June 20, 2006
Revenge Killing? Hardly
In the last couple of days, al-Qaeda in Iraq killed one soldier, then kidnapped and killed two others. It's sad but expected: this is a war, and we're fighting terrorists whose interest in killing goes beyond mere revenge or warfare to a bizarre form of ceremonial cleansing and death worship.
The new leader of AQI, Egyptian-born Hamza Muhajir, a close friend of AQ number two Ayman Zawahiri, took credit for the killings. Big Lizards strongly suspects that sending a close friend and ally of Zawahiri to take over the organization founded by the now-dead Zarqawi is Osama bin Laden's and Ayman Zawahiri's way of regaining the control over al-Qaeda that they lost when Zarqawi, for a long time, became the most brutal and efffective player under the al-Qaeda ("the base") banner.
The home office is trying to recapture the rogue branch office. Zawahiri complained to Zarqawi that the latter's obsession with killing Iraqis was destroying the organization in the hearts and minds of Iraqis and even other Arabs. Zawahiri demanded that AQI focus more on killing the "crusaders" (Americans)... and the first set of killings by Muhajir indeed seem to be following the Zawahiri line, not the pattern set by Zarqawi.
It won't last; Zarqawi turned to killing Iraqi civilians because he discovered just how hard it is to kill Americans, and the same dynamic will force Muhajir down the same bloody road.
There is no guarantee the home office will succeed, even if Muhajir can stick to the Zawahiri plan; there are many more local butchers who will fight to keep control of al-Qaeda in Iraq in Iraq, and not let it return to Waziristan (or wherever OSM is hiding) -- though one major ally of Zarqawi, "Sheikh Mansour," was just killed (see below).
Some call the brutal torture-murder of the American soldiers a "revenge killing" for our successful attack on Musab Zarqawi; but that is ridiculous. Does anyone seriously argue that if we hadn't killed Zarqawi, AQI wouldn't have kidnapped or killed those two American soldiers?
That is what they do. They kidnap westerners and Iraqis alike, then kill them by brutal torture. This was an attack of opportunity, and it didn't start on June 7th.
My heart goes out to the families and friends of fallen soldiers. But please, our boys did not die in vain. Just before the ambush on these soldiers, a U.S. air strike killed a key AQI leader -- described (as usual) as a "religious emir."
Mansour Suleiman Mansour Khalifi al-Mashhadani, or Sheik Mansour, and two foreign fighters were killed as they tried to flee in a vehicle near the town of Youssifiyah, in the so-called Sunni "Triangle of Death."
U.S. coalition forces had been tracking al-Mashhadani for some time, American military spokesman William Caldwell said in announcing his death. He said al-Mashhadani was an Iraqi, 35 to 37 years old, and that one of the men killed with him was an al-Qaida cell leader identified as Abu Tariq.
(Yet another al-Mashhadani! It does seem to be a common Iraqi name: in addition to Ali al-Mashhadani -- the Iraqi "journalism student" and former terrorist suspect who first claimed the US Marines massacred civilians in Haditha; Abdul Rahman al-Mashhadani -- head of the previously unknown Hammurabi Organization for Human Rights and Democracy Monitoring who handed the suspect video to Ali; and the recently killed Mansour Suleiman Mansour Khalifi al-Mashhadani -- see above -- there is also Mahmud Dawud al-Mashhadani, president of the Iraqi Parliament. Perhaps it's a tribal name.)
One more fascinating point about "Sheikh Mansour":
A document seized from an al-Qaida hideout and released by National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie that portrayed the Iraqi insurgency as being in "bleak" shape was directly linked to Mansour, Caldwell said.
Now there's food for thought.
But that attack, wonderful though it was, was not all that we've been up to. While Coalition forces were searching for our two missing solders, we managed to kill or capture even more insurgents:
Caldwell said that Iraqi and American troops involved in the search for the missing soldiers killed three suspected insurgents and detained 34 in fighting that wounded seven U.S. servicemen.
And elsewhere in Iraq:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S.-led forces killed 15 terror suspects and detained three others during raids Tuesday in a village northeast of Baghdad, the military said. Residents said 13 civilians also were killed.
The military said the raid targeted individuals linked with a suspected senior al-Qaida in Iraq member, but it did not identify him....
Coalition forces found 10 AK-47 assault rifles, a shotgun, a pistol and a crate of explosives at the site, the military said.
So, they killed three of our guys; and meanwhile, we killed 21 and captured 37. If the ambush was to avenge Zarqawi, then incoming AQI leader Hamza Muhajir is off to a grinding halt.
Oh, by the way, the terrorists who fled the US forces were found hiding behind the skirts of local women:
The detained suspects had fled but were found hiding amid nine women, the military said. It said one of the suspects was wounded, but the women were not injured.
How typical. This is the real picture of the "brave" enemy forces we face.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, June 20, 2006, at the time of 4:29 PM
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The following hissed in response by: Desi_Immigrant
(Yet another al-Mashhadani! It does seem to be a common Iraqi name: ... Perhaps it's a tribal name)
My impression is that it is a way of saying "from ThatPlace," like the Germans say "von Hamburg."
i.e. "al-Zarqawi" means "from Zarqa," and "al-Mashhadani" means "from Mashhadan." So, there has to be a place/town/region called Mashhadan.
This is just a guess, but, I hope, a good one . I am not fluent in it, but I have a smattering of Urdu, which has many things in common with both Arabic and Persian. Urdu is a language said to have developed in the military camps of Delhi, when the Afghan rulers were Emperors of India. (1400 - 1700 AD)
Like your blog!
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
Revenge killing? I do not know how anyone can say that. To see the left using this or people like Andrew Sullivan trying to exploit this incident is unGodly. This is what these people do. That is why we fight them. They do not react to Korans being flushed or panties on the head by torturing people, they torture people because they are sadists. Always have been.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at June 21, 2006 4:05 AM
The following hissed in response by: Big D
Yes the 'sloding of Zarq has pushed poor al Queda to these extremes. No more happy fun jihadin' for them - time to get serious with their barbarity.
Sometimes I wonder just how many Al Queda nobs have been offed in Iraq. More than 2,500? More than 10,000? There never seems to be a situation where they tangle with the U.S. Military and come off the better for it.
They'd probably have hung it up a while ago, but the Democrats keep holding out that ray of hope that we are just about to leave...
The following hissed in response by: zplay
I too am no real linguist but I'm pretty sure that "al Mashadani" means from Mashad or Meshed, a major city in Iran. If this is correct, it would mean, of course, that all of the above al Mashadnis are either Iranian imports or people whose roots go back there.
The following hissed in response by: Desi_Immigrant
I have a small correction. In my haste to type a rare (for me) comment in a blog, I got it wrong.
Let me use a descriptive (although unlikely!) example. Let us say there is an "Ahmed al-Japani."
I said above that the name means "Ahmed from Japan." That is close enough, but even better will be to say he is "Ahmed the Japanese."
I have seen some name ending in "al-Hindi" in the news from Iraq. That means he is "the Indian!"
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