U.S. captures “leader” of Islamic State of Iraq

posted at 8:27 am on July 18, 2007 by Allahpundit

Not quite as sweet as capturing the leader of AQI, but given that ISI is the self-styled umbrella group for Salafist jihadists in the country, it’s the next best thing. His name is Khalid al-Mashhadani, a.k.a. Omar al-Baghdadi, a.k.a. phantom caliph of the nascent Islamist paradise the Salafis are trying to form in Iraq. We had a false alarm on him in March, then another in May when the Iraqi Interior Ministry falsely claimed he’d been killed in a firefight with U.S. and Iraqi troops, which Gen. Caldwell denied. The fact that today’s news comes from the military means they must be pretty sure; he was pinched on July 4, so they’ve probably been using the time since to confirm that he is who they think he is. And of course to exploit his intel before AQ could react.

In short, he’s the Verbal to al-Baghdadi’s Keyser Soze.

The U.S. command said Wednesday the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been arrested, adding that information from him indicates the group’s foreign-based leadership wields considerable influence over the Iraqi chapter…

Bergner said al-Mashhadani served as an intermediary between al-Masri and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri…

Bergner said al-Mashhadani had told interrogators that al-Baghdadi is a “fictional role” created by al-Masri and that an actor is used for audio recordings of speeches posted on the Web.

“In his words, the Islamic State of Iraq is a front organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within al-Qaida in Iraq in an attempt to put an Iraqi face on the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq,” Bergner said.

I.e., they needed an Iraqi figurehead to appeal to the locals. As for his intermediary role, it should be good for plenty of ye olde questioning of the timing among a dejected nutroots this morning and of course on Countdown tonight, notwithstanding the reports of money flowing from AQI to AQ leadership and the fact that Osama capo Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi had himself been a liaison between the two groups before he was captured. Will Olby so much as nod at the fact that this is good news before trying to spin it into oblivion? Join his other eleven viewers by tuning in tonight to find out.

Incidentally, Nibras Kazimi had Mashhadani pegged four months ago as Omar al-Baghdadi’s secret identity. Read his post for background and ponder this rhetorical exit question:

Both Iraq’s Vice President, Tariq al-Hashemi, and the Speaker of the Parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, who are the leading Sunnis in the Iraqi government, belong to the Mashhadani tribe. I wonder how it would have passed their notice that one of their own is allegedly the head of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Qaeda’s candidate caliph.

Update: It’s a truism that Al Qaeda’s propaganda is sophisticated but step back for a moment and realize what they did here, assuming the claims made in the article are accurate. They created a phony group with a phony leader, replete with audio communiques and publications, to reassure Iraqi Salafists that they were serving an Iraqi-led jihad. The question is why. Salafists aren’t nationalists; they’re religious fundamenalists. Having a nationalist figurehead would make it easier to recruit young Iraqis, certainly, but so much easier that it would be worth all the trouble to which they went to create ISI?

Update: Background from Roggio. No wonder the leadership is foreign.

Coalition operations and the turning of Sunni insurgent groups have caused al Qaeda in Iraq’s leadership to further distrust Iraqi members of al Qaeda. “[AQI leader Abu Ayyub] Al-Masri has increasingly become more isolated and paranoid, especially of the Iraqis within AQI, as our operations have killed or captured additional AQI leaders,” Brig. Gen. Bergner said, based on statements made by Mashadani.

The Coalition concedes the Iraqi insurgency is largely made up of Iraqis. “Although the rank and file are largely Iraqi, the senior leadership of AQI, as we have previously stated, is mostly foreign,” said Brig. Gen Bergner. However al Qaeda’s control of the leadership via its foreign operatives, its vast resources in cash, and its campaign of co-opting or decapitating the Iraqi leadership of domestic insurgent groups has allowed the terror group to direct the Islamic State of Iraq.


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Comments

Big fish indeed. May this capture spawn others.

It’s just too bad the “surge has failed”.

Freelancer on July 18, 2007 at 8:29 AM

Love hearing this as the slumber party wakes up for breakfast.

