The U.S. command said Wednesday the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been arrested, adding that information from him indicates the group’s foreign-based leadership wields considerable influence over the Iraqi chapter.
Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, also known as Abu Shahid, was captured in Mosul on July 4, said Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a military spokesman.
“Al-Mashhadani is believed to be the most senior Iraqi in the al-Qaida in Iraq network,” Bergner said. He said al-Mashhadani was a close associate of Abu Ayub al-Masri, the Egyptian-born head of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Bergner said al-Mashhadani served as an intermediary between al-Masri and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.
“In fact, communication between the senior al-Qaida leadership and al-Masri frequently went through al-Mashhadani,” Bergner said.
“Along with al-Masri, al-Mashhadani co-founded a virtual organization in cyberspace called the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006,” Bergner said. “The Islamic State of Iraq is the latest efforts by al-Qaida to market itself and its goal of imposing a Taliban-like state on the Iraqi people.”
As Dennis Prager says, the debate about whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place, and the debate about the War’s conduct now, are two different things. You can believe the first was a mistake, but still be committed to an American victory in the second.
As astute readers may have noticed, I’ve tended to shy away from whether it was a mistake to have gone in in the first place. I don’t believe Bush lied, I do believe Saddam Hussein lied, and I believe that the CIA, as has so often been the case, handled intelligence badly. But that’s Monday morning quarterbacking and, as far as I’m concerned, an utterly pointless activity right now. It’s only a vehicle for those so in the grip of Bush Derangement Syndrome that they’re utterly incapable of seeing that a stale political debate is not only a waste of time, it handicaps us in what has turned into the central issue of our time: fighting of a violent jihadism that specifically admits its intention to destroy our way of life and to kill as many of us as possible.
As it is, we’re in Iraq now, we need to win, and I find reports such as this very heartening — not to mention the fact that, media and Democratic disapproval notwithstanding, the surge seems to be working.
UPDATE: As of 8:23 a.m., P.S.T., the New York Times online has not updated its front page, either at the top or bottom part of the screen, to reflect this story. As of the same time, incidentally, the New York Post gives it top “breaking news” status.