Archive for the 'Ansar al Sunna' Category



The Enemy Reacts to “The Surge”

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 2 months ago

Al Qaeda has released a video where Ayman al-Zawahiri mocks the increased troop presence in Iraq, asking Bush “why send 20,000 only – why not send 50 or 100 thousand? Aren’t you aware that the dogs of Iraq are pining for your troops’ dead bodies?.?

The Sadrists have hinted that they will not engage U.S. forces in direct combat unless provoked.  One mid-level commander is quoted as saying that “our top leadership has told us to lay low and not confront the Americans. But if Sadr City is attacked, if civilians are hurt, we will ignore those orders and take matters in our own hands. We won’t need orders from Sheik Muqtada.”

In recent news, combined U.S. and Iraqi forces have detained more than 600 Mahdi militia in recent action, and combined Iraqi and US forces have carried out 52 operations in the past 45 days focused on the JAM, or Mahdi Army, and 42 operations targeting Sunni extremists.

AQI is leaving Baghdad and surrounding areas and is headed towards the Diyala Province.  Al-Masri has sent unequivocal orders for their retreat, adding that one of the lessons from the Fallujah campaign was that Americans have learned how to prevail in house-to-house fighting. Masri said that remaining in Baghdad was a ‘no-win situation’ for the terrorists.

In spite of the fact that Ahmadinejad’s days may be numbered because of political problems at home, Iran is strategically deploying its forces in Iraq for a battle with U.S. forces and the Sunnis.  Anonymous sources inside the Defense Ministry had told the Fatihoon website that the Badr Brigade is on high alert under orders from Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim in anticipation of a U.S. assault after the detention of two Iranian officials in Erbil and the closure of the Shalamcha border crossing. The sources alleged that dozens of Iranian Intelligence officers were taking positions around Baghdad, in Salman Pak, Hilla and Kut, in preparation for an attack to drive out the remaining Sunni population from districts on the Rusafa side, east of Baghdad, in order to assume full control by Shi’ite political parties loyal to Iran.

It is alleged that U.S. intelligence has convinced Maliki that the Mahdi militia is infiltrated by death squads, and Sadr has been said to have ordered his bloc of ministers back to work.  This might be an attempt by al Sadr to parse support within the Maliki administration, stalling U.S. and Iraqi intervention into the affairs of the Mahdi army until coalition forces stand down months from now.

The U.S. continues tough talk towards Iran, as a U.S. State Department official ruled out talks with Iran and said Tuesday that a second U.S. aircraft carrier strike group now steaming toward the Middle East is Washington’s way of warning Tehran not to challenge America.  The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group deployed to join the Navy’s 5th Fleet on Saturday and is expected to arrive in the region in mid-February, bringing an additional 5,600 personnel and 85 aircraft to the Persian Gulf area. The USS Stennis flagship and its four to six auxiliary vessels will join the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group that has been patrolling the region since October 2006. In total, Central Command, soon to be headed by Admiral William J. Fallon, will have approximately 150 aircraft at its disposal.

Iran believes that a U.S. attack on its nuclear facilities is a likely as not, and preparation for such an event continues unabated.  Even though Ahmadinejad is currently sustaining domestic criticism of the approach he has taken to defending the nuclear program, the criticism has not gone so far as to deny that Iran has a right to pursue such a program.

The situation on the ground in Iraq is dynamic and complex.  AQI has fled to safer locations in Iraq, choosing to live and fight another day rather than take on U.S. forces house-to-house.  The Sadrists are standing down and rejoining the political scene, in the hopes that they can wait out the U.S. forces.  Iranian intelligence officers have taken up positions to sustain and increase Iranian influence, probably with the Badr Brigade at their disposal.  Ansar al Sunna still operates in the Anbar Province, recently graduating snipers from their sniper brigade school in Haditha.  It is not obvious what the disposition of 600 members of the Mahdi army will bring, as all levels of the Iraqi government have been compromised by sectarian loyalties.  Further, with AQI fleeing to Diyala and the Sadrists standing down (and melting into the population) unless there is a direct attack on Sadr city, the strategy for confronting them is questionable.

