Iraqi officials said al-Qaeda lost 40% of its leadership in 2012

Al-Qaeda suspects are pictured while detained in December 2011 at a police headquaters in Diyala. [Stringer/Reuters]

Al-Qaeda suspects are pictured while detained in December 2011 at a police headquaters in Diyala. [Stringer/Reuters]

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Iraqi security officials said last week that al-Qaeda has lost 40 % of its spiritual and military leaders so far this year, as a result of the high-quality operations carried out by security forces.

"Military and intelligence reports confirmed this percentage, as more than 70 senior leaders with the ranks of wali, emir, military commander, or religious mufti, were killed or detained this year as a result of daring operations conducted by the security forces of the ministries of defence and interior," said Colonel Dhia al-Wakeel, official spokesperson for the ministry of defence.

"These arrests seriously weakened al-Qaeda. [The organisation] has fallen into a state of disarray, clearly seen in the way its members are conducting indiscriminate strikes, in addition to the speed with which its low-ranked elements were arrested in various cities," he said.

"This does not mean al-Qaeda has become paralyzed or that it will be unable to launch major terrorist attacks in the future, but it has seriously curbed those attacks," al-Wakeel said. "If it were not for the security forces' sustained efforts in their war against terrorism, the country would have turned into daily bloodbaths."

"The daily battles by security forces against al-Qaeda have made them the best security force in the region in street warfare and the pursuance of terrorists," said General Ali Ghaidan, commander of ground forces in Iraq.

"Since the beginning of 2012, security forces have managed to kill prominent leaders, some of whom occupied the post of wali, in the provinces of Anbar, Salaheddine, Ninawa, and Baghdad," he said. "Others killed held the rank of religious mufti, judge, or minister in the 'Islamic State of Iraq', and some were registered to conduct so-called martyrdom operations. Dozens others were arrested and thrown in jails."

"This, by itself, is a great victory for security forces in their war against terror," Ghaidan aid.

"Security forces still need training, improved military efficiency, and good armaments, but they are morally fortified, have high spirits in the fight against terrorism, and a sincere loyalty to the homeland," he added.

'No choice but to continue war on terror'

"The number of al-Qaeda elements in the country is very large, so arresting or killing a large number of them will not have an immediate effect on the ground, but it will certainly be influential as security forces continue their operations," said Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesperson for the Iraqi government.

"Iraqis have no choice but to continue the war against terror until the end, especially now that security forces have made their transition from a defensive to an offensive strategy and started to launch large-scale attacks on the strongholds of terrorism," he added.

Aifan al-Essawi, secretary of the Iraqi parliament's defence and security committee, said he was concerned about the continued terrorist bombings in Iraq.

"This confirms the need for Iraqi security forces to increase their efforts and seek assistance from developed countries in order to speed up the process of eliminating al-Qaeda," he said.

"Security forces are achieving great success in making arrests and uncovering weapons caches, but terrorist attacks continue because al-Qaeda has numerous cells in Iraq," al-Essawi said.

"These security gains should not cause us to become complacent, declare a premature victory, or enter into a recession, because al-Qaeda is bound to re-organise its ranks in a larger fashion," he added.

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    حمزة منصور

    2012-9-12

    Terrorism is a global phenomenon that invaded our Arab world in the last two decades. As a result, we have witnessed assassination and violence acts. In fact, if we looked for the causes of this phenomenon, we would find different reasons ranging from religious, ethnic, to political ones. If we want to talk about some of these reasons, we will find that religious extremism wants to introduce reforms using violence. Thus, they follow the principle of Sayid Qutb which consists in committing genocide against whoever violates the Islamic Shariaa since he is considered as infidel and should be killed. This phenomenon has been widespread in the eighties and claimed the lives of a lot of writers, thinkers and tourists. In such countries as Iraq and Syria, the phenomenon of terrorism has come as a result of religious difference: (Christian and Muslim as in Lebanon and Syria, Sunni and Shiite as in Iraq, Palestine and Syria). Unfortunately, these events had got negative impact on the economy of these countries given that people have been busy with material and human losses and uninterested in growth and development. Consequently, this situation has brought about counter violence acts from the part of the Security Forces permitting the emergence of the phenomena of violent arrests, torture, legalizing the treatment on a religious basis or even tracking down the religious gatherings. In addition to that, the accidents of political terrorism which emerged have been considered as the outcome of religious extremism after September 11th and accusing the extremist religious trend of what has happened in the USA. In so doing, the conflict or the hostility between Arabs and all the things that concern Americans has increased resulting in the emergence of the phenomenon of burning Embassies. In fact, we can say that this vortex has taken another direction of artificial terrorism for political objectives in order to overthrow a regime or a government for example or to draw public attention to a very serious issue that concerns the country or to adopt terrorism for the sake of terrorism in order to undermine weak peaceful people who will get weaker and will not complain or ask for their rights. In all cases, terrorism is an evil and if it invades an area, it will bring about devastation. Therefore, fighting terrorism and all its objectives is very important to bring peace and push the development of all nations. In fact, this can not be fulfilled .

  • جلال الرفاعي

    2012-9-12

    Poor fellows! They fooled you with the word "fighting terrorism". What do you call the attack of America on Iraq? Or is it a media war and that is it?