May 1, 2007

"There were clashes within the groups of al-Qaeda. He was liquidated by them."

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is -- it's reported -- dead.
US officials have long talked of friction between al-Qaeda and other Sunni insurgent groups. The reported killing would suggest there are real tensions for US and Iraqi officials to exploit, our correspondent says....

Even if Masri is dead, it would be premature to expect a sudden drop in violence, our correspondent says. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has become far more decentralised and therefore less dependent on the leadership of any one individual.
But if it's "decentralised" in a way that has them killing each other, that's a good thing.

37 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

Have to wait for more information before we can eploit any seam. Depends on the reason he was killed. AQ in Iraq has been really brutal in its attempts to create more sectarian violence.
Maybe another group killed him for that, maybe because AQ hurts the overall insurgent message, maybe its a pro-government or pro-peace faction like in Anbar, maybe it was for the 5 million. Who knows.

Roger said...

Not a lot of job security as CEO of Al-Queda in Iraq!

Couple of thoughts: 5 million bounty on his head may have been a pretty tempting offer; or the whole issue of blood feuds in Iraq as AQ has reportedly been attacking sunnis, and in that area, AQ may have simply killed the wrong sunni family person and got whacked as pay back.

Whatever: good riddance

Simon said...

Why is anyone still using that awful Stalinist euphemism "liquidated" when they mean "murdered"?

Sloanasaurus said...

Having your leaders constantly dying cannot be a very good recruitment tool. Especially when you hear that your enemy will be more than just American soldiers - it could be anyone...any of the people in Iraq. Do you still get the 72 virgins if you die in a firefight with Iraqi housemoms.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

John said...

What is interesting is that this guy arrived and began setting up Al Quada cells in Iraq in 2002. That is right 2002, before the invasion!! But of course Saddam and Al Quada were sworn enemeies. Morons in the media create a meta story, Saddam was not a threat to anyone, that confirms the prejudices and desires of morons in the public, Bush lied, people died, the invastion was evil and about oil, blah blah blah, and the facts be damned.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I like "liquidated" in a context like this. It evokes Stalin.

Tim said...

"Even if Masri is dead, it would be premature to expect a sudden drop in violence, our correspondent says. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has become far more decentralised and therefore less dependent on the leadership of any one individual."

Decentralization is both good and bad - good in that the scale of attacks are likely to be smaller, but bad in that they'll be more numerous and harder to stamp out.

More the reason, of course, to surrender to al Qaeda and abandon Iraq to its fate, since, after all, the war is already lost. And it's not like losing to al Qaeda in Iraq will spawn any more decentralized al Qaeda cells outside of Iraq since, don't we all know, losing in Iraq will make us stronger elsewhere.

Patrick said...

I like "liquidated" in a context like this. It evokes Stalin.

To me it invokes the Mob more than Stalin. Makes it all seem less Civil War like and much more gangland.

But, the whole decentralized comment makes me think less of the Godfather and more of LA street gangs. Any word on if al-Qaeda wears red and the Sunni insurgent groups wear blue?

Bruce Hayden said...

ScrappleFace: Reid: Bush Must Halt Slaying of Terrorist Leaders:

As unconfirmed news broke that the chief of al-Qaeda in Iraq may have been killed in a battle with a rival terror group, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on President George Bush to step in and halt the slaying of terror leaders.

It’s a known fact that every time a terror leader is killed, another rises to take his place,” said Sen. Reid. “Therefore, the only way to stop the spawning of new terror leaders is to halt the slaying of the current ones.

Hoosier Daddy said...

USA Today has an interesting article on the front page which talks about one US Army colonel who has been forging close relationships with Sunni shieks which have been turning on the AQ elements in Anbar.

Who knows, perhaps the Sunnis are helping foment fissures in AQ itself as well.

Roger said...

I have lost the bubble on the "civil war in Iraq." Is it still on? Seems to have dropped off the talking points lists.

I dont think you have to be George Tenant and the CIA to figure out that the AQ strategy of trying incite a civil war is most definitely not going to win any supporters among Iraqis--and were their efforts successful, the Shiia would emerge as victors, the Sunnis completely wiped out or exiled, the Kurds in a position to declare their independence , and Iran left as the biggest potential winner. And I dont think there is any love lost between hezbollah type shiia organizations and al queda type sunni organizations. While AQ is clearly achieving some success with respect to US attitudes about the war, it may very well be a phyrric victory.

Pogo said...

This must be a mistake.

Everyone knows al Qaeda has nothing to do with Iraq.

