al Qaeda Commander and 20 Terrorists Killed in Raid

The Coalition continues to conduct targeted strikes on al Qaeda in the Qaim region along the Syrian border. A safe house in the town of Al ‘Ushsh, which is about two miles from Qaim, was destroyed. Abu Nasir, who according to CENTCOM was believed to be “a senior al Qaeda in Iraq foreign fighter facilitator and the alleged new al Qaeda in Iraq Emir of Karabilah” was among an estimated twenty terrorists killed in the attack.

Abu Nasir’s tenure as al Qaeda Emir of the Qaim region was short-lived. He follows in the footsteps of Abu Ali, who was confirmed killed during a targeted airstrike in Haditha on September 18. Command in the Qaim region, like that in the Mosul region, is becoming a difficult job to retain.

Coalition intelligence in western Anbar appears to be improving, as senior al Qaeda leaders and large cells have been the targets of numerous successful operations. Col. Stephen Davis, the commander of the Marines Regimental Combat Team 2 states that the recent push along the Euphrates is the direct result of intelligence gains; “The buildup is driven by the fact that intelligence pulls us where the threat is  We always go where the intel drives us.”

Whether the operations in and around Qaim are beginning to achieve the desired result of disrupting al Qaeda’s organization as has been done in northern Iraq in the Tal Afar-Qaim region remains to be seen. As the terrorist’s area of operations shrink, they are likely to congregate in the areas where they are most comfortable, and attack from these areas. A greater density of terrorists means a greater pool of talent to draw from, so there is very likely much additional work to be done to whittle down al Qaeda’s command structure in Anbar.

The congregation of terrorists into smaller areas has both positive and negative outcomes. The positives are the density of terrorists operating in a compact area tends to poison the local population, opens doors for new intelligence leads, and allows for easier targeting of terrorists en masse. Coalition strikes in Qaim or operations in Mosul are perfect examples of this. The negatives are the volume of attacks increases, and Iraqi government and Coalition are seen as ineffective in establishing law and order both locally and internationally.

As al Qaeda finds it more difficult to operate in northern Iraq, and has pretty much conceded that they cannot conduct successful attacks in the Kurdish and Shiite regions on a consistent basis, their area of effective operations is shrinking. The map of the density of attacks clearly shows the insurgency has centered its operations to the north and east of Baghdad, along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, with Baghdad being the ultimate target. The Coalition is working to shut down the Tigris and Euphrates ratlines, as the recent operation in Tal Afar and operations in Qaim and along the Euphrates demonstrates.

The attacks on Baghdad, while having no real military value, are achieving the desired political and propaganda effects of feeding the Western media’s passion for gory headlines that project failure in Iraq. It should be noted that Coalition successes in targeting al Qaeda leadership and operatives rarely, if ever, leads in the headlines, while al Qaeda successes get top billing. Today is no different – the headline At Least 25 Are Killed in Day of Violence Across Iraq [New York Times] sells, while al Qaeda Commander and 20 Terrorists Killed in Raid does not exist, unless you happened to stumble upon this site.

Map compliments of CENTCOM.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

24 Comments

  • GJ says:

    Today is no different – the headline At Least 25 Are Killed in Day of Violence Across Iraq [New York Times] sells, while al Qaeda Commander and 20 Terrorists Killed in Raid does not exist, unless you happened to stumble upon this site.
    That’s for damn sure. They’re more willing to promote the events from Saturday, namely the ANSwer bull session. I’m pretty well convinced the media are nothing less than neo-Marxists.

