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Al Qaeda in Iraq video shows series of attacks against Iraqi security forces


Warning: the video is extremely graphic and shows al Qaeda in Iraq fighters brutally executing Iraqi soldiers and policemen.


The Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq's political front in the country, recently released a video demonstrating a series of attacks against Iraqi military barracks, checkpoints, and security forces in Baghdad, Diyala, and Anbar provinces.

A version of the video released by al Qaeda in Iraq's al Furqan media wing and subsequently posted on the LiveLeak web site shows footage from 12 separate, undated attacks. Four of the attacks specifically target Iraqi Army soldiers and facilities. At least two of the operations are aimed at Iraqi police officers and facilities, and two show assassinations of specific individuals who are driving in personal vehicles.

Several clips show al Qaeda operatives executing individuals or pumping rounds into dead bodies with suppressed handguns, with accompanying text declaring the assassins "knights of the silencers," according to a translation of the video provided by Steven Miller, a Research Associate at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Five of the attacks are identified as taking place in Baghdad and two are said to be in Diyala province, including a large attack on a base which is shown at the 0:30 mark in the clip. A major attack seen through night vision, at 8:11 in the video, was executed against an Iraqi army base in Anbar province.

The video is similar to a previous release detailing a March 2012 raid in Haditha that killed 27 Iraqi policemen, including two commanders. Both videos tout the execution of ISF personnel, and display AQI's continuing ability to plan and execute coordinated operations against security facilities. These attacks are part of multiple 'waves' of al Qaeda's "Destroying the Walls" campaign, which was announced by AQI emir Sheikh Mujahid Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on July 21, 2012.

On Jan. 20, AQI claimed responsibility for the most recent "third wave" of the campaign, which included the assassination of Iraqi member of parliament Sheikh Aifan Sadoun Aifan al-Issawi on Jan. 15. Aifan, a prominent founder of Fallujah's tribal "Awakening" against al Qaeda begun in 2006, was killed when an AQI operative dressed as a worker detonated a suicide vest at a construction site south of Fallujah.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has shown a resurgence after the withdrawal of the US military from Iraq at the end of 2011. While AQI does not openly control territory as it did in 2007, before US and Iraqi forces drove it from strongholds throughout the country, the terror group can still organize and execute significant attacks, such as the Haditha raid, and a number of suicide bombings, including one that killed 42 Iraqis at Shia mosque in the city of Tuz Khurmatu on Jan. 23.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has also been empowered by recent unrest in Syria, expanding its operations in the neighboring country under a new banner, that of the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, one of the most prominent rebel groups fighting the regime of Bashar al Assad. The US State Department designated Al Nusrah as a global terrorist entity on Dec. 11, 2012, stating that the group is a "new alias" for al Qaeda in Iraq and is in fact directly controlled by AQI's emir.



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READER COMMENTS: "Al Qaeda in Iraq video shows series of attacks against Iraqi security forces"

Posted by Pat at January 26, 2013 12:53 AM ET:

Killing people in the name of 'god'. Such a shame. Hopefully people will one day wake up and realize that all we have is each other. We're killing each other and we are the only known 'intelligent' life form known in the universe.

Posted by Gerald at January 26, 2013 1:15 AM ET:

Bet they wish they still had the Americans to help them NOW!! It seem like the ISF don't secure their perimeters.My God no wonder they are getting slaughtered.

Posted by ECH at January 26, 2013 2:13 AM ET:

I am extremely worried about Iraq as much as I am Syria falling apart. The two are very much interconnected as we all know and the fact is we provided alot of help fight AQI was removed and alot of diplomatic help to Iraq was also removed.

Diplomatically and military ignoring Iraq as we have been doing for over a year now just means the conflict in Syria won't be able to be contained there and it will create a regional war. I can already hear some thinking so what its their problem.

The problem is what we are seeing now potentally happening is what Zarqawi planned for and put most of his resources towards hammering the Sunni/Shia fault line that runs from Beirut to Baghdad and plunging the region into long term civil war.

That happens al-Qaeda will be able to thrive in the heart of the Middle East for decades. We are entering a critical time for the region and if Washington doesn't re-engage politically and militarily big time I think the odds are extremely high of al-Qaeda in Iraq and its front group in Syria having a long term base to launch attacks on the West and both Syria and Iraq along with Jordan, Lebanon and perhaps others falling into chaos and becoming failed states.

Posted by Michal Hola at January 26, 2013 3:55 AM ET:

This is another film about the AQI operations in recent days

Posted by Jason Blatter at January 26, 2013 8:58 AM ET:

All I hope is that the ISF is using the release of these videos for some kind of training. Never let your guard down, because it appears that these attacks are being initiated at that moment when the guard is down. Cowardly, but smart, effective, efficient and successful.

