“The Painful Truth: Al-Qaeda is Losing the War in Iraq”

That’s the title of a post by hamzacom on the Faloja forum.  In it, he draws an analogy with Afghanistan just after the U.S. invasion.  It was a time of defeat for the mujahids but now they are resurging.  The same will happen in Iraq. Other forum members are predictably annoyed by hamzacom’s pessimistic title.  Abu `Umar al-Masri retorts that it is merely “a knight’s stumble,” not a loss.  Qannas al-Dawla al-Islamiyya (“The Islamic State’s Hunter”) is even more optimistic: “We will never lose the war as long as God is with us.” Others share hamzacom’s pessimism but are nonchalant.  “If al-Qaeda has lost the war, what’s the problem?” Shabab Lubnan (“Youth of Lebanon”) states blithely.  “There really isn’t a problem.  There are a number of Jihadi groups that possess the idea of al-Qaeda even if they do not aid (the organization) publicly.  It is possible for these groups to

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Zawahiri the XO

The US military has given CNN letters that Zawahiri wrote in March 2008 to senior al-Qaeda commanders in Iraq (hat tip SK). Much of the content has been filtered through an MNFI spokesman so it’s hard to use CNN’s summary to assess al-Qaeda’s fortunes in Iraq. Nevertheless, since the summary fits with the bleak picture that has been emerging these past few months, it’s worth noting. I’ve rearranged the information for ease of reference: Zawahiri letter to al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, March 2008. Letter was captured in April during U.S. op that killed AQI Information Minister Abu Nizar. Abu Nizar was an intermediary between Masri and AQ Central. The letter was found on Abu Nizar’s person. Leadership: Masri too isolated to keep watch of his operatives. Zawahiri questions Masri’s ability to lead AQI. Poor Communication with AQ Central: Zawahiri concerned that he is not getting regular updates

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Lamenting Loss of Anbar, Apprehensive of Jihad’s Future in Iraq

In response to Bush’s recent statement that al-Qaeda lost Anbar Province in Iraq, Ekhlaas member Abu Mu`adh al-Maqdisi defiantly writes that it is the U.S. and its allies that lost the province. Nevertheless, he tacitly admits the truth of Bush’s words, writing: “War has ups and downs. Soon, by the permission of God, Anbar will return and the law of God will be applied in it. However, ye are an impatient people.” Mukashshir Anyabahu (“Bares His Teeth”) replies that the people of Anbar, not just the Awakening members, deeply betrayed the mujahids. Mu`adh optimistically responds, “As long as the Commander of the Faithful Abu `Umar al-Baghdadi is present, there is no need to worry.” To which Mukashshir retorts: You have no idea of the extent of the betrayal and apostasy which transpired in Iraq, especially in Anbar….The people of Iraq completely betrayed the mujahids and allied with everyone who had

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Iraq a Sinking Ship for al-Qaeda, Afghanistan the Lifeboat

Earlier this week, I noted that members of the Hesbah forum are increasingly pessimistic about Iraq. And in May I wrote about the death of Sulayman al-`Utaybi, an al-Qaeda leader in Iraq who had left for Afghanistan after his dismissal from his post. Here’s what I wrote at the time: That he headed straight for Afghanistan makes me wonder if this is a sign of things to come as AQ gets squeezed out of Iraq. Now the Washington Post gives us further evidence that Iraq is a sinking ship for al-Qaeda and Afghanistan is the lifeboat, at least for the senior leadership. Amit Paley has written a well-sourced article on the departure of Abu Ayyub al-Masri (aka Abu Hamza al-Muhajer), the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, for Afghanistan. Here’s what we learn from the article (sources in parentheses): Foreign fighters AQ is diverting new recruits to Afghanistan and Iraq. (U.S.

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Leaderless Jihad in Iraq? Not So Much

The U.S. military has just released a large number of captured al-Qaeda documents from Iraq to CNN. It seems that most (all?) of the documents are from the headquarters of the security commander for Anbar province, Faris Abu Azzam (killed 18 months ago). There are no links to the original documents, so we’re left with Michael Ware’s excellent rundown of the juicy bits. In the past, West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center has been the main conduit for these sorts of materials, but in recent months the military has been going direct with major news outlets. Based on Ware’s summary, here are some of the documents in the collection: 2005 memo warning that executing sinners and traitors in public will alienate their families and invite their revenge December 2005 minutes of senior al-Qaeda commanders meeting in western Iraq to plan a three-month campaign that will begin in mid-January 2006. The campaign,

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