War Blog
By: FrontPage Magazine
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The skeletons of Obama, and the protocols of the Daily Kos...

By Charles Johnson

Here’s a quick run-down of some of Barack Obama’s questionable and disturbing associations:

* Rabidly anti-Israel Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi. The Obamas were regular dinner guests at Khalidi’s Hyde Park home for years.

* Terrorist sympathizer Ali Abunimah, who runs the viciously anti-Israel web site Electronic Intifada.

* Unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

* Reverend Jeremiah Wright. What more needs to be said?

* Anti-Israel foreign policy adviser Samantha Power — fired after calling Hillary Clinton a “monster.”

* Anti-Israel foreign policy adviser Robert Malley — fired when it was revealed he has been holding talks with Hamas.

* Hatem El-Hady, former official of the Hamas-linked charity Kindhearts, closed by the Justice Department. El-Hady’s web page suddenly vanished from the Obama campaign site with no explanation, after being exposed by LGF and others.

* Tony Rezko — a Chicago fixer currently in a whole lot of legal trouble.

There are more, I know; this is just off the top of my head.

I have never witnessed a presidential election in which a major candidate had this many skeletons in his closet.


By Charles Johnson

Barack Obama lost in every single category in West Virginia: Election Center 2008: Primary Exit Polls - Elections & Politics news from CNN.com.


By Charles Johnson

To this day, Barack Obama continues to insist he was shocked and surprised to discover that Reverend Jeremiah Wright had bizarre racist views.

Now Tom Blumer has discovered images of Wright’s radical newsmagazine Trumpet—and look who was featured on the cover of that magazine at least three times: BizzyBlog - Attention Stanley Kurtz, Re Obama, Wright, Trumpet: I’ve Got You Covered.

Here’s one of the images, featuring pictures of Barack Obama, Rev. Wright — and Louis Farrakhan. Isn’t that cozy?

And if you think Barack Obama didn’t know he was featured on this cover, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

For more about the deranged, hateful content of Trumpet, see: Jeremiah Wright’s ‘Trumpet’.

UPDATE at 5/13/08 5:42:49 pm:

LGF readers have identified several of the other people on this cover:

Adam Clayton Powell — 1st row, 1st from left
Dick Gregory — 1st row, 2nd from left
Shirley Chisholm — 1st row, 4th from left
O. J. Simpson attorney Johnny Cochran — 1st row, 5th from left
Rosa Parks — 1st row, 6th from left
Rapper “Common” — 2nd row, 1st from left
Is that Robert Mugabe? 2nd row, 2nd from left
Luther Vandross — 4th row, 1st from left
Ozzie Davis — 4th row, 2nd from left
Lou Rawls — 4th row, 3rd from left
Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad — 4th row, 5th from left

Notice who’s missing? Martin Luther King, Jr.  Tuesday, May 13, 2008




By Glenn McCoy




By Ed Morrissey

After Moqtada al-Sadr’s capitulation of Sadr City this weekend, I predicted that the mainstream media would follow the Basra Narrative and declare Sadr the winner after his surrender. Little did I know that Time Magazine would prove me right within hours of the post. Laughingly headlined “Al-Sadr Wins Another Round”, Mark Kukis explains how Sadr won by giving up his last power base in Iraq:

The fact that a leading figure in al-Sadr’s ranks announced the deal and pointedly rejected the Iraqi government’s key demand to disarm suggests that the cleric is still controlling the agenda tactically and politically despite the most serious challenge his power the Iraqi government could muster. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki set out to break the back of the Mahdi Army in March, when he launched an offensive against areas the militia controls in the southern city of Basra. The Mahdi Army fought Iraqi forces to a standstill there while unleashing a daily hail of rockets and mortars on the Green Zone that left al-Maliki’s government effectively the ones under siege. And when U.S. and Iraqi troops tried to press into Sadr City to chase the militia’s mortar men and rocketeers, they barely managed to establish a foothold on the southern edge of the neighborhood before the situation stalemated.

