US Special Forces captured the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq on July 4th. Khalid al-Mashadani was a former leader of Ansar al-Sunnah, one of the major insurgent organizations and closely connected with Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He allied himself with Al-Qaeda and became the nominal head of the Islamic Emirate. Mashadani used the pseudonym “Abu Omar al-Baghdadi”

This reveals the Islamic State of Iraq as an al-Qaeda front organization that pretended to be a native Iraqi movement. The emirate is, in fact, a foreign led al-Qaeda government.

Bill Roggio reports.

Mashadani has a long pedigree in Iraq’s Salafist terror networks, and had direct contact with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. “Mashadani was a leader in the Ansar Al Sunna terrorist group before joining AQI two and half years ago,” Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner said in a press briefing. “He served as the al-Qaeda Media Emir for Baghdad and then was appointed the Media Emir for all of Iraq, serving as an intermediary between AQI leader al-Masri, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. In fact, communication between senior al-Qaeda leadership and al-Masri went through Mashadani.”

Roggio described the elaborate fraud. Al-Qaeda created a fake “Iraqi” leader to disguise foreign leadership. So the fictitious al-Baghdadi was created.

Al Masri then swore allegiance to al Baghdadi “which was essentially swearing allegiance to himself, since he knew that Baghdadi was fictitious and totally his own creation,” said Brig. Gen Bergner. “The rank and file Iraqis in AQI believed they are following the Iraqi al-Baghdadi but all the while they have actually been following the orders of the Egyptian Abu ‘Ayyub al- Masri.”

Mashadani said the domestic insurgents groups recognize that al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq are fronts. “The idea of al-Baghdadi is very weak now because other insurgent groups have realized that the concept of al-Baghdadi is controlled by the al-Qaeda foreign fighters in Iraq,” said Mashadani to his interrogators.

Mashadani stated that al Qaeda in Iraq is operationally controlled by foreign fighters, not Iraqi insurgents. “Mashadani confirms that al Masri and the foreign leaders with whom he surrounds himself, not Iraqis, make the operational decisions for AQI,” said Brig. Gen Bergner. “According to Mashadani, in fact, al Masri increasingly relies only on foreigners, who make up the majority of the leadership of AQI. He does not seek or trust the advice of Iraqis in the organization.”

Given that many Iraqis are rising against the Foreign Invader – al-Qaeda – I imagine that AQI is relying more on foreigners.

This enters a battle of narratives. Both narratives blur objective facts slightly. The United States blurs Salafist Revolutionaries with Al-Qaeda. This is partly true however. Al-Qaeda is a Salafist Revolutionary movement and it recruits from local Salafists in combat theatres. Al-Qaeda says the exact same thing but in reverse. They emphasize the local Salafists instead of the International Leadership of Al-Qaeda.

Both narratives are largely true but emphasize different aspects of the truth. The US is disaggregating the Salafist movement by playing off rival ethnicities. The concret revealation that the Islamist State of Iraq is a foreign government reinforces the US objective.