Azhar al-Dulaimi, the tactical commander of the Karbala PJCC attack, killed

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Iranian trained leader in the Qazali network killed north of Baghdad

Multinational Forces Iraq has killed a major player in the kidnapping and murder of five American soldiers during a complex attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala on January 20th. On May 19, Coalition forces killed Azhar al-Dulaimi during a raid north of Baghdad after he resisted attempts to detain him. Azhar al-Dulaimi is described as the “mastermind” and “tactical commander” of the Karbala attack, as well as other high profile terror attacks in Iraq.

Azhar al-Dulaimi was a leader in the Qazali network, which General David Petraeus noted was behind the planning, organization and execution of the Karbala attack. The raid was well planned and executed, as the attackers looked American and spoke English, had American equipment and the assault on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center. One soldier was killed and three wounded during the initial attack, and four soldiers were taken hostage. They were executed shortly afterward after Iraqi police and Coalition forces tracked their movement eastward towards Iran.

Azhar al-Dulaimi’s fingerprints were found on the SUV where the four soldiers were found handcuffed and murdered. The discovery of a torture room and weapons cache in Baghdad on May 6 in Sadr City led to information leading to Azhar’s location. Ten Mahdi Army fighters were killed during the raid.

The Qazali network receives arms, training, funding and other assistance from Iran’s Qods Force, which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader. “[The Qazali network] were provided substantial funding, training on Iranian soil, advanced explosive munitions and technologies as well as run of the mill arms and ammunition, in some cases advice and in some cases even a degree of direction” from Qods Force, General Petraeus stated last April. Several senior leaders of the Qazali network have been captured over the past several months.

Azhar al-Dulaimi is also believed to involved in the kidnapping of U.S. Army Specialist Ahmed Altaie, who was kidnapped in Baghdad on October 23 after visiting family, as well as other kidnappings, including 70 workers from the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education in Baghdad. He is believed to be funneling terrorists into Iran for training, as well as transporting weapons and the deadly armor piercing explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) from Iran into Iraq. “Intelligence reports indicate Dulaimi received military training from Iranian intelligent agents and from Lebanese Hezbollah, to include training on how to conduct terrorist-style kidnapping,” according to the Department of Defense.

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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  • Ron says:

    “The Qazali network receives arms, training, funding and other assistance from Iran’s qods Force, which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader.”
    It will be interesting to see the hand wringing and the disavowing of this guy by the Iranians.
    How many of these stories does the world need to hear before it accepted the fact that most of the lethal fighters and weapons are streaming in from Iran and Syria.

  • David says:

    A lot more, with plenty of nuance.
    It would take pictures of the “Supreme Leader” shaking hands with one of these guys like al-Dulaimi and the Qods force commander, and even then, there would be people in the West that would apologize for them.
    The Long War, indeed.

  • Razorback says:

    If the proof is there that Iran is supporting the killing of Americans in Iraq, then someone tell me why war has not been declared on Iran?

  • Tony says:

    Before launching a nuclear attack, and spending hundreds of billions more in taxpayer dollars, would it be helpful to define what you mean by “proof” here?
    Launching a nuclear war is not a trivial undertaking. It requires a bit of thought.
    When you say “proof” do you mean “a majority of the evidence” or “more likely than not”? This is the standard of proof in a civil court case.
    When you say “proof” do you mean “clear and convincing evidence”, i.e. where the evidence must BOTH be unequivocal AND very persuasive? This is an intermediate standard of proof in legal proceedings.
    Or do you mean “beyond a reasonable doubt”, a standard of proof required for a criminal conviction. This means that no reasonable person could ever disagree with the conclusion. This standard of proof is necessary in a murder trial.
    Any war with Iran is highly likely to become nuclear very, very fast. Your gas will cost 6 dollars per gallon.
    What is your view? What standard of proof should be required before undertaking a nuclear war?
    “A majority of the evidence”? “Clear and convincing evidence”? “Beyond a reasonable doubt”?
    Before we literally send thousands more Americans to a most difficult fate in an Iranian invasion (recall that more than one million died in the Iran/Iraq war) should we discuss such issues?

  • Made in Iran

    Back in January, a brazen and sophisticated attack on the provincial headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala led to the death of five US servicemen. The attack was perpetrated by a group of bad guys who looked, dressed

  • ctc says:

    i’m always puzzled by the notion that a war with iran or noko would become nuclear. They have no means of delivering anything nuclear except to their own backyard.
    For the threat to have any value would require a means of delivery to the US and not employing it upon themselves.

  • Tony says:

    CTC, try to think two (or even four) moves ahead. This is what war gamers do.
    Let’s say we or Israel attacks Iran and they do something other than surrender in response. Keep in mind that their leader has a martyr complex.
    Let’s say they Iran tries something fancy with one of the 4000 surface to surface missiles pointing at our warships and supertankers in the Arabian Gulf. Let’s say they decide to launch just 15 of their hundreds of highly accurate medium range missiles at the Green Zone in Baghdad like they did against Baghdad in the 1980s in the Iran/Iraq war. Let’s say Hezbollah decides to launch its medium range missiles at Tel Aviv.
    Then we have a nuclear war, in all likelihood.
    This is how it’s being war gamed out in the Pentagon and in Israel.
    My position is that after we invaded Iraq, just a bit more post-invasion planning would not have been completely counterproductive. Petraeus agrees with this and has said so publicly.
    It is by no means certain that Iran will immediately surrender after an attack. Top military planners affiliated with the Likud in Israel argued from the beginning that an air campaign alone against Hezbollah last year would be insufficient.
    Think two steps ahead.
    And remember, large radioactive clouds heading towards Kabul or Baghdad or Riyadh have drawbacks.


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