Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Al-Baghdadi Names Pseudonyms—for ministerial portfolios

The “Official Spokesman” for the Islamic State of Iraq released the names of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi’s cabinet today in a 5 minute video message sent out through the Al-Furqan Institute for Media Productions.

The list includes one foreigner (…possibly two) and that is Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who was picked as Minister of War. Al-Muhajir is also Abu Musa’ab al-Zarqawi’s successor as the leader of Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

The emphasis in the list of 10 ministers is on Sunni tribal names, however, the absence of important Sunni tribes such as the Dulaim, Zoba’, Shammar, ‘Anizah and ‘Ubeid, as well as people belonging to important Sunni towns as Samarra and Tikrit, is very conspicuous to Iraqi eyes. Maybe the Islamic State of Iraq is sending a message through this list.

Only one member is seemingly identified by his real name: Mustafa al-‘Araji, Minister of Agriculture.

And one member seems to have been changed at the last minute: Abu ‘Uthman al-Tamimi (see below).

Here’s the list:

1-Sheikh Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Falahi, 1st Vizier (The Falahat are a minor Sunni tribe north of and within Baghdad)

2-Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, Minister of War (believed to be a non-Iraqi)

3-Professor Sheikh Abu ‘Uthman al-Tamimi, Minister of Religious Courts (Apparently the first choice that was read out by the “spokesman” was changed at the last minute, because a voice-over is done in someone else's voice with al-Tamimi’s name substituted for the first choice; the Bani Tamim are one of Iraq’s major tribes, and they are mostly Shi’a with important Sunni subsections. There are also Tamimis in Saudi Arabia—Muhammad bin Abdel-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism in the 18th century belonged to this tribe—so this fellow could be a non-Iraqi too. The first choice could have been Sheikh Abu Suleiman al-Uteibi, a Saudi, who was recently identified as the chief religious judge of the ISI; I have no idea why they would have changed it.)

4-Professor Abu Bakr al-Jebouri, Minister of Public Relations (The Jebouris are another of Iraq’s major tribes, with both Sunni and Shi’a subsections.)

5-Professor Abu Abdel-Jabbar al-Janabi, Minister of Public Security (80% of Janabis are minor Sunni, and the rest are Shi’a, and they are to be found to the south west of Baghdad.)

6-Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Mashhadani, Minister of Information (The Mashahidah are a minor Sunni tribe north of Baghdad, and I've speculated that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi himself is a Mashhadani.)

7-Sheikh Abu Abdel-Qadir al-‘Isawi, Minister of Martyrs and Prisoners Affairs (The Albu-‘Isa are a predominately Sunni tribe to the south west of Baghdad, across the Euphrates River, and their main concern is smuggling. There have been recent clashes between Al-Qaeda and the Albu-‘Isa.)

8-Engineer Abu Ahmad al-Janabi, Minister of Oil (Yet another Janabi…)

9-Professor Mustafa al-‘Araji, Minister of Agriculture and Fish Resources (The ‘Arajis are a Shi’a family descended from the Prophet Muhammad, yet they have an important Sunni offshoot in Mosul.)

10-Professor Doctor Abu ‘Abdallah al-Zaidi, Minister of Health (The Bani Zayd are mostly Sunnis, living between Musayyeb and Suweira.)

6 Comments:

Anonymous gj said...

By laying claim to the Arab Sunni states AlQI seems to be seizing the political opportunities afford by the Iraq constitution? Conversely, the non AlQ component of the insurgency is still stuck in the rut of opposing federalism.

IraqSlogger ran an interesting call by Salih al-Mutlak for the "national resistance" to unify ... and formulate a political project for the future", saying a political project was needed to fill the vaccuum in the event the US withdrew.

But with the announcement of this Cabinet it seems AlQI is way ahead of them again. Of course their political program has been well and truly set for a long time.

btw, I'd like to know how many of the 11 major bomb attacks in the last 5 days were conducted by the non AlQI insurgency?

4:47 PM, April 19, 2007

 
Anonymous smoked said...

I wonder who their Minister for Tourism is.

5:40 PM, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous gawad said...

Hi Smoked,

I heard on al-Khanzeera yesterday that the Minister of Tourism may be Abu Na'al Walad al-Gahba, also know as Jaguar Big Pimping. (The al-Gahba are a minor Sunni tribe from Tikrit, and I've speculated that Jaguar Big Pimping himself may be a Walad al-Gahba.)

7:19 AM, April 22, 2007

 
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