US and Iraqi officials are saying this morning that they believe a US air strike near Tikrit has slain two top members of al-Qaeda in Iraq, including leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, following a series of Iraqi government raids on safehouses.
“The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency,” claimed Gen. Ray Odierno, despite the fact that it seems to have been largely the same story as the slaying of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June of 2006.
In both cases US and Iraqi officials predicted that the death of the leader of the group, often blamed for any given attack in Iraq but whose actual size is unclear, would lead to an immediate and sustained drop in violence. It didn’t in the first case, but that doesn’t appear to have shaken any optimism.
In this case the identities appear to be nebulous, as the bodies were simply “found in a ditch” after the air strike and assumed based on documents nearby to be the two leaders, al-Masri and al-Baghdadi.
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi’s death seems even more unclear, as up to the killing the US military had claimed he didn’t even exist. No one seems to have known anything about him, including if he was real, and the Maliki government already suffered one embarrassment of reporting Baghdadi arrested and bringing “him” forward for public confession on TV. Needless to say, this is a different Baghdadi.
But bizarrely enough, the US military is also claiming to have killed one of Baghdadi’s sons, another thing that seems to defy explanation. How, if they believed that he didn’t even exist, did they not only confirm his death, but now confirmed the death of a son they didn’t know existed either?
Though this will likely have a very negligible effect on the ground in Iraq, the real value of these reported killings will be to prop up Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is still involved in post-election negotiations for a spot in the next government. After many complained his military was largely incompetent, he finally has an event, however unverified, to show otherwise.
4 thoughts on “US Claims Two al-Qaeda in Iraq Leaders Slain”
Wow–"Al Qaeda" leaders from Tikrit. Wow! Gee! Tikrit! See, Hussein was "Al Qaeda" after all.
Does Odierno really believe what he puts out to the press?
There is a good possibility that he does, which further suggests how close to absolutely moronic he and and US Army brass might be.
ok the politician who sit in washington, (those with half a brain) are fully aware of the lies they tell… or else they would accientaly tell the truth once in a while.
the military on the other hand knows good and well what is going on.. they are doing it and they are actively suppressing it.
they are viceroys with infinite power,, they know what they are doing and they like it.
WALLACE: You just successfully foiled a plot by Al Qaeda in Iraq, sort of a 9/11-style plot to hijack airplanes and fly them into holy Shiite shrines. Are the insurgents — is Al Qaeda — are they becoming a new — a renewed threat, more of a problem in the security situation in Iraq?
ODIERNO: Yeah, first off, Al Qaeda continues to be significantly degraded. We've got to put this in perspective, Chris. First quarter fiscal year '10 was the lowest number of incidents we've had in a quarter, the lowest number of high-profile attacks, the lowest number of indirect fire attacks, the lowest number of civilian casualties, the lowest number of U.S. force casualties, the lowest number of Iraqi security force casualties. So the direction continues to be headed in the right way.
Yes, they are still capable of conducting attacks against innocent civilians, but the Iraqis have rejected the ideology of Al Qaeda. They are rejecting Al Qaeda as a whole inside of Iraq. We continue to make progress against them. There is still work to be done. There will still be bad days ahead of us, but it's becoming more and more difficult.
But the most important thing is the Iraqi security forces are now in the lead at going after Al Qaeda. And they are now developing their own capabilities to do this. We support them now. We will continue to support them through 2011. But I feel confident that they continue to build their own capabilities and capacities.
That's enormous progress, Iraq has rejected Al Qaeda at last!
Seems like we have this type of announcement, every 2 – 3 months,
in either the Afgan or Iraq theater.
By my rekoning, we've destroyed key elements of the Alquida/Taliban
leadership about 20 times over by now,,.
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