How long this new cease-fire will last is uncertain. Al-Sadr declared a cease-fire unilaterally last year only to see al-Maliki ignore it with the initial strike in Basra. But one thing is clear: the latest pause in the running fight between al-Sadr and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government offers no visible solutions to the problems at the root of the conflict. Al-Maliki wants to disband the Mahdi Army, or at least de-fang it, before provincial elections in the fall. The bloody nose the Mahdi Army gave al-Maliki in the latest crisis shows how unlikely that is. Above all, al-Sadr still wants the Americans to go. But the inability of Iraqi forces to operate independently during the recent fighting shows how unlikely that is - unless a new White House decides to reduce military support for an Iraqi government still unable to face down its toughest foe.

Another round? Kukis still thinks that Sadr prevailed in Basra by not losing in the first 48 hours. Even the New York Times acknowledged Maliki’s victory in Basra, noting that the residents now enjoy a relatively normal and liberated life in the city on which Sadr imposed a Taliban-like code. The Mahdis have disappeared from the south, and Maliki’s forces control Basra after several years of Sadr’s grip on the area. How exactly did Sadr win that round?

And in Sadr City, Kukis gives us the same Basra Narrative provided by the entirety of the American media at the end of March. Sadr’s forces announced the cease-fire, so they must be winning. Not exactly; that same agreement ceded control of Sadr City to government forces, and it specifically acknowledged that Maliki had the right to continue offensive operations against anyone refusing to surrender medium or heavy arms. In fact, just as in Basra after the agreement there, Maliki continues to pursue Mahdi elements militarily.

This time, most of the American media has wisely refrained from cheering on Sadr and reporting the operation as a massive defeat while Maliki beats Sadr. Kukis and Time should have done the same.  Tuesday, May 13, 2008




By Charles Johnson

How low can Daily Kos go? Perhaps the most sickening, hate-filled antisemitic diary ever at Daily Kos: Daily Kos: Eulogy before the Inevitability of Self-Destruction: The Decline and Death of Israel.

Every obsessive antisemitic canard known to man is represented in this piece; the USS Liberty, “Zionist cancer,” “Zionist tentacles,” “the Mossad killed JFK,” blood libels, you name it. They’re all here.

It’s disgusting beyond belief that they would allow something like this at their web site during Israel’s 60th anniversary, but that’s how far the left wing has degenerated.  Tuesday, May 13, 2008

(Hat tip: Right Wing News.)




By Paul Mirengoff

Barack Obama and his legion of supporters in the MSM may not like the fact that Hamas supports his candidacy, or that John McCain and his supporters mention this fact. But it's not difficult to understand why Hamas favors Obama. Consider this statement by Obama regarding Lebanon:

This effort to undermine Lebanon’s elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately. . . It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.

The naivety of this statement is staggering. As Noah Pollak asks: "Does Obama understand that the people who 'have influence with Hezbollah' happen to be the same people on whose behalf Hezbollah is rampaging through Lebanon?" And does he really believe that Hezbollah and its sponsors can be pacified or neutralized by electoral reform, an end to corrupt patronage, and "fair" distribution of services?

Obama may well fail to comprehend the first point and believe the second, just as naive leftists of an earlier generation thought that Ho Chi Minh was, at root, an agrarian reformer. In any case, Pollak is correct that "Obama is rhetorically cornered; since his only prescription for the Middle East is diplomatic engagement, every disease gets re-diagnosed as something curable through talking."


By Paul Mirengoff

The Democrats appear to have picked up another House seat in a formerly "safe" Republican district tonight. The latest win for the Dems comes in Mississippi where Travis Childers, a county chancery clerk, seems to have edged out Greg Davis, a mayor. President Bush carried this district twice with about 60 percent of the vote each time. But Childers ran as a strong social conservative.

