Al-Baghdadi

Al-Baghdadi.

Given the disinformation campaign organized by the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and other perverse media and politicians, I thought I would quote some excerpts of the book here. First, let’s make sure we talk about the same screwed up Salafi jihadist. The one who was killed Saturday is the real bad guy, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – not be confused with the other bad guy, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who was killed in 2010 with his BFF Abu Ayyub al-Masri. These two had taken “al-Qaeda in Iraq” over in 2006, after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was zapped, and renamed it the Islamic State in Iraq, or ISI. Here is how that story went (page 162-163):

In 2003, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who ran a training camp in Afghanistan, had created his own Iraqi jihadist group, Jamaat al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad. Bin Laden was looking for a local affiliate for al-Qaeda and ended up convincing Zarqawi. In 2004, Jamaat al-Tawheed became al-Qaeda in Iraq. Compared to the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda was bad. Compared to al-Qaeda, Zarqawi was worse. Whereas al-Qaeda’s target was the “far enemy,” Zarqawi’s was the “near enemy,” all the local apostates, noncompliant Sunnis, Kurds, Yazidis, and all Dhimmis. Nevertheless, for a while, he had a certain appeal for the tribal Sunni leaders. Al-Qaeda, after all, was Sunni, and they were threatened by the Iraqi Shiite majority. When he was killed in 2006, Abu Ayyub al-Masri took his place, and in October, renamed the group the Islamic State in Iraq, or ISI, with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi as its leader.

By then, the local sheikhs in Ramadi, the capital of the largely Sunni Anbar province where AQI had found safe harbor, had had it with al-Zarqawi’s methods and were no longer going to cope with ISI. To most, public beheadings, rapes, and other atrocities were simply viewed as Muslims killing Muslims. They decided to cooperate with the coalition but needed more troops to clean up the area. President Bush sent an additional twenty thousand, despite political opposition at home, in what was called the Surge. It worked and by early 2007, the local tribes had regained control of Ramadi.

This had dire consequences for ISI. Anbar was on the border of Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and the largest province in Iraq,an essential logistical hub. In April 2010, both Abu’s were killed, Ayyub al-Masri and Omar al-Baghdadi.

2010 was a bad year for al-Qaeda in Iraq, and President Obama liked that. He could now safely bring our troops home.

2011 was an even worse year for al-Qaeda, the head office in Pakistan. On May 2, Osama bin Laden was located and killed by Seal Team Six. President Obama’s first term was shaping up pretty well. He had defeated al-Qaeda and fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw from Iraq.

Wait, I am not done yet… This is when Abu Bakr comes in (p. 163-165):

“Withdraw from Iraq? This was the moment every Salafi jihadist had been waiting for, and Team Obama had telegraphed the timeline.

ISI’s new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (not to be confused with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi who had recently been killed) bore the name of the first caliph of the first caliphate, the Rashidun Caliphate. Abu Bakr, kunya for Abd Allah, was (one of) Muhammad’s fathers-in law. Coincidence, probably not. Al-Baghdadi’s birth name was Ibrahim ibn Awwad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai, Abu Bakr for short was clearly a stretch. In March 2011, when most of the last U.S. troops had been brought home, the Arab Spring sprung, and the Syrian civil war started.

In January 2012, Abu Bakr dispatched his deputy, Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, to Syria, to establish the Syrian branch of ISI, known as Jabhat al-Nusra. However, ISI was the former al-Qaeda in Iraq, or AQI, and al-Jawlani seemed to prefer his al-Qaeda’s ideology. As mentioned earlier, on the extremist scale, al-Qaeda was less bad than ISI, and because more international, more tolerant of other Salafi groups and of the local Muslim population. ISI, to the contrary, was indiscriminate in its killings and targeted every apostate.

In April 2013, Abu Bakr tried to pressure al-Jawlani by moving from Iraq to Syria, and declared a fusion between al-Nusra and ISI, to be called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS (alternatively ISIL, with an L for Levant, or DAESH). Al-Jawlani did not bow and instead, pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda’s Supreme Leader who had taken over after bin Laden, obviously decided in al-Jawlani’s favor, and went as far as declaring ISI deviant from al-Qaeda.
That did not go too well with al-Baghdadi. In August, ISIS started attacking the other Salafi groups, in Raqqa and Aleppo, including Jabhat al-Nusra, now officially al-Qaeda in Syria. By January 2014, it had taken Raqqa over, declared it the capital of the ISIS caliphate, with al-Baghdadi as Caliph Ibrahim. The next month, al-Qaeda officially severed all ties with ISIS.