The situation in the region is no less complicated, with the Syrian and Iranian borders still open and porous, and with both Iranian intelligence officers and the Badr Brigrade on the loose inside Iraq’s borders.  Iran has recently conducted war games, and continues preparations for strikes on its nuclear facilities, while the U.S. warns Iran – to no avail – to stop meddling in the affairs of Iraq.

The year 2007 will see the resolution of the counterinsurgency in Iraq (win or lose), the end of the effort to bring stabilization to Iraq, and the disposition of the issue of overt Iranian influence in the region.  It will be a remarkable and significant year.

The Enemy Reacts to “The Surge”

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 2 months ago

Al Qaeda has released a video where Ayman al-Zawahiri mocks the increased troop presence in Iraq, asking Bush “why send 20,000 only – why not send 50 or 100 thousand? Aren’t you aware that the dogs of Iraq are pining for your troops’ dead bodies?.?

The Sadrists have hinted that they will not engage U.S. forces in direct combat unless provoked.  One mid-level commander is quoted as saying that “our top leadership has told us to lay low and not confront the Americans. But if Sadr City is attacked, if civilians are hurt, we will ignore those orders and take matters in our own hands. We won’t need orders from Sheik Muqtada.”

In recent news, combined U.S. and Iraqi forces have detained more than 600 Mahdi militia in recent action, and combined Iraqi and US forces have carried out 52 operations in the past 45 days focused on the JAM, or Mahdi Army, and 42 operations targeting Sunni extremists.

AQI is leaving Baghdad and surrounding areas and is headed towards the Diyala Province.  Al-Masri has sent unequivocal orders for their retreat, adding that one of the lessons from the Fallujah campaign was that Americans have learned how to prevail in house-to-house fighting. Masri said that remaining in Baghdad was a ‘no-win situation’ for the terrorists.

In spite of the fact that Ahmadinejad’s days may be numbered because of political problems at home, Iran is strategically deploying its forces in Iraq for a battle with U.S. forces and the Sunnis.  Anonymous sources inside the Defense Ministry had told the Fatihoon website that the Badr Brigade is on high alert under orders from Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim in anticipation of a U.S. assault after the detention of two Iranian officials in Erbil and the closure of the Shalamcha border crossing. The sources alleged that dozens of Iranian Intelligence officers were taking positions around Baghdad, in Salman Pak, Hilla and Kut, in preparation for an attack to drive out the remaining Sunni population from districts on the Rusafa side, east of Baghdad, in order to assume full control by Shi’ite political parties loyal to Iran.

It is alleged that U.S. intelligence has convinced Maliki that the Mahdi militia is infiltrated by death squads, and Sadr has been said to have ordered his bloc of ministers back to work.  This might be an attempt by al Sadr to parse support within the Maliki administration, stalling U.S. and Iraqi intervention into the affairs of the Mahdi army until coalition forces stand down months from now.

The U.S. continues tough talk towards Iran, as a U.S. State Department official ruled out talks with Iran and said Tuesday that a second U.S. aircraft carrier strike group now steaming toward the Middle East is Washington’s way of warning Tehran not to challenge America.  The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group deployed to join the Navy’s 5th Fleet on Saturday and is expected to arrive in the region in mid-February, bringing an additional 5,600 personnel and 85 aircraft to the Persian Gulf area. The USS Stennis flagship and its four to six auxiliary vessels will join the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group that has been patrolling the region since October 2006. In total, Central Command, soon to be headed by Admiral William J. Fallon, will have approximately 150 aircraft at its disposal.

Iran believes that a U.S. attack on its nuclear facilities is a likely as not, and preparation for such an event continues unabated.  Even though Ahmadinejad is currently sustaining domestic criticism of the approach he has taken to defending the nuclear program, the criticism has not gone so far as to deny that Iran has a right to pursue such a program.