Way to go, and on the 4th of July.

Hening on July 18, 2007 at 8:29 AM

A Keyser Soze reference! I just dropped my coffee.

JammieWearingFool on July 18, 2007 at 8:30 AM

Big Deal. It doesn’t matter anymore. It no longer matters what our troops do over there. Our lawmakers have already sent the message, irregardless of the vote, to the terrorists that we are out of there. They already knew they only had to wait until Bush was out of office but now they see a real windfall with all the talk of us leaving before then. God Bless the men and women of our armed forces who are now going to face an reinvigorgated enemy.

LakeRuins on July 18, 2007 at 8:31 AM

Huh? Verbal is Keyser Soze.

IreneFingIrene on July 18, 2007 at 8:36 AM

Huh? Verbal is Keyser Soze.

IreneFingIrene on July 18, 2007 at 8:36 AM

And this is why God invented the eye-roll emoticon …

Professor Blather on July 18, 2007 at 8:40 AM

Meh. I can’t bother to read the full article. Our Congress didn’t read the Iraq war resolutions, so why should I bother?

:)

IreneFingIrene on July 18, 2007 at 8:44 AM

Ha! Guy on the radio called the filibuster, due to the age of the senators, elder abuse.

Blake on July 18, 2007 at 8:45 AM

LakeRuins on July 18, 2007 at 8:31 AM

Amen. What’s going on in the Senate right now is the best peprally the barbarians could ever have. Instead of discussing whether or not we should leave we should be discussing whether or not we line the road to Damascus and Tehran with the hogtied bodies of the barbarians…or do we simply hang them by the neck.

Pilgrim on July 18, 2007 at 8:46 AM

Join his other eleven viewers by tuning in tonight to find out.

Classic.

Hawkins1701 on July 18, 2007 at 8:47 AM

Blake on July 18, 2007 at 8:45 AM

Elder abuse, good one.

Bring out the waterboards, we is going to get some good info in the next few days (I am sure we have already).

The lights been turned on and the cock-a-roaches are scambling. This usually means we pick up a few more leaders, and dump a few bombs on meeting places.

I love the sound of a begging jihadist in the morning.

right2bright on July 18, 2007 at 8:49 AM

Imagine what could have been accomplished if the Democrats had fought even a tenth as hard to win the war as they’ve fought to lose it. Still, this is good news for the good guys, and bad news for the enemies of America–including the aforementioned Democrats. (I make the usual exceptions for the rarest of endangered species, the sane patriotic Democrats.)

ReubenJCogburn on July 18, 2007 at 8:54 AM

I hope they flip him, flip him for real.

JackStraw on July 18, 2007 at 8:54 AM

Gotta love the irony here.

The very day after the Defeatocrats stage their latest round of political theater to demoralize our troops, embolden the enemy, and show that they really don’t care if the surge is working or not….

This happens.

Let the spin doctoring begin.

Hawkins1701 on July 18, 2007 at 8:56 AM

This is like Gore shutting down his global warming meeting because of cold weather.

right2bright on July 18, 2007 at 9:00 AM

Ha! Guy on the radio called the filibuster, due to the age of the senators, elder abuse.

Blake on July 18, 2007 at 8:45 AM

I caught a snippet about this on the radio this morning also. Do you listen to 1440 in the morning, or did my radio guy just reference your radio guy?

Lawrence on July 18, 2007 at 9:00 AM

Excellent news.

The only response is to immediately surrender!

Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 9:05 AM

May I ask why we’re still capturing anybody. Forget the intel, just grab his laptop & cell phone. Spec Ops just needs to execute these evil men as soon as they see them. Capture… phuh.

Mojave Mark on July 18, 2007 at 9:09 AM

Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 9:05 AM

Exactly. We’ve really made them mad now. Now they’re really going to come after us…You know, politics must have some kind of reverse Darwinism going on…only the weak and tepid seem to survive in DC. I mean, look at the state of Nevada…full of money, gambling and hookers..and the best they can send to Washington is Harry Reid? If he was any lamer somebody would send him to a glue factory. Well, chalk this up as a big win for the military. Nice job guys.

austinnelly on July 18, 2007 at 9:10 AM

The only response is to immediately surrender!

