Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oh great, they're finally catching up with Talisman Gate...

I don't relish sounding smug and boastful. But sometimes I have to do so, for the good of all mankind. (...Alright, so I'm a jerk.)

In today's New York Times, Michael Gordon (...consistently good) writes about a trove of information that was found on the laptop of a top Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia operative who was killed in December 2006. The "revelations" showed that:

As outlined in the captured documents and other material that was seized, the group’s initial strategy was to push Shiites out of western Baghdad. As part of the sectarian battle for the capital, the strategy also called for attacking Shiites in parts of nearby provinces, specifically southern Salahuddin, western Diyala and eastern Anbar, attacks that the group’s leaders also calculated would put American and Iraqi troops on the defensive...

But Shiite militias, particularly Mahdi Army operatives, responded with their own offensive, forcing the Sunni militants to retreat...

According to captured memos portrayed in American intelligence reports, the group was frustrated with the Shiite militias’ success, was unhappy with weapons shortages and was somewhat disorganized, according to an account by an American official who asked not to be identified because he was discussing intelligence matters.

If this sounds familiar, it might be due to the fact that you've been a Talisman Gate reader since October 2006.

Since then, and as I demonstrated in a series of New York Sun columns about Iraq (Iraq is Succeeding, Al-Muhajir's Evil Presence, Turaround in Baghdad, Blackout of the Media, and last week's Jihadist Meltdown), the following trends could have been spotted as far back as six months ago:

-Al-Qaeda was becoming the dominant force in the Sunni insurgency, and it had undergone a process whereby it was "Iraqi-fied": predominance of Iraqis in the rank and file, and more Iraqis in the leadership hierarchy.

-Al-Qaeda had provoked the Shi'as into a confrontation, but couldn't stave off the Mahdi Army "death squads," forcing Iraq's Sunnis to reconsider the long-term prospects of their insurgency.

-The strategists of the Sunni insurgency, whether they were jihadists or Ba'athists, began to realize that they'd eventually run out of steam as the sources for money and talent gradually get depleted, bring with it a sense of fatigue and aimlessness, and that clashes among the various insurgent groups were inevitable.

The Washington Post today has a similar set of "revelations", this time attributed by Walter Pincus and Karen De Young to intelligence sources (...both reporters seem to rely on CIA sources) and terrorism experts, chief among which is:

"In a year, AQI went from being a major insurgent group, but one of several, to basically being the dominant force in the Sunni insurgency," said terrorism consultant Evan F. Kohlmann. "It managed to convince a lot of large, influential Sunni groups to work together under its banner -- groups that I never would have imagined," Kohlmann said. In November, many of the groups joined AQI in declaring an Islamic State of Iraq.
But I completely disagree with this statement:

The Sunni extremist movement in Iraq owes its existence to the U.S. invasion, said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert and Georgetown University professor. "There were no domestic jihadis in Iraq before we came there. Now there are. . . ."

I think there is a mounting body of evidence that radical Salafism had laid down roots in Iraq throughout the 1990s while Saddam's intelligence services looked the other way. More studies should be made of the regime archives on this matter (...monitored by the General Security Directorate) to determine why Saddam allowed this to happen--sometimes with direct Saudi funding. But this trend also grew out of control, forcing the regime to clamp down on it; something like 800 Salafists were arrested in security sweep during early 2002 under the command of Izzet al-Douri.

There are still many myths floating out there about the insurgency and who is winning the fight in Iraq, but I think many of these will be put to rest in short order.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nibraas, how many people have been killed by the United States in Iraq since March 2003 in your estimation

3:29 PM, March 18, 2007

Blogger Louise said...

Speaking of Izzat al-Douri, where is he? Isn't he the King of Clubs, #7 on the list of Iraq's 55 Most Wanted?

4:33 PM, March 18, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using chemical weapons against civilians in Fallujah and Ramadi was a boner on al-Qaeda's part of pretty massive proportions the war between the tribes and al-Qaeda is no longer a possibility it is a reality.

And, it will distract tons of resources. al-Qaeda suicide bombers, chemical weapons, and car bombs reserved for trying to spark sectarian violence to fighting fellow Sunnis.

8:18 PM, March 18, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nibras Kazimi

Its clear the Islamic State in Iraq maintains the lethal ability to slaughter Iraqis or Americans whenever they want.

I do not see Sunni insurgent groups declaring war on the Islamic State in Iraq as you proport. I see no reason to believe at this time the ISI is weakening.

Certainly Sheik Sattar has for the past year waged war on al-Qaeda, but I don't see insurgent groups doing the same nor do I see a degeneration of ISI's power in Iraq.