  • USMC_Vet says:

    Many have rightly (and to a large degree futilely) attempted to press the point that the Iraqi security and stability situation will improve only to the degree that the intelligence in the regions in question improves.
    This rather obvious point has seemed lost on Iraq War Critics in both the media and federal elected houses of government, where the montra is either ‘more troops’ or ‘bring them home now’. These are not sink or swim options, they are sink or sink. Neither addresses a path to victory, which is stability and security in Iraq to the point where Iraqi’s are nearly self-sufficient for internal security.
    Car bombs constructed in secret and detonated on civilian streets are not better combated with an additional division of troops. Such methods are combated with actionable intel.
    The advantage that the terrorist AQIZ has always held has been stealthy existance, planning & execution. Much of that existed because the indigeonous Iraqi’s not involved but knowledgeable (they know who belongs in their neighborhoods and who does not, and where they go)have feared for their lives and that of their families if they uttered a word.
    It is becoming clear that tey now are beginning to understand that they already fear for their lives and that of their families, speak or not.
    Hence, the incredible spike in acitonable intel….and the action taken on that intel.
    Being in charge of any area of Anbar or Ninawa provinces for AQIZ has had all of the job stability of being a lifeguard in a shark-infested pool. Rather high turnover rate.
    And if the Iraqi citizens keep this up, victory will finally be theirs…and ours…but more importantly theirs.
    Insh’allah.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Al-Qaeda knows how to play the media and its not hard with the current media we have in the states.
    But, we have some fairly big PR victories ahead of us. I am hearing rumors and hints that there is going to be some very good news out of Iraq in the next couple days, also you have the Constitutional Referendum in mid October along with Saddam’s trial after that and finally the December election.
    What we need is big media events, that gets the media to stop focusing for a moment on the daily body count and look at the bigger picture (which happened on January 30th) and there are a couple potential events coming up that would fit in that catagory.

  • Marlin says:

    I thought David Ignatius had a very good opinion piece in the Washington Post today explaining how committed the American generals are to reducing the troop levels in Iraq and their reasons for wanting to do so.
    A Shift on Iraq –
    The Generals Plan a Slow Exit

  • alces says:

    Isn’t the core of the insurgency Iraqi Baathist, with only a smaller number of mostly imported Islamists, of which only a minority (albeit a rather nasty one) call themselves “Al Qaeda” ?
    Additionally, aren’t the Euphrates and Northern ratlines organised, controlled and financed by expatriate Baathists in Syria ? (although a steady stream of jihadis trickles in along the route)
    So, are the repeated references to “Al Qaeda” in the article in fact there for propaganda value, and actually referring to insurgents in general ? Or are Islamists singled out by the military leaving the home grown insurgency alone ? Does the Baathist insurgency not operate along their own ratlines? You would think from the report that the recent campaign has been aimed solely at AQ, while other Islamists, the Baathists, local criminals, disgruntled Sunni tribes are blasting away with shaped charge IEDs and impunity.
    I find this hard to believe.
    The left is steeped in mendacity, we should take care not to stoop to their level.
    Lets face a few facts: Spin has cost us dearly in this war. Al Qaeda is a brand: most Islamists have no connection (other than ideology) with the original Al Qaeda. Many of our enemies are secular Arabists. This is particulalry true in Iraq, where the Baathist military prepared effectively for a guerilla war.
    While there were very good strategic reasons for invading Iraq, the tenuous connection between it and Al Qaeda was not one of them, and has caused the war effort a great deal of credibility.
    Baathists have very little to do with al Qaeda,much less than the goverments of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Pakistan.
    Bush is percieved to be a liar because of such spin.
    So: is there any info on the relative strength, positioning and recent successes against former regime malcontents ?
    How are the Baathists and Islamists relating and cooperating (they seem to be using the same ratlines)
    Which towns are controlled by which groups, and how do they share power ?
    Is there a policy of “divide and conquer” ?
    Are the ratlines really a solely Islamist infestation ?

  • Grinder says:

    We are having an impact on Al-Qaeda! This evidenced by this weekends use of bicycle bombs as opposed to car bombs. It seems we have shut down the car bomb factories and now Al-Qaeda has to resort to something else. Furthermore, the use of bomb vests is also telling. They have to use new tactics to get in close to cause casualties.