Posted by Jason Blatter at January 26, 2013 9:34 AM ET:

As an additional note, all the victims in the second segment were bare footed, or only with socks.

Posted by Lee Jay Walker at January 26, 2013 11:30 AM ET:

The US led invasion of Iraq unleashed new vacuums that it could not contain - minorities like the Christians fled in vast numbers and then the US and others cut and run - after creating a nightmare for this nation.

Not content with learning zilch from either Afghanistan which in turn destabilized Pakistan - then creating the destabilization of Iraq followed by Libya which in turn enabled Mali and the latest Algerian terrorist attack to occur - the same players the combine to destabilize Syria - which likewise is enabling a fresh Sunni terrorist and political surge to take place in Iraq - utter madness and complete folly.

Trillions of dollars spent, vast numbers of people killed and what do you get - yes, daily terrorist attacks in many nations, failed states and the crushing of minorities.

Posted by BobbyD at January 26, 2013 12:34 PM ET:

Lee Jay,

You have a very simplistic and uninformed view of the past 12 years.

Posted by mike merlo at January 26, 2013 1:29 PM ET:

@Lee Jay Walker
a very shortsighted view of reality coupled with a lack of historiographical knowledge of the singled out nations & region(s). The territory occupied by present day Pakistan has always been unstable. Afghanistan has nothing to do with Pakistan's inability to responsibly govern their nation. Mali, Syria, Libya, Iraq & any other nation one chooses to focus on in the region, besides Israel, have all either been governed by murderer's, warring 'cliques,' or have simply given way to human being's basest's instinct's which the world & region are now witnessing & experiencing.

Placing blame on the US for the 'mentioned' going's on simply fails to take into account just how tenuous those governing the region(s) were & are. It was simply a matter of time that the Muslim Ummah would experience the same opportunities for liberation as that which was experienced in Eastern/Central Europe, the now dissembled USSR, & parts of SouthEast Asia, Latin America & Africa.

Posted by gb at January 26, 2013 2:47 PM ET:

Some may consider my opinion a bit myopic but I really don't care that they are slaughtering each other, as long as they aren't attacking Americans. we should contain them and stand back and witness them burning their countries down. It will happen in Egypt, Mali, and already has in Somalia. PAK is a bit more disconcerting because of the nukes, but if it was necessary I'm sure the war planners have contingencies for dealing with that should PAK implode.

Posted by blert at January 26, 2013 5:18 PM ET:

Lee Jay is an exemplar of National Solipsism.

==========

Most of the footage appears as stagged/ contrived as a Hollywood film.

Notably: in many 'scenes' absolutely no one is shooting back -- and the attackers are standing bold and clear -- like they're fighting in the 17th Century -- in Europe.

Thus, the footage is agitprop designed to make it appear that attacking their national government is a bloodless -- for them -- affair.

========

The fact is that any assassin can get off a cheap shot against an ordinary fellow.

Such footage fulsomely explains why security contractors, operating in Iraq back when, refused to allow ANY Iraqi vehicles to close up with protected parties.

The 'ride-by' attack is of ancient standing, thereabouts.

=========

In the larger sense, these fools are but Tehran's pawns. The darker purpose of the campaign is to so enrage the Shi'ites that they impose complete displacement of all Sunni clans from within Iraq.

The mullahs are more than willing to fight all of the Iraqi Sunnis right down to the last Iraqi Shi'ite.

While this is underway, with luck, the Iraqis will stop flooding the international market with super competitive crude oil exports.

As it stands, Iran has fallen from 4,300,000 bpd to 1,900,000 bpd in the last fifteen months.

Iraqi crude from Shi'ite lands is chemically identical to that of Abadan, Iran. Baghdad is expecting to ramp up its exports by an additional 2,000,000 bpd within three years.

======

Which brings us back to Iran.

As the weather breaks, so should the Iranian dictatorship. It's running out of friends... and money.

They've effectively lost Venezuela -- a one-man event.

Their connection to the Hez and Hamas is blowing up.

Their stooge in Damascus is cornered.

And their new ally, Morsi, is broke, broke, broke.

Posted by Bill Ardolino at January 26, 2013 6:41 PM ET:

Agreed that some of the footage is contrived. But notably, of course, that footage is after-the-fact staging of battles on ISF positions that have already been overrun, with ISF personnel who have already been killed.

Posted by Larry at January 26, 2013 7:59 PM ET:

@Jason Blatter: I noticed that too. One possible explanation for that is that they took their shoes after the fact.

Posted by Dan from AZ at January 27, 2013 12:31 AM ET:

Thanks for your post, blert. "National Solipsism" was funny on one hand and sad on the other. Most of the film was staged, of course. Even the part when the guy walks up to the drivers side window of a pickup and "fires" a pistol (w/silencer) and you see the left leg raise up.