Not until the Dems install a draft. It’s part of their play book in these situations. Then they get to point at only the poor people of color that are forced to fight. The usual suspects already tried that with an all volunteer army, and that flopped short.

Hening on July 18, 2007 at 9:11 AM

How about we redeploy a batallion from Irag to Washington, D.C. to track down the traitors in our midst. They should be easy to spot this morning ….. running around in their jammies.

This sillybuster only proves one thing. Our senate is capable of getting as much accomplished by staying up all night as they do blabbering away during the daylight hours.

That would be nothing, nada, zippo.

fogw on July 18, 2007 at 9:16 AM

Use state of the art interrogation techniques to glean every bit of information possible from this oversized maggot, then execute him.

Jaibones on July 18, 2007 at 9:18 AM

May I ask why we’re still capturing anybody. Forget the intel, just grab his laptop & cell phone. Spec Ops just needs to execute these evil men as soon as they see them. Capture… phuh.

Mojave Mark on July 18, 2007 at 9:09 AM

There are items that don’t exist on laptops and cell phones. It’s called unravelling the ball of string.

Once their usefulness for intel purposes is done, that’s when you execute them.

steveegg on July 18, 2007 at 9:21 AM

Sweet!

Can I be the one to tell Reid and Pelosi, please?

This more than confirms the fact that it makes no sense to leave Iraq to fight Al Qaeda when they are right there in the smack of things.

The nutroots will be going berserk over this one, I guarantee it.

WisCon on July 18, 2007 at 9:28 AM

Gotta love the irony here.

The very day after the Defeatocrats stage their latest round of political theater to demoralize our troops, embolden the enemy, and show that they really don’t care if the surge is working or not….

This happens.

Let the spin doctoring begin.

Hawkins1701 on July 18, 2007 at 8:56 AM

I’m becoming convinced that God has a sense of humor.

BTW, if what’s-his-name’s audience goes from 11 to 12 in one day, he’ll be able to make the claim “fastest growing cable news program…”

urbancenturion on July 18, 2007 at 9:39 AM

Hawkins1701 on July 18, 2007 at 8:56 AM
Let the spin doctoring begin.

Well Hawkins, that didn’t take long.

On CNN.com now:
“The arrest of al-Mashadani was announced amid controversy over President Bush’s contention that al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq are one and the same. The evidence has been not been significant about the extent of the relationship.”

This can not possibly count as progress because “we all know” there has been no progress.

Sorry I’m spending too much time watching C-Span2

TunaTalon on July 18, 2007 at 9:42 AM

I’m confused, Allah. Isn’t your statement…

Not quite as sweet as capturing the leader of AQI

…conflicting with the article’s statement?

The U.S. command said Wednesday the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been arrested

craig on July 18, 2007 at 10:05 AM

Ha! Omar al-Baghdadi = Big Brother. Cue 1984 references.

BohicaTwentyTwo on July 18, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Ugh… too early to be posting… highest ranking Iraqi. Dur.

craig on July 18, 2007 at 10:09 AM

The Libs are gettin’ desperate. The closer we get to victory, the more they want us to lose. They keep saying we’re losing, yet the map just keeps getting greener and greener every month.

Tony737 on July 18, 2007 at 10:12 AM

Sweetness. May he sing like a bird.

jediwebdude on July 18, 2007 at 10:17 AM

Pwn3d!

Hope they snag a few more, and we can convince the American people to give the armed forces more time.

Bad Candy on July 18, 2007 at 10:31 AM

His name is Khalid al-Mashhadani, a.k.a. Omar al-Baghdadi,

Can’t we just call him Al?

infidel4life on July 18, 2007 at 10:59 AM

The Dems will insist that he get a team of taxpayer funded defense lawyers and a comfy apartment to await trial in.

pedestrian on July 18, 2007 at 11:11 AM

Success in Irag is bad news for the dems…very bad news…

hairy and nanc must be beside themselves….

areseaoh on July 18, 2007 at 11:22 AM

The scene in the Senate:

Democrats, with fingers in their ears, sitting at their desks. “Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala”.

