Skip to comments.Military skill and terrorist technique fuel success of ISIS
Posted on 08/28/2014 5:12:18 AM PDT by Rashputin
Military skill and terrorist technique fuel success of ISIS
Eric Schmitt & BEN HUBBARD,NYT News Service | Aug 28, 2014, 11.25 AM IST
BAGHDAD: As fighters for the Islamic State continue to seize territory, the group has quietly built an effective management structure of mostly middle-aged Iraqis, including many military officers under Saddam Hussein, overseeing departments of finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment.
At the top the organization is the self-declared leader of all Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a radical chief executive officer of sorts, who handpicked many of his deputies from among the men he met while a prisoner in US custody at the Camp Bucca detention center.
He had a preference for military men, and so his leadership team includes many officers from Saddam's long-disbanded military. They include former Iraqi officers like Fadel al-Hayali, the top deputy for Iraq, who once served Saddam as a lieutenant colonel, and Adnan al-Sweidawi, a former lieutenant colonel who now heads the group's military council.
The pedigree of its leadership, outlined by an Iraqi expert and US intelligence officials who have seen documents seized from Islamic State by the Iraqi military, helps explain its battlefield successes: Its leaders augmented traditional military skill with terrorist techniques refined though years of fighting US troops, while also having deep local knowledge and contacts.
Islamic State is in effect a hybrid of terrorists and an army. "These are the academies that these men graduated from to become what they are today," said the expert, an Iraqi researcher named Hisham Alhashimi.
Islamic State burst into global consciousness in June when its fighters seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, after moving into Iraq from their base in Syria. The Iraqi army melted away, and al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate, or Islamic state, that erased borders and imposed Taliban-like rule over a large swath of territory.
Not everyone was surprised by the group's success. "These guys know the terrorism business inside and out, and they are the ones who survived aggressive counterterrorism campaigns during the surge," said one US intelligence official, referring to the increase in US troops in Iraq in 2007.
"They didn't survive by being incompetent." The official spoke on condition of anonymity, because of the delicate nature of the information.
After the Islamic State stormed into Mosul, one official recalled a startling phone call from a former major general in one of Saddam's elite forces. The former general had appealed months earlier to rejoin the Iraqi army, but the official had refused. Now the general was fighting for Islamic State and threatened revenge.
"We will reach you soon, and I will chop you into pieces," he said, according to the official, Bikhtiyar al-Qadi, of the commission that bars some former members of Saddam's Baath Party from government
Islamic State's success has alarmed regional security officials, who say it fights more like an army than most insurgent groups, holding territory and coordinating operations across large areas.
The group has also received support from other armed Sunni groups and former members of the Baath Party, which was founded as a secular movement, angry over their loss of status.
"In the terrorism game, these guys are at the center of a near perfect storm of factors," the US official said.
Al-Baghdadi's deputies include 12 walis, or local rulers; a three-man war Cabinet; and eight others who manage portfolios like finance, prisoners and recruitment. Its operations are carried out by a network of regional commanders who have their own subordinates and a degree of autonomy, but they have set "drop times" when they open a shared network to coordinate.
For example, the Islamic State responded to US air strikes on its positions in Iraq by distributing a professionally produced video last week of the beheading of US journalist James Foley more than 200 miles away.
Islamic State is the current incarnation of al-Qaida in Iraq, the insurgent group that battled US forces under the leadership of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi before his death in 2006. Much of what is known about the group's current structure comes from documents captured by Iraqi security services.
According to a map of the group developed by Alhashimi, the Iraqi expert, al-Baghdadi has 25 deputies across Iraq and Syria. About one-third were military officers during Saddam's rule, and nearly all were imprisoned by US forces. The last two leaders of Islamic State's military council were former Iraqi military officers: a colonel and a captain. Both have been killed, and followed by a former lieutenant colonel, Adnan al-Sweidawi, who is about 50 years old.
Ahmed al-Dulaimi, the governor of Anbar province, which is now largely controlled by Islamic State, said that all three men had graduated from the same military academy. Al-Dulaimi said he had taught one of them, Adnan Nijim, who graduated in 1993 to become an infantry officer. "It was never clear that he would turn out like that," al-Dulaimi said. "He was from a simple family, with high morals, but all his brothers went in that direction," becoming jihadists. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Nijim joined al-Qaida in Iraq and was detained by U.S. forces in 2005, al-Dulaimi said.
"All of these guys got religious after 2003," al-Dulaimi said. "Surely, ISIS benefits from their experience," he added, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
Other former military brass have also fought for the Islamic State. Al-Baghdadi's top deputy in Syria, Samir al-Khlifawi, was a colonel. He was killed in Syria by other insurgents.
Derek Harvey, a former Army intelligence officer and specialist on Iraq who now directs the University of South Florida's Global Initiative for Civil Society and Conflict, said that former officers also had professional, personal and tribal relationships that had strengthened the Islamic State's coalition.
