The Flypaper theory has come under much derision since it was proposed, but it is difficult to deny the US presence in Iraq has attracted important and hard to detect members of al Qaeda. Many al Qaeda members have been killed or captured in Iraq while to engage the US Army and Marines on conditions disadvantageous to the jihadis. Iraq has forced al Qaeda to commit its limited resources to the battle, and experienced leaders and operators have thrown themselves against US and Iraqi forces with reckless abandon.
The Coalition has netted some very important jihadis the past couple of days.
Hilal Hussein al-Badrani, a Saudi who commands Ansar al-Sunnah, has been captured outside of Mosul by Iraqi Security Forces. al-Badrani was arrested while “in possession of weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition”. Just recently, Ansar al Sunnah has agreed to enter into an official alliance with the Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI) and the Mujahedeen Army. It should be interesting to find out what details al-Badrani may have on this arrangement, as well as his specific knowledge on his organization.
Khalid Suleiman Darwish has been killed in Qaim. Darwish was Zarqawi’s number two in command, and was believed to be in the running to succession to al Qaeda in Iraq if Zarqawi is killed or captured. The death of Darwish narrows down the potential successors to Zarqawi, as he is the second prince to be removed from the battlefield in the past month, after the capture of Abu Talha.
Al Qaeda in Iraq’s senior leadership is taking a pounding of late.
Qaim is certainly a hot theater in Iraq. Abdullah al-Rashood, a very senior member of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia was also killed in Qaim this past week. General Abizaid believes the Coalition has a decent handle on Zarqawi’s location.
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