As in all of these recent Republican defeats, analysts will be able to point to factors unique to the particular race. But my takeaway is that the Republican brand is in such bad shape that the Dems can win virtually anywhere if they nominate a candidate whose position on key issues is, or can be made to seem, close to that of the Republican.

Fortunately, the Democrats will not nominate such a candidate for president. And the Republican nominee, whether we feel comfortable about it or not, isn't necessarily seen as intimately associated with the Republican brand. Even so, I think that Republican nominee is running uphill.


By John Hinderaker

It's hard to say how far Republicans can fall before they hit bottom. Recently, Rasmussen Reports has found that on eight of ten major issues, voters trust Democrats more than Republicans. That's very bad. Today, though, Rasmussen announced that the Dems have achieved a decafecta: they are preferred by voters on all ten major issue clusters.

The most important issue, currently, is the economy, where the Dems enjoy a 14-point margin. What's odd about this is that the Democrats' actual policies are not preferred by many of these same respondents. Rasmussen also reports that 60% of likely voters say that tax increases will hurt the economy. Interestingly, this sentiment is strongest among young voters, 70% of whom think tax increases will damage the economy. Presumably a large majority of voters realize that the Democrats are yearning to raise taxes, so it is hard to reconcile this finding with respondents' expressed preference for Democrats on this issue.

While I can't support the proposition with poll data, I'm pretty sure the same principle would hold with regard to national security and terrorism, where the Democrats now hold an advantage. I'm confident that most voters, if you laid out the parties' approaches on this issue and asked which they prefer, would choose Republican policies, i.e., security through strength rather than security through conversation.

So, what is going on here? I think it's noteworthy that Rasmussen finds that the Dems' generic advantage on the issues does not carry over to the Presidential race:

While voters tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans on a generic basis, John McCain consistently outperforms the GOP brand. In fact, polling shows that he is trusted more than either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton on key issues such as the economy and national security.

It isn't news that McCain outpolls the Republican brand, but why? The reasons are complex, but I would offer this partial explanation: in the American media, which is to say American public life, Republicans are a despised group, much like used car salesmen, Congressmen, lawyers, or, in former times, certain ethnic and religious minorities. Anyone who watches NBC, CBS, ABC, MTV, CNN, MSNBC, or almost any other television outlet, or who reads the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, or virtually any other daily newspaper, or who reads Time or Newsweek, is exposed to a steady diet of Republican-caricaturing and Republican-bashing. We have had partisan media in this country before, but I don't believe we have ever experienced such a unanimously one-party media at any time in our history.

Americans are certainly influenced by this barrage, but there is a silver lining of sorts. People who subscribe to stereotypes have long been willing to make exceptions based on their own observation and experience. Thus: most Congressmen are crooks, but mine is a good guy; most lawyers are shysters, but mine is honest; most [fill in the blank] are no good, but my friend/nanny/gardener/doctor/employee is a good person.

I think this phenomenon partly explains why McCain outruns the party's brand, and why just about any specific Republican whom the public gets to know will do so--albeit, most likely, to a lesser degree than McCain. That's the good news. The bad news is that all Republicans, from the Presidential nominee on down, are running against a headwind that is approaching hurricane force.

Which brings us back to the weird reality that a great many Americans who know that raising taxes is a bad idea are poised to vote for the party that intends to do just that. The title of this post is not ironic; consistency is not required of voters, and it appears that lots of Americans are willing to turn the reins of power over to the Democrats even though they know that the Democrats' ideas and policies are bad.  Tuesday, May 13, 2008




By Bob Gorrell




By Ed Morrissey

Victimology continues in the identity-politics meltdown of the Democratic primaries. The Washington Post profiles racist incidents that young campaigners for Barack Obama have experienced, but fails to note that they occur within the context of a Democratic contest. Meanwhile, women continue to push for Hillary Clinton as a means of breaking through the ultimate glass ceiling, putting gender ahead of qualifications on the priority list.

