Al Qaeda in Iraq, through its puppet organization the Islamic State of Iraq, released its latest propaganda video on June 23. The video contains a montage of attacks throughout Iraq, and features two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted strikes in Mosul. One of the operatives was released from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Islamic State of Iraq used footage taken at Combat Outpost Inman by this reporter in Mosul in March of this year.
The 38-minute-long video, titled “The Islamic State is Meant to Stay,” was produced by Al Furqan, al Qaeda’s media arm in Iraq. Al Furqan has released few videos over the past six weeks said Nibras Kazimi, a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute, at his website, Talisman Gate.
The video is the first official al Furqan release since May 30, according to ThreatsWatch.org‘s Nick Grace, and the 24th video released in 2008. “By this time last year,” he said, “they had produced exactly 90 videos. The rank and file on the Internet have even begun to question whether recent attack ‘snuff’ videos produced by this outfit are even new or just archival material to keep the appearance of fresh output. U.S. operations against their media cells inside Iraq late last year have had a profound impact.”
Listen to Bill Roggio discuss the al Qaeda video and the use of his images of the attack at Combat Outpost Inman with Covert Radio’s Brett Winterble.
Al Furqan’s output “has been reduced to a trickle,” said Kazimi, noting that al Qaeda has not refuted reports on the death of senior leaders, including reports of the death of Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the purported leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, and Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq’s leader and the Islamic State’s defense minister. Al Masri and Baghdadi, who the US military says is a fictitious character played by an actor, have not been confirmed killed. The US military said it killed al Qaeda’s emir, or leader, in Mosul on June 23. Multiple senior al Qaeda leaders in Mosul have been killed or captured this year.
Al Qaeda had planned “a big showdown in Mosul but either opted not to go through with it or they weren’t able to muster enough force,” Kazimi said.
In March, an al Qaeda leader admitted that its position in Iraq is tenuous. Abu Turab al Jaza’iri, a senior al Qaeda commander in northern Iraq, said al Qaeda “lost several cities and have been forced to withdraw from others,” but was still fighting. “I do not want to paint a false picture: Our position is very difficult, but we are fighting, and will continue to do so,” Jaza’iri said.
Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, was behind the attack on Combat Outpost Inman.
A former Kuwaiti Guantanamo Bay detainee conducts a suicide attack in Mosul
Two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted suicide attacks were featured at the end of the video. Abu Omar al Kuwaiti, also known as Badr Mishel Gama’an al Harbi, and Abu Juheiman al Kuwaiti, also known as Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, are both shown on the video, along with their attacks in Mosul, said Kazimi.
Harbi, who claimed to be a “veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan,” conducted a suicide car bomb attack on a police station in Mosul on April 26, 2008.
Ajmi was released from Guantanamo Bay and was searching for “a way to reconnect with the jihad.” He claimed he was tortured while at Guantanamo Bay.
Ajmi “is seemingly responsible for an earlier truck bombing at the Iraqi Army HQ in the Harmat neighborhood of Mosul on March 23, 2008,” said Kazimi. The attack occurred at Combat Outpost Inman, an Iraqi Army base that served as the headquarters for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division.
Thirteen Iraqi soldiers were killed and 42 were wounded after Ajmi drove an armored truck packed an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of explosives through the gate of the outpost and detonated in a spot between the three main buildings of the compound. The blast destroyed the facades of the three buildings, including the building housing the battalion headquarters.
Three days prior, Brigadier General Taha, the brigade commander relieved Lieutenant Colonel Favil, the commander of the 1st Battalion, of his command. Favil was arrested for a shooting and absent from his command, and his troops were not securing the main road leading from Mosul to Tal Afar in the west.
Taha believed the attack was planned from the inside. “We believe this is some kind of plot,” Taha said while surveying the damage immediately after the attack.
Al Furqan used footage taken by this reporter in the immediate aftermath of the suicide attack at Combat outpost Inman in its latest video. Four images from In Pictures: Suicide car bomb attacks at Combat Outpost Inman were used in the al Qaeda propaganda video to detail the aftermath of the attack.