8:31 PM, March 18, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note also that the lions of Iraqi Resistance are killing 4 times more crusaders compared to three years ago

February 2007 - 80
February 2004 - 20

2:53 AM, March 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

80!! Dude, these Lions are on a roll!! I mean, this is almost like the first 30 seconds in Omaha beach, or a quiet morning is Stalingrad. With just a bit more effort they may actually reach 1% of the US automotive accident casualty rate.

Talk about low expectations.

7:58 AM, March 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it takes just one dead American soldier to make my whole day.

You are already squealing at only 3200, so I'm not buying your claim that you can take many casualties

For example the '06 midterm election showed dissatisfaction with the Iraq policy and your beloved leader Bush.
An indication that the crusade is unsustainable

Your choice now:
a) withdraw and lose everything
b) stay and bleed to death.

8:45 AM, March 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...


The ISI are pieces of inhuman scum. Only inhuman scum could gas Iraqi women and children.

That said you are correct that the will of the US public is being broken by the ISI and the rest of the insurgency has been cowed by them.

I see no signs the ISI is losing in Iraq.

10:24 AM, March 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But that's good though, the U.S. is the greater evil over there and needs to lose.
You don't have to support the ISI to oppose the Coalition.

You guys are not being told about the number of Iraqi people killed by the U.S., it is staggering.

The resistance has executed up to 150,000 collaborators, but that still pales in comparison to the number of Iraqis killed by the U.S.

Okay? So the first order of business is killing and expelling the crusader occupier.

10:40 AM, March 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is fools like you that are trying to get every Sunni in Iraq killed. The US is the only thing holding back the Shia, Kurds, and Iran and their massive bastions. If you think the Saudis or Syrians will save you from the wrath of Iran, the Shia masses, and Peshmerga you are high.

11:22 AM, March 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed Jaguar you are literally high.

2:29 PM, March 19, 2007

Blogger Coach Mark said...

To say there were "no" jihadists in Iraq pre invasion is a disgusting exaggeration that I'd call a lie because Hoffman knows better than that.

Amitzia Baram has done some good work about the roots of the jihadist movement in Iraq and members of al Qaeda and Saudi jihadists have all talked about when they first started making a presence in Iraq

There is a great deal of information out there on Saddam's efforts to reach out to jihadists and vice versa that will be the subject of an upcoming post at www.regimeofterror.com as well.

9:55 PM, March 19, 2007

Blogger Coach Mark said...

link didn't post properly earlier. Here it is again for those interested


9:58 PM, March 19, 2007

Blogger dick said...

Iraq the Model has just noted that:

"The Al-bu Issa tribes in Amiriyat al-Fallujah, backed by local police and the MNF, clashed today with members of the al-Qaeda linked “Islamic State in Iraq” terror organization, according to al-Hurra TV. The battles that are still ongoing have so far left 39 terrorists killed including the “ministers of oil and war” of the terror organization."

Jaguar: that's made my day. I have a big smile on my face. And he who laughs last…

Kinda validates what nibras has been saying all along, too.

1:41 PM, March 20, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually there are a couple of Shi'a resistance groups too, like 'Asayb Ahul al-Haqq.
They have a cool video where they hit a crusader in a Humvee and his hand flies 10 feet away

So my beef isn't with Shiites as such, my beef is with those who collaborate with the occupier,
regardless of religious affiliation.

Such as these losers from Iraqthemodel, they have sold their brothers and sisters.
By declaring the U.S. to be noble liberators, they have now desecrated the memory of all Iraqis killed by the Coalition.
That number could be as high as 500,000. Obviously almost all of them were innocent
but now they have been labeled as thugs and monsters, and their executioners have been labeled as heroes,
all thanks to these idiot collaborators.

I really hope that treachery was worth it and stuff, because now the resistance is going to kill hundreds of thousands of them.

4:15 PM, March 20, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...


No one, Iraqi or non-Iraqi, cares about your beef. I think you should note that your sisters and mother are currently on sale, as they have been since their birth.

I hope some day you can meet your resistance heroes up close and personal. Smile in front of the banner, sucker.

9:04 AM, March 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we have already killed twice as many Americans compared to March last year. So the surge is working

10:10 PM, March 21, 2007

Blogger Robert said...

jaguar bp said, "Well, it takes just one dead American soldier to make my whole day."

And it takes just one dead jaguar bp to make mine.

10:20 PM, March 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jaguar SOB,

"Well, we have already killed twice as many Americans compared to March last year."

Who is "we"? Commenters on talismangate? You are pathetic, dude.

9:17 AM, March 22, 2007

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