Head of the Islamic State of Iraq Reported In Custody
Iraqi government sources say they've arrrested the shadowy head of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi along with several other insurgents in a raid in the town of Abu Ghraib. (AP)
The Islamic State of Iraq is described by Global Security as "supported by al-Qaeda". But the organization has also be showered by congratulations from Iran. It seemed very active in the public relations front, commenting on British withdrawals and cheering on the Islamic Courts in Somalia. Yet it did not appear to be entirely a paper mill. Recently the Jawa Report focused on a disastrous defeat it suffered at the hands of Iraqi forces in the Falluja environs which emphasizes the al-Qaeda connection.
The AP story suggests that al-Baghdadi's capture was part of a wider collapse, a large part of which has been at the hands of Iraqi forces.
The reported arrest followed rumors this week that al-Baghdadi's brother had been arrested in a raid near Tikrit. On Wednesday, the Islamic State in Iraq claimed in a Web posting that its members stormed a northern Iraqi prison the previous day and freed 150 inmates there. The statement said the raid was personally ordered by al-Baghdadi. Iraqi police had said gunmen stormed the Badoosh prison, 15 miles northwest of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, and freed about 140 inmates, going cell to cell, then fled themselves.
Unlike al-Zarqawi, virtually nothing is known of al-Baghdadi, including his real name. It is widely assumed that the name al-Baghdadi was taken as part of a campaign to make al-Qaeda appear more of a homegrown Iraqi movement rather than an organization dominated by foreigners.
All in all, a pretty interesting story to follow
The Iraq Slogger reports that al-Baghdadi is a very prominent Sunni whose lineage can be traced to the Prophet. It identifies him as a "Salafist", which more or less means he subscribes to the religious tenets popular in Saudi Arabia.