Friday, May 9, 2008

Abu Ayyub al-Masri: Captured (Again), Maybe, This Time in Mosul

Iraqi police captured Abu Ayyub al-Masri in Mosul Thursday.

Abu Al-Masri, is also called Abu Hamza al-Muhajer. Whatever his name is, he took control of Al Qaeda in Iraq after an American missile killed the previous Al Qaeda boss there, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in June of 2006.

Since taking control of Al Qaeda in Iraq, if my count is right, Abu Ayyub al-Masri has been captured three times, including today's arrest, mortally wounded once, and killed three times.

According to various Iraqi officials.

This time, Iraqi officials say that Abu Ayyub al-Masri is already in American custody. Maybe, but "U.S. military officials could only say on the record they had nothing to confirm the report." ("Iraqis report capture of al Qaeda in Iraq leader" (CNN (May 8, 2008))

As CNN put it, "Iraqi officials have also misreported the deaths or capture of other high-ranking insurgents, Baathists or others, including al-Zarqawi before he was killed and Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, the highest ranking former member of Saddam Hussein's regime still at large."

I could be wrong about this, but I've gotten the impression that officials in several parts of the world, including the Middle East, tend to report what they'd like to have happened as what actually happened. Iraq's leaders seem to have the same difficulty in distinguishing between desire and fact.

The Iraqi (state-run) press has already reported Abu Ayyub al-Masri capture. This time, the Iraqi officials may be right.

The American military is checking the reports out. Given how recently the arrest is supposed to have taken place, Abu Al-Masri could be in American custody, without the information having filtered up to the top brass yet.

Or, this could be another case of wishful thinking trumping hard fact.

If it's true, then Al Qaeda in Iraq is short a top leader - again. That's not good for Al Qaeda, but it would be good for Iraq - and for America, in the long run. If or when Iraq becomes a stable, prosperous, country, organizations like Al Qaeda will have lost another base of operations.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.