Islamic State of Iraq Undergoes Government ‘Reshuffle’
This is the new line-up from the self-styled ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ (ISI):
-Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (‘Abdul Mun’im al-Badawi), First Vizier (Prime Minister) and Minister of War
-Sheikh Abdul-Wahab al-Mashhadani, Minister of Shari'ah Commissions
-Sheikh Muhammad al-Dulaimi, Minister of Public Affairs
-Sheikh Hassan al-Juburi, Minister for Prisoners’ and Martyrs’ Affairs
-Sheikh Abdel-Razzak al-Shimmeri, Minister for Security (PhD)
-Sheikh Dr. Abdullah al-Qaissi, Minister for Health
-Sheikh Ahmad al-Ta’i, Minister for Information (PhD)
-Sheikh Eng. Usamah al-Lheibi, Minister for Oil
-Sheikh Yunis al-Hamdani, Minister of Finance (PhD)
So that means that ‘Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Falahi’ is no longer the prime minister of the Islamic State of Iraq, and he’s been replaced by al-Muhajir. The point being that while al-Falahi was presumed to be an Iraqi, al-Muhajir isn’t. It is interesting that al-Muhajir’s name is given in brackets as “Abdel-Mun’im al-Badawi”—first revealed by al-Muhajir in 2006, but not many took the name seriously at the time. It is probable that al-Badawi is his real name; now I’d like to know whether the man U.S. intelligence authorities thought was al-Muhajir, who went by the pseudonym ‘Abu Ayyub al-Masri’, is one and the same as al-Badawi. The other indication that al-Badawi is his real name is that all the other names in the cabinet are seemingly given as their real names, rather than pseudonyms. When a ‘cabinet’ was first announced by the ISI in April 2007, shortly after its formation, all the names for ministers (including al-Muhajir’s) were given as pseudonyms, except for one, Mustafa al-‘Araji, of Agriculture.
Having a spokesman announce the names on behalf of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi follows precedent; that’s what they did the first time around. It’s a 10 minute video, with the face of the spokesman blurred out. It begins with an old audio snippet from Osama Bin Laden extolling jihadists to pledge allegiance to al-Baghdadi, followed by old footage from Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Yahya al-Libi giving shout-outs to the ISI.
The spokesman is shown seated behind a desk with a little ISI flag before him, and a gun (...a Tariq, an Iraqi-made Beretta, from what I can tell). He makes a concise case for the ISI’s legitimacy, in Islamist doctrinal terms. “The enemy admitted that we are back to our former form, our attacks hit [the enemy’s] heart and shook their throne, and [the enemy said] that a state is behind [the attacks], and [the enemy] was truthful, a state was behind it, the Islamic State of Iraq,” alluding to the ‘Black Wednesday’ attacks in Baghdad that Maliki claimed the Syrian regime was behind, and which the ISI took credit for. It is possible that the presenter’s pronunciation betrayed non-Iraqi roots, especially when reading out the names of the so-called ‘ministers’.
Again, the important take-away from this is that the ISI wants to make one point and one point only, and it is a point directed at what remains of its rank and file: “We are still here.”
The portfolio for Minister of Unicorns and Dragon Control remains vacant.