July 20, 2007

It's All Qaeda

News of the capture and interrogation of Khalid Abdul Fatah Da’ud Mahmud Al Mashadani, a leader of the "al Qaeda in Iraq" organization seems to have blown a hole in the Democrats' effort to portray the enemy we are fighting in Iraq and the real al Qaeda as somehow being two distinct entities. One, they say, is worth pursuing with vigor (Obama apparently favors invading Pakistan) and the other amounts to a homegrown insurgency which has been re-titled "al Qaeda" by George Bush to justify our continued involvement in his ill-fated (if they have anything to say about it) Iraq campaign.

Bill Roggio has the story...the military one, not the political one.

Mashadani, also known as Abu Shahed, was captured in Mosul and is thought by the U.S. military to be the most senior Iraqi-born leader of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). During Mashadani’s interrogation, the U.S. confirmed the Islamic State of Iraq is an al Qaeda front and that its leader does not really exist.

Mashadani has a long pedigree in Iraq’s Salafist terror networks, and had direct contact with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. “Mashadani was a leader in the Ansar Al Sunna terrorist group before joining AQI two and half years ago,” Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner said in a press briefing. “He served as the al-Qaeda Media Emir for Baghdad and then was appointed the Media Emir for all of Iraq, serving as an intermediary between AQI leader al-Masri, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. In fact, communication between senior al-Qaeda leadership and al-Masri went through Mashadani.”

During interrogations, Mashadani admitted that the Islamic State of Iraq was merely a puppet front group established by al Qaeda in order to put an Iraqi face on the insurgency. Mashadani cofounded the Islamic State of Iraq with al-Masri in 2006. “The Islamic State of Iraq is a ‘front’ organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within AQI in an attempt to put an Iraqi face on the leadership of AQI,” said Brig. Gen Bergner.

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Mashadani said the domestic insurgents groups recognize that al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq are fronts. “The idea of al-Baghdadi is very weak now because other insurgent groups have realized that the concept of al-Baghdadi is controlled by the al-Qaeda foreign fighters in Iraq,” said Mashadani to his interrogators.

Mashadani stated that al Qaeda in Iraq is operationally controlled by foreign fighters, not Iraqi insurgents. “Mashadani confirms that al Masri and the foreign leaders with whom he surrounds himself, not Iraqis, make the operational decisions for AQI,” said Brig. Gen Bergner. “According to Mashadani, in fact, al Masri increasingly relies only on foreigners, who make up the majority of the leadership of AQI. He does not seek or trust the advice of Iraqis in the organization.”

Is this Time.com article a crack in the wall of media silence about real progress under the surge?

Ralph Peters on "Twisting Intel".

Cliff May:

Reporters and other interested parties might spend a few minutes reviewing the latest National Intelligence Estimate. It states unequivocally that al Qaeda in Iraq is al Qaeda’s “most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland” here in the U.S. In plain language: The consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community is that the most dangerous branch of the terrorist organization that attacked American on 9/11/01 is al Qaeda in Iraq.

Hugh Hewitt interviews Gen. Petraeus.

Posted by dan at July 20, 2007 12:34 AM