Undercutting the middle management of terrorist groups is an important tool in disrupting the leadership and operations of the organization. In Org Chart we looked at the effect Coalition operations have had on al Qaeda in Iraq's leadership. While the senior-most leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq (Zarqawi, his deputy, media and military commanders, as well as his brigade commanders) have not been killed or captured, the organization's middle management has been decimated, with well over 66% of Zarqawi's lieutenants either killed or captured. This means less experienced operatives will take their place, weakening the effectiveness of the organization over time.
Other important elements that need to be eliminated from al Qaeda's organization are those who report directly to the senior lieutenants; the bomb makers, cell leaders and financiers who run the day-to-day operations. Bomb makers are a particularly attractive target as their skills are in demand, particularly with the depraved strategy of al Qaeda to inflict mass casualties on soldiers and civilians alike. A good bomb manufacturer is a valuable asset. This is highly dangerous and skillful work, where "work accidents" occur frequently.
The Counterterrorism Blog reports on one such capture, that of terrorist bomb maker Abu Daoud:
Security Forces conducted a raid in Mosul May 13 resulting in the capture of Salim Yussef Ghafif Huseyn, aka Abu Daoud. Abu Daoud is the chief facilitator of the majority of terrorist suicide car bombings in Mosul, for the terrorist group of Abu Talha associated with Zarqawi terrorist network. Intelligence sources have placed Abu Daoud as a very close confidant and terrorist cell leader of Abu Talha [Zarqawi's lieutenant in charge of Mosul - see Al-Qaida leadership chart]; together they are directly responsible for numerous attacks against innocent Iraqi citizens. Abu Daoud was responsible for obtaining vehicles and converting them into car bombs by packing them full of explosives. In previous incident, Security Forces have captured in April Abu Fateh, a financier for Abu Talha.
Abu Talha, Al Qaeda's commander in Mosul has now seen his financier and chief bomb maker captured. These are two men who can provide valuable intelligence if they can be induced to talk. They will have intimate knowledge of al Qaeda's operations in Mosul, who is supplying money to the cells, where explosive materials are obtained, how bombs are manufactured and the methods used to deploy them.
Capturing mid-level operatives has a chilling affect on the confidence of al Qaeda's leadership. After the arrest of two of his lieutenants, Abu Daoud must be looking upon his organization with suspicion, wondering if he has an informant in his midst, or if he is being watched directly. Zarqawi, if he isn't already dead, will be having similar thoughts when he needs to utilize or communicate with his Mosul network. While many desire the death of these operatives, the value of detaining these middlemen far exceeds the value of viewing them in a pine box. Save that for later.