Transitions


The hunt for Zarqawi continues, while the Iraqi government moves forward in establishing the transitional government. Raids are being conducted in the town of Ramadi, and reports indicate US and Iraqi forces have sealed exits to the city. Meanwhile a Ramadi hospital is searched based on intelligence that Zarqawi was there. The search came up empty handed.

Dan Darling, terrorism analyst, the blogosphere's terrorologist and fellow Winds of Change team member, reports on the intelligence information recovered from Zarqawi's laptop. According to Mr. Darling, Zarqawi is using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption, which apparently can be cracked (with much effort) by the super-secretive National Security Agency and may provide detailed information on Zarqawi's communications with al Qaeda. Pornographic images also have been recovered on the laptop. Zarqawi may be using this images for steganography, the method of encoding messages within images, but the choice of photographs is telling none the less. It seems Zarqawi isn't the devout Muslim he makes himself out to be. Dan also reports that the laptop contains photos of Zarqawi, financial information, details of his arrangements with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, both inside and outside of Iraq, and details on his health conditions. All of this information will be useful in tracing al Qaeda's network in Iraq and elsewhere, and Zarqawi's extensive network within Europe.

The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent report on the captured laptop, and confirms several of Dan's findings. The status of Zarqawi's health is of particular interest; "Among other things, it may indicate that Zarqawi is in worse physical condition than previously believed and taking painkillers as he recovers from a wound to his stomach." His reported medical condition makes the cordoning of Ramadi and the raid on the hospital quite understandable.

The New York Post reports the laptop data indicates Zarqawi is on the ascent in al Qaeda's organization (an item we discussed in Exodus and Ascent at the end of March):

"He's becoming the new bin Laden. He's the man out there carrying out attacks on Americans every day while bin Laden, who is heavily pressured and having difficulty communicating on a regular basis, is in the shadows and becoming more of a symbolic figure," said former CIA counterterrorism director Vincent Cannistraro 

The data in his computer reveals Zarqawi is directing scores of fanatics from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states who volunteered for "martyrdom" missions in Iraq and other countries, sources said.

"The information has given us new insight into the scope of his operations outside of Iraq that we did not know about previously," said a U.S. intelligence official familiar with the analysis.

The Iraqi transitional cabinet has been selected, and while some cabinet portfolios positions are temporary until political compromises are made (the ministries of oil, defense, electricity, industry and human rights are temporary posts at the moment), the Iraqi government can now move forward with creating a constitution and directing the fight against the insurgency.

The insurgents and terrorists continue to shift attacks from American forces to Iraqi security personnel in a desperate attempt to thwart Iraqi's freedom:

Major-General Mohsen Abed al-Sadah, who worked in the interior ministry's intelligence department, was shot dead outside his home in southwest Baghdad, ministry sources said.

Another ministry employee, Lieutenant Colonel Alaa Khalil Ibrahim, was shot dead as he drove to work, the sources said.

North of Baghdad, in Saddam's former hometown of Tikrit, a suicide car bomber targeted police headquarters, killing two Iraqi National Guards and wounding 14, hospital officials said. The U.S. military said three American soldiers were among those wounded.

South of Tikrit, a bomb placed on a motorcycle killed two police officers and wounded five near the town of Samarra.

It is no coincidence Zarqawi's rise in al Qaeda coincides with the establishment of the transitional Iraqi government, underlying the fact that Iraq is the premier battlefield in the Global War on Terror. Al Qaeda has declared democracy in Iraq must be stopped, and is pouring valuable resources into the country to fight it.

Zarqawi is the only al Qaeda commander that has reliably demonstrated the ability to maintain persistent operations against the Americans, and his capture or death would be a major blow to the prestige of al Qaeda. Iraq has given the United States the opportunity to gather intelligence on al Qaeda operations and draw them out into a fight on terms of our choosing, as well as promoting much needed political and cultural change in the heart of the Middle East.


Also Read:

Chester mulls over the possibility of bloggers assisting Iranians with gaining their freedom from the theocratic regime.

Blackfive says adios to "Sgt." Hasan Akbar, the "soldier" convicted of murdering soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division just prior to the invasion of Iraq. It disgusts me to refer to Akbar as either a Sergeant or a soldier, hence the quotes.

Quillnews reviews the much-mocked Bush-Abdullah handholding session and points out the finer aspects of the meeting.



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READER COMMENTS: "Transitions"

Posted by GK at April 28, 2005 12:32 PM ET:

Look at the laughable hypocrisy of Zarqawi - saying democracy and Western civilization are evil and should be destroyed, yet using a laptop computer, something that radical Islamic culture could never produce.