The group's campaign to free hundreds of militants from Iraqi prisons was executed with former Baath Party loyalists. These included intelligence officers and soldiers in Saddam's Republican Guard. Hassan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian expert on Islamist groups, said that while al-Baghdadi had relied mostly on Iraqis, he had left areas like religious guidance, recruitment and media production to foreigners.
Many of them, like the head of Islamic State's media department, are Saudis. This is at least partly to make the group appear "globalized," Abu Hanieh said. "They want to appeal to international jihadists so that they come and join the battle." Some non-Iraqis have risen to prominence. Al-Baghdadi's chief spokesman is Syrian.
And one group of foreign fighters is led by an ethnic Chechen who goes by the name Omar al-Shishani. Michael Knights, an Iraq analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said it was no surprise that so many officers from Saddam's era had joined the Islamic State. Discontent in the military was widespread near the end of his rule, and underground Islamist movements were gaining strength, even inside the military, he said.
Political changes after the US invasion accelerated their rise. Members of Saddam's Baath Party were barred from government positions, and the political dominance of Iraq's Shiite majority made many Sunnis feel disenfranchised.
"After 2003, what did these guys have to do but get more radical?" Knights said. For those who had served in Saddam's staunchly secular army, that transformation was complete by the time they joined the Islamic State.
"There is no one in Baghdadi's state who is not a believer," Alhashimi said.
Omar al-Jawoshy contributed reporting from Baghdad, Karam Shoumali from Istanbul, and Hwaida Saad and Mohammed Ghannam from Beirut.
The idea that those who Sadaam thought were loyal enough to command military units were going to be docile citizens of a new Iraq is just another example of how irrational some aspects of the US approach to war have become.
What are you talking about???
We funded and trained ISIS when they were called FSA (The Free Syrian Army).
For the record...
Zbigniew Brzezinski as the National Security Advisor under Carter founded, armed and funded the Mujahideen which changed it’s name later into Al-Qaeda, which changed its name into the FSA (Free Syrian Army), which changed its name into ISIS, which changed its name into ISIL, which changed its name into IS (Islamic State)
This is the same group the entire time. They all operate under the Black Flag of Al-Qaeda.
Rather, we shouldn’t have kicked them out of the new Iraqi government and military. They would be part of the solution today instead of the problem.
I agree. Even better would've been not to invade at all.
Thus, you see Saddam being removed (active participation). Qaddafi removed (active participation). Mubarak removed (passive participation). A hearty attempt to remove Assad. In all of these cases hardly a thought on who would step in once the Big Bad Baddie was removed from power.
Unfortunately, in these cases the replacement has always been worse than what was there before. In Egypt the only thing that helped was that Mohammed Morsi, and his Muslim brotherhood, were kicked out by Al Sisi and the military. Otherwise it would have been more of the same story.
To be honest I would not be surprised if right now there are plans to kick out Putin - which would not necessarily be a bad thing, were it not for the probability that - as usual - none of the people working on such a plan have taken the time to think about what happens next.
While people like Assad, Mubarak, Qaddafi and even Saddam are no saints, it is folly to take them out without a passing thought as to who or what will fill the vacuum left.
Why don’t you read and learn something about “Syrian opposition forces” before posting your ‘we-trained-ISIS’ kook BS?
The West has supported the FSA. You know, the same FSA that has been fighting ISIS for over two years and just killed two US ISIS members?
I’ll leave you to your delusions and tenuous grip on reality.
I linked several world wide respected media sources that validate everything I said, and you come back with Wikipedia.... S.M.H. (shaking my head)
Do you EVEN KNOW what WIKI means???
It means “Edit”.
ANYONE... can edit Wikipedia online.
Go to their web site and try it if you do not believe me.
Even Wikipedia on their web site says to not source them because it may not be correct. It serves as a starting point ONLY...., and not as fact. Here is the quote and link from Wikipedia itself in case you think I'm “delusional”.
“We advise special caution when using Wikipedia as a source for research projects. Normal academic usage of Wikipedia and other encyclopedias is for getting the general facts of a problem and to gather keywords, references and bibliographical pointers, but not as a source in itself. Remember that Wikipedia is a wiki, which means that anyone in the world can edit an article, deleting accurate information or adding false information, which the reader may not recognize.”
Now read this article from the Weekly Standard about Wikipedia and connect the dots.
The FSA (Free Syrian Army) is ISIS, is ISIL is IS (Islamic State). It's the same group of guys, and just a different name to confuse the public. They have the same leaders and they all operate under the same black flag of Al-Qaeda.
Hey if you want to believe the same politicans that are publicly “on the record liars” that ordered our border patrol to stand down leaving them wide open..., that ships guns into Mexico to Mexican drug gangs in order to falsely blame the second Amendment for it..., that illegally spies on every citizen via the NSA..., that unleashes the IRS on it's political enemies, etc.... Shall I continue?
If you want to believe politicians that are on the record certified liars, then I can't help you.
This is the reason our Republic is falling is because people like yourself are extremely gullible and highly naive. You believe the establishment false paradigm hook, line and sinker.