The situation on the ground in Iraq is dynamic and complex.  AQI has fled to safer locations in Iraq, choosing to live and fight another day rather than take on U.S. forces house-to-house.  The Sadrists are standing down and rejoining the political scene, in the hopes that they can wait out the U.S. forces.  Iranian intelligence officers have taken up positions to sustain and increase Iranian influence, probably with the Badr Brigade at their disposal.  Ansar al Sunna still operates in the Anbar Province, recently graduating snipers from their sniper brigade school in Haditha.  It is not obvious what the disposition of 600 members of the Mahdi army will bring, as all levels of the Iraqi government have been compromised by sectarian loyalties.  Further, with AQI fleeing to Diyala and the Sadrists standing down (and melting into the population) unless there is a direct attack on Sadr city, the strategy for confronting them is questionable.

The situation in the region is no less complicated, with the Syrian and Iranian borders still open and porous, and with both Iranian intelligence officers and the Badr Brigrade on the loose inside Iraq’s borders.  Iran has recently conducted war games, and continues preparations for strikes on its nuclear facilities, while the U.S. warns Iran – to no avail – to stop meddling in the affairs of Iraq.

The year 2007 will see the resolution of the counterinsurgency in Iraq (win or lose), the end of the effort to bring stabilization to Iraq, and the disposition of the issue of overt Iranian influence in the region.  It will be a remarkable and significant year.

Conferences, Security and Propaganda: Maliki and Ansar Al-Sunnah

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 4 months ago

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki initiated and led a national reconciliation conference on Saturday, November 16, that was praised by the Bush administration.  “We firmly believe that national reconciliation is the only guaranteed path toward security, stability and prosperity. The alternative, God forbid, is death and destruction and the loss of Iraq,” Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in his opening remarks.  But some media reports are saying the conference was sunk by no-shows.  Al-Sadr’s bloc said it was boycotting the two-day meeting, as did two major Sunni groups and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite.  “There is no point in holding these conferences … because the situation is getting worse,” said Al-Sadr’s spokesman, Firas al-Mitairi.

The army of Ansar al-Sunnah was dealt a significant military blow by the capture of eleven senior level military leaders of AAS around the end of November, and AAS apparently responded by issuing eight communiqués between Tuesday, November 28, 2006, and Thursday, November 30, claiming responsibility for attacks targeting American forces.  AAS has specifically responded to the claims by the coalition that its leaders had been arrested by issuing another press release on December 7 denying these reports.  In this same press release AAS finds that the Baker-Hamilton report recommendations will be “unsuccessful.”

In response to Maliki’s reconciliation conference, AAS issued a press release on December 18 that ridiculed Maliki’s conferences as ”desperate.”

The group reminds of Maliki’s appearances in meetings and discussion broadcast by satellite media channels, stating that he made a “mockery? of the Sunni people during U.S.-led attacks in al-Qaim, Haditha, and al-Ramadi, and is now reaching out for their support. Sunni blood which has been spilled by the “Crusaders? and Shi’ites is sworn to not be in vain, and Ansar al-Sunnah promises nothing but the “sword? against their enemy. Alertness is advised by the group, and Sunni people are called to not be enticed by politicians’ promises and “sweet talk? because it is wicked: “A believer does not get bitten twice from the same snake?.

Many hopes had been pinned on this reconciliation conference.  But once again, population security proves itself to be paramount in establishing the pre-conditions for effecting political solutions.  Violent crime exists in New York, Detroit, Los Angeles and Chicago.  But there is a general belief that law enforcement does not have their loyalties split between rival gangs.  In order to understand what the general population must feel like, imagine your family in danger from a gang member in down town Manhattan, and imagine that when you call the police for help, you don’t know which police will show up: the ones loyal to the gang or the ones loyal to families.  Now, imagine that someone is building a better water tower and installing a more reliable stepdown transformer for your neighborhood.

How much difference do you think this stepdown transformer will make to your wife?

