Al Qaeda targets the Salahadin Salvation Council

The provinces of Iraq. Click map to view.

Family of anti Al Qaeda alliance murdered as the Awakening spreads

The formation of the Awakening movements – the Sunni tribes and former insurgents opposed al Qaeda’s Talibanization of Iraq’s communities – poses a great threat to al Qaeda in Iraq. The prototype Awakening movement, which was formed in Anbar province in the fall of 2006 by Sheikh Sattar al-Rishawi in the Ramadi region, has led to the wide scale rejection of al Qaeda and a dramatic reduction in violence in most of Anbar province. The Awakening has now spread to Diyala, Salahadin and Ninewa provinces, with the help of Sheikh Sattar. Al Qaeda has responded violently to the formation of the Awakening movements in the provinces, and, like in Anbar and Diyala, is targeting the leadership and their families in the province of Salahadin.

On May 21, Zeke Minaya of Stars & Stripes reported on the formation of a “Baghdad Awakening”, however, as we noted the same day, he actually described a meeting of the tribes in Salahadin and northern Baghdad provinces. This was the initial meeting of the Salahadin Salvation Council – or the Salahadin Awakening. Sheikh Hamad al-Hasan was appointed the leader of the council. Just one week after his appointment, al Qaeda targeted Sheikh Hasan’s family.

“Four relatives of the head of the Salahadin Salvation Council, Sheikh Hamad al-Hasan, were killed when unidentified gunmen attacked their house in al-Hajjaj village, in southern Bayji,” Voices of Iraq reported. “The gunmen killed the council head’s four nephews, then set the bodies and house on fire,” an anonymous source told Voices of Iraq on Monday.

Al Qaeda’s campaign to break the newly formed Diyala and Salahadin Salvation Councils will likely only intensify over the next several months. As the Baghdad Security Plan progresses, operations will ramp up in the belts in the regions of southern Salahadin, Diyala, eastern Anbar and northern Babil. Awakening movements have formed in three of the four regions.

Al Qaeda will attempt to destroy these movements as they stands as political and ideological opposition, as well as provide manpower and intelligence capacity to fight al Qaeda’s networks. In Anbar province, the tribes have provided security at the local level, as well as encouraging thousands of its members to join the police and Army. Terror cells, foreign fighter networks and weapons caches are being exposed at a significant rate. Al Qaeda will do everything in its power to prevent the same thing from happening in Salahadin and Diyala, its command and control hub in Iraq.

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

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  • Lorin Friesen says:

    Salahadin is Iraq’s waking up!
    Reality is, al Qaeda would have slaughtered the same and most all others later anyway. al Qaeda is DEATH DEATH DEATH to anyone as long as they live.
    One by One, this is the only way to put an end to this terror movement.
    Thanks to all Freedom Fighters,

  • Tr3Man says:

    Bill, I am trying not to make this political as it is directly pertaining to this article. I read this and I am outraged at al Queda, as the rest of America would be if these articles made it in the MSM. Of course preceeded by articles of successes achieved by the ASC etc, so they can see how bad something like this is for us. I have to say thanks for reporting this, even if it does look tough for the “awakenings”.
    The MSM seems to have a lack of basic understanding of Iraq. Why can’t they report “Another Awakening established” or “16 Al Queda captured, 12 killed” as really happens daily, or even “Awakening slaughtered” like this article you wrote, showing the Iraqis really are standing up and Losing their lives in the fight too? We need outrage condemning things like this across all of the US.
    Momentum from “awakenings” like these and Momentum in the media is what the US and Iraq both need. If anyone loses this war for the US, its primarily the MSM. They should know that they are responsible when it comes down to it because Iraq is standing up for itself.

  • Terry Gain says:

    The MSM has convinced a significant portion of the public that U.S. troops are caught in the middle of a civil war. So long as this is the defining narrative there will not be enough support for the war to sustain operations into 2008.
    It will be interesting to see if what Peraaeus reports in September will change the narrative. In the meantime I expect the MSM to remain asleep about the Awakenings in Iraq.

