Jul 19, 2007

Enemy IO Exploit in Iraq Detailed

Not exactly "Cyber-Herding", but interesting nonetheless:

"(Alleged AQI figure Khalid al-Mashhadani) confirms that (Supposed AQI leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri) and the foreign leaders with whom he surrounds himself, not Iraqis, make the operational decisions" for al-Qaeda in Iraq, (Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, the top American military spokesman in Iraq) said.

Bergner said that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, described in insurgent statements as leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, was a fictional creation of Masri. He called the Islamic State, announced by al-Qaeda affiliates last year in what intelligence analysts described as a ploy to draw more Iraqis to their cause, a "virtual organization in cyberspace."

Following its establishment, the al-Qaeda name disappeared from statements emanating from Iraq. But while some other insurgent groups declared themselves part of the Islamic State, others denounced it -- as did U.S. intelligence -- as nothing more than a front for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"The rank-and-file Iraqis in AQI believe they are following the Iraqi al-Baghdadi. But all the while they have been following the orders of the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri," Bergner said, using the military's abbreviation for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The general's briefing was part of an American effort to counter the psychological aspects of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s campaign as well as the military ones. The news conference seemed tailored to rattle the 90 percent of the group’s adherents who are believed to be Iraqi by suggesting that they were doing the bidding of foreigners.

General Bergner said that Mr. Masri's ploy was to invent Mr. Baghdadi, a figure whose very name was meant to establish an Iraqi pedigree, install him as the head of a front organization called the Islamic State of Iraq, and then arrange for Mr. Masri to swear allegiance to him.

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