Tim said...

"I dont think you have to be George Tenant and the CIA to figure out that the AQ strategy of trying incite a civil war is most definitely not going to win any supporters among Iraqis--and were their efforts successful, the Shiia would emerge as victors, the Sunnis completely wiped out or exiled, the Kurds in a position to declare their independence , and Iran left as the biggest potential winner."

That was never their intent. Al Qaeda knows something the Democrats cannot know - that they cannot win in Iraq as long as we are there. So they sought to incite civil war to prolong the war to exhaust our political will to win. And, without firing a shot in the U.S., they succeeded - probably sooner than they anticipated. The Democrats in Congress are happily moving heaven and earth to give al Qaeda in Iraq the one needful thing they cannot achieve on the battlefield - victory over the U.S.

Roger said...

Tim: I agree that the tactic was aimed at getting the US out--and it looks like they do understand the limited patience of the Americans. It looks like that tactic is starting to backfire, if it was, in fact, Sunnis who whacked this guy--for whatever reason. And I never figured out what AQ would have gained by driving the US out of Iraq other than garnering some additional support among "the Arab Street" in the rest of the Sunni world. The rulers of those Arab states would undoubtedly mark the event and cracked down even harder on internal dissent. (viz the saudis on the alleged oil field plot).

It is looking like (to me, anyway) AQ is going to be a dead end group, capable only of inflicting terror on innocents and isnt going to achieve any long term objectives.

perhaps I am making too much out of one event, but the situation clearly bears watching.

Balfegor said...

Re: Monkeyboy:
Have to wait for more information before we can eploit any seam. Depends on the reason he was killed.

Or if he even was. I don't think we have confirmation yet.

Re: Roger:
I agree that the tactic was aimed at getting the US out--and it looks like they do understand the limited patience of the Americans.

This is one of the ironies in the situation in Iraq -- to the extent people fighting against us are fighting because they want us to leave, they really shot themselves in the foot years ago. If they'd just managed to keep quiet for a year or two, we'd have been mostly gone in late 2004, early 2005, apart from a garrison force like the one we have in Korea (~40,000 soldiers), probably even smaller, given Rumsfeld's preference for a light footprint. Then they wouldn't have to deal with us now.

Too many jims said...

John said...
What is interesting is that this guy arrived and began setting up Al Quada cells in Iraq in 2002. That is right 2002, before the invasion!! But of course Saddam and Al Quada were sworn enemeies.


His presence in Iraq prior to the war does not disprove that "Saddam and Al Quada were sworn enemies." Personally, I believe that there were some contacts between Saddam's government and Al Qaeda (though I think the contacts and support paled in comparison to our friends the Saudis) but Al Masri's presence in Iraq, by itself, is not evidence of that.

Synova said...

Saddam and Al Qaida might not have been buddies, but sworn enemies seems an enormous, unsupportable, stretch.

Iran and Al Qaida are "enemies" too, and Iran has been helping AQ in Iraq. The enemy of my enemy, and all that.

And... "If they'd just managed to keep quiet for a year or two, we'd have been mostly gone in late 2004,.."

So true. What idiots.

Andy said...

Ann said:

But if it's "decentralised" in a way that has them killing each other, that's a good thing.

Yes, and a broken clock is right twice a day. We (or the Iraqi government) need to control who is killing who. That's the first step towards stability. The fact that our own military targets are now getting taken out by we-don't-even-know-who is NOT a good thing.

Tim said:

That was never their intent. Al Qaeda knows something the Democrats cannot know - that they cannot win in Iraq as long as we are there. So they sought to incite civil war to prolong the war to exhaust our political will to win.

I think conservatives here are falling into the same trap that liberals generally fall into of assuming that the US is the center of the world and the reason that everything happens. I don't believe that AQ is inciting a civil war to get the US out or Iraq. AQ, and every other insurgent group, are 'inciting' aka waging a civil war to establish control over what is now the biggest power vacuum in the middle east. Why? The same reason every war is fought: to get the spoils.

Fen said...

TooManyJims: His presence in Iraq prior to the war does not disprove that "Saddam and Al Quada were sworn enemies."

Sworn enemies. I guess thats why Saddam and Al Queda negotiated a non-aggression pact....

Fen said...

...assuming that the US is the center of the world and the reason that everything happens. I don't believe that AQ is inciting a civil war to get the US out or Iraq.

Al Queda's stated goal is to drive the US out of the middle east. Why do you think that is?

Kirk said...

