraq,” al-Iraqi told bin Laden when he got back to the caves, according to Zabihullah’s account.

Sounds like a charming little suburb. “Al Qaeda Acres” anyone…?

CliffHanger on April 27, 2007 at 2:49 PM

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured by the CIA as he was attempting to travel back to his native country, Iraq. He was going to Iraq, officials say, to “manage” al Qaeda’s operations, including plots on Western interests outside of Iraq.

al Qaeda in Iraq…surely you jest!

/sarc

brtex on April 27, 2007 at 2:52 PM

Guess you didn’t read the post, huh? Well, good to know I get paid for nothing.

You get paid?

Drtuddle on April 27, 2007 at 3:48 PM

But I didn’t think there were any terrorists in Iraq! Bush lied, and we should immediately withdraw.

Can you imagine an Obama with his close ties to Islam running this war? Here we have Al Qaeda in Iraq that we are fighting, and he and his fellow democrats want us to pretend we are not at war and to retreat back to America.

januarius on April 27, 2007 at 3:48 PM

I wonder if the day after every Democratic debate there will be a major AQ capture announced. That would be fun to watch.

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 3:50 PM

Keith Olbermann is furiously typing his Special Comment regarding the curious timing of this as we speak, in between the times that he furrows his brow and practices saying “Sir” in ever-increasing surliness.

Matticus Finch on April 27, 2007 at 3:56 PM

pedestrian on April 27, 2007 at 3:50 PM

The worst nightmare is for the WMD locations to be revealed – talk about an October surprise.

Bradky on April 27, 2007 at 3:59 PM

http://thomasjoscelyn.blogspot.com/2007/04/questions-for-another-baathist-turned.html

interesting, could this be the whitehouse fighting back and about to reveal direct connections between Saddam and Al-Qaeda, operational links????

jp on April 27, 2007 at 4:33 PM

This is just more of rightwing Newsweek’s attempts to sell Dubya’s next Oil War. Anyone who gets their information from anyone other than Keith Olbermann is a fascist.

Enrique on April 27, 2007 at 2:06 PM

Yea right, information from Olbermann…didn’t he get his start as a sports journalist…getting information from him is like getting information from Tokyo-Rosie Enrique, but then again you probably think steel has never been melted by fire…go lick some Islamo-fascis boots Enrique…ya moonbat!

Liberty or Death on April 27, 2007 at 4:45 PM

Olbertmann won’t bother to even mention this.

benrand on April 27, 2007 at 4:48 PM

Liberty or Death, and others, Enrique is just clowning around. He’s a witty leftie kid, who posts with ‘rightie clothing’, for his (and those of us who figured him out) entertainment.

We love Enrique!

Entelechy on April 27, 2007 at 4:52 PM

I think I saw this guy in a drum circle during the DC protests.

“Bush is not my president” T-shirt and a rainbow head band.

Hening on April 27, 2007 at 5:58 PM

Allah,…. (Well, Islam is [the fulcrum of the issue], but you won’t allow me to point that out.) …

Tim Burton on April 27, 2007 at 1:34 PM

Tim, I think I’ve said clearly several times in my comments that it seems Islam itself is a problem facing people and nations who want to live and think freely. If you’ve encountered problems when trying to put that point across, I venture to guess it’s just been a matter of presentation.

In these matters, one can scarcely do better than to reason with your readers as it’s written that Caiaphas reasoned with the Sanhedrin: “He has said it himself. What further need have we of witnesses?” Suggest that anyone energized by a misplaced doubt as to the threat posed by Islam itself read the ninth sura (at-Tauba) of Islam’s scriptures. Almost the entire ninth sura is threatening when read closely, but the fifth verse is especially clear and was used by Osama as part of the Koranic basis for al-Qaeda’s declaration of war against the U.S. in 1996.

The most Exalted said in the verse of As-Sayef, The Sword: {so when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters where ever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush} (At-Tauba; 9:5). (http://www.mideastweb.org/osamabinladen1.htm)

That’s just one nasty verse in an entire sura of death and deceit; call at-Tauba as your witness, early and often. To repeat, I’ve never been given any trouble here for saying that it seems Islam itself is a problem; it’s just a thing that needs saying with some politesse.

Kralizec on April 27, 2007 at 6:04 PM

Tally ho to the military. One more piece of pond scum who can play “Wheel of Misfortune” in jail for the rest of his life. Do they still execute mass murderers?