Doesn’t this count as “distractions”?

For all the hope and excitement Obama’s candidacy is generating, some of his field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed — and unreported — this election season. Doors have been slammed in their faces. They’ve been called racially derogatory names (including the white volunteers). And they’ve endured malicious rants and ugly stereotyping from people who can’t fathom that the senator from Illinois could become the first African American president. …

Victoria Switzer, a retired social studies teacher, was on phone-bank duty one night during the Pennsylvania primary campaign. One night was all she could take: “It wasn’t pretty.” She made 60 calls to prospective voters in Susquehanna County, her home county, which is 98 percent white. The responses were dispiriting. One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn’t possibly vote for Obama and concluded: “Hang that darky from a tree!”

Documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said she, too, came across “a lot of racism” when campaigning for Obama in Pennsylvania. One Pittsburgh union organizer told her he would not vote for Obama because he is black, and a white voter, she said, offered this frank reason for not backing Obama: “White people look out for white people, and black people look out for black people.”

Obama campaign officials say such incidents are isolated, that the experience of most volunteers and staffers has been overwhelmingly positive.

Who were these volunteers contacting? Fellow Democrats. They wanted to mobilize the registered Democrats to get them to vote in the closed primary, and received very ugly responses for their trouble.

Some of what the Post reports has nothing to do with racism, however, but it also involves violence:

The bigotry has gone beyond words. In Vincennes, the Obama campaign office was vandalized at 2 a.m. on the eve of the primary, according to police. A large plate-glass window was smashed, an American flag stolen. Other windows were spray-painted with references to Obama’s controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other political messages: “Hamas votes BHO” and “We don’t cling to guns or religion. Goddamn Wright.”

Who commits all of these acts of racism? When the WaPo article identifies their politics, they turn out to be supporters of … Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Politico wonders whether the “sisterhood” can save Hillary:

Just a day after the debilitating results in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, the New York senator sought help at a fundraiser dubbed by her campaign “Generations of Women for Hillary.”

And, as has been the pattern, the 1,500 mostly women who attended came through, not just meeting the goal of generating $500,000 for her campaign but doubling it.

Even the sight of a couple of loud protesters couldn’t erase the obvious relief and excitement of the candidate, who sponsored the event along with her daughter and mother. As the last heckler was escorted out of Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, Clinton quipped that she hoped “they paid” before they were booted.

Unfortunately for Hillary, Obama has raised more money from more women than she has, at least through the first quarter of 2008. The gender card has turned into a busted flush, but Hillary has yet to stop playing it, and for at least some of her supporters, it will continue to drive energy away from Obama.

As McQ notes, the media should remember this when it comes to accusations of racism and bigotry later in the general election.  Tuesday, May 13, 2008




By Charles Johnson

One of the true heroines of our time, a woman who saved thousands of Jewish children from the Nazi Holocaust, Irena Sendler has died at the age of 98.

What she witnessed haunted her to the end of her life. Rest in peace, Irena.

The petite woman with the black bonnet sat on a reclining chair in a central Warsaw nursing home.

The 94-year-old could not get the image of the skeletally thin children lying in the street of the Warsaw Ghetto, meekly whispering “bread,” out of her mind.

It was 2004, nearly six decades after World War II, but the horrors of the Holocaust were still alive for Irena Sendler.

Sendler, who, with a group of friends, is credited with sneaking 2,500 Jewish children out of the ghetto, died on Monday in a Polish hospital from pneumonia. She was 98.

Sendler was one of the first to be awarded Yad Vashem’s highest honor - she was declared a Righteous Gentile in 1965 for risking her life to save Jews during the Shoah - but it was only in her golden years that she received recognition from the Polish government, which, together with Holocaust survivor groups, nominated her for the Nobel Prize two years ago, after decades in which Communist governments frowned on her heroic actions.