  • Ike says:

    Alces,
    I have a huge powerpoint presentation that I made documenting all of the connections between Iraq and al Qaeda before the invasion of Iraq. I spent months working on it contacting nearly every branch of U.S. governments and foreign governments as well as info from PBS, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, WashPost, NYTimes, Stephen Hayes, on and on and on. Please don’t try to come on this message board and insult me and the rest of us who actually no better than what you are saying. The connections were there, not to mention Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, Ansar al Islam and Hamas being in Iraq.
    Justin,
    care to give us a hint what that good news is?

  • Justin Capone says:

    I been given the go around a number of times today by people I have asked. I know what my personal first guess is on that topic.
    Do you still have your power point presentation Ike that would be interesting to see?

  • Ike says:

    Justin,
    I do have it still, it’s not completely done though. I will ask people on this board who wants a copy of it when I am done though and email it to them. Id love to forcefeed it to people in the media.
    I have a feeling I know what your big news is.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    alces,
    “Isn’t the core of the insurgency bathists”
    In terms of absolute numbers of fighters, your assumption is probably correct. The bathists are not idealogues however.
    They are quite happy to gun down a political opponent, or engage in “low probability of getting killed themselves” attacks.
    Low probability of getting killed or captured yourself attacks also tend to be low probability of being effective. The last effectiveness rate of attacks by “AIF” forces was 19%. AlQueda and AnsarAlSunna claim a significant portion of that 19%.
    Roughly 40% of ISF and Civilian casualties are the result of Suicide bombings.(according to reports at icasualties.org). Suicide bombings account for 1 or 2% of the total number of attacks.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Pentagon: Top Zarqawi Aide Killed
    (CBS/AP) The No. 2 al Qaeda leader in Iraq was killed Sunday night, U.S. officials say. Abu Azzam, reportedly the deputy to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, was shot during a house rain in Baghdad, according to Pentagon officials.
    As the aide to Zarqawi, Azzam was reportedly in control of financing foreign fighters coming into Iraq, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.
    According to Pentagon officials coalition troops raided the house in response to a tip. When Azzam opened fire, these officials say, he was killed with troops’ return fire.
    //www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/24/iraq/main541815.shtml

  • USMC_Vet says:

    Justin:
    With due respect, I take some issue with your assertion that:

    “What we need is big media events, that gets the media to stop focusing for a moment on the daily body count and look at the bigger picture…”

    First, by their very nature, ‘Big Media Events’ do quite the opposite of bringing focus to any greater picture. They bring focus to the Big Events, then it’s on to the next one without reservation or exploration.
    Second, what we need from the media in place and responsible for supplying the greater public with information regarding developments in Iraq is simply more educated observation.
    Please see the latter two-thirds of this comment earlier today.
    From the conclusion of that comment (and aptly fitting here):

    A graduate of the respected Columbia School of Journalism (or Northwestern’s) may have a mastery of the English language and astute reporting skills, but if that otherwise capable individual does not have a grasp of military operations, both strategic and tactical approaches, well…then you get what you get.
    The media would be far better served to have SME’s in the function of journalists in war coverage than journalists in the function of SME’s.
    As much as many may lament biased reporting, the true problem exists before any bias, real or perceived, enters the equation.

    Big Media Events (and the quest to find ‘one’) are what fosters nearly exclusive media coverage of Big Bangs via car bombs and IEDs.
    The reason the Green Zone is ‘green’ is due in large part to the moss that has grown on the backsides of many ‘wartime’ journalists who rarely if ever stray beyond the outer edges of the Green Zone.
    I can read DoD wire releases as readily as they can…and, as the author of this blog has demonstrated, there are many who can make more sense of the information.
    So why are they in Baghdad?
    Give me an SME. I can deal with writing that is not prose-like in its presentation but gets the facts and context correct.
    Keep the masters of language and media. I cannot deal with ignorance written clearly and beautifully.
    This is not an attack on the media in general. It is recognition of their general over-valuation of one set of skills over another.
    For instance, one network, (can’t remember who…MSNBC?) had former FBI profiler Clint Van Zant (sic) actually interview an individual in Aruba, Nancy Halloway’s mother, if I recall. How refreshing it was to see an FBI veteran interviewing…not exactly smooth, yet no stupid questions and no stupid conclusions offered.
    Why is this not the case more often, especially in wartime coverage?
    No sir, we don’t need the Big Event, we need the Media to stop looking for it and understand what is afoot, day to day, in Iraq.
    They (largely but not uniformly) obviously do not at this point.

