Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi Revealed?

Alleged picture of Hamed al-Zawi, "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi", as supplied by the Haditha police chief to Al-Arabiya

This is a response I posted to a comment earlier today about whether Abu Omar al-Baghdadi's true identity has been revealed:
Hi Ali/Iraq,

This is an interesting revelation from the police chief of Haditha, who spoke about AOB to Al-Arabiya.

Hamid Dawood Muhammad Khalil al-Zawi! He's supposed to have been an officer in the Amn al-'Aameh [General Security Directorate] under Saddam!

This account has credibility in so far as the Zawis of Haditha and Anah claim descent from Al-Hussein [much disputed by genealogists], and AOB in his last speech singled out the Jughaifis in his last speech and seemed to be knowledgeable about the tribes in that area above Haditha. He even mentioned the Zawiyeen even though they are a very small clan.

In fact, I remember reading a year ago, around the time when Muharib al-Juburi was killed, that someone on a jihadist chatroom made the assertion that al-Zawi was AOB.

So it could be Hamid al-Zawi afterall. However, I would have thought that Al-Qaeda would have been very sensitive about placing a former Saddam officer at the helm of their organization, and would have looked for someone completely unconnected to the ex-regime. Furthermore, this could be a very local problem between the police chief of Haditha who is accusing a top terrorist commander from his town to be the top dog of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

One more thing, if he was from Anbar, then why call himself al-Baghdadi? Such a title would come back to haunt him if he goes public with his identity in the future, exposing him to mockery.

We shall have to wait and see if the Islamic State of Iraq is going to respond in a public statement to this assertion.

I'll still kind of convinced that it could be Khalid Khalil Ibrahim al-Mashhadani, Abu Zaid, but we've not seen anything to verify that. This claim that Hamid al-Zawi is AOB constitutes the most serious challenge to my AOB as al-Mashhadani theory.

Either way, I never bought the idea that he was a fictional character.

Let's wait and see.



10:47 AM, May 07, 2008

UPDATE: Here is a link to the chat forum post that revealed Abu Omar al-Baghdadi's real identity as that of "Hamid Daoud al-Zawi" back in July 2007 (Arabic text). As one can see, the news was out there way before today's revelation by the Haditha police chief to Al-Arabiya TV.

The July 2007 post adds some interesting biographical information: Hamid al-Zawi was born in 1958, and he is known as "Abu Mahmoud". He's a retired police officer from the Haditha Police Department, who worked after retirement as a oil heater repairman in the Anbar town of Haqlaniyah. His current address is cited as Ghazaliya, Baghdad.

There's still no official word from either Al-Hesbah or Al-Ekhlas (websites associated with Al-Qaeda) on whether this information is true or not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Nibras.

After some Google searching I discovered that Al-Zawi family has some roots in Libya and some of the Secret Intelligent generals who work for Gadafi are from Al-Zawi family. I wounder where did AOB did get all the money from.


4:29 PM, May 07, 2008

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi Ali/Iraq,

I'm pretty certain that the Zawiyeen of Anbar are unrelated to the Zawis of Libya.

The Zawiyeen claim to be 'Araji seyyids or at least descended from Ali Zein-al-Abidin bin al-Hussein, and there are named so for a village called Al-Zawiyeh on the Euphrates. Other interpretations has them belonging to the Albu Mehel of the Dulaim, or with roots in Sinjar.



4:42 PM, May 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good info as always. Don´t have a clue on this topic but always interesting.

BTW you were recently worried about the Zambraniyah village which was been used as a base by a dangerous insurgent leader, don´t remember his name. He was currently in Syria although you didn´t know to which faction did he belong.

My question is, this seems to be pretty much the same story as with the Furqan Army isn´t it?Furqan Army split from Islamic Army last July over the IAI decision to stop attacks on US forces. Furqan Army is based in that area south of Baghdad (Madain, which includes or is near Zambraniyah if I´m right) and i remember reading that it had joined the ISI, but not sure.

Anyway the Madain are has been "cleared", or at least insurgents there have fled in recent months.

5:59 AM, May 08, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing, if he was from Anbar, then why call himself al-Baghdadi? Such a title would come back to haunt him if he goes public with his identity in the future, exposing him to mockery.

I think that it should be noted that nom-de-guerres and Kunyas are not always literal. More probably he operated in Baghdad or participated in an important battle there, or lived there for a long time, and took the name Al-Baghdadi. There are many cases like this, such as Djafaar Al-Afghani, the head of the Algerian GIA in the early 1990's, who was, of course, not an Afghan - however he fought there for a time and liked the place, so he adopted the name. This is very, very common, and would not elicit any kind of 'mockery' even if his real identity was known.

10:48 AM, May 08, 2008

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