Al Qaeda’s War on Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

In 2006 coalition forces intercepted a letter from al Qaeda high command to Zarqawi in Iraq, in which he was urged to stop the violence perpetrated against Sunnis.

“… be humble to the believers, and smile in people’s faces, even if you are cursing them in your heart, even if it has been said that they are “a bad tribal brother,? and what have you.

Among the most crucial of things involved is exercising all caution against attempting to kill any religious scholar or tribal leader who is obeyed, and of good repute in Iraq from among the Sunnis, no matter what. Instead, we should confront anyone evil by many other means of discourse and fervor of speech, and such, and with a bit of wisdom, patience, and deliberateness. We should continue in our jihad, and when God opens the way, and we have the wherewithal, then we can behave differently in accordance with what is appropriate for that time. Perhaps it will be he, himself (the one who was your enemy) who will come to you humbled, belittled, apologizing, frightened, cowering as he asks for forgiveness.?

Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t listen then, and there is evidence that their rampage of violence, mayhem and torture has become their sole tool of insurgency.  In The Anbar Narrative: Part 2, I discussed the fact that Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda have begun a systematic campaign to assassinate police chiefs, police officers, other Interior Ministry officials and tribal leaders throughout Iraq.  This tactic continues, with the recent murder of an Iraqi police lieutenant and wife in Adhamiyah.

The bodies of a murdered Sunni Iraqi police lieutenant and his wife were recovered in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah neighborhood Sep. 25.

The couple had been abducted several days before by Sunni insurgents, said relatives.

The bodies were discovered dumped in a pile of trash beneath a pedestrian overpass in the Sunni-dominated neighborhood of Adhamiyah in Baghdad.

Both victims appeared to have been killed by gunshot wounds to the head.

The police lieutenant also had drill holes in his face that indicate he was tortured before being executed, said 1st Lt. Daniel Lake with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the U.S. unit responsible for security in the Adhamiyah area.

Lake said the lieutenant and his wife – both Sunnis – were most likely targeted by Sunni terrorists associated with Al Qaeda in Iraq or Islamic Government of Iraq because of their involvement with security efforts.

“They killed an upstanding local who was trying to help the Iraqi government defeat terrorists,? Lake said.

Sunni-on-Sunni violence now makes up the majority of violence in northeast Baghdad, following a significant drop in sectarian violence between the Shia and Sunni communities since the Baghdad security plan began, said Lt. Col. David Oclander, executive officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Omar of Iraq the Model published a smart article entitled “Al Qaeda’s War of Villages,” in which he expands the targets to include whole villages of Sunnis.

Apparently this is the latest chapter in al-Qaeda’s war manual in their war against the Iraqi people and the coalition; raiding remote peaceful villages, burning down homes and slaughtering both man and beast.

This campaign I will call a campaign of self-destruction. For probably a year al-Qaeda was trying to build their so called Islamic State in Iraq and several times they declared parts of Baghdad or other provinces as the capital of that state.  But now that they have been losing one base after another their objective changed from adding more towns and villages to the “state” to destroying the very same towns and villages! Obviously it’s all about making headlines regardless of the means to do that!

This change in plans began to take face with the battle between al-Qaeda and the joint forces on September 6-7 in Hor Rijab and then the massacre that followed in the same spot a week later and finally the attacks on other villages north, south and east of Baghdad in the last week or so.

In my opinion al-Qaeda found itself forced to start this villages war. It wasn’t a choice as much as a last resort because villages are among the few fighting spaces that al-Qaeda can still utilize as large cities become increasingly difficult for them to operate in.  They know that without engaging the enemy-that’s us by the way-their existence and influence would end and I’m almost positive that they feel bitter about having to fight this way.

But there are very definite signs that this tactic is backfiring on the insurgency and terrorists at a rate at least proportional to the rate at which they are using it.  Police and community watch groups are forming all across Iraq.

US General Benjamin Mixon said that tribal sheikhs in Tikrit and other regions have started to form police units of tribes in order to fight Al Qaeda. Mixon noted that hundreds of volunteers joined these units in Baquba while similar units are being formed in Miqdadiya village in addition to Tarmiya and Balad where hundreds of inhabitants are protecting their villages.

There are also encouraging signs of an al Qaeda collapse directly from al Qaeda senior leadership, which has suffered another defeat in Iraq with the death of its emir in charge of foreign fighters.

A U.S. airstrike killed one of the most senior al-Qaida leaders in Iraq, a Tunisian linked to the kidnapping and killings last summer of American soldiers, a top commander said Friday.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson said the death of the suspected terrorist in a U.S. airstrike Tuesday south of Baghdad, and recent similar operations against al-Qaida, have left the organization in Iraq fractured.

Abu Osama al-Tunisi was killed along with two other terrorist suspects in a U.S. F-16 strike that dropped two 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a safehouse where they were meeting, said the U.S. Central Command Air Forces.

“Al-Tunisi was one of the most senior leaders … the emir of foreign terrorists in Iraq and part of the inner leadership circle,” Anderson told a Pentagon news conference … “They are very broken up, very unable to mass, and conducting very isolated operations,” he said.  Al-Tunisi’s presence was confirmed by a detainee who had just fled the area before the attack and was captured minutes later, Anderson said.

Investigation at the scene divulged a treasure trove of information concerning how al Qaeda sees its plight in Iraq.  “Following the strike, ground forces secured the area and continued to collect evidence at the scene. One item that was found was a handwritten letter believed to be written by Tunisi. The key points in this handwritten note include: he’s surrounded, communications have been cut, and he is desperate for help.”

Coalition forces, even after having planned and trained for a classical counterinsurgency where the population needed governance and public services, doesn’t have to compete with the insurgency to provide these services.  Al Qaeda continues its campaign of brutality because that is all they know, and the pace appears to be like a light bulb at its brightest, right before it extinguishes.



  • http://www.fumento.com fumento

    As a pessimist, I nonetheless agree AQI appears to be in its twilight. But there are plenty of other groups to contend with . . . (See, told you I was a pessimist!)

  • Pingback: Neocon News » Worthy of Note on Monday

  • Brian H

    A notable correction: AQI’s return attack on Hawr Rijab was even cheaper than it looked. It was entirely virtual! Radio SAWA put out/concocted a story, which was then picked up by other outlets, and, according to Omar, even quoted by MPs. But I have scoured the Web and communicated with MND-PAO, and it is a FALSE STORY! The return attack and massacre of villagers NEVER HAPPENED!

    And I am confident enough now of this conclusion to defy anyone to come up with on-site testimony that it did. (Omar is currently blogging from Columbia University where he has begun a graduate studies program.)

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Well, then so be it. This feeds right into my newest article on the diminution of AQI. They’re singing their last song. They’re finished.

    Now for the Shi’a militia. As for Omar, I followed his travails through Jordan only to return to Iraq. I am glad that he is finally matriculating in the U.S. now.


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This article is filed under the category(s) al Qaeda,Iraq and was published October 1st, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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