Sendler’s story - and her connections with the Jewish community - began on the outskirts of Warsaw, where as a young girl she was taught at home that people are either good or bad, and should not be judged based on race, religion or nationality, she recounted in the 2004 interview with The Jerusalem Post.

“Whatever I did had its roots in my family home,” Sendler said, as she told her story through an interpreter.

When Germany invaded Poland in the fall of 1939, Sendler was just shy of her 30th birthday.

“The whole of Poland was drowning in blood, but the Jewish nation was suffering the most, with the Jewish children the most vulnerable,” she recalled.

Sendler and a group of friends in the Warsaw municipality’s social welfare department started producing false documents to provide Jews in the ghetto with monetary assistance that the Germans had cut off.

After 1940 the ghetto was closed off to non-Jews, and Sendler and her friends could not get in to distribute the funds.

She soon learned that one sanitation company was still allowed into the ghetto. Sendler got the Polish director of the service to employ her and 10 friends so they could continue helping Jews.

For the next two years, dressed as nurses, Sendler and her friends carried food, money, and medicine hidden in their dresses to ghetto residents. As conditions deteriorated, and the liquidation of ghetto began, Sendler came to the realization that the only chance for the children to survive was to escape.

Also see:
Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project




by IPT
IPT News
May 12, 2008

In anticipation of the deportation proceedings of Imam Mohammad Qatanani of the Islamic Center of Passaic in New Jersey, New York Times trumpeted "Revered New Jersey Imam, Facing Deportation, Has Interfaith Support." And indeed, the Imam has had various "interfaith" leaders testify on his behalf, as reported by Newsday:

Several Catholic priests and a Jewish rabbi became emotional on the stand when describing how much Qatanani had done for interfaith understanding.

Qatanani is accused of having lied on his immigration documents both about his arrest and conviction in Israel (which he now claims was merely a "detention") and his confession that he was a member of Hamas (which he now claims was procured under torture). Qatanani also claims he only recently became aware of his conviction by Israeli authorities. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Heather Philpott has testified:

…during the 2005 meeting Qatanani admitted he had been arrested and convicted by Israeli authorities, and that he had been advised by an attorney at the time to plead guilty to being a member of Hamas and sign an affidavit to that effect.

News reports have alternately described Qatanani as "revered" (see New York Times above), "influential," and "respected." Likewise, all media reports have outlined both the charges against Qatanani and his excuses, bolstered by a coterie of quotes from supporters about how revered, influential and respected Qatanani is.

What those stories do not detail is Qatanani's history of attending radical conferences in the United States, nor his frequent use of incendiary rhetoric in speeches and sermons.

Qatanani was a speaker at an Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) conference in Chicago on November 27, 1999, introduced as the new imam of the Patterson Islamic Center in New Jersey.[1] IAP conferences are not good venues to participate or attend if one is trying to disprove an association with Hamas.

IAP is no longer an active organization, but for years it was a central player in Hamas' U.S. support network. Mousa Abu Marzook, currently the Deputy Political Bureau Chief for Hamas in Damascus, gave IAP $490,000 and is a former IAP board member. In a 2001 memo, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service identified IAP as "part of Hamas' propaganda apparatus." In the summer of 2007, the Dallas trial charging the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) with providing material support for Hamas produced extensive evidence that IAP played a central role in the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee, shorthand for Hamas' U.S.-based infrastructure. This earned IAP the distinction of being named an unindicted coconspirator in the trial.

In a September 2004 Herald News article titled, "HAMAS: Charitable cause or terror organization? It depends on whom you ask," Qatanani came out in favor of supporting the families of suicide bombers:

Mohammad Qatanani, spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, posed a hypothetical question: What if the charity did support the children of suicide bombers? What would be wrong with that, he wondered?

"There is a big issue between supporting them before, not after," suicide attacks, he said.

