Al Qaeda in Iraq 2nd in Command Arrested

Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, a/k/a Abu Humam or Abu Rana, the number two man in al Qaeda in Iraq’s chain of command has been arrested.

Iraqi forces have arrested the second most senior operative in al-Qaida in Iraq, and the group now suffers from a “serious leadership crisis,” the national security adviser said Sunday. Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, was arrested a few days ago, Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said, adding that his arrest also led to the capture or death of 11 other top al-Qaida in Iraq figures and nine lower-level members. He was the second most important al-Qaida in Iraq leader after Abu Ayyub al-Masri, al-Rubaie said. Al-Masri succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad on June 7.

“We believe that al-Qaida in Iraq suffers from a serious leadership crisis. Our troops have dealt fatal and painful blows to this organization,” the security adviser said.

Al-Saeedi was “directly responsible” for the person who carried out the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, al-Rubaie added. The bombing inflamed tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and triggered reprisal attacks that continue still. “Al-Saeedi carried out al-Qaida’s policies in Iraq and the orders of the slain al-Zarqawi to incite sectarian violence in the country, through attempting to start a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis — but their wishes did not materialize,” al-Rubaie added.

Dead or arrested terrorists are always good news. Still, I would think we’d have learned by now to stop claiming that it will make a huge difference in the group’s ability to wreak mayhem. The level of killing did not drop after Zarqawi’s death and, if al-Saeedi has been in custody “a few days,” it certainly does not seem to have had any effect on the level of violence.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Military Affairs, Terrorism, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    I dunno, James.
    Certainly, the arrest of such people will limit their ability to do anything but comparatively petty stuff. Yes, there’s always someone new to replace the ones we arrest or kill. But eventually they’re going to run out of replacements.

  2. Bill Biddle says:

    > But eventually they’re going to run out of replacements.

    I see no reason to think that. We have been fighting in Iraq for almost the same time we took part in WWII. On 24 November 2006, the United States will have been in Iraq for the length of time that elapsed between the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and V-J Day, when the Japanese surrendered.

    We really do not seem to be any closer to prevailing in Iraq. In fact, even the generals in the Pentagon are saying that the situation is now worse than it has ever been. VP Cheney was just dead wrong when he claimed the insurgency was in its last throes in June 2005.

    Things are not getting better in Iraq; we are grinding up a US Army there to no purpose; the Iraq misadventure has handicapped our choices for dealing with Iran; people who say we should get out now are NOT like nazi appeasers, no matter what Rumsfeld says.

    It’s time to get our troops out of an unwinnable situation, and support them with proper benefits.

  3. ATS says:

    No doubt this signals the end of the war, just like when Saddam was captured . . . .

  4. anjin-san says:

    What else exactly are we supposed to accomplish militarily in Iraq? Our armed forces did their job, they defeated Iraq’s military.

    We are attempting to remold a culture that we do not really understand in the first place. As for “spreading democracy”, well, I might hold out more hope if the current government seemed to be committed to democracy right hear at home.

    Here is another bogus corner we have turned. So far we have gone around dozens of them, and what we always find is someone shooting at our guys…

  5. Peter in Hastings says:

    You’re absolutely right – silly to claim success with these supposed decapitations when to date they have had no observable effect. The real questions you might be asking if you chose to go there, for example, in this case include:
    1) Was this guy’s role a #2 hyped just a tad?
    2) Isn’t there a lingering stench of desperation to make all these successes sound like more than they are?
    3) As we get closer to November, are there going to be more of these?

    I don’t want to be cynical here, but the desperation here is palpable. Don’t you feel it?

  6. jeff says:

    I think the fact that we seem to be capturing and killing the “number 2” man over and over again seems to imply:
    1) They really can replace them as fast as we take them out.
    2) It’s like the Terminator and we only THINK we have captured and killed the #2 guy.
    3) They have progressed with cloning technology far beyond our own capabilities.
    4) These really aren’t the number 2 guys.
    I like #3 but it’s probably more like #4.

  7. Michael Chance says:

    The comparison the the length of time that the U.S. was involved in WWII to how long we’ve been in Iraq is misleading, at best. A better comparison would be to how long it took for there to be stable governments in Germany, Japan, and all of the Japanese-held territories in the Pacific, without any attacks against either civilian or military targets conducted by former forces of the defeated powers.

    And, for the war on Islamo-fascist terrorism in general, we should be reminded that the U. S. fought the Barbary pirates for almost two decades.

    It’s mostly the media that have been holding up the elimination of top al-Qaeda leaders as “this will end the conflict” strawmen to be knocked down as soon as there’s another attack of any kind, not the military or the White House.

  8. Bithead says:

    I see no reason to think that. We have been fighting in Iraq for almost the same time we took part in WWII.

    You’re not really going to claim a similar intensity between what we’re dealing with now, in world war two, are you?

    If your complaint is the length of time involved, by those same lights we’re still fighting the war in Germany and Japan. Sorry, no sale.

  9. Bill Biddle says:

    > You’re not really going to claim a similar intensity between
    > what we’re dealing with now, in world war two, are you?

    No, of course not. I’m just sick of hearing empty slogans like “cut and run” and “flip flop”, instead of, you know, an actual national debate among the adults about how to get out head out of the bear trap that President Bush has run us into.

    If occupying Iraq has any strategic significance beyond oil, why don’t we have a draft to secure it? Why doesn’t the President raise taxes to pay for armor for our soldiers and their vehicles? Why has he cut taxes for the wealthiest among us? What progress is being made? Is an occupation “winnable”?

