Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Islamic State of Iraq's New Caliph

For those still following the news of the Islamic State of Iraq: a recent detainee (Hazim Abdel-Razzak al-Zawi, self-styled 'Minister of Security' in the ISI, cousin of former ISI leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi) who was arrested in Anbar ten days ago has revealed to Iraqi security services the real identities of the current leadership of the ISI, according to the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior.

So the ISI's current proto-caliph, Abu Bakr al-Husseini al-Qureishi al-Baghdadi, is allegedly Dr. Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Samara'i ("Abu Du'a'"), while the 'Minister of War' who goes by the pseudonym Al-Nassir Li Din Allah Suleiman is allegedly Nu'man Salman Mansour al-Zaidi ("Abu Ibrahim", formerly the ISI's "vali" for Anbar).

Al-Zawi also revealed that, just like Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, al-Samara'i and al-Zaidi were formerly detained by the Americans, specifically in Bucca Camp, and then released. There is a very significant pattern of how many active and captured terrorists in Iraq are former detainees that were released in the past two years without being transfered to Iraqi jurisdiction. One needs to ask, why were they released? Who was responsible for such decisions? Why were such decisions taken? But who are we kidding, when was the last time anyone was held accountable for their major blunders in Iraq?

It should be noted that most of this recent tranche of info on the ISI seems to be coming from the break-up by the Ministry of Interior of an important terrorist cell active in Baghdad, which was responsible for planning many of the major terrorist operations of recent memory, including last month's church attack. One should take note that while these terror acts got plenty of ink in US papers, the arrest of this cell was hardly reported: two short paragraphs in the New York Times, one paragraph in the Washington Post.

Now I know that I've been away for a while from this blog, but it's not like I didn't give you a head's up that it would wind down as I busy myself with other things. There are instances when I wanted to write again; for example, I wanted to remind you folks of the British-led intelligence cell that was negotiating with Iraqi insurgents that I used to write about; this is relevant when measured against the British blunder of believing an Afghan shopkeeper's scam of being a major figure in Taliban, revealed last month.

But frankly, these things don't rile me up as much as they used to, and hence my indifference to this blog: Iraq is fine. It is prospering. Anyone who goes there can see it. There's no more debate as far as I'm concerned. The foreign bureaus can BS all they want--it makes absolutely no difference.

I will begin to write anew, as promised, as other places in the Middle East begin to tremor and come apart.