The Adventures of Sinam

On August 9, a member of the Islamic State of Iraq announced–via an intermediary on the Ekhlaas forum–the death of Sinam al-Ramadi. Sinam was an al-Qaeda member who operated in Ramadi and who participated on a number of forums, including Faloja.

On the day of the announcement, an Ekhlaas member named Halima posted an eyewitness account of Sinam’s capture. The account is interesting for the light it sheds on al-Qaeda’s activities in Anbar province and for what it tells us about the hectic lives of forum fighters–Jihadi forum members who are also active militants.

Halima writes that on Thursday, August 7 a certain Dr. Khattab `Ali al-Hayani was arrested in Haqlaniya, near Haditha. U.S. troops and Iraqi police had discovered evidence in Hayani’s home proving that he was Sinam al-Ramadi, one of the members of al-Qaeda in Ramadi. Sinam had left Ramadi for Kirkuk, Diyala, Bayji, and finally Haditha, where he was “considered one of the al-Qaeda returnees to the regions of western Anbar.” (I think this means that he was an al-Qaeda member in Anbar who had fled following the success of the tribal Awakening and later returned.) It was already known that Sinam had created al-Qaeda cells living in the environs of Haditha and that he had a death sentence passed against him for killing a Christian clergyman in Mosul.

Sinam was arrested after being followed by an American spy plane, which had spotted him after an Iraqi Hummer exploded between Barwana and Bayji. Sinam was stopped near the Haditha dam and badly wounded after he and his comrades resisted arrest. Halima relates that an American general said to him, “Are you the one who hassled us so much on the Internet?” Sinam couldn’t have been more than 24 years old, according to Halima.

There’s some things in Halima’s account that don’t make sense. It’s hard to believe that a U.S. general was involved in Sinam’s capture or that Halima overheard their conversation. And Halima does not write of Sinam’s martyrdom, which was being celebrated on the forums, but rather his bloody capture. (The title of Halima’s post does suggest that Sinam was executed later for killing the clergyman.)

Still, Halima’s details about Sinam’s route fit with what we know of al-Qaeda’s recent migration out of Anbar. And her story of Sinam’s arrest also dovetails with recent news about the al-Qaeda cell operating in Haqlaniya.

Document (Arabic): 8-9-08-ekhlaas-post-regarding-death-of-sinam-al-ramadi

Document (Arabic): 8-9-08-ekhlaas-biography-of-sinam-al-ramadi

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