    Just asking.

  10. Bithead says:

    Gee, Bill, you appear to be exactly the appeasement Democrat that James has been looking for.

    No, of course not. I’m just sick of hearing empty slogans like “cut and run” and “flip flop”, instead of, you know, an actual national debate among the adults about how to get out head out of the bear trap that President Bush has run us into.

    All, we’ve been saying right along what the exit strategy is: Winning.

    Anything but that strategy is cut and run. it really is that simple.

    If occupying Iraq has any strategic significance beyond oil, why don’t we have a draft to secure it?

    Because it isn’t needed.

    Why doesn’t the President raise taxes to pay for armor for our soldiers and their vehicles?

    The same answer. Tell me; is this intense need of years to impose needless consequences on the American people political in nature, by chance?

    Why has he cut taxes for the wealthiest among us?

    Simple, they’re what drives the economy. THem paying 90% of the taxes does nothing to create jobs… though it does create a welfare state which will never survive as such.

    Just asking.

    No. What you’re doing is repeating the old, tired, often disproven leftist mantra. No sale.

  11. edward herrington says:

    Winning is not a strategy, winning was the goal.
    Stay the course is not a strategy it is a fool’s whishfull thinking.
    This administration has no plan to win only rhetoric and sound bites.

  12. Bithead says:

    Winning is not a strategy, winning was the goal.

    Actually, it’s both.
    Winning the war is the first step, ya see.

    And, if you object to using
    rhetorical sound bites so much, why is it you use them yourself?

    Oh, I SEE. When YOU use them, it’s OK.

  13. Bill Biddle says:

    “Winning” is not a strategy.

    The goal is winning. The current strategy of occupying Iraq is, at best, a “hold ’em” strategy, but one that slowly grinds our army down.

    We are holding the lid down on a pot which is getting closer and closer to boiling over.

    Now, what’s your strategy for “winning”? What are you going to change, that might result in a better outcome, because the current results look a lot more like losing.

  14. Bill Biddle says:

    > Because it (a draft) isn’t needed.

    There were six more American soldiers killed in Iraq in the last two days.

    We clearly do not have enough troops on the ground. The British have been driven out of a major base at Abu Naji.

    Each month the number of casualties grows.
    Check for yourself: http://www.icasualties.org/oif/
    We lose an average of two soldiers every day.

    And this nonsense is costing us $9bn/month according to the CBO.
    http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aairaqwarcost.htm

    We either need to triple the number of troops on the ground. And that requires a draft. Or declare Iraq done, pull out completely, and let them have their civil war.

  15. jeff says:

    Bithead:
    How will you know when we’ve won? I mean, what are your criteria so that we can say we won and go home? Let me try.
    Deposition of Hussein? We won.
    Destruction of Iraqi army as a local threat? We won.
    Elimination of Iraq as a producer/deployer of WMD? They weren’t at the time but certainly won’t be now so we will jot that down as a win.
    But after that: When will we know? Gut feeling by the decider? Maximized contractor profits? Electricity and water in Baghdad half the time? Fewer than 1 American killed a week? 100 Iraqi’s a week?

  16. Bithead says:

    The goal is winning

    Well, no WONDER you guys are asking questions like:

    How will you know when we’ve won?

    We’ve won when the enemy stops fighting.

  17. Bithead says:

    Hit send too fast.

    The goal is peace. The way toward that goal is winning the war. The reason our strategy involved war is there was no other option, nor is there now.

    Do I need to break this down further for you?

  18. Bill Biddle says:

    Bithead says:
    > The goal is peace.

    So far so good.

    > The way toward that goal is winning the war.

    No. Since the definition of war is the opposite of peace, all you are doing is restating the goal in other words.

    People are sick of hearing ”stay the course”, when the course will very shortly be longer than WWII, but without any sign of success. So we want to hear a real plan, beyond one that says ”keep doing what we are doing”. Staying the course isn’t working.

    Saying ”winning the war” is a strategy (or ”way to the goal”) shows that you don’t understand strategic thinking, and should not really be participating in adult conversations about it.

    > The reason our strategy involved war is there
    > was no other option, nor is there now.

    There were PLENTY of other options, starting with these:
    1. Allow the CIA more time to assess the evidence/lack of evidence for WMDs in Iraq.

    2. Be truthful about the intelligence community’s conclusions that Iraq did not have WMDs – these were reached BEFORE President Bush attacked, but kept secret from the American people until after war started. Why was that?

    3. Build a genuine community of international support for dealing with Iraq, as was done in the first Gulf War. Do not alienate other countries by going it alone.

    We have far fewer choices now. President Bush’s disasterous misjudgments have restricted our choices for dealing with Iran.

    Worse than that, we are currently throwing away $9 BILLION each month, and 2 American soldiers’ lives every day. And the situation is plainly getting WORSE not better. And the President seems unable to accept that his actions are not working out the way that he wants. He seems puzzled by it, when he scolds Iraq for not meeting his expectations.

    We have two choices for changing things in Iraq folks:
    EITHER: go big – spin up a draft and pour in 250,000 more troops

    OR: declare victory and pull out.

    The problem is that neither of these is palatable to The Decider. So he continues with a slowly by steadily worsening failed policy, in the hope of what exactly? A miracle? Does he think the permanent bases will change the situation, because I can assure you, we will be kicked out of those just like we were kicked out of Saudi.

    Good luck with that. I don’t see why a dime of my taxes should be spent on water, food, and security for people who live in Bagdahd.