He compared the support of orphans of suicide bombers to supporting the children of terrorists like Timothy McVeigh for instance, or the children of the man who killed former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The children are innocent, even if their parents might not be, he said.

In the indictment, however, the government makes the case that by supporting dead terrorists' families, Holy Land "effectively rewarded past, and encouraged future, suicide bombings and terrorist activities on behalf of Hamas."

Unsurprisingly, during the HLF trial, Qatanani publicly prayed for the Hamas-linked defendants, stating:

Oh Allah assist our brothers and sisters in Filastin, and Iraq and Chechnya. O Allah remove occupation and oppression and oh Allah improve the matters of our community, subhanahu wa ta'ala to assist our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land Foundation, ask oh Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to assist them and to remove the difficulty that they have been inflicted with all of the brothers and sisters in this country, oh Allah to prove them non-guilty.[2]

A month earlier in another sermon, this respected influential leader condemned Christians to eternal hellfire, castigating them as hypocrites:

The people who commit such atrocity [hypocrisy] will be the swiftest in punishment on the day of judgment as Abdullah … narrated, the worst punishment that will people be taken are three people – the hypocrites and those who have disbelieved, from the followers of Jesus peace and blessing be upon him have disbelieved after the table came down, and the people of Pharaoh will be swiftly punished as well and they'll be amongst the hypocrites. And Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says about the hypocrites, the hypocrites are in the lower pits of hellfire.[3]

These incendiary sermons aren't even well hidden from the public. Rather, they're available on the Islamic Center of Passaic County's website. In English.

And yet, less than a year later, Newsday reported that "several Catholic priests," or, as Qatanani referred to them, "followers of Jesus," became emotional on the stand - testifying in Qatanani's defense. Perhaps Qatanani's interfaith character witnesses were unaware that they had been damned to hell by none other than the man they came to defend.

Perhaps Qatanani's interfaith defenders are also unaware of his characterization of "Greater Syria" – including all of Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine (including Israel) as "Muslim land," and that fighting to conquer these lands is a divine commandment:

You see then the blessed prophet brothers and sisters chooses that the land of Greater Syria, and that includes Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria – it is the Greater of Syria, these Assyria and Jordan was done by the occupation. You see that if you truly believe in these borders that means you believe in what the occupationer did. You see Syria, Palestine it's all the Greater Syria, Bilad al-Sham, it is the Greater Syria. You know some people might not like this, but this is the truth – it's all the Muslim land, this is Greater Syria, and Allah had called it in five places in the Quran as a blessed place. And it was narrated in a hadith that they are the most beloved lands to Allah. You see listen to the blessed prophet, says that he gives the companions good tidings that the greater Syria will be actually conquered. You see if you conquer the Holy Land or Al Aqsa Masjid that you are in struggle till the hereafter.[4]

As both Christians and Jews claim the rights in much of Lebanon and Palestine, Qatanani's views are hardly compatible with constructive interfaith dialogue, never mind his divine prescription that Muslims should conquer those territories. Qatanani is only the latest "interfaith" Muslim leader to face deportation charges for lying on his immigration documents, as well as having connections to a Palestinian terrorist group. Fawaz Damra, formerly of the Islamic Society of Cleveland, was denaturalized and deported for failing to disclose his ties to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and related U.S.-based entities on his immigration forms.

After Damra was indicted, "interfaith" leaders railed to support him, until videos emerged in which he referred to Jews as "monkeys and pigs" and was raising money for the PIJ. After this information was revealed, Damra apologized and claimed that he had reformed and that his views had changed. He was eventually convicted and deported to the West Bank. His partner in crime, literally, Sami Al-Arian, who Damra once introduced at his mosque as a PIJ leader, is currently in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, possibly facing an indictment on criminal contempt charges for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury investigating the terrorist ties of a Northern Virginia think tank, the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

Qatanani's three day hearing ended Monday afternoon, but has been extended. A decision on his fate is expected in the near future. But as both Damra and Qatanani (and Al-Arian) have demonstrated, "interfaith" leaders with ties to Palestinian terrorist groups cannot be trusted.