If that’s the case why has FSA been fighting ISIS for 2 years and how did FSA kill the two American ISIS jihadis?
Lemme guess, to convince us they’re really not ISIS, because they really are? This is essentially your absurd premise.
Now, what about the Kurds, SOCOM and other US agencies engaging ISIS in northern Iraq? Also NAVAIR? Is this also a ‘false flag’? Because, you know, we’re on ISIS’s side in reality? And the 600 troops we sent to Iraq -they’re REALLY there to help ISIS, right? So the bombs aren’t being dropped on ISIS? So who then? Maybe no one? Perhaps it’s all illusion? These are just some the ridiculous highlights that emanate from your absurd assumptions based upon speculative sources referencing of some FSA members in Syria pledging allegiance to ISIS? But all the other FSA groups and secular opposition fighting ISIS in Syria, and the drone strikes, NAVAIR strikes, Kurdish and Iraqi counter-offenses... well all that doesn’t count because a couple hundred FSA pledged loyalty? And since we trained FSA we therefore support ISIS? And of course ‘we all know’ that the couple hundred FSA defectors are specifically the ones the West trained, right? They’re not auxiliary or attached units, but are Western trained FSA members, right? Maybe they were the trainers? Maybe they are SOCCENT? OMG, it’s not ISIS it’s actually US Special Forces!!!!!
So you think we’re not attacking or bombing ISIS? We’re really dropping food and ammo rations to SOCCENT Spec OPs who run ISIS? That’s gotta be it man!
How far do you intend to go with this ludicrous conjecture? Cuz it’s really absurd.
0bama let the leadership go. Now, they earn millions everyday. Fallujah fell in January, an 0bama says there’s no strategy. Now, ISIS is on the Golan Heights.
And Christians, et al are being butchered like cattle.
Like h3ll, he has no strategy.
Caliph Obama has a plan that's been clear ever since he made the famous speech where he said the US was not a Christian nation and followed that up by backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
I guess you have never heard of compartmentalization based on your reply? This is 101 stuff that's well understood in the alphabet communities.
For starters it's why we have the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to September 11th agencies like the FBI did not collaborate with the CIA to put two and two together. Furthermore, within the agencies not everyone knows what everyone else is doing. So the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, etc.....
For instance, during the second World War we were able to keep the Manhattan Project a secret even though thousands of people worked on it daily for years. How were we able to achieve that without anyone leaking? Through compartmentalization. Everyone involved had a small role for a much larger project. Only a few people really knew what they were doing. Most people involved could not understand or put together why they were doing what they were doing. There are a lot of good books that explain this. Like I said this is 101 stuff that's been around for a long time.
Although this is a double edge sword. While on one hand it protects secrets... on the other hand it brings out a dark side to each agency. This side involves a lot of compartmentalization, front activities, hidden budgets and false stories in order to keep honest government employees and agents from knowing whats going on behind their backs. Remember the Oliver North story?
Oh and the few who do get a glimpse.... are warned off with threats, some subtle and some lethalthreats which send a chilling message to others to not ask too many questions. So there are hidden battles/wars within these agencies. This is well known within the shadow community.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor is the founder of the Mujaheddin. Our agencies, primarily our CIA, radicalized, funded, trained and armed Muslims in order to serve as a counter force to the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. This is not even secret. You can Google it and it will come right up.
The Mujaheddin morphed into Al-Qaeda. The Saudi’s are the proxy for Mujaheddin/Al-Qaeda/ISIS/ISIL/IS (Islamic State) finances, arms and even the people. Why else do you think 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi?
Here is another article backing up a lot of what I'm telling you.
Many people in the military are now awake and freaked out by this. Remember those military pictures of I will not be Al-Qaeda’s Airforce?
That's why they are getting drummed out even though the world is more dangerous than ever. Don't believe me?
Do you remember this from Senator Ted Cruz?
Here is an article from yesterday's National Review
Oh and it's on both sides of the aisle. Here is an article from 8/27/14
This force Al-Qaeda/ISIS/ISIL, etc... whatever their new name is today serve the Globalist at the highest levels that their minions do not understand. They serve as a destabilization force to a country or region when they don't play ball with the Globalist. This force makes it so miserable, that the country then asks us to come in and mop them up. It's a classic problem, reaction solution in order for the Globalist to put in their sock puppets.
There are a lot of good books that explain the world how it really works. It's not this false left/right paradigm. Instead of looking at it from only 2 points of view. Try looking at it from a 360 degree angle. While most people play Checkers... the Globalist are playing triple electronic Chess.
Here are some books you should check out. Get the audio if you can.
“Tragedy and Hope”
“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man “
“The Creature From Jekyll Island”
“War Is a Racket”
“Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History”
Try Googling Cloward Piven or Agenda 21, and read about it. It's all over the web. Most of the military now and police are aware of this. Go start talking to many of them and you will see what I mean. Well... that is if they “trust” you.
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