Islamic State in Iraq Head Killed
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, one of the major terrorists in Iraq, has been killed.
U.S. and Iraqi forces have killed the head of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, an al Qaeda-led militant group that has claimed many major attacks in the country, Iraq’s deputy interior minister said on Thursday. Hussein Kamal said Abu Omar al-Baghdadi had been killed in a battle north of Baghdad. He declined to say when but said authorities had recovered Baghdadi’s body.
This one looks legit, as American leaders are not issuing their standard cautionary notes.
Given that killing off thugs, including the Hussein family, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and more “number two man in [fill-in-the-organization]” than you can shake a stick at, has done little to improve the situation on the ground in Iraq, I’ve generally been skeptical when these reports come down. Still, Evan Kohlmann believes this may be yet another sign of a crumbling of the Islamist coalition:
In the wake of the recent and very public rift between the Sunni Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI) and Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State”, yet more cracks are suddenly beginning to show in the unified jihadist coalition that Al-Qaida has been trying to assemble in Sunni regions of Iraq. Today, the IAI–along with factions from at least two other predominant Sunni militant groups, the Mujahideen Army and the notorious Ansar al-Sunnah Army–have officially announced the formation of their own separate political coalition: “The Reformation and Jihad Front” (RJF). This new front would seem to be a direct challenge to the authority of Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State” and is said to enjoy support from Sunni Islamist circles (like Ansar al-Sunnah) which have, in the past, worked closely with Al-Qaida. The new “Reformation and Jihad Front” is also courting the involvement of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, though it is–as of yet–unclear what their reaction has been.
In the short term, slaying a dragon and having it replaced by dozens of snakes could make the security picture even worse. In the longer run, though, it should be good news.