‘Al-Baghdadi’ on TV
Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, the spokesman for the Iraqi Army’s ‘Baghdad Operations’ command, held a press conference today during which he presented footage of confessions made by the man the Iraqi government believes is ‘Abu Omar al-Baghdadi’.
In the excerpts that I’ve seen, ‘al-Baghdadi’ identifies himself as a 40 year-old former employee of the Saddam-era Commission for Military Industrialization, with the rank of technical assistant at the al-Karama facility, and that his name is Ahmad Abid Ahmad Khamees al-Majma’i, from Diyala Province.
Al-Majma’i claims that he joined Al-Qaeda in 2005 and became the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006. In the clips shown, al-Majma’i claims to receive foreign funding through charity fronts from Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt.
Al-Majma’i also claims that the Ba’ath Party and Al-Qaeda act in concert via officials in the Islamic Party.
As noted earlier, the Majma'is are not from Quraysh.
Where does this leave Sherwan al-Wa’ili’s leak to Al-Hayat Newspaper on May 10, 2009 that the arrested man’s real name is Ma’ad Ibrahim Muhammad, a former Colonel in the Republican Guard?
Last week, the Al-Furqan Media arm of the ISI released Abu Omar al-Baghdadi’s sixteenth speech, in which he denied being arrested.
Look, you all know how happy I’d be to implicate the Ba’athists and the Saudis in what Al-Qaeda has been up to, but the man shown on TV today is not convincing. This looks like shoddy coaching, with a glaring disconnect between the messages put out by Baghdad Operations command, and al-Wa’ili’s office.
Maliki has signed off on the accuracy of the information, and any retraction would be deeply embarrassing as he weathers wave upon wave of political attack in an election cycle.
I should note that one piece of info about al-Baghdadi that I had heard five months ago asserted that he had worked at Military Industrialization, but that he was from Tarmiyyah, not Diyala.
Some excerpts from the taped confession are available via Fayhaa TV (Arabic):