Re Sadaam and AQ:

"The enemy of my enemy is [temporarily] my friend."

Nice to see this working to our advantage for a change.

Cedarford said...

Abu Ayyub al-Masri is dead. OK, there will be a new guy soon to replace him as he relaced Zarqawi.

The US is finally, slowly waking up to the fact we face a decentralized enemy of radical Islamoids in some 120 countries, including our own. It's an ideology, not an assortment of highly centralized crime bosses where "taking out Mr. Big Cheese" has any great impact.
It is an ideological struggle that must be waged with economic, diplomatic, strategic communications, intelligence tools as well as military ones...and requires the USA once again gather up allies...

Liberals are even slower to learn as they continue to berate Bush for not invading nuclear Pakistan to "take out bin Laden" and end Islamic terrorism..by "decapitating" Al-Qaeda.

It just doesn't work that way.

Invading Pakistan would result in massive casualties for us. While it would be enjoyable purely from a revenge standpoint to kill Osama (no one is seriously thinking of capturing the guy and having a 5-year long trial process with dozens of ACLU types defending him) - "getting" Binnie is an intelligence and diplomatic function, not a military invasion one.
And just killing Binnie would have little impact on the 60 or so radical Islamoid terror groups now operating or the Internet netcentric efforts of unaffiliated Jihadis seeking spontaneous Jihad from coalescing small groups of radical Islamoids or even committed individuals..

Too many jims said...

Fen,

First, if you read what I wrote you will see that I put the following in quotations: "Saddam and Al Quada were sworn enemies." The reason for that is that those words were used by John and I was responding to something he wrote. He used the term "sworn enemies" (facetiously, I think), take it up with him. (You will also notice in the quotation marks I kept his spelling for AQ ("Al Quada") though I tend to use Al Qaeda.)

Second, do you believe that Al Masri's presence in Iraq before Saddam's fall, by itself, suggests or proves that Al Qaeda and Saddam were allied?

Roger said...

Tim: inciting a civil war doesnt make too much sense from my admittedly US point of view: Shiia on sunni is going to result in the extermination of sunnis, probably and independent kurdistan, and a iranian-iraqi shiia win. I don't think there are any spoils to be won for AQ other than trying to gain support from sunnis outside the area.

I am beginning to think AQ is not nearly as smart as some have been alleged--Apparently this Al Masri guy was quite capable from a military standpoint and had healed some of the rifts created by the thug Zarqawi. His death may be a blow to AQ in Iraq.

Fen said...

TooManyJims: First, if you read what I wrote you will see that I put the following in quotations: "Saddam and Al Quada were sworn enemies."

Yah I know. I wasn't challenging you directly, just putting it out there that Saddam and AQ did indeed negotiate a non-aggression pact. Some here are ignorant of that.

Second, do you believe that Al Masri's presence in Iraq before Saddam's fall, by itself, suggests or proves that Al Qaeda and Saddam were allied?

Allied? Of course not. But Masri did not operate in Iraq without Saddam's permission.

Fen said...

Cederford: And just killing Binnie would have little impact on the 60 or so radical Islamoid terror groups now operating

Agreed. I want OBL for reasons of vengence, but he's jsut a figurehead - taking him down will have little impact on AQ operations.

Too many jims said...

Fen said...
But Masri did not operate in Iraq without Saddam's permission.


Can you please point me to the source for this conclusion?

Fen said...

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/328youfz.asp

Cedarford said...

Even from a revenge standpoint in their "getting bin Laden is the only important thing!!!" stance, you have to wonder about the Lefties. They have staked their position that military tribunals are evil, interrogation is evil, terrorists have deep human rights and civil liberties....and show absolutely no eagerness at all to try the man behind 9/11. Not bin Laden, but Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who thought it up, planned every detail, and lead the whole operation after getting a "make it so" approval from Binnie.

We have had the guy since 2003.

Lefties who beg to "get" bin Laden so we can "have a huge trial in NYC" don't say much about trying the Mastermind. I think deep down they know the US criminal justice system is not up to the job, would take years, and embarass itself repeatedly with enemy-loving ACLU collaborating to give the guy a propaganda stage and help Khalid discredit America. A half-nuts 3rd rate terrorist named Zacarias Moussaoui dragged his trial out 4 years, cost the US taxpayers 38 million bucks so far, and hasn't even started his appeals process.

Plus for the non-enemy lovers but devoted Bush-bashers in the mainstream Democratic, Independent, and Republican ranks - ample fear exists that a civilian trial would reveal vital intelligence secrets, likely end up with some jury member convinced Khalid's father mistreated him and not voting for death.

