We had a false alarm last month with the leader of AQ in Iraq but that doesn’t mean Rusty’s post was wrong. We do seem to be rolling up an awful lot of Sunni jihadis lately. According to AKI, yesterday’s report about the capture of the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq was wrong: turns out we didn’t get the top guy, we got the second in command. Then, today:
In another development, an official said on Monday that Iraqi and US forces had captured 29 members of Al Qaeda, including a death squad leader. Twenty-two Al Qaeda members, including two brothers of Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi – the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq – were captured on Monday at Baiji, said Interior Ministry Operations Director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf. “We have also arrested the most dangerous man in northern Iraq, Fuad Ahmed Al-Mufraji,” said Khalaf.
And for the cherry on top, Iraqslogger says one Iraqi paper is reporting that al-Baghdadi was captured today in the town of Dora along with four accomplices and that an official announcement is expected shortly.
Exit question: Was the report last month about the capture of AQ leader al-Masri more accurate than we’ve been led to believe? Remember, NBC initially reported that sources told them he was in custody. Then that paragraph disappeared without any acknowledgment that it had been wrong. That’s not terribly surprising for a news organization (e.g., the AP), but NBC got a lot of attention that night; you’d think they’d want to correct the record … unless the record wasn’t wrong and the military had asked them simply to remove it from the report. Richard Miniter’s subsequent report for PJM seemed weird, too. They surrounded a house where they thought al-Masri was hiding, captured a guy whom they thought was him and who had singed off his own fingerprints to obscure his identity — and yet it wasn’t him?
Having al-Masri in custody and sharing intel would help explain how we’re suddenly all over these guys from ISI. And it makes sense that we’d keep it hushed up for as long as possible to maintain our strategic advantage. Although … how long would it be before word got out among the jihadis themselves and then into the press? They’d want each other to know that the infidel has their leader, but then again, maybe they wouldn’t want to publicize that fact lest they hand the U.S. a propaganda victory. I don’t know. What was the exit question again?