Iraqi leaders downplay importance of recent al-Qaeda threats

Security officials said Iraqi forces will take down any remaining al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq. [Saad Shalash / Reuters]

Security officials said Iraqi forces will take down any remaining al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq. [Saad Shalash / Reuters]

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Iraqi security officials and citizens downplayed the impact of al-Qaeda in Iraq's announcement pledging allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri as the successor to Osama bin Laden and vowing retaliatory armed attacks.

On Tuesday (May 10th), al-Qaeda in Iraq announced its allegiance to al-Zawahiri as the commander of the terrorist group in place of bin Laden, who was killed May 2nd in a raid carried out by US forces in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, 60 km northeast of the capital Islamabad.

In the same statement, al-Qaeda threatened to launch terrorist attacks in Iraqi cities in retaliation for the death of their leader.

"Al-Qaeda's threats to launch retaliatory attacks to avenge the death of their leader are no more than media ploys and the wishes of a sick man through which it is trying to cover up its inability to launch major powerful attacks as it used to in the past," said Maj. Gen. Saleh Ghani al-Rubaie of Iraqi ground forces command in the northern sector.

Al-Rubaie told mawtani.com, "Their declaration of allegiance to Ayaman al-Zawahiri did not bring in anything new since terrorist groups usually follow any figure who adopts a terrorist methodology based on killing and bloodshed."

Al-Rubaie said that Iraqi security forces killed more than 68 al-Qaeda leaders and seized huge stockpiles of their weapons since last year.

"They no longer have the ability to recruit new terrorists as in the past and the borders are now almost entirely closed before them," he said. "Therefore, declaring allegiance to al-Zawahiri or anyone else, or threats to launch bloody operations, will be meaningless on the ground."

Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, official spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, expressed his doubts that al-Qaeda would be able to launch a major attack in Iraq.

"If the terrorists of al-Qaeda were able to launch attacks in Iraq, they would not have hesitated and would not be waiting for an event like the death of their leader to do it," he said.

"Small scale attacks are the most they can do now, which are generally ineffective on the progress of security and the economy, or even the political process," al-Askari said. "We are determined to wipe them out soon by arresting or eliminating the rest of the terrorists. Therefore, I see these threats as no more than ink on paper."

Col. Salem Omar al-Heeti, commander of the Iraqi Army's Second Armoured Regiment, 7th Division, said, "The time of threats is gone. Let them come out and try what they are planning to do, and they shall see a violent answer from the Iraqi forces, which will surprise them. Their end is death or detention, as was the fate of their former leaders and accomplices."

Iskandar Witwit, a member of the Iraqi parliament's defence and security committee, said he expects al-Qaeda's declaration of allegiance to al-Zawahiri to have no influence on the progress of the political process, or the security or economic situation in the country.

"Al-Qaeda in Iraq is paralysed in many ways. It suffers from a shortage in fighters and weapons, and also from an internal crisis of confidence. Therefore they are falling one after the other in the hands of the Iraqi forces," he told Mawtani.

In the Iraqi street, citizens said they gave little importance to al-Qaeda's declaration of allegiance to a new leader.

Baghdad resident Mustafa Qadouri, 43, said, "There shall be nothing new in the policies and methods of al-Qaeda because they are basically founded on the idea of killing. We are not afraid of these threats at all because Iraqi forces can handle them."

"These are last gasp threats," said Ammar Saadi, 36, who also lives in Baghdad. "They have nothing more than that because they have excelled in issuing the statements of threats through the internet only."

"They will not be able to carry out their threats because Iraqi cities will remain under the control of the Iraqi forces, and law and order."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    Ali

    2014-1-3

    The army of Iraq will achieve victory over the terrorist rats.

  • Babangida

    2011-10-15

    may his soul rest in peace, this is a true jihad commander Osama bin laden, cruseders effort is all about to destroy muslims but the strick will continue so will al qaeda... Go al qaeda victory belongs to you.

    • Ali

      2014-1-3

      Dear, Al-Qaeda is the most cowardly terrorist organization, as they hide like rats in the desert out of fear from the Iraqi army.

  • abo ahmed

    2011-8-1

    As for the Israelis who abuse Al-Qaeda, I swear, were it not for the efforts of Al-