I want that NYC civilian trial. I think it will be a total clusterf**k. Outside the Euroweenies and the American enemy-lovers, I doubt there will be much sympathy for poor Khalid being sternly talked to, even waterboarded to save tens of thousands of lives from his 6 other plots then underway. I want that trial to once again show how terrible a venue civilian justice is for trying unlawful enemy combatant terrorists. I want the vaunted jury system to once again fail as it did with the 1993 WTC bombers and with Moussaoui and blink at giving the guy death...

A trial for KSM would be a wonderful repudiation.

Too many jims said...

Fen,

Thanks for the link. It provides a fairly decent circumstantial case for the proposition that al Zarqawi was in Iraq with Saddam's tacit approval. The link, however, says considerably less about al Masri. I suppose one could say "I believe the circumstantial case that Saddam gave tacit approval to Zarqawi, ergo he must have given tacit approval for Masri to be in Iraq because they appear to have been associates before the fall of Saddam." [As an aside, I would note that the link does call into question your contention that there was a pact between Saddam and AQ at least insofar as one associates AQ with OBL.]

This "Weekly Standard" piece (from today) does a better job (in my opinion) of laying out the circumstantial case for the connection between Masri and Saddam's Iraq. Even then the writer doesn't say the connections are proved, instead he writes: "It strains credulity to imagine that all of this was going on without, at the very least, Saddam's tacit approval." [I'll leave it to others here to argue over what it means for a writer at the Weekly Standard to say that something "strains credulity" when the topic at hand is Iraq.]

As I said previously, I believe that there were contacts between Saddam's Iraq and Al Qaeda (though I would reiterate that I believe any support from Saddam's pales in comparison to the support received from the government of our friends the Saudis). That said, I don't think that Masri showing up in Baghdad in 2002 is proof of it. By the middle of 2002, Saddam had far more pressing matters to concern himself with than a few (or a few dozen or hundred or that matter) AQ operatives running around in Baghdad.

trev said...

Good God, you people are so misinformed. ABC is reporting that there is no verification of his death and that it is part of a misinformation campaign.
Try turning FOX off and learn something.

Too many jims said...

"There were clashes within the groups of al-Qaeda."

When I first read the headline I immediately thought of this scene from "Life of Brian."

"Listen. If you really wanted to join the P.F.J., you'd have to really hate the Romans. . . Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the [expletive]ing Judean People's Front."

Revenant said...

Good God, you people are so misinformed. ABC is reporting that there is no verification of his death and that it is part of a misinformation campaign.
Try turning FOX off and learn something.


Fox has the same news that the BBC and ABC have -- that the death reports have not yet been confirmed or refuted. In any case, a person who equates blind acceptance of ABC news broadcasts with "learning something" probably shouldn't lecture anyone else about being misinformed. :)

Methadras said...

With respect to the surge, I hope that Patraeus and his full compliment of officers will be able to exploit this as well. Considering the surge hasn't even been fully staffed, I remain cautiously optimistic that this will be the case.

the insurgency is and has been fractured for a long time. it's not very cohesive and there are a myriad to competing groups trying to get their caliphate message out, but AQ has more prominence.

Also, let's remember that any arab who thinks martyrdom is actually a legitimate state of being is sorely mistaken. Ask yourselves this, when was the last time you saw the stunning arab hordes singing the praises of Zarqawi after his death?

Fen said...

TooManyJims: I suppose one could say "I believe the circumstantial case that Saddam gave tacit approval to Zarqawi, ergo he must have given tacit approval for Masri to be in Iraq because they appear to have been associates before the fall of Saddam."

Yah, thats about right. I admit its an assertion. Another is that a dictator like Saddam had hyper-control of what terrorist groups were allowed sanctuary within his realm. Wish I had better info for you, maybe State or Defense will turn up something on this [if its not classified] now that its spotlighted. But thanks for being objective instead of scoring coup here.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Good God, you people are so misinformed. ABC is reporting that there is no verification of his death and that it is part of a misinformation campaign.

Easy Tiger. The champagne is still corked. We've been down this road several times before. Waiting for confirmation, fingers crossed.

But also know that we often do our own bit of misinformation re terrorist leaders captured/killed. The 24 hours after such an announcement provides a wealth of intel, as the AQ underlings scurry around trying to make sense of it [break cover, out themselves on cell phones, jocky for leadership position, launch reckless feeble attacks for revenge, etc].

BTW, you want us to kill Masri right? Just checking..