Operations in Iraq’s North; Mosul’s emir killed

Safi, the former al Qaeda emir of Mosul.

Clearing operation begins in Samarra as al Qaeda’s emir of Mosul was killed by the Iraqi Army

As the Baghdad Security Plan and Operation Phantom Thunder in the Baghdad Belts of Babil, Anbar, and Diyala provinces move forward, Iraqi and U.S. forces have stepped up operations in the northern areas of Iraq. Today the Iraqi Army announced it shot and killed al Qaeda’s emir of Mosul, while Iraqi Security Forces launched an operation in the city of Samarra in Salahadin province.

Prior to the commencement of Operation Phantom Thunder, the operation to clear al Qaeda and insurgent groups from the Baghdad Belts, we noted that Salahadin, Ninewa, and Tamin provinces would be the likely fallback position for terror groups. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the commander of Multinational Division North, noted in a press conference today that al Qaeda and its insurgent allies were moving into Salahadin province, particularly the region between Samarra and Balad. Today, the Iraqi Army, backed by local and national police forces, and a U.S. combat battalion, has launched an operation to clear Samarra of al Qaeda fighters attempting to regroup there.

Over 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and an unspecified number of local and national police are now conducting “simultaneous operations in and around the city.” Police rebuilt the security berm on the eastern side of the city and reestablished checkpoints to control the flow of traffic in and out of the city.

Over 2,500 additional Iraqi Army soldiers and police deployed to Samarra in the wake of al Qaeda’s bombing of the minarets of the Al Askaria mosque. The waves of sectarian violence which engulfed Baghdad and the surrounding regions failed materialize as Iraqi and U.S. forces deployed into the cities and Operation Phantom Thunder was launched shortly afterward.

To the north in Mosul, the operational tempo against al Qaeda’s network has been relentless. U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces have conducted numerous raids in the northern city over the past few months, killing or capturing multiple high value targets. The latest raid, by the Iraqi Army, resulted in the death of Safi, al Qaeda’s emir of Mosul.

While conducting a series of operations throughout the city, the Iraqi Army spotted Safi and three bodyguards, and gave chase. Safi and his bodyguards were killed after they pulled over and opened fire on the Iraqi troops. Prior to the killing of Safi, U.S. forces captured Khalid Abdul Fatah Da’ud Mahmud Al Mashadani, a senior Iraqi member of the al Qaeda political front, the Islamic State of Iraq. Mashadani admitted Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the supposed leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, does not exist and he was a creation of al Qaeda.

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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  • Bill,
    Is the Iraqi government still saying that Baghdadi exists and if so, why?

  • Jeff Olson says:

    Political Development: during the American Revolution, much of the political development of the population and then the government occurred through private publication of many pamphlets by Founders like Franklin and Jefferson.
    Are we looking in the wrong place to spot political development in Iraq? The expectation is that the gov’t will have an epiphany, but is that the correct expectation? Do you have any information on private arena developments on a developing political thinking? Maybe some “Liberty and Unity” messages? It seems from news reports that the only private political thought is related to the Sunni/Shia/Kurd segments of society. I just wonder if that is a complete picture.
    Thanks for the great reporting.

  • ajacksonian says:

    Jeff – Check Bill’s site for the “Iraq Awakening” movement, which started in Anbar and now is spreading laterally to multiple provinces. It is a tribal-based concept for local buy-in for self-administration and now a political movement that aims at secular, technocratic administration of government services, if not elected officials themselves.
    There are, of course, tens to hundreds of dailies, semi-daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines in Iraq. Plus numbers of independently owned and operated television and radio stations. We miss most of that as it is on the Arab side of the net… I forget which organization covers that for just numbers of publications and such, I think it was USAID way back when. Plus there was a view to translate the Federalist Papers into Arabic, and have no idea how that is going and I wish they would include the Anti-Federalist works as well, so that a wider view on democracy and democratic structures could be had.
    Far too much for one individual to keep track of going on at the low-level. I expect these large National Parties to break up once Provincial election law is put together and those elections are held. They only speak for an abstracted voice of the Iraqi People now, set when they were elected. That country is gone and a new one is developing beneath that level… and Provincial elections should show those changes and may actually start to force the National government to hold earlier elections. It is no longer 2005 or even 2006, and these parties are only now starting to realize that they may have real problems *staying* parties after Provincial elections.

  • David M says:

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 08/03/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.


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