  • USMC_Vet says:

    Apologies for those unfamiliar.
    SME = Subject Matter Expert

  • Alces says:

    Ike,
    Calm down, we are all on the same side and I was not trying to insult anyone.
    While there are connections between Iraq and AQ, such connections are quite tenuous, and much stronger connections exist between AQ and the current governments, beurocracies and militaries of Saudi, Pakistan and Sudan. Probably even AQ and the CURRENT government of Afghanistan.
    Your efforts are commendable, and I would appreciate seeing your powerpoint presentation. Do you have a link ? It is does not however serve our side well to present simplistic propaganda which the other side siezes upon and uses against us to discredit good work like what yours sounds like.
    It is vital to note that terror does not equal AQ. Abu Nidal was no Islamist. Neither Abu Abass. Ansar al Islam and Hamas are interesting points: they are Islamist groups but they had little or nothing to do with AQ.
    (Though this is changing now, especially with the mess in Gaza).
    Some of us think that there were very sound reasons for invading Iraq that had nothing to do with terror specifically (it is only one of many tools).Our real strategic goals should have been communicated to the public on the eve of the war. Claims of an AQ connection were counterproductive. I am much more concerned about the PLO/PA factions, Hezbollah, and non-AQ Sunni nutcases like the Muslim Brotherhood.
    All I was asking, regading Iraq was that stop labelling all insurgents AQ, and get a better understanding of the complex relationships between the various factions of the resistance.

  • Justin Capone says:

    USMC_Vet,
    You don’t get it, that is simply not going to happen given the way the media is structured today. You can hope and wish they are going to change, but if only wishes were horses. The reality is nothing is going to change. The cable news nets because of ratings only play up big media events. Like Cindy Sheehan in August or the January 30th election.
    The media is not going to stop playing dumb, which means we have to find a way to play their own game against them. The January 30th election gave us 5-6 more months of support in Iraq. If the upcoming media events are done right we could get about the same.

  • Media Lies says:

    The al Qaeda leadership in Iraq….

    ….continues to suffer important losses and the US media continues to ignore them as the glorify the useless violence of the suicide missions, which are done pure…

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    USMC_VET,
    “Big Media Event”
    I’m clearly with you on having people with a clue explain things. Gen Lynch is doing a much better job explaining the “process” of what MNF-Iraq is trying to do.
    Counter-insurgency basics is a drum he is going to have to keep beating at press briefings so that he can at least get the “Influencers” to understand that it is not all about body-counts and “controlling” territory. Maybe, just maybe, one of the “press corps” will actually realize that there is a plan, and yes, it has been 2 steps forward, 1 step backwards…and will continue to be that way.
    The best that will accomplish is to change some of the “all is lost tonality of big media articles”. This will not effect public opinion in terms of direction, it will effect “depth” of public opinion.
    To actually move public opinion will require a major event such as Bagdhad being officially turned over to Iraqi security.
    Virtually all national media was trained on covering local events …
    All local stories on “Projects” fit the following template, I don’t care if it is library,road,police station, bridge, school house.
    Mayor breaks ground on New Library
    Months and months of reports about delays and cost overruns
    Blame the mayor
    Discover that the cousin of a cousin of the mayor is a plumber working on the project
    Question whether the library was “worth the cost”.(Now that is it going to cost more than anticpated)
    Accuse the contractor of not following the “plan”.
    Accuse the contractor of using substandard material
    Library Complete
    Mayor holds “ribbon cutting ceremony” on New library.(Despite costs overruns, the new library is a wonderful facility that the residents will enjoy for decades to come.)
    Story ends.
    New Story –
    Roads need fixing(like the Mayor is going to start another project after having taken a beating on the Library project)
    New Story – Mayor defeated in re-election bid to opponent who promises to “fix the roads”
    Bush has already undertaken to “fix” 2 countries. Taking a beating in the process.(Remember Clinton wanted to fix Iraq, but after the Somalia disaster, couldn’t get public support to commit ground troops)
    Joe Biden is already “talking up” fixing the Sudan