  • PAXALLES says:

    Awakening’s Salahadin Salvation Alliance Targeted By A Threatened Al-Qaeda

    Al-Qaeda targets the Salahadin Salvation Council from Bill Roggio reports on the spread of the Awakening, an anti-al Qaeda movement made up of tribal leaders and ex-insurgents who have had enough of al-Qaeda’s nihilistic violence. This movement has hel…

  • Tr3Man says:

    Thanks Terry, exactly what I was going to say, elaborating and explaining their complete misunderstanding of the situation in Iraq. Its far more then just a civil war, there is sectarian conflict yes, but not on the forefront of the trouble. The ASC has made enough ripples to get the news a little, hopefully all of the awakenings will continue the trend, be outraged more with killings as noted in this article, and get the momentum that CANNOT be ignored.

  • remoteman says:

    Al Q is killing the family members of the senior Sheiks in Salhadin. Will this cow the remaining tribal members or incite them to seek revenge. My guess is the latter, particularly as they have to ongoing example of the Anbar Salvation Council to motivate them. Tribal ties are the strongest after immediate family ties. Outside persons coming in and killing tribal members is not a long-term strategy for success.
    But it is extremely frustrating that the senior leadership of US operations, and I’m pointing the finger here at the State Dept folks like Bremmer, took so damn long to figure out that getting the tribal leadership on our side was critical to getting rid of Al Q. This should have been done 2 years ago, but I’ve read that Bremmer dismissed working with them as “tribes are not going to be part of the new Iraq”. Sure. That is either one of the dumbest or most arrogant things I’ve ever heard, assuming it is true.

  • Terry Gain says:

    “But it is extremely frustrating that the senior leadership of US operations, and I’m pointing the finger here at the State Dept folks like Bremmer, took so damn long to figure out that getting the tribal leadership on our side was critical to getting rid of Al Q.”
    I demur. Speaking more from the standpoint of logic than an intimate awareness of the facts my guess is that what drove tribal leadership to our side was learning first hand that al Qaeda has nothing to offer but Islamic extremism and death and we are there to bring peace and order.

  • Tr3Man says:

    Problem is disarming these councils and awakenings after AQ is done in. That’s the fear. The fear that they won’t lay down arms for constructive work afterwards…but atleast here we see the ASC getting people to join the army and police. Shows they will disarm or atleast know they will need to after its all done.
    But also they know this is going to be a “long war”, so it will be a long time before they have to lay down arms.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Everything I have seen indicates the plan is not to disarm them. It is to co-opt them into the ISF.
    – The IA has a Bootcamp thruput of ~90,000 per year ATT. They need recruits.
    – Anbar, Salahdin, Baghdad, North Babil and Diyala are all short of IPs.
    – The INP is too small for the Primary internal security role yet MoI is Primary for Internal Security. It is also 85-90% Shia. Recruiting from these elements will balance and expand the INP as it takes over internal security.
    That will allow IA to worry more about external theats and backing up the Border guards…

  • Anti-Herman says:

    I think Terry Gain’s point is valid. Had we allowed the Saddam’s basic structure to remain intact; the same group who attacks Bremer today would be whining that Saddam’s henchman were still in charge and creating violence.
    In the long run, it’s important for the Sunni minority to experience the horrors of Sunni extremism and to realize that the Shia are the majority.
    It’s often a long term benefit to learn the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

  • remoteman says:

    Point taken, but not all of these guys were Saddam’s henchmen. Some of them he only barely controlled. I just think the process of reaching out to them could have started sooner. Yes, the object lesson about AlQ was probably critical. But we could have provided more object lessons of our own…starting with the stopping looting with the use of deadly force, completing the first attack on Fallujah with extreme predjudice (heavy air power) and finishing off Sadr in Najaf (I understand he is a bit off topic, but it would have sent a message).

