AQI #2 reaches room temperature in Mosul

The world’s worst executive position has become open once again.  US forces in Mosul killed Abu Qaswarah, a Moroccan who served as the second in command for al-Qaeda in Iraq, in a raid following a tip on his location. Also known as Abu Sara, the Moroccan directed the recruitment and importation of foreign fighters into Iraq, and his loss further cripples the terrorist organization in its last stand:

U.S. troops killed Abu Qaswarah, also known as Abu Sara, on Oct. 5 after coming under fire during a raid on a building that served as an al-Qaida in Iraq “key command and control location for” in Mosul, the military said.

Abu Qaswarah — one of five insurgents killed — was later been positively identified, the military said, without elaborating.

The insurgent leader became the senior al-Qaida in Iraq emir of northern Iraq in June 2007 and had “historic ties to AQI founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and senior al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the military said.

It called him “al-Qaida in Iraq’s second-in-command” as the senior operational leader for al-Zarqawi’s successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.

Driscoll said Abu Qaswarah directed the smuggling of foreign terrorists into northern Iraq and reportedly killed those who tried to return to their homelands rather than carry out suicide bombings and other attacks against Iraqis.

His elimination may help speed the exodus of low-level terrorists from Iraq, especially in Mosul.  If Abu Q had to resort to executing deserters to keep his troops in line, morale must have hit an all-time low in AQI anyway.  His death may free many of those disillusioned jihadis to quietly exit the battlefield.

Want to bet that the tip received by the US came from one of the would-be deserters?

We still don’t have al-Masri/al-Mujahir, but we’re getting closer.  And now al-Masri has to start accepting applications for the open position in Mosul while Iraqi and American troops get better and better intel on AQI positions.  Good help is hard to find these days, especially when it’s more likely to kill you than to kill for you.