  • USMC_Vet says:

    Jason,
    I do get it and appreciate your follow up. I actually agree with your follow up to a degree, but chose to take a longer view of the problem…beyond Iraq…into the next conflict(s)…that’s all.
    The key to your statement is ‘the way it is structured today’. That structure is headed for a mandatory overhaul, built out of necessity for survival.
    Because of viewers/readers like you and the medium in which you prefer to gather your news (you’re here aren’t you?), the way in which the media conducts operations (ie business) will quite necessarily have to adapt. Or die.
    Once some of the traditional bigs begin to noticably shrink and inevitabgly begin to fail under their current business models, the swift will adapt and the stubborn will collapse. (I am not simply speaking of an internet presence here.)
    First major ‘traditional’ MSM’er to embrace the change will win big, regardless of current ‘standing’ among peers. The rest will play catch-up, some of them too late to survive.
    You’ve heard of the major layoffs at the New York Times? There were others before them, but the NYT’s stopped many dead in their tracks. NBC News is also reportedly headed that way.
    Zucker’s warning.
    It’s been creeping since about 2000, but it’s about to hit hard.
    I am wandering outside the scope of my intended point, which was simply to respond and say that, while I appreciate and agree with your response above, I do so aware that it addresses the short term and ignores the next conflict.
    The fact that you are here is a measure of demand.
    Son’t sell yourself short and proclaim that nothing will change. Maybe not tomorrow or next year, but eventually the media will become better.
    That’s all.
    Soldiers’ Dad, I certainly agree with your mayoral analogy.
    Much appreciated insight.
    Cheers all.

  • Papa Ray says:

    These boys don’t care about the pol-i-ticking or the Med-ia…they are just too buzy having fun.
    Mercenary Sniper in Iraq (2005)
    Papa Ray
    West Texas
    USA

  • Ike says:

    alces,
    Points taken. I will post on here when my presentation is ready for all to see.
    Ike

  • leaddog2 says:

    In Reference to media dying:
    The Traitor Times has laid off 700 people in New York and Boston so far this year with a decline of about 17% in revenue. Other papers are laying off 15% of their staffs. The LA Times is apparently afraid to post numbers because their few remaining advertisers would be enraged. Air America is bankrupt. Broadcast viewers are down a similar percentage to the Times. The Lying Liars like Franken will die and Good Riddance.

  • Another Dead Terrorist

    It seems that Zarqawi is in a bind, I can see him now – praying to allah and letting the big guy know that Sheehan, Michael Moore, MoveOn, and Sean Penn need to bail him out.

  • Curt says:

    Ike, anyway I can get a copy of that powerpoint presentation? Would love to see it.

  • Alces,
    You indicated concern with “non-AQ nutcases like … the Muslim Brotherhood:”
    Am I misinformed, that Usama bin Ladin’s mentor was a founder (something al Banna, I think) of the (WW2-era) Nazi-affiliated Muslim Brotherhood?
    If the information found by Googling “Nazi banna” isn’t a complete scam or forgery, it would seem to indicate a direct connection between AQ and the Muslim Brotherhood.
    I’m not being smart here. I’m sincerely interested in accurate information, and do not want to be guilty of “spreading ignorance.”

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis