November 24, 2004

Biographical Sketches of Terrorist Leaders in Fallujah

I just found this Knight Ridder report in the San Jose Mercury News. It lists the names of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's chief lieutenants and collaboraters in Fallujah. I also found some other stories which gave brief biographical sketches of the leaders of the Islamist insurgency. Very interesting. The leaders mentioned below are: Sheik Abdullah al-Janabi, Omar Hadid, Sheik Zafir al-Ubaidi, Moayed Ahmed Yasseen (aka, Abu Ahmed), and Abu Abdullah Hassan bin Mahmud.

Italics means from the Mercury News:

-Sheik Abdullah al-Janabi, the Emir of Fallujah. A firebrand cleric, he headed the Mujahedeen Shura, the insurgent council that controlled Fallujah for six months. His fate is unknown, but The Washington Post published an interview with him reportedly conducted in Fallujah on Nov. 15.

The Boston Globe adds this about Sheik Abdullah al-Janabi:

Al-Janabi, on the other hand, is a Sufi, a mystical version of the faith that seeks closeness to God through the cleansing of one's soul. Sufis abhor violence, but al-Janabi found in Hadid a like-minded partner as Salafis and Wahhabis began to prevail over Sufis in Fallujah.

''He's a Salafi in a Sufi disguise,'' said one native of Fallujah who says he knew both men.

Al-Janabi even joined Hadid in orchestrating the expulsion of a prominent Sufi cleric and mujahedeen leader, Sheik Dhafer al-Obeidi, from the Shura Council after they became alarmed by his growing popularity, say residents who knew the cleric. Al-Obeidi now lives in hiding abroad.

In 1998, al-Janabi, married with five children, was suspended by Saddam's government from delivering Friday sermons because of his public criticism of government policies. He returned to the pulpit of Fallujah's Saad Bin Abi Waqas mosque after Saddam's ouster, devoting most of his sermons to calling on Iraqis to join in a holy war against the Americans.

Fearing for his safety, he stopped giving Friday sermons after the April fighting.

Residents said al-Janabi never carried a weapon in public, but was frequently seen during the April fighting talking to front-line mujahedeen, exhorting them to fight on and telling them that those who died fighting Islam's enemies would be rewarded with eternity in paradise.

Interesting enough, the KR report leaves out the name of Omar Hadid as one of the terrorist leaders. Here is some information on him from the Boston Globe:
Hadid, an electrician who lived with his mother....Of the two, Hadid, thought to be in his early 30s, appears to have been the more influential, even though al-Janabi, in his 50s, headed the Mujahedeen Shura Council, which set up Islamic courts that meted out Islamic punishments, executed suspected spies and enforced a strict Islamic lifestyle. ....

Hadid led one of the bigger and better armed factions in the city, residents say, but they also stress there were other groups of fighters and all largely operated independently of one another.

Some U.S. and Iraqi officials believe Hadid was close to Jordanian terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose al-Qaida-linked movement allegedly used Fallujah as a headquarters. Al-Zarqawi's group has claimed responsibility for many of the suicide bombings and beheadings of foreign hostages.....

Those who knew him said Hadid came from a lower middle class Fallujah family. Since his father died a few years ago, Hadid had lived with his mother in the family home in the city's al-Moatasim area until the fighting in April. He's married but without children.

About two months ago, one of Hadid's brothers and a nephew were killed by a U.S. airstrike that also injured several other family members, the neighbor said. Hadid escaped with a minor injury, he said.

People who know Hadid differ over the depth and nature of his religious persuasion. Some said he is a Salafi, a conservative sect whose members try to emulate the appearance and behavior of Islam's 7th century prophet, Muhammad. Others said he is a Wahhabi, the austere and radical brand of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia."

-Sheik Zafir al-Ubaidi. A prominent Fallujah cleric, he provided religious guidance to the insurgents' council and issued religious edicts that were enforced with public floggings and, some Fallujah residents said, executions without trial. Rebel sources say al-Ubaidi survived the Fallujah offensive.

-Moayed Ahmed Yasseen, also known as Abu Ahmed. Suspected leader of Mohammed's Army, a group for former intelligence agents, army, security officials and high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's regime, Yasseen has been arrested by the Iraqi government, according to a Nov. 14 announcement.

I previously noted his arrest here. Here is is an excerpt from the Gulf Daily News about Yasseen's arrest:

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said a key militant group and its leadership have been arrested. "The so-called Jaish Mohammed has been arrested...We arrested their leader," he said, identifying him as Moayad Ahmed Yasseen, also known as Abu Ahmed.

Allawi also said the group was known to have co-operated with Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab Al Zarqawi and Al Qaeda and Saddam loyalists. "They were planning to destroy Fallujah... by blowing up important positions," he said.

-Abu Abdullah Hassan bin Mahmud. The leader of Ansar al Sunnah, a deadly group said to include Kurdish Ansar al Islam operatives, foreign Islamic radicals and militant Iraqi Sunnis and allied with al-Zarqawi, Mahmud's whereabouts are unknown. His group has executed several hostages, including 12 Nepalese and 11 Iraqi national guardsmen, and claims about 40 suicide bombings.

Barely a day goes by that the Jawa Report fails to mention Ansar al-Sunnah. If you want to know more about that group, just scroll around the MAIN PAGE or search the site. Search tool is to the left. No biographical information is available on Abu Abdullah Hassan bin Mahmud. If you know anything, please e-mail me.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:58 PM | Comments |