Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No wonder counter-insurgency is faltering in the Mosul area...

Chalk this up to the "Do you know the enemy?" syndrome. From the New York Times today, 'Minorities Can't Escape Fury of Northern Iraq's Ethnic and Religious Maelstrom,' Sunday, August 16, 2009:

Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., commander of American forces in northern Iraq, told reporters on Tuesday that the Sunni insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia had now teamed up with another militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq.
I'm guessing that Gernal Caslen and his briefers are not regular readers of Talisman Gate. This guy is supposed to be battling the jihadists in and around Mosul, yet he manages to get a critical piece of information so wrong, which makes me wonder, what else is he getting wrong?

'Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia' created the Islamic State of Iraq in October 2006, nearly three years ago. It subsumed itself into the new organization, and there hasn't been something called 'Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia' since that time. Kindly update your briefing folders.


Anonymous Faisal Kadri said...

Yes, this is really funny. But you can't point your finger at your allies at the time of war and accuse them of working against you ;)

5:35 AM, August 18, 2009

Anonymous amagi said...

Well, Nibras, what happens now?

8:20 PM, August 19, 2009

Anonymous Sam said...

Looks like Dagher got it wrong again in the write-up of the Baghdad blasts. He says "affiliate," which is somewhat closer than Caslen's characterization that Dagher passed on without comment or correction, but still wrong.

My view is that you are right, technically, that there is no more AQ fi bilad al-rafidayn. ISI is the correct title from the standpoint of ISI, what they want to call themselves. But I think it's acceptable journalistic shorthand to continue to say "Al-Qaida," and just leave out any mention of ISI altogether, since 1) it's confusing and requires explanation 2) it's a pretty ridiculous pretense for them to say they're a state and 3) their goals, methods, leaders and networks with international jihadis are 95% the same as AQ's, if not more.

But if you continue to use the term AQ, don't use ISI as well, and certainly don't give the impression that they're separate organizations.

8:34 PM, August 19, 2009

Blogger Anand said...

I saw Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen's briefing. I think you are misinterpreting his comments. He knows about the Islamic State in Iraq.

In any case, most US troops were pulled out of Mosul in late 2006, and haven't gone back in significant numbers. Mosul has been a primarily IA and IP affair ever since.

6:28 PM, August 22, 2009

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi Anand,

Kindly provide a link. All I have to go on is how Caslen sounded in the New York Times story. He sounded misinformed.



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