I hope Iran has lost Venezuela, although I haven't seen any changes yet as the situation continues to be in flux. I would rather see us out of any more wars if we can apply pressure and still accomplish the goal of turning Iran around.

It's gong to be 100 years before this region catches up to being a civil population.

Posted by sundoesntrise at January 27, 2013 2:22 AM ET:

blert, no he isn't. National Solipsism? You're really pulling out all the stops today aren't you?

I have seen quite a few chaps on the Internet make the exact same argument as Lee Jay over these past many years. Not saying I agree with the argument, but by using the term 'Solipsism' you are attempting to imply (in a 'sophisticated' way) that Lee Jay is so out of touch with reality that he lives inside his own mind. That's what Solipsism is, after all. It's not true that he lives in his mind, blert. Lots of people think just like he does.

Posted by sundoesntrise at January 27, 2013 2:28 AM ET:

Watching this video, it's hard to tell the difference between these fighters - and the fighters in Libya and Syria. Think about it. They have almost the exact same mannerisms!

It's somewhat pathetic that after all these years, Jihadist propaganda videos still exist of this nature. But the content of this video clearly shows that AQI is a bunch of bloodthirsty bandits and serial killers above anything else.

Posted by J in Oregon at January 27, 2013 8:05 AM ET:

Thank you. Any opportunity to study the enemy is welcome.

Posted by Bill Ardolino at January 27, 2013 8:23 AM ET:

Regarding some of the assertions that most of this video is fake. i.e:

"Even the part when the guy walks up to the drivers side window of a pickup and "fires" a pistol (w/silencer) and you see the left leg raise up."

Unsure why the word fires is in quotation marks, unless suggesting the use of blanks. There is recoil, the slide blows back, and a shell casing is ejected from the weapon. Regarding the use of suppressed weapons, this method of assassination is on the rise and is covered in the Iraqi press.

Some of the assaults on checkpoints or outposts likely may have been staged after the fact (which begs the question of how AQI achieved the ability to waltz around among ISF equipment and dead bodies in the first place), but if you doubt there are any real assassinations or attacks in this video, a closer look at the genre is called for. AQI and other jihadists have been filming these for a while now. Not all of them end so well for them; those clips don't usually make it into the press releases.

Posted by Doug at January 27, 2013 8:40 AM ET:

Again the AQ bastards demonstrate what cold blooded and cowardly bastards they are. Drive by executions, all while chanting God is great. God, the same God worshiped by Muslims, Christians and Jews is not party to these horrendous acts. AQ, like so many lying murderous zelots that have come before, are the worst form of blasphemers.

Posted by Lee Jay Walker at January 27, 2013 11:52 AM ET:

Hello

Even Hillary Clinton stated that the US is fighting the terrorists that once were supported by America. You need to get a reality check because either your eyes are closed - or you have an agenda - or maybe both?

If you are trying to claim that terrorist attacks existed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria - prior to outside meddling and to the level of today - then clearly you are residing in cloud cuckoo land - with respect!

Note - around 50% of Christians fled Iraq after the US led invasion - Shabaks, Yazidis and others also fled. Today Iraq is a failed state and we all know that Christians and other minorities will flee Syria if Islamists take power (being supported by the friends of America).

Likewise, General Zia ul-Haq changed the power dynamics of Pakistan and we all know why. Even Hillary Clinton stated that the crisis in Mali is related to Libya.

US and friends keep on meddling and creating more instability - then go home after turning nations into failed states - once the military can't contain the forces which were unleashed.

Posted by mike merlo at January 27, 2013 12:40 PM ET:

@Lee Jay Walker
citing Secretary of Date Clinton as a source of consequence is near laughable.
"Was it because of a protest or because of guys out on a walk one night who decided they'd go kill Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? "
Guys out on a walk deciding to attack an American consulate? What a joke.

Posted by g at January 27, 2013 7:05 PM ET:

lee jay,

I am certainly no expert but it seems to me that our meddling could not be responsible for the Shia vs Sunni violence that has been rampant in the area for centuries. The only time these so called states have not been 'failed' in recent history is when they are being run with an iron fist. I don't know which is better but I do know Iran and Iraq won't be singing Kumbaya together anytime soon regardless of what we do.

Posted by Dan from AZ at January 27, 2013 8:01 PM ET:

Mr. Ardolino, What happens to a man when fatally shot in the head? Is that man going to be able to raise his stiff left leg with his foot almost to the top of the roof sitting in a p/u truck? What about the steering wheel? Think that's in the way? I think 99.9999% of the time he would just slump over. This film, to me, shows some recreations of an earlier battle where they won.
There is a different scene after this one where a fighter goes into a small brick building and you can see a body sitting down with his back against the wall near the door. After the fighter comes back out the body slumps into the doorway. It looked to me someone was inside doing the pushing of the already dead body The insurgents are staging most of the "action scenes".
Some scenes look disturbingly real though, including the first one. If you can't tell which scenes are fake then the director is doing a good job.
BTW. the reason the police are shown barefoot is the insurgents took their boots after they were killed earlier in the real attack, IMO. Some scenes took alot of time so they must not be worried about being pursued.