[1] IAP 3rd Annual Conference, Chicago, November 25-27 1999.

[2] Mohammad Qatanani, Sermon, "The role of reading in the revival of ummah," July 27, 2007.

[3] Mohammad Qatanani, Sermon, "A Warning Against Hypocrisy," June 8, 2007.

[4] Mohammad Qatanani, Sermon, ""In the Shadow of Al-Isra Wa Al Miraj," August 3, 2007.



Map of the disposition of Iraqi and US forces in and around Sadr City and the progress on the barrier. The red portion has yet to be completed. Map courtesy of Multinational Forces Iraq.

Mahdi Army fighters continue to attack US and Iraqi units as they work to complete the barrier along Qods Street in Sadr City. These attacks are occurring despite the truce agreed upon by the Sadrist political block and the Iraqi government. Iraqi and US forces said 10 Mahdi Army fighters during clashes in Sadr City and three more Mahdi fighters were killed elsewhere in Baghdad. Iraqi troops have also begun reinforcing the Shula neighborhood in Baghdad.

The Iraqi military said it killed eight “gunmen” inside Sadr City over the past 24 hours. The US military said it killed two Mahdi Army fighters from the night of May 12 to the morning of May 13 during five separate engagements. Three more Mahdi Army fighters were killed in the Mahdi-influenced neighborhood in New Baghdad and in northwestern Baghdad as they planted roadside bombs.

The attacks occurred during construction on the barrier along Qods Street, the main thoroughfare that divides the southern third of Sadr City from the northern neighborhoods. The US military used air weapons teams armed with Hellfire missiles, Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and infantry to beat back the attacks.

The US military does not believe the radical elements of the Mahdi Army will obey Sadr’s call for a ceasefire. “They are obviously not listening to any agreement, and hence why we call them Special Groups and rogue elements, “ said Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover, the chief Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Division Baghdad, in an email to The Long War Journal.

While the Sadrists claim that one of the terms of the cease-fire agreement is that US forces will not operate in Sadr City, the agreement actually states the Iraqi military would try to limit a US presence in the area. Stover is unable to discuss future operations, but his statements indicate the US military is not planning to leave Sadr City.

“We are establishing a safe neighborhood for south Sadr City residents,” Stover said. “We built the wall to establish security for south Sadr City residents (and us) and established check points to degrade the enemies' ability to maneuver, reinforce and resupply. As part of COIN [counterinsurgency], we're going to try and make life real good for the south Sadr City residents as we did in other areas of Baghdad.”

A total of 593 Mahdi Army fighters have been confirmed killed in and around Sadr City since March 25, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. More than one-quarter of the Mahdi Army fighters killed have been killed in US airstrikes.

As clashes continue in Sadr City, the Iraqi military moved additional forces into the Shula neighborhood in western Baghdad Sadr City. “Baghdad operations command have started replacing the troops stationed in Shula, and reinforcing them with further units,” said Brigadier General Qassem Atta, the spokesman for the Baghdad security operation. The Sadrist claim the Army arrested 30 of its members in a raid on a Sadirst office, but Atta denied this. “When the troops reached the electricity power station close to al Sadr’ office, they were exposed to fire by gunmen, forcing the troops to engage and chase the shooters.”

US and Iraqi troops have conducted numerous raids against the Mahdi Army and Special Groups leaders and operatives in the Shula neighborhood. On May 6, Iraqi troops arrested 35 hospital workers in Shula for aiding the Mahdi Army.

The hospitals in Sadr City are known to be infiltrated with Mahdi Army and Sadrist bloc members who continue to use the hospitals for criminal activities. The Mahdi Army used hospitals as staging areas for sectarian attacks and weapons storage depots. On May 3, US forces knocked out a Special Groups command and control center situated next to a Sadr City hospital. The Sadrist bloc ran the Health Ministry prior to withdrawing from the government in 2007.