Ansar al Sunna Capture to Aid Eventual al Qaeda Demise

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 4 months ago

In Ansar al Sunna Leadership: U.S. Forces Net Big Insurgent Catch, I discussed the coup that had been accomplished against what might be the most significant insurgent group in Iraq.  In Failure of Main Stream Media to Report Huge Victory Against Insurgents, I discussed how the MSM had utterly failed to understand or report the significance of this.  The Multi-National Force Web Site is now fully engaged in the story (why so late?), and is giving us some of the details of the story.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – On Wednesday, the Government of Iraq released the names and photos of several suspected senior-level Ansar al Sunna emirs who were captured by Coalition Forces during a series of raids in mid-November.

The AAS network is responsible for improvised explosive device attacks and suicide attacks on Iraqi government, Coalition Forces and Iraqi civilians.  The AAS network is also responsible for multiple kidnappings, small arms attacks and other crimes in the central and northern part of Iraq. 

One terrorist emir, Abu Mohammed aka Ismail, AAS Emir of Yusifiyah was killed during a raid late November.

The suspected Ansar al Sunna emirs who were captured are:

National level:

- Ramadan Muhammad Salih Ahmad (Bilbas) aka Abu Mustafa, AAS Emir of Iraq.  Abu Mustafa is a founding member of AAS.
- Taha Ahmad Pir-Dawud Ahmad (Surchi), aka Hajji Sa’id, Senior AAS representative and al-Qaida facilitator.
- ‘Adnan ‘Abdallah ‘Alaywi Muhammad (al-‘Ithawi), aka Abu Jaffar, AAS Secretary.  He was Abu Mustafa’s personal assistant and he was responsible for arranging AAS senior-level meetings.

Regional level:

- Hatim Abd-al-Ghafar Muslim Muhammad (al Shimar), aka Abu Taha, AAS Emir of Al Qa’im and Western al Anbar.  He allegedly was a Colonel in the Iraqi Army before the war.
- ‘Abd-al-Basit ‘Abd-al-Razzaq Hasan ‘Ali (al-‘Abbasi), aka Abu Asim, AAS Emir of Tikrit.
- ‘Ali Hasayn ‘Ali “Abdallah (Zandi), aka Abu Bandar, AAS Emir of Baqubah.
- Amjad ‘Abd-al-Sattar Muhammad ‘Ali (al-Ta’i), aka Abu Najila, AAS Emir of Ramadi and Eastern al Anbar.
- Sa’id Jasim Muhammad Khudayyir al-Jadid (al-Juwaynat), aka Abu Sayf, AAS Emir of Bayji.
- Husayn Khudayyir ‘Abbas Majid (al-Zubaydi), aka Abu Husayn, AAS Emir of Bazayiz.
- Salih Khudayyir Salman Jadi (al-Juburi), aka Sajad, AAS Emir of Fallujah.

This is another step closer to defeating al-Qaida in Iraq and helping establish a safe and peaceful Iraq.  Coalition Forces will continue to target not only senior al-Qaida in Iraq leaders, but all associated terrorist movements like Ansar Al Sunna.

What they are not telling you is just how this relates to al Qaeda.  I had known some of the relationship, but in posting originally on this, Michael Ledeen saw some inaccuracies and, by use of one of his contacts, gave me the correct scoop.  I thought I would provide you with it below, citing from my original post linked above.

“Ansar al-Islam was formed out of a merger of the majority Kurdish groups Hamas (inspired by but not identical to the Palestinian group of the same name), Second Soran Unit, and al-Tawhid. I think September 2001 was the last time that they were majority Kurdish, because after that they started receiving a heavy influx of “Afghan Arabs? – you know the drill – and they soon outnumbered the original Kurdish fighters.

Fast forward to OIF in 2003. Most of the group is killed by the US and the battered remnants flee to Iran. They reorganize under the protection of the IRGC, but there is a lot of internal controversy.

Some members want to go join Zarqawi (AMZ), while others blame him and the international attention he brought to their activities for their current plight. By November 2003, the split finalizes and about half join AMZ while the others go back into Iraq as Jaish Ansar al-Sunnah.

