Friday, February 24, 2006

al-Qaida in Iraq Chief Said Killed in Raid - Yahoo! News

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Al-Qaida in Iraq's leader in northern Baghdad was killed in a raid Friday, the U.S. military said.

The military identified Abu Asma, also known as Abu Anas and Akram Mahmud al-Mushhadani, as an explosives expert with close ties to important car bomb manufacturers in Baghdad.

He died in a northern Baghdad raid conducted by coalition forces with the help of Iraqi police, a military statement said.

In the midst of insanity, good news, but possibly too late. Although, after all this time and the many deaths, if it hasn't gone to civil war, I'm not sure even the demolition of the 12th Imam's Shrine is going to force it. The powers that be, such as Sistani, the Dawa and Sciri parties know that they have the country by the horns. They are going to run it, one way or the other. If they allow civil war, it will torn apart, they will have no access to money, they will be relegated to rebel leaders who might even feel compelled to fight against each other for power, completely destroying the base of power the Shi'ites now currently enjoy.

For my money, while the tensions are higher, I'm betting Sistani and the other leaders will prevail. If the Sunni leadership doesn't get to twisted about demanding apologies for reprisal attacks against Sunni Mosques, which seem to have limited damage, if any, can get ahead of this, show they have the power, bring their people into the political process completely, deny involvement, condemn it extensively, and, as one might have heard, offer to help pay for the dome in the spirit of Islamic brotherhood.

As a matter of fact, it would have been very helpful if the Sunni leaders had gotten out front and went on TV, condemning the act and starting a pledge drive for ordinary citizens to contribute. It might not be too late for that idea.

I say this whole thing smacks of AQAM because it is very specific in it's attack on a Shi'ite specific structure. While it may be that many Shi'ite have been killed by bombs, Sunni and other groups in Iraq have suffered as well so that was not enough to draw a sectarian battle. This is. It's an AQAM because other reports indicate that men dressed as officers had went into the Mosque prior to the explosion and are largely considered to be imposters (though, just as likely infiltrators, which goes to my next point). The officers who were on guard apparently left their posts or simply stayed home that day, which means that they were threatened sufficiently not to do their duty. I understand that they were arrested.

In order for that to occur in a largely Shi'ite neighborhood surrounding the Mosque, I imagine that the perpetrators included Iraqis since most folks can spot or hear a foreigner in their midst by their dialect or accent. So, while no one is claiming the deed, I'd guess it was an Iraqi AQAM like Ansar al-Islam or Ansar al-Sunnah.

al-Qaida in Iraq Chief Said Killed in Raid - Yahoo! News

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