Zach on July 18, 2007 at 11:31 AM

May he go surfing inside a galvanized tub on the sunny resort isle of Diego Garcia.

Wipeout!

profitsbeard on July 18, 2007 at 11:53 AM

But I thought the surge was a failure?? Oh, how the loony left make me laugh..and cry.

Another one for the good guys..god bless our troops.

j0 on July 18, 2007 at 11:56 AM

hope he’s being water boarded right now

Locrian on July 18, 2007 at 11:57 AM

Excellent work,one down and (hopefully not)
a million to go.

canopfor on July 18, 2007 at 12:03 PM

Dang. My head is spinning from all sock puppetry propoganda. Or is it soze puppetry propoganda?

locomotivebreath1901 on July 18, 2007 at 12:27 PM

Errata: Actually my 1984 comparison is not apt. IIRC Big Brother was a real person in the book, but he had not been seen in years. In fact he had been dead for some time by the time of the events in the book. However the party leadership used his picture along with press releases and rehashed old speeches from him to continue to instill fear in the people of Oceana. All the while it was his subordinates who were running things.

Nothing like that could possibly be associated with the terrorists, could it?

BohicaTwentyTwo on July 18, 2007 at 12:49 PM

Some of these comments remind me of something I said in church the Sunday before shipping out for a full-length deployment a number of years ago:

Tomorrow my shipmates and I are leaving for distant waters to engage and defeat the enemies of liberty. If you follow the recent news, you might think our battle group would be put to better use patrolling the Potomac.

Our lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves for trying so much harder to surrender than to fight. Sadly, it seems that only those without shame are able to be elected anymore.

Freelancer on July 18, 2007 at 1:00 PM

How long till a replacement is named, though.

I feel like I’m getting sucked into the wack-a-mole meme.

congsan on July 18, 2007 at 1:22 PM

The latest spin from cnn.com:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The U.S. military on Wednesday announced the arrest of a senior leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, an insurgent who, the military said, is casting himself as a “conduit” between the top leaders of al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq.

“Arrested!”

A common criminal, a messenger – bail terms were not released.

Heh!

Bacchus on July 18, 2007 at 1:28 PM

Has Reid ignored this at a press conference yet?

PowWow on July 18, 2007 at 3:26 PM

This stuff is great! The Dems have long given up on doing anything; it’s all just political theater now. Get those cameras rolling boys, because the material for attack ads next spring and summer is being created as we watch. These idiots are still running against GW (he’s not running), and playing to the nutroots (can you say, Ned Lamont?), they keep talking about “ending the war” when anyone with the IQ of a fencepost knows that nothing over there will end when we leave. I’ve been trying to figure out what these guys are doing; it’s like they are trying to commit political suicide. The only thing I can think of is that they’ve forgotten that the MSM is now their echo chamber and does not reflect reality. Those polls are rigged to make Bush look bad, guys, that’s not how Americans really feel. John Edwards talks about two Americas–more accurately there are two realities in America. I feel like any day there is going to be a tipping point, for example if the surge continues to produce results, results that even the MSM can’t ignore–hooo boy, there won’t be any cover left for these political geniuses to hide under. What happens if there is an attack in the US, God forbid, or Great Britain, and some swarthy fellow in a keffiyah is announcing from a video, playing 24/7 on every TV in America, that Al Qaeda Iraq claims responsiblity? WHAT??? There is no Al Qaeda in Iraq, remember? AAUUGH!! Almost anything that happens out there in the real world is going to clash with the alternative reality that the Dems have created. When the UN has better grip on reality than the Dems, that ought to be a sign–but no. With blindfolds on, they march proudly toward the edge of the cliff.

smellthecoffee on July 18, 2007 at 3:51 PM