They are pro-AQ but anti-AMZ and keep sending nasty reports back to AQ HQ talking trash on AMZ. Right now with AMZ dead, the major concern is that they will merge with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) since its new supremo doesn’t carry the personal baggage that AMZ did with the Ansar al-Sunnah leaders. If you look at the list of captured or killed AQI leaders that CENTCOM just released, you will note that at least one of them was an Ansar al-Sunnah leader who was discussing such a merger.

AQI has never been majority Kurdish, now or at any time in the past since its formation in October 2004. Its predecessor group al-Tawhid wal Jihad was the same thing, made up primarily of Palestinian Jordanians from AMZ’s Bani Hassan tribe with a healthy sprinkling of international jihadis, mostly Algerians and Saudis. After the capture of Saddam, they were able to use AMZ as an alternate “alpha male? for a lot rank-and-file Baathist henchmen and picked up most of Saddam’s former lapdogs.

Bottom line, the Kurdish component in Iraqi jihadis has always been small and is likely to remain so in the future. The only time when Kurds made up a majority of Iraqi jihadis was when there were only 500-800 of them back in 2001 and most of those are captured or dead.?

 

Ansar al Sunna Leadership: U.S. Forces Net Big Insurgent Catch

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 4 months ago

**** SCROLL FOR UPDATES **** 

The Multi-National Force – Iraq Combined Press Information Center has issued a press release concerning the capture of some high ranking insurgents in Iraq.

“In one week’s time, Coalition Forces captured 11 suspected senior-level terrorists of Ansar al Sunna during a series of raids in north-central Iraq during mid-November.  During the raids, Coalition Forces captured the terrorist emirs of Iraq, Ramadi, Baqubah, Tikrit, al Qa’im, Bayji and Baghdad.  They also captured two terrorist facilitators, a courier, an explosives expert and a financier.  The detention of these terrorists delivers a serious blow to the AAS network that is responsible for improvised explosive device attacks and suicide attacks and on Iraqi government, Coalition Forces and Iraqi civilians.  The AAS network is also responsible for multiple kidnappings, small arms attacks and other crimes in the central and northern part of Iraq.  AAS is considered by some to be a leading terror organization in Iraq … Although some AAS senior leadership allegedly hide in Iran, they continually plan attacks to disrupt Iraqi reconstruction efforts.  This allows the AAS leadership to attempt to disrupt Iraqi reconstruction progress using their followers, while keeping the leadership out of harms way.”

An emir is a chieftan or ruler, and in this case, the military governor of his territory.  Ansar al Sunna is today believed to be the most significant insurgent group in Iraq.  Its core membership is believed to be 500-1000 strong.  Going initially under the name Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), Ansar al-Sunna is an outgrowth of Ansar al-Islam [Defenders of Islam], a group with ties to Iran and which administration officials have linked to al-Qaeda.  Ansar al-Islam grew out of the September 2001 unification of several militant Islamist groups which had taken root in the mountains of northern Iraq along the Iranian border.

Prior to the US occupation of Iraq, Ansar al-Islam based itself in the mountains around Khurmal, a small town three miles from the Iranian border. On March 29, 2003, US Special Forces, coupled with PUK peshmerga, attacked the town, killing or scattering hundreds of fighters. In the wake of the fighting, Ansar al-Islam went underground. Most fled to Iran, which continues to provide safe-haven to a variety of wanted individuals. In February 2004, Kurdish intelligence officials uncovered a cache of Syrian, Yemeni, and Saudi passports – all bearing Iranian entry stamps – in an Ansar al-Islam safe-house on the Iranian side of the border. That the passports have Iranian stamps indicates that the terrorists did not secretly infiltrate into Iran, but entered with the cognizance of the Iranian authorities.

During the summer, the jihadists began infiltrating back to Iraq, often bribing corrupt Kurdish border guards for safe passage. By August, according to American intelligence reports, hundreds of Ansar terrorists had re-entered the country.  There is a connection between them and al Qaeda.  The Kurdish Islamic militants who initially formed Ansar al-Islam dispersed into two different paths.  One path eventually formed Ansar al Sunna, while the other path followed al Zarqawi to form al Qaeda in Iraq.  With the Coalition capture of so many al Qaeda leadership, Ansar al Sunna had emerged as the more significant threat in Iraq.  Unwelcome in more secular Kurdistan, they have appealed to a wider constituency and brought in terrorists from other parts of the world, including Europe.

