Targeting al Qaeda in Iraq's network, March-April 2008


The 10 senior-most al Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed or captured in March and April. Click to view full size.

As Coalition and Iraqi security forces work to dismantle al Qaeda in Iraq's network nationwide, al Qaeda is attempting to re-establish operations in its former stronghold in Baghdad as well as in the northern city of Mosul. Al Qaeda's ability to conduct large-scale, coordinated attacks has diminished since the fall of 2007 as the security situation improved. But as yesterday's suicide attacks in Baqubah, Mosul, Ramadi, and Baghdad show, al Qaeda still maintains some capacity to coordinate operations and target civilians.

US and Iraqi security forces have killed or captured 53 senior members of al Qaeda in Iraq's network over the past month, Major General Kevin Bergner, the spokesman for Multinational Forces Iraq said during an operations briefing on April 15 in Baghdad. Bergner singled out the 10 senior-most al Qaeda leaders. US and Iraqi forces have killed or captured five emirs, or leaders, three cell leaders, and two facilitators - operatives in charge of moving men, weapons, explosives, and money to allow al Qaeda to continue operations. Nine of the ten senior operatives have been captured, which allows the Coalition and Iraqi forces to interrogate for information to paint a better picture of al Qaeda's network.

Of these senior al Qaeda operatives killed or captured, three were responsible for operations in Mosul, and four in Baghdad. Joint forces killed or captured the leader of Mosul, his deputy, and, the leader of the eastern half of the city. In Baghdad, security forces killed or captured two leaders and two facilitators.

Senior Al Qaeda in Iraq operatives killed or captured in Mosul and the North:

• Abd-al-Rahman Ibrahim Jasim Tha'ir: Al Qaeda in Iraq's Military Emir in Mosul. He was responsible for the planning and execution of operations in the city. He was the former Military Emir of Bayji. Tha'ir was captured on March 2nd.

• Ahmad Husayn Ghanim 'Ali: Al Qaeda in Iraq's Security Emir for East Mosul. [Captured]

• Abu Mansur: Al Qaeda's Deputy Emir for Mosul who also served as a judge for al Qaeda's sharia courts in the city. "His job was to try to cloak their corrupt ideology with religious sanction," Bergner said. [Killed]

• Muhammad Fathi Hammad Husayn: An al Qaeda cell leader in Sharqat. [Captured]

Senior Al Qaeda in Iraq operatives killed or captured in Baghdad and the Center

• Mahmud 'Abd-al-Hamid 'Isa 'Aaywi: Al Qaeda's Military Emir for South Karkh. "His operations focused on trying to use car and truck bombs in East and West Rashid, Karrada and Mansour," Bergner said. [Captured]

• Jasim Najm Khalaf Muhammad: A leader in al Qaeda's network in Khark. Muhammad was attempting to rebuild al Qaeda's network in the Baghdad Belts. [Captured]

• Ali Mustashar 'Ali: An Al Qaeda in Iraq facilitator for car bombs in Baghdad. [Captured]

• Hamid 'Awayd Muhammad: An Al Qaeda in Iraq facilitator for truck and car bombs in Baghdad. Muhammad was al Qaeda Emir for Anbar province prior to moving operations in Baghdad. [Captured]

• Tu'mah Khalaf Mutar Hassan: An al Qaeda cell leader in Samarra. [Captured]

• Muqdad Ibrahim 'Abbas Husayn: The Military Emir for Jalam. Husayn coordinated operations with leaders in Tikrit, Samarra, and Mosul. He also facilitated meetings with al Qaeda's leadership. [Captured]



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READER COMMENTS: "Targeting al Qaeda in Iraq's network, March-April 2008"

Posted by AQI Losses at April 16, 2008 11:26 PM ET:

53 senior leaders killed or captured in March 2008. The largest number yet and a signifcant increase from the last two months, even doubling Feb 2008.

February 2008 - 26
January 2008 - 35
December 2007 - 51
November 2007 - 40
October 2007 - 43
September 2007 - 29
August 2007 - 25
July 2007 - 19

Looks like AQI, after being on the ropes big time, have made a very serious effort to reconstitute. As they attempt to re-establish, it increases their activities as opposed to keeping a low profile, resulting in more intelligence and thus an increase in the number killed or captured. Unfortunately for them, Coalition, especially Task Force 88, and Iraqi security forces are there to greet them. This also partially explains why AQI was relatively quiet recently, until the last few days where they are attempting to make a propaganda statement to the media through coordinated attacks.

There has not yet been a knock out blow. We still have the upper hand, but AQI is a highly determined and resilient enemy.

Posted by Michael at April 16, 2008 11:43 PM ET:

I am very curious how much terrorist leadership is formed out of Syria, plus any financing from Saddam's daughter in Jordan. I know at one time they were brave enough to schedule old Baathist meetings, but canceled.

Will there eventually be a point that Iraq is strong enough to force Syria into pushing out or curtailing former Baathist from outside interference?

Will old Baathist suddenly disappear into the night? Like Ibrahim? Or might he be offered up as fodder for good relations?


Posted by AQI Losses at April 17, 2008 12:15 AM ET:

Bill,

After posting my comment, I noticed the number of 53 senior leaders killed or captured you reported was for March and April.

However the briefing you link to, says "AQI Roll-up for March". Granted the briefing isn't perfectly clear, but I do believe it is for March only.

Posted by Rhyno327/lrsd at April 17, 2008 8:00 AM ET:

That looks like a pretty good haul. All of the men in pics dead or captured. Like the previous poster said, these are determined and resilient men. If Mosul has a slew of AQ fighters digging in, wat is the strategy to eliminate them? A Fallujah like op does not seem imminent. It looks like they are going to do it a couple blocks here and there. Can anyone say wat the strategy is for Mosul?

Posted by JusCruzn at April 17, 2008 10:14 AM ET:

Of these ten senior leaders all were captured with the exception of one who was killed. Usually all of them leaders and followers alike say how their ultimate goal is to die in battle. With 9 of ten captured I guess it is only up to the common footsoldier to die in battle. Bin Laden has preached many times about how he wants to fight to the death. He seems to set the example for all their leadership as he ran at Jaji in 87 from the Soviets, and repeated that again in Tora Bora in 2001. These terrorists are COWARDS. KEEP KILLING TERRORISTS THEY ARE NOTHING BUT DIRTBAGS. GOOD WORK TROOPS!!!

Posted by Joe Six-Pack at April 17, 2008 12:38 PM ET:

I do like the match up of our military fighting it out with Al Qaeda and their allies in open battle. I still
prefer this over 'playing defense' and trying to defeat them at a shopping mall or some school.

Good defense is important, but a good offense will only help take pressure off the defense.

Posted by David M at April 17, 2008 1:20 PM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/17/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

Posted by David M at April 18, 2008 3:07 PM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/18/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.