That was in Syria. Meanwhile, in Iraq, al-Baghdadi’s ISIS, the deviant son of al-Qaeda, was in full swing and had taken back Fallujah, Ramadi and Heet in January 2014. Next would be Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, and the all-important town of Mosul, in June. The second largest city in Iraq, it was its industrial hub by reason of the proximity to the Kirkuk oil fields, and controlled the essential Mosul Dam on the Tigris River. There, al-Baghdadi re-affirmed the new Caliphate as simply the Islamic State, or IS, from the Iraqi Kurdistan Diyala province to Syria’s Aleppo. All in all, at the end of 2014, IS controlled one-third of Iraq and one-third of Syria, and some nine million people. In the process, while the Peshmerga had saved Kirkuk, it did not try to stop the Yazidi genocide, which highlights how sectarian the war theater was.”

Almost done. What about President Obama in all of this (p.165-168)

Things were getting out of hand for al-Maliki, who finally asked for international help. Iranian forces were already covertly in Iraq, but in that June 2014, they made it official. Iran had come to Iraq’s rescue.

Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Quds Islamic Revolutionary Guards backed by Russia, avowed enemies of the United States and anything Sunni, were helping the Shi’a Iraqis and the Sunni Peshmerga fend off the bad Sunni Salafis.

In mid-2014, “Iran had come to Iraq’s rescue.” Where was the United States?

To the public at large, Obama had defeated al-Qaeda in 2011, hence Ben Rhodes’ memo and the self-serving Benghazi Talking Points. Truth was, he had not, and IS, the new deviant and extreme extremist brand of al-Qaeda, now some fifteen thousand men strong, was filling the vacuum created by his early, unconditional and politically motivated troop withdrawal from Iraq. Not only that, but the Arab Spring, itself a consequence of the 2010 U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East theater, had opened a new front in neighboring Syria, and IS was filling that vacuum as well.

To add insult to injury, there was no more cover from Egypt. In his tantrum response to the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi, President Obama had cancelled Operation Bright Star 2013, opening the doors to Russia some more.

Team Obama had been in complete denial but had to be consistent. The jihadists had been wiped out of the Middle East in 2011.The Afghan operation would end by December 2014, except for a few thousand troops. No coalition, no boots on the ground for Iraq, we had left in 2010, we were not coming back. It did not matter that the Kirkuk oil fields were threatened, or that Iran could unify Iraq’s Shi’a majority, while helping al-Assad maintain his bloody regime.

Until al-Maliki made the call. On June 15, 2014, President Obama whispered a tippy toe order to deploy three hundred Special Operations advisors, with a clear no-combat troop’s caveat, and without giving a name to the operation.

By June 30, he had sent a total of eight hundred, mainly in Baghdad. While Russian-backed Iran had no qualms providing weapons to the Peshmerga, to help regain Mosul and its dam and protect Kirkuk, Team Obama was at it again, thinking about it, dropping humanitarian aid, and this time, trying to force al-Maliki out. In itself, this was not be a bad idea but in the meantime, IS was doing inordinate damage. Ultimately, in September-October, an international coalition was formed, which would be called Operation Inherent Resolve. Then everybody was helping the Iraqi Kurds. And by the end of 2014, the U.S. had sent some three thousand no-combat support and training troops.

This compared to the twenty thousand President Bush had sent in the 2007 Surge, when ISI was not even close to the force IS had become. Iran’s President Rouhani could not resist,

“Had it not been for Iran’s timely assistance, many of the Iraqi cities would have fallen to the hands of these vicious terrorists.[…] For us to help the U.S. combat ISIS? Or for them to help us? We’ve actually been the ones countering terrorism in the region for years.[…] Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq? Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against
terrorism?”

Here you have it, so much for the “austere religious scholar” hyena. Good reading, if you want more. And please don’t hesitate to leave a comment here.

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