  • ECH says:

    Clearly in the past the CPA and State Dept mistakely viewed the Sunni tribes, Sunni Baathists, basically anyone Sunni in Iraq as the enemy. But, the fact we are working with the tribes and dealing with ex-Baathists shows that the government is learning from the mistakes of the past.
    The ex-Baathists and Sunni tribes are not the enemy and never should have been. Saddamists and foreign jihadists were the enemy. Only a select few of the 2 million Baathists in Iraq were real Saddamists.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    There are five prominent themes in the war, so far as I can tell.
    1. Baathist Sunni resentment at being removed from power and an attempt to re-impose the established political order.
    2. A factional civil conflict between Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish factions and sub-factions.
    3. Al Quada’s internationalist jihad and it’s attempt to capitalize on the Iraqi war for it’s own aims of breaking down American power and establishing a base from which to further the cause of regional and world jihad.
    4. A state sponsored proxy war by Syria and Iran to support various factions against any American supported government and to support Syrian and Iranian regional interests with various factions.
    5. The American attempt to re-establish the functions of government and a security force.
    I wouldn’t venture to give any these themes a set fraction since they combine and play off of one another. I think any political discussion of what is happening in Iraq explores how these factors manifest themselves and play out in the current war.
    As for the medias views on the war. As we constantly complain, the media has fallen in love with a simplistic factional civil conflict model for this conflict. They chronically underplay the role of Al Quada, Syria, and Iran in this conflict. They also gloss over whose is who among the factions and what they are after.
    I believe that the medias views on the war are intellectually self-serving, rather than based in ignorance. They portray this conflict as predominantly a civil conflict and methodically downplay the regional roles of both state sponsored violence and Al Quada’s internationalist jihad movement. This frames the war as predominantly an internal conflict in which we have no interest or business. Aspects of this conflict that have regional and international repercussions get challenged as without foundation, or diminished importance.
    During the last few months I see that the media outlets are finally acknowledging Al Quada in Iraq’s connection to specific bombing campaigns and Sunni on Sunni violence. The acknowledgement of Al Quada in Iraq’s role seem to end there though and doesn’t delve into how Al Quada’s role is a central and driving aspect of this conflict.
    Simply stated the civil war is there, but this is so much more than a civil war. You could have a good argument about whether the civil war is actually the driving force behind much of this war or whether the civil conflict serves as the template into which many other forces feed and play out a much larger conflict.

  • Fight4TheRight says:

    I cannot agree more with the comments here about the failure for anything close to resembling accurate reporting of the true enemy in the Iraq War by the MSM. But the MSM is on very thin ice here. Some conservative bloggers have coined the phrase that the Dems/Left own the defeat of the U.S. in Iraq – that the Left’s future absolutely depends on America losing in Iraq and coming home in disgrace.
    I say the same is true of the MSM’s deliberate coverup of the true role of Al Qaeda in the war. And Al Qaeda is about to blow the lid off the MSM – Al Qaeda’s desperation to hang on in Iraq will lead to more and more extreme measures and eventually, it will be impossible for the MSM to continue the charade – and my prediction is that one of the MSM’s, in an effort to save itself, will feed on their own – they will break the news and expose the others and at that point, I will relish in the demise of them all.
    Sorry for the long post but I did want to ask a question. Is anyone else surprised at the continuing evidence of what seems to be a still very coordinated effort by Al Qaeda in Iraq? I truly thought some of their top losses would have started a fraying of effectiveness, but I sit here amazed at how they continue to impact.

  • Tr3Man says:

    I’d like to add one more thing to the misleading MSM and a FANTASTIC article on what is really going on in Iraq when it comes to the “civil war” that the MSM is reporting it to be and how false it really is.

    Fact is, yes there is infighting, and sectarian violence but not as it is being used. There are rival groups of extremists, and all of the extremists are meeting heavy resistance now. As I had stated earlier, many just have a complete lack understanding when it comes to Iraq, and most don’t want to understand as it doesn’t help their fight. Bill keep reporting the truth, America needs it.


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