Dispatches from the Jihadi Belt

Martyrdom, Denial, Success and Reorganization

The latest releases from al Qaeda in Iraq and Saudi Arabia provide some insight on the mindset of the organizations and the need to continue to communicate with the faithful on the status of martyrdom, the denial of Coalition successes and the status of the operations.

The first communiqué concerns the recent death of Abdallah al-Rashood, formerly of Saudi Arabia's Most Wanted (the list is greatly in need of updating, 24 of the 26 have been killed or captured). Evan Kohlmann has the transcript, as well as video of an unhinged al-Rashood discussing jihad in 2003.

Abdallah al-Rashood left the Arabian Peninsula while fleeing from its oppressors and headed to the fields of jihad and battle in Mesopotamia where he met his death. He immigrated [to Iraq] one and a half months ago [late Shaykh Abdallah al-Rashood, a former leader of Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia April or early May 2005] by crossing harsh terrain and the borders of the oppressors, and then headed to the city of Al-Qaim  The enemies of Allah could not overcome the Al-Khair Brigade that Shaykh Abdallah al-Rashood was a part of. O' you should have seen the degree of bravery and persistency displayed by the Shaykh and a group of local and foreign brothers. They killed the crusaders and made them withdraw and flee. When the crusaders realized they could not enter the area, they decided to bomb the mujahideen using their attack aircraft 

al-Rashood's entry into Iraq provides further evidence that Iraq is indeed a magnet for established international terrorists. Al Qaeda takes great pains to stress success in Qaim, despite the fact al Qaeda has been routed when they engage in open combat. No doubt those who walked away from Qaim would tell a different story than al Qaeda's command. Finally, note the standard jihadi fanaticism; "As a result, our Shaykh achieved his wish  the smell of musk emanated from his blood and Allah granted him his mercy, blessings, and paradise." Does the "the smell of musk" alert the 72 virgins?

al Qaeda in Iraq feels the need to refute the claims that operatives and lieutenants have been detained. Concerning the recent arrest of 18 terrorists; "The enemies of Allah claimed that they have captured 18 individuals who executed the revenge attack for the Sunni people yesterday (Monday), but we swear that none of them were [captured] " The capture of Abu Talha is also hotly disputed. It's all lies, see.

Whenever they catch a Muslim, they then claim that they have caught an assistant of our Shaykh [Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi. This method is well-known in the West, leading Spain to claim that it has arrested a group of Zarqawi's assistants." The crusaders consider every Muslim who is associated with Al-Qaeda's Committee a suspect; anyone who calls for Al-Tawheed is a soldier against the oppressors  anyone who belongs to the circle of Abraham is a terrorist that has declared war on the enemies of Allah. Do not be surprised by what we have told you, because the enemies of Allah in Mosul now declare that they have captured and important person who is an assistant of Zarqawi. We ask you, how many assistants have they previously claimed the capture of? We inform you, O' brothers of al-Tawheed, that your brothers are safe and sound, declaring jihad in the cause of Allah, and do not fear anything.

A release of photographs of Abu Talha and the others, ala Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, would do wonders to dispel al Qaeda's propaganda.

A curious press release from al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia reports on the success of the destruction of three infidel Saudi helicopters that have tormented the al Qaeda branch. The helicopters are given life-like qualities; "These helicopters took an active role they participated in demolishing the mosque... 'O how many times did these helicopters battle  how many times did they spread fear  how many times did they disrespect the holy places of Muslims " And so on. Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia is obsessed with the fact the Saudi government has suppressed this mission, but in light of al Qaeda's beating in the country, it appears they are looking for something, anything to claim success.

Finally, there are some structural changes occurring in the Iraqi theater. The Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI), the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, and the Mujahideen Army have announced they will conduct joint operations; "hand in hand to attack the infidels and their assistants with an iron fist until we break the infidels... so that [we] can teach the infidels and their assistants that continuing their war will only make us stronger, more harmonious, and more unified." Co-operation has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, resources, command, communications, safehouses, weapons and other assets can be shared among the groups, increasing their effectiveness. On the minus side, as the groups integrate more closely, the advantage of operating as separate forces to shield them from counterintelligence operations diminishes.

al Qaeda has announced the formation of an all-Iraqi suicide squad; " [A]n Iraqi martyrs brigade that is a branch of the Al-Baraa bin Malik Brigade has been established. Immediately, dozens of individuals rushed forward to sign their names in a race to meet their creator." The fact that almost all of the suicide bombers to this date have been foreigners should cause this claim to be viewed skeptically. To date, the native Iraqi suicide bombers have been blackmailed, coerced, were Downs patients, canine, or were taped to the steering wheels and gas pedals. Perhaps the next batch of recruits will be more willing to "meet their creator" than the prior batch.