Posted by Justin B at April 28, 2005 2:37 PM ET:

GK,

No, using a laptop to look at PORN. There is nothing more American than having a laptop loaded with PORN images. Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar.

Oh yeah, and almost forgot, surfing for porn while high on prescription narcotics.

Good times. That is all I can say. Bust out the percocets and take of the burkas baby cause A to the Z is firing up the web browser. I want to party with this guy. I mean beheadings... porn... narcotics? Sounds like a Quinton Tarrantino movie to me.

Posted by ricksamerican at April 28, 2005 2:45 PM ET:

Excellent post, Bill. Thanks, As always,
Rick

Posted by Rod Stanton at April 28, 2005 3:12 PM ET:

Akbar should be shot. If they need volunteers I volunteer - but will need a m14 or 1911 45. I will do him with a K bar if they want.

an old exJarhead

Posted by PeterArgus at April 28, 2005 3:54 PM ET:

Well if I were doing intel, even it wasn't true, I would want to let it out that Z was looking at nekky pictures. Its just the thing the media loves to ballyhoo and we know there is nothing the Islamofascists hate more than questioning their sexual interests. He was probably looking at these pics to know what to do with those 72 virgins he will be meeting very soon.

The NYT editorial staff in its infinite wisdom seems to think the recent uptick in violence is a a result of dissatification over the squabbles over building a government (check out yesterday's editorial). I would really like to hear your cogent analysis on this, Justin or Bill. It seems to me that since we know from many sources that the thwarted attacks on coalition military and the suicide bombing attacks on civilians and police were well-designed and well-executed how likely is it that they the terrorists were responding to very recent political events? After all just three weeks ago the media was reporting on the improving situation. I would think such attacks would take months of planning and practice, say back to around Jan 30 or earlier. If so the resurgence of the insurgents (if it can be called that) is in reaction to their losing ground.

Posted by GK at April 28, 2005 4:26 PM ET:

It's more than possible that the porn he watches does not have women. Think about it - the strict rule of covering women in loose cloth from head to toe - no straight man would make a rule like that.

Also consider the prayer practice in Mosques, where are in thightly packed rows and keep kneeling down, very close to the person in the row in front of them..

Note John Walker Lindh's affair with a Pakistani businessman. Note the extreme protests of Valentine's day in Saudi Arabia.

I'll stop this line of discussion as it not (directly) related to this blog, but think about these seemingly unrelated examples of behavior in Wahhabi Islam. Any fanatical religion is, after all, a means to control people, and this can be done in a variety of ways.

Posted by USMC_Vet at April 28, 2005 9:30 PM ET:

Why is he fighting to avoid the K-Bar penalty?

Having doubts about those virgins, is he?

Come now, brave warrior. The Infidels can't harm you. You have virgins waiting for you. Seventy-two! What are you waiting for?

Buck up, big fella.

Posted by Justin B at April 29, 2005 1:08 AM ET:

We know that Uday was into the Bush twins, so it would be interesting to see what A-Z was into. The 19 martyrs from 9-11 spent their last night alive going to strip clubs, so apparently it is the moral decay of the West that is leading these wonderful Muslim men to cut people's heads off and fly planes into buildings.

You ever think that these nut jobs are slightly sexually repressed because they live in a society where women are covered from head to toe? If the only women I ever saw were wearing a burlap bag down to their feet, I would be pretty angry too.

Posted by Kartik at April 29, 2005 3:51 AM ET:

So maybe one of the best and cheapest ways to destroy radical Islam is the following :

We create a lingere magazine that has hot women in bikinis, thongs, etc. No nudity or porn, just a Victoria's Secret level of exposure.

We print 100 million copies at $2 a copy, for a total cost of just $200 million, a pittance compared to what we are spending now.

We then airdrop them, smuggle them, or otherwise spread them in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, etc.

Most young boys will get a copy and hide it and 'use' it. Sure, the Mullahs will confiscate many, and chant 'Death to the Great Satan' for what we did, but so many young boys will stop listening to their fundamentalist leaders and just occupy themselves with the magazine that they will not maintain a focus on terrorism. Many women in these societies will seek to emulate the beauty of the women in the magazine and it will be harder for the hardliners to keep the burkhas on. Homosexuality, and hence anger, in the Middle East will drop.

This solution is simple and will result in very little violence. Yet, it would obliterate the core of radical Islam. Think about it.

Posted by newsonterror at April 29, 2005 7:39 AM ET:

Excellent analysis on the rat Zarqawi. We're doing a similar job at:

http://www.waronjihad.org

Posted by frogman at April 29, 2005 10:16 AM ET:

for gk: interesting observations regarding the products of islamic "culture" and prayer positions.
for kartik: good creative thinking