Posted by Bill Ardolino at January 27, 2013 8:38 PM ET:

Yes, some of the video of facilities shows the attackers firing for effect into bodies after the attack is complete (or almost so; staging, etc.). This has occurred in a number of AQI releases, interspersed with obviously accurate footage of executions (see here: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/08/_the_islamic_state_o.php ); the former is likely for propaganda purposes outlined by 'blert' above. As for your analysis of the clip with the man raising his leg, with respect, I believe it's poorly formulated in a number of ways, not the least of which is the fact that the camera has no visibility on where the victim is shot when he is still trying to protect himself. As for your comment on the importance of victims w/o shoes, bare feet are not uncommon in an Iraqi Army post or an Iraqi police station, from my experience. (Etc., etc.) It is important to recognize AQI's media manipulations while not overstating them. Otherwise, interpret as you wish and regards.

Posted by Dan from AZ at January 28, 2013 1:17 AM ET:

Regards Mr. Ardolino, Interpret as I wish? As you will do also. Thanks for the post. I'm glad you concur the film has staged scenes intermingled with some actual footage. I have one question, please, with your knowledge and experience of the middle eastern population would you not say proper footwear for policemen/soldiers is rare and hard to come by? I have watched footage of police in the area wearing sandals as most of the population in that area might be able to make or afford. If you agree, then when you see "socks" on a dead man would you not think he had boots or shoes on? The higher the rank, the better the footwear, right?

Posted by Bill Ardolino at January 28, 2013 7:46 AM ET:

W/o outlining the minutiae of footwear on an Iraqi army or police OP, checkpoint, etc; I've commented under the piece because it is important to add the context that AQI seems to sometimes dramatize events for the camera after facilities are already taken. Most commonly, this involves pumping rounds into dead victims. That said, real people are being killed or have recently been killed (some on Iraqi security facilities) in AQI videos. These events occur, and they are commonly filmed. To draw a conclusion otherwise would be incorrect. Recommend reading the detail and corroboration regarding the Haditha raid.

Posted by Jason Blatter at January 28, 2013 8:16 AM ET:

My comment on the security personnel with no shoes was to imply that the attack was initiated during a low guard time, such as during prayer, meal, or some other situation.

Posted by Bill Ardolino at January 28, 2013 8:24 AM ET:

Jason - yes, dominant themes in many of these videos are poor SSOPs and complacency. It is also relevant to note that many personnel have sleeping quarters at OPs and other facilities.

Posted by Manny jakel at January 28, 2013 9:29 AM ET:

Bill, this is what makes these people so special.
I have never heard of singing while firing a gun or repeating any number of words while killing, as they do, alahu akhbar. This only proves how insane they are. Were they asked about this they would not see any reason not sing while killing. They get so much enjoyment from their killing that they sing as they go from one live body to a dead body over and over again. NUTS is not the word.
They should all be institutionalized.

Posted by North Shore Nick at January 28, 2013 12:19 PM ET:

Funny how people think "they" are crazy bc they scream "god is great" when they fight. it's no different than the way we hoot and holler "get some" when we fight. open your minds. blue and red forces all fight for the same reasons. if this were in the US and we were impoverished and had no resources, we would use the same tactics they employ. lets get over the "dehumanzing" efforts. especially those who have never "been there and done that"

Posted by Green1Delta at January 28, 2013 9:29 PM ET:

There's nothing cowardly about these guys and yes, many of yall's efforts at dehumanizing them are, at this point, really quite absurd. Our boys laugh and cheer all the time when a firefight is going our way; at least these fighters have the brains to invoke God during what may be their final moments on earth, rather than quoting Full Metal Jacket.

Blackhawk!
OIF 1, 2.

Posted by blert at January 29, 2013 1:29 AM ET:

The phrase is of the ancient tradition: to have God's benediction upon one's last moments -- a real possibility in a mortal fight.

Posted by Baltimore News at January 29, 2013 5:28 PM ET:

What savages. What is wrong with these "people?" This disgusts me in ways I never thought possible.

Posted by mike merlo at January 30, 2013 3:52 AM ET:

@blert
maybe after injecting a couple syringes of heroin

Posted by sundoesntrise at February 2, 2013 4:45 PM ET:

blert, we can do without the attempts to sound philosophical by referencing ancient languages and customs. They invoke the 'God' being (whose existence has not been prove) purely out of religious psychosis, and to 'prove' that Islam is rightfully taking it's place as the one and only world religion.