The methodology of Ansar al Sunna is primarily kidnappings, ambushes, car bombings, and more recently Hamas-like tactics of suicide bombers.  They do not usually engage in direct combat with U.S. forces.  The “Army of Ansar al Sunnah” claims responsibility for assasinations, bombings and violence from Haqlaniyah, to Haditha (in the west) and Mosul and Kirkuk (in the north).  They have been a prolific terror organization, and catching so many senior level leaders of this group is a victory of major proportions.  It is just the kind of thing that will not receive publicity in the main stream media.

Each arrest fed the information flow for subsequent arrests.  “We have caught a lot of the major players from multiple insurgent cells, providing a lot of useful information leading to the capture of more insurgents and the discoveries of their hideouts and weapons caches,? said 1st Sgt. Micheal Green, Company C.  In one extraordinary find, U.S. troops came across a weapons cache that contained so many weapons and so much ammunition that the ordnance disposal team ran out of explosives while destroying the contents of the cache site.

Apparently in response to the capture of its leaders, Ansar al Sunna issued eight communiqués between Tuesday, November 28, 2006, and Thursday, November 30, claiming responsibility for attacks targeting American forces.  But U.S. forces know the significance of the catch.  “It was exciting,? said Staff Sgt. Mica Snell, fire support sergeant, Company C, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. “You fight everyday, and when your spirits are getting low and you find (an insurgent), it brings them back up.?

At a time when Jimmy Carter and Colin Powell are calling for talks with Iran, the details of Iranian involvement as a sponsor of terror should not be lost.

**** UPDATE ****

Michael Ledeen challenged my article regarding the details of Ansar al-Sunna’s relationship with and dependence on the Kurds.  It took a couple of days to track down his contact (who will remain unnamed), but since Michael knows about 100,000 times as much as I do about this subject, I am providing a correction on AAS:

“Ansar al-Islam was formed out of a merger of the majority Kurdish groups Hamas (inspired by but not identical to the Palestinian group of the same name), Second Soran Unit, and al-Tawhid. I think September 2001 was the last time that they were majority Kurdish, because after that they started receiving a heavy influx of “Afghan Arabs” – you know the drill – and they soon outnumbered the original Kurdish fighters.

Fast forward to OIF in 2003. Most of the group is killed by the US and the battered remnants flee to Iran. They reorganize under the protection of the IRGC, but there is a lot of internal controversy.

Some members want to go join Zarqawi (AMZ), while others blame him and the international attention he brought to their activities for their current plight. By November 2003, the split finalizes and about half join AMZ while the others go back into Iraq as Jaish Ansar al-Sunnah.

They are pro-AQ but anti-AMZ and keep sending nasty reports back to AQ HQ talking trash on AMZ. Right now with AMZ dead, the major concern is that they will merge with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) since its new supremo doesn’t carry the personal baggage that AMZ did with the Ansar al-Sunnah leaders. If you look at the list of captured or killed AQI leaders that CENTCOM just released, you will note that at least one of them was an Ansar al-Sunnah leader who was discussing such a merger.

AQI has never been majority Kurdish, now or at any time in the past since its formation in October 2004. Its predecessor group al-Tawhid wal Jihad was the same thing, made up primarily of Palestinian Jordanians from AMZ’s Bani Hassan tribe with a healthy sprinkling of international jihadis, mostly Algerians and Saudis. After the capture of Saddam, they were able to use AMZ as an alternate “alpha male” for a lot rank-and-file Baathist henchmen and picked up most of Saddam’s former lapdogs.

Bottom line, the Kurdish component in Iraqi jihadis has always been small and is likely to remain so in the future. The only time when Kurds made up a majority of Iraqi jihadis was when there were only 500-800 of them back in 2001 and most of those are captured or dead.”


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