Iraq Report: Babil Awakening, Al Qaeda - Iran liaison captured
The Awakening movement, which started in Anbar province by local tribes and Sunni insurgents that opposed al Qaeda's attempts to Talibanize Iraqi society, has spread to all of the provinces bordering Baghdad. Over the past month, Awakening movements formed in Diyala and Salahadin, and this week, the Babil Awakening has formed. Al Qaeda in Iraq immediately targeted the leader of the Babil Awakening, and seriously wounded Sheikh Obeid Al-Masoud and his wife in the city of Iskandaria. Al Qaeda is working to destroy the nascent Awakening movements in the provinces as they provide a political and ideological alternative to al Qaeda's Islamic State.
In Baghdad, Coalition and Iraqi raids have focused on the Mahdi Army over the past day. Yesterday, Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured a Mahdi Army commander in the Kadamiyah district in central Baghdad. The Mahdi commander "is alleged to be responsible for providing financial, logistical, and political support for multiple insurgent groups and terrorist organizations" as well as "suspected of overseeing the training of insurgent recruits on terrorist methods including the construction and detonation of Improvised Explosive Devices and Explosively Formed Projectiles."
Two more Mahdi operatives were captured in Sadr City today. "They are believed to be members of the secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training," according to the Multinational Forces Iraq press release. Seventeen members of this network have been killed and 41 captured during numerous raids over the past three weeks.
Coalition forces also captured a "liaison to al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders, who assists in the movement of information and documents from al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership in Baghdad to al-Qaeda senior leaders in Iran" during a raid in Khanaqin. Al Qaeda leaders such as Saif al Adel and Said bin Laden, Osama's son, are being sheltered in Iran along with an estimated 100 al Qaeda senior operatives.
Al Qaeda has stepped up attacks in the city of Fallujah in the eastern region of Anbar province. A suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a line of police recruits, and reports indicate up to 25 recruits and police were killed and another 50 wounded. Yesterday, mortar attacks directed at a court house and civilian neighborhoods killed 9 people. On May 24, a suicide bomber struck a funeral procession. This is part of al Qaeda's efforts to stop the spread of the Anbar Salvation Council in eastern Anbar province.
While al Qaeda was attacking the residents of Fallujah, in western Baghdad fighting broke out between the 1920 Revolution Brigades and the Islamic Army in Iraq on one side, and al Qaeda in Iraq on the other. Other reports indicate the U.S. joine din the fight against al Qaeda. "The al-Qaida leader in the Amariyah district, known as Haji Hameed, was killed and 45 other fighters were detained," in a battle with Coalition forces, noted the Associated Press. A significant portion of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, in addition to elements of the Islamic Army in Iraq, have turned on AQI in Anbar and other provinces. The two insurgent groups have given substantial support to the Awakening movements spreading throughout Iraq. Many Sunni insurgent groups have opposed al Qaeda's attempts to usurp command of the insurgency, and they have no interest in the establishment of an Islamic State that will be used as a springboard from which to attack neighboring states or foreign governments.