July 18, 2007
Leader of Islamic State of Iraq Captured, al-Baghdadi is Sock Puppet
I have good new in my inbox this morning. The Islamic State of Iraq has been beheaded. VIA ABCNEWS:
"Al-Mashhadani is believed to be the most senior Iraqi in the al-Qaida in Iraq network," Bergner said. He said al-Mashhadani was a close associate of Abu Ayub al-Masri, the Egyptian-born head of al-Qaida in Iraq.This man was the the leader of the infamous Ansar al-Sunnah before he joined ISI. Ansar al-Sunnah is a particularly brutal group of terrorists who are famous for beheading hostages on video. Personally, knowing we got a leader of Ansar al-Sunnah and the Islamic State of Iraq is the greatest news ever. It's like a two for one sale on terrorist scumbags.
Bergner said al-Mashhadani served as an intermediary between al-Masri and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.
"In fact, communication between the senior al-Qaida leadership and al-Masri frequently went through al-Mashhadani," Bergner said.
"Along with al-Masri, al-Mashhadani co-founded a virtual organization in cyberspace called the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006," Bergner said. "The Islamic State of Iraq is the latest efforts by al-Qaida to market itself and its goal of imposing a Taliban-like state on the Iraqi people."
By golly I was right, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi can be anyone on any day. He has been described a a "phantom" by many including some groups opposed to al-Qaeda's front group. Turns out al-Baghdadi is just another sock puppet on the internet.
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.Hat Tip: Hot Air.
"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.
He said al-Mashhadani was a leader of the militant Ansar al-Sunnah group before joining al-Qaida in Iraq 2 1/2 years ago.
UPDATE by Rusty: Let me add a few words to Howie's post. First, for those of us who have been following the "insurgency" in Iraq, we know just how brutal Ansar al Sunnah was. We remember the dozens and dozens of sickening beheading videos they produced while Al-Mashhadani was with them. One particular moment in their history that stands out was the desecration of the body of Corporal Jeffrey Boskovich. The death sentence is too good for this guy.
It's not clear, to me at least, when al Mashhadani left Ansar al Sunna to join the Mujahidin Shura Council, which later became the fictitious entity called The Islamic State of Iraq. I had noticed a sharp drop in the number of Ansar al Sunna produced videos over the last year. I guess I now know why.
As to the al Qaeda connection, the current debate about al Qaeda in Iraq vs the al Qaeda is stupid and pointless. Those engaged in it --mostly journalists and politicians -- fundamentally misunderstand the global Salafi jihad. These jihadis do not see themselves as "al Qaeda operatives", they see themselves as true Muslims and mujahideen--warriors for God. We could kill every single al Qaeda operative in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, and the global jihad would continue under another banner. Al Mashhadani and the Islamic State of Iraq illustrate the point.
The al Qaeda in Afghanistan sent aid to local Islamists opposed to the secular Kurds who had established an independent region under the U.S. no-fly zone in the North of Iraq. Those local Kurdish and Arab fighters called their group Ansar al-Islam. Al Qaeda's emissary to them was one Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
After the invasion, Ansar al Islam's bases were completely annihilated and its fighters fled to Sunni Arab regions of Iraq. Here, Zarqawi rallied some of the remnant under the banner of Tawhid wal Jihad. Other, mostly Kurdish Islamists, operating around Arabized Kurdish cities, such as Mosul, gathered under the banner of Ansar al Sunnah. But both Tawhid wal Jihad and Ansar al Sunnah had prior contact with and financing from the al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Later, after Zarqawi had become famous for beheading hostages and posting those videos on the internet, he "pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden". But only the ignorant or those with a political agenda would ever suggest that Zarqawi wasn't already a member of al Qaeda before he ever got to Iraq. "Al Qaeda in the Land of Two Rivers (Iraq)" may have been born at that moment, but clearly the two groups were linked prior to that time.
After Zarqawi's death, al Qaeda in Iraq decided it needed to rebrand itself. Some will recall that Zawahiri had castigated Zarqawi for too many brutal beheading videos, especially of civilians. It just didn't look good to the consuming public. So, after Zarqawi died, al Qaeda formed The Mujahideen Shura Council. (MSC) A "shura council" is an Islamic court and ruling body, thus legitimizing the many murders carried out by al Qaeda as the implementation of Islamic law.
When nobody bought the MSC, they came up with the Islamic State in Iraq and its fictitious leader. But, in the end, the Islamic State of Iraq is really the Mujahidin Shura Council, which is really al Qaeda in Iraq, which is really Tawhid wal Jihad and Ansar al Sunnah, which is really Ansar al Islam, which is really al Qaeda. Different names, same goals and methods.
I'm happy this piece of human filth is captured, I'll be even more happy when he is hanged. For more on this see Bill Roggio.
Video celebration and more below.
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