Al Qaeda in Iraq must be starting to feel like punk bikers in a Clint Eastwood movie (to steal a line from Bill James). According to a briefing today by Major General Bergner, during the month of September, 29 senior AQI operatives were either killed or captured. Five were Emirs at the city level or higher in the AQI leadership structure. Nine were geographical or functional cell leaders. Eleven were facilitors who supported foreign terrorist weapons movements.
When Coalition Forces killed one AQI Emir, they captured more than 400 documents, three computer hard drives, two thumb drives, and eleven compact disc. Among other things, this treasure trove revealed that the names of 500 foreign terrorists being recruited by al Qaeda, including the recruiters’ names, and the date and route of entry into Iraq. The terrorists came from a range of foreign countries including Libya, Morocco, Syria, Algeria, Oman, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. The documents also provided information about financial transactions involved in the movements of each foreign terrorist. You can get more details here.
These developments occurred in a month when U.S. military deaths declined sharply, as did those suffered by Iraqis.
If the Move.org Democrats have their way, though, not only will we remove our foot from al Qaeda in Iraq’s throat, we’ll allow it to have a victory.
UPDATE: During September, Coalition Forces also detained an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force officer named Mahmud Farhadi. He was posing as an Iranian businessman. Farhadi was the officer-in-charge of the Zafr Command, one of three units subordinate to the Ramazan Corps of the Qods Force. As the Zafr Commander, he was responsible for all Qods Force operations in north-central Iraq that included cross-border transfers of weapons, people and money. According to General Bergner, multiple sources implicate Farhadi in providing weapons to Iraqi criminal elements and surrogates of Iran.
The question here becomes, what is the U.S. prepared to do about the Qods Force and, more generally, about Iranian participation in and support of terrorism in Iraq. It would be more than unfortunate if the progress we’re making to reduce violence and limit sectarian strife gets undone because we fail to deal with the threat posed by Iranian involvement.
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