For more on the recent fighting in Sadr City and the cease-fire, see Sadrist bloc buckles, agrees to let Iraqi Army in Sadr City.


Banner announcing the death of al Qaeda operatives Abu Suleiman al Otaibi and Abu Dejana al Qahtani, as published at the al Qaeda-linked Al Ekhlass forum. Otaibi is pictured in the animation.

New information has emerged on the two al Qaeda operatives who were recently killed in Afghanistan's Paktia province. The NEFA Foundation has published a translation of the martyr's notice for Abu Suleiman al Otaibi and Abu Dejana al Qahtani, while a US intelligence official has provided background information on Otaibi's involvement with al Qaeda in Iraq's Islamic State of Iraq. Both Otaibi and Dejana are Saudi nationals, while Dejana is the brother of one of the four al Qaeda operatives who escaped from Bagram prison in 2005.

Abu Suleiman al Otaibi

Abu Suleiman al Otaibi is a Saudi national who served as a senior leader in al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq prior to meeting his end in Afghanistan, according to a senior US military intelligence official who spoke to The Long War Journal on the condition he remains anonymous. The statement issued by al Qaeda intimates Otaibi is Saudi as well. "We offer our condolences to their families, to the mujahideen brothers, to all of our brothers in general, and especially to the brothers of Abu Sulaiman in Iraq and in the Arabian Peninsula," according to the translation from the NEFA Foundation.

Otaibi "came from Iraq and joined his brothers here [in Afghanistan] approximately six months ago, following migration and jihad and knowledge and missionary work and scholarship," al Qaeda's death notice stated. He was described in the press reports former leader of the legal system of al Qaeda in Iraq's political front, the Islamic State of Iraq.

But the Islamic State of Iraq declared upon its formation that Abu Uthman al Tamimi was the minister of its sharia, or Islamic law, council. There is no contradiction in Tamimi and Otaibi holding the same position, the intelligence official stated.

Tamimi is a "real person," the military intelligence official noted, but he is merely the Iraqi face for the Islamic State of Iraq's sharia courts. Otaibi served as Tamimi's minder to ensure he performed his duties to al Qaeda's satisfaction. Otaibi was "equivalent to the military advisors that the Soviets used to embed with local communist movements to bring them further in line with the Party," the military intelligence official stated.

This arrangement is prevalent in the Islamic State of Iraq's senior leadership. The Islamic State of Iraq officially lists Abu Omar al Baghdadi as its emir, or leader, but Multinational Forces Iraq learned that Baghdadi is essentially a creation of Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq's leader. Al Masri created the Islamic State of Iraq to put an Iraqi face on al Qaeda's efforts.

Abu Dejana al Qahtani

Like Otaibi, Abu Dejana al Qahtani is a Saudi national. The al Qaeda death notice also notes that Abu Dejana is the brother of Abu Nasir al Qahtani, one of four al Qaeda operatives who escaped from Bagram prison during the summer of 2005. Abu Nasir escaped along with senior al Qaeda leaders Abu Yahya al Libi and Omar Farouq.

Farouq was reassigned to Iraq after his escape to facilitate the flow of money, weapons, and fighters for al Qaeda, some of it funneled from Iran. British special forces killed Omar Farouq in Basrah, Iraq in September 2006. Al Libi is an al Qaeda spokesman and a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. He is currently operating from the tribal areas of northern Pakistan.

After his escape from Bagram, Abu Nasir fled to North Waziristan to continue attacks against NATO and Afghan forces inside Afghanistan. Abu Nasir joined forces with al Qaeda operative Abu Wafa, who operated from the North Waziristan tribal agency in Pakistan. They were active in the Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Paktika.

Abu Nasir released propaganda and training videos for terrorists operating in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He was captured in Khost province in November 2006.  Tuesday, May 13, 2008