Jan 30 2008
Good news continues to come out of Iraq today. The purge of al-Qaeda in its last havens in Northern Iraq have resulted in the killing of another senior al-Qaeda leader:
As Operation Phantom Phoenix and its subordinate operations progress in central and northern Iraq, Coalition forces confirmed killing a senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader in Diyala province. Coalition force killed Abu Layla al Suri, who is also known as Abu Abd al Rahman, during an intelligence-driven raid in the city of Miqdadiyah in Diyala province, where al Qaeda has established a safe haven.
Al Suri, which translates to “the Syrian,” was leader in Diyala, the province al Qaeda claimed as the capital of its Islamic State of Iraq during late 2006. Multinational Forces Iraq did not respond to an inquiry from The Long War Journal about al Suri’s nationality. He was “intricately involved in the terrorist network operating in the Diyala River Valley region since October 2006, and was closely associated with several al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported.
This is part of an Iraqi led effort, with US forces supporting, to rid their country of their enemies in al-Qaeda. And the Iraqis are very, very confident that they have the intelligence (note the reference in the article above) to destroy al-Qaeda:
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called the Mosul mission a “decisive” final push against al Qaeda but Major-General Mark Hertling, commander of U.S. troops in northern Iraq, cautioned on Tuesday against describing the joint operation in such terms.
The US is rightfully cautious until they see the results. But the Iraqis have been steadfast in their confidence that they have the intel to deal al-Qaeda a major blow, and reports over the last week or so seem to support their confidence. Bill Roggio has a great post up on Operation Phantom Phoenix, which is worth a read if you want to know what is really happening on the ground verses the media-filtered spin. More here from Bill on actions in one of the many elements of Phantom Phoenix (this one is a few days old). The fact is al-Qaeda is getting hit hard. Yes, they do hit back. But their impact is diminishing as they generate more and more animosity among Iraqi Muslims. They are no longer the future of Islam in Iraq, they are now the enemy of Islam.