Mojave Mark on April 27, 2007 at 6:14 PM

I suggest his Mecca orientation compass be inserted rectally.

That way, when he bows in Gitmo, all of his followers will know where to face.

The hemorrhoid of the Ka’aba.

profitsbeard on April 27, 2007 at 6:58 PM

Well, good to know I get paid for nothing.

Beats working for nothing, eh?

Freelancer on April 27, 2007 at 7:06 PM

Pinky, I don’t have any Chicago Crime Commission type charts, but you can always try this.

Hey Big A, I leave Afghanistan, and all these mopes migrate to Iraq. What is up with that?

major john on April 27, 2007 at 9:29 PM

major john on April 27, 2007 at 9:29 PM

Thank you very much, very helpful, maybe in my spare time, I can create the chart, in the mean time, something in return, just for fun………

The afternoon knows what the morning never expected.

PinkyBigglesworth on April 27, 2007 at 9:42 PM

I don’t think we need to worry about much, we should let him go actually, he’s a radical Muslim.

They have no beef with us, the only one we should worry about is Bush.

(trying my best to act like a 5th grade lib…)

benrand on April 27, 2007 at 9:49 PM

Edwards and others didn’t raise their hand about “is there a War on Terror?”.

The families of the 7/7 victims beg to differ.

This big fish sits at Gitmo now. The Senate wishes to give him and the others rights. Mr. Bush is the ‘evil’ one.

But…Edwards never forgot where he came from…it’s just that he hasn’t the faintest idea where we’re all going.

Entelechy on April 27, 2007 at 11:33 PM

Glad to know that half of the Democratic Presidential candidates don’t believe this guy exists.

Or that we need to fight him.

Their next debate will be in Cloud-Cuckooland.

profitsbeard on April 27, 2007 at 11:35 PM

Whoa, hold on a minute. I thought I heard that there were no terrorists in Iraq. Just mothers and fathers. This can’t be right. I also question the timing.

And I notice that I am not hearing a lot about this in the msm either. We wouldn’t want it to sound like we are actually getting the job done right?

hoosierken on April 27, 2007 at 11:43 PM

“it’s just a thing that needs saying with some politesse”

Why?!

rayvet on April 28, 2007 at 6:06 AM

In reference to the leftards complaining, this post at the Hufftard Post is example prime: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson-and-james-boyce/sp-alert-we-call-bullsh_b_47063.html

William Teach on April 28, 2007 at 8:45 AM

“Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured by the CIA as he was attempting to travel back to his native country, Iraq. ”

“…he’s been in the crosshairs since the very beginning…you’ll find him listed just a few lines below Osama himself in Executive Order 13224, executed by Bush on September 23, 2001 to block assets held by certain groups and persons in connection with 9/11.

No, no, no, no!

There is no Al Qaeda in Iraq. The ny times said so.

locomotivebreath1901 on April 28, 2007 at 9:25 AM

BTW, AP, are you sure you have the correct persons picture on the front page for this post? Looks more like Jürgen Prochnow from the movie Dune :)

William Teach on April 28, 2007 at 11:05 AM

Liberty or Death, and others, Enrique is just clowning around. He’s a witty leftie kid, who posts with ‘rightie clothing’, for his (and those of us who figured him out) entertainment.

We love Enrique!

Entelechy on April 27, 2007 at 4:52 PM

I’m new to Hotair so I’m not familiar with everyone that posts, irregardless, if Enrique is a “leftie kid” in “rightie clothing” he needs to qualify his statements are only “entertainment” or he’s fair moonbat game!

Also, has anyone checked Enrique’s green card…?

Liberty or Death on April 28, 2007 at 12:46 PM

Liberty or Death, and others, Enrique is just clowning around. He’s a witty leftie kid, who posts with ‘rightie clothing’, for his (and those of us who figured him out) entertainment.

We love Enrique!

Entelechy on April 27, 2007 at 4:52 PM

Entelechy, we do love Enrique, I’m sure. And that includes me, of course, because, as you know, I’m all about the love. But I’m confused after reading your explanation. Did you mean to say that he’s a witty rightie kid who posts in “leftie clothing”?

Kralizec on April 28, 2007 at 4:21 PM

Looks more like Jürgen Prochnow from the movie Dune :)

William Teach on April 28, 2007 at 11:05 AM

Das Boot…..

PinkyBigglesworth on April 28, 2007 at 6:52 PM

Here’s hoping they reel in another marlin.

ZK on April 28, 2007 at 10:04 PM