Suicide bomber attacks Iraqi recruits as al Qaeda forces retain control of areas in Anbar

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, an al Qaeda branch in the Middle East, killed 21 people in a suicide attack at a military recruiting center in Baghdad today. The attack was launched as the ISIS continues to control Fallujah, parts of Ramadi, and other areas in Anbar province.

The suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives outside the Iraqi Army recruitment center at the Muthanna airport in Baghdad, according to the National Iraqi News Agency. Iraqi officials reported that 21 Iraqis, including four soldiers protecting the center, were killed and 35 more were wounded in the deadly blast.

Between 2005 and 2007, ISIS predecessor al Qaeda in Iraq routinely attacked military and police recruitment sites with suicide and car bombs in an effort to dissuade Iraqis from joining the security forces.

Today’s attack takes place as the Iraqi government is contemplating military action to retake the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi from the ISIS, which seized Anbar’s two largest cities last week. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda seizes partial control of 2 cities in western Iraq.] Although Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki initially said the military would move in to retake the cities, he is now encouraging Anbar’s tribes to fight the ISIS.

Fallujah remains fully under the control of the ISIS and allied tribes one week after Iraqi forces were withdrawn from the city. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda, tribal allies ‘control’ Fallujah.] Half of Ramadi is still said to be controlled by the ISIS. Iraqi forces have blockaded the cities, and in Fallujah, troops are launching artillery strikes into civilian areas thought to be held by the ISIS.

In addition to Fallujah and Ramadi, the city of Karma, which is just east of Fallujah, has also fallen to the ISIS, according to The New York Times. Iraqi security forces have “isolated the Karma area … from Abu Ghraib,” a district in the western part of Anbar province, “by emplacing concrete block to separate them apart,” the National Iraqi News Agency reported yesterday.

While the ISIS remains in control of large areas of Anbar, Iraqi forces claimed to have killed several top leaders in the group. The military said it killed Bashir Alewi Markab, an al Qaeda “prince,” in Karma on Jan. 6

In Ramadi, the military reported that Khalid Ali, the ISIS’ military commander for the city, was killed along with four fighters. Abu Abelrahman al Baghdadi, who is said to be the ISIS’s emir for Ramadi, is rumored to have been killed at the start of the fighting in the city.

North of Baghdad in the town of Tarmiyah, the military claimed to have killed Abdul Rahman, who is said to be the driver for Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the emir of the ISIS.

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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  • EDDIED says:

    What is happening in Iraq is the same thing that will happen to Afghanistan as soon as the American troops leave. I am disgusted Maliki. Our troops put AQ on the run and now the Iraqi military has let them creep back in. What a joke you are!

  • blert says:

    This bespeaks of a disrupted and demoralized 7th Division.
    The Iraqi Army has to generally believe that it’s communications have been penetrated — if not even spoofed.
    Spoofing transmissions has a wicked history — for the spoofee.
    Famously, Germany lost 6th Army at Stalingrad due to Russian spoofing of Enigma transmissions: 22 divisions in all — more than an army — it was an army group.
    (Spetsnaz captured a single, solitary, Enigma encypherment machine (They look like a typewriter) which had been deployed up to the Hungarian Army HQ by 6th Army — against general orders. Once in hand, they used it to issue encrypted Fuhrer orders to all German military formations within broadcast range! As a direct result, critical tank maintenance units advanced into the pocket instead of pulling back to the rear. These fellows were so critical that they were flown out of the pocket as hyper-essential personnel. Germany lost the initiative on the Eastern Front — and then the war as a whole.)
    Israel famously spoofed the King of Jordan when the IDF was flying off to bomb Saddams Osirak atomic reactor: Operation Opera. The King, himself quite the pilot, was at altitude — for pleasure — when he spotted the IDF at some distance off, flying over Jordanian airspace. He radioed his ground controllers to put his air force on alert and up for an intercept. The IDF promptly answered all of his hails! Using ALL of the kingdom’s internal lingo, the IDF sweetly informed his majesty that his alert was acknowledged and was being responded to. AFTER landing the King discovers that absolutely no-one on the ground heard a thing. They’d been frustrated by radio interference going back some time.(!)
    The tale is re-spun for the proles:
    “King Hussein of Jordan was vacationing in Aqaba during the attack. Seeing the planes pass over his head, he immediately notified the Iraqis to warn them that they may be the targets of an Israeli attack. It appears that Iraq never got the message as communication errors prevented the message from reaching Iraq.17 18”
    [Hint, a king on the ground would use secure land-lines, something that would have been laid long before the King ever showed up! This IDF account is trying to walk the story away from spoofing. That is all.]
    And the USN Liberty was infamously struck in 1967 by the IDF precisely because it was feared that America would detect the rampant spoofing directed at the Syrian Army on the Golan Heights. It was this spoofing (the IDF was imitating the Egyptian Army and Air Force: lulling the Syrians with tales of IDF debacles in the Sinai. This was the basis for the Syrian folly of rolling right into IDF tankers.) that cost the Syrians the heights — probably for centuries. It’s non-negotiable terrain, as it commands the Israeli breadbasket.
    All of which is a long way of saying that the loss of communications security is devastating to Baghdad.
    The king of communications is America’s NSA. And with blabby Snowden, the whole planet knows it.
    When America left the theatre, she took the crown jewels with her. This left Baghdad twisting in the wind.
    BTW, AQ is so paranoid about the NSA that they use physical couriers at every turn.
    The Yemeni ‘toner-bomb’ plot left data-prints on a London hard-drive of a conspirator. (It did not go off. The plot was busted. The American dude who revealed it (the plot itself) to the public is now in prison for leaking ways and means of the American security apparatus.) The jihadi had used ‘Matryoshka doll’ compounded encryption algorithms. (!) He’s also in prison — a British one. GCHQ had cracked his UNsecure socket layer — taking months to do so.
    If Snowden wants to know why GCHQ and NSA want to dig so deep, the above noted conviction in the Queen’s Court is example number one. It’s an absolute requirement to get convictions against the fanatics. They leave no other evidences of their conspiracies.
    Do NOT expect the Iraqi Government to ever go public with their communications security nightmare. But, that’s at the root of their troubles. AQ fanatics have got a step ahead on them. Certainly they can’t trust even buried land-lines.
    And, for a chuckle, who can forget the spoofing committed by the “man with no name” in: For a Few Dollars More. Clint has the telegraph operator tap out totally erroneous news about a bank hold-up that never occurred.
    In the 19th Century, such false telegraphs came to be termed: wire fraud. The statutes still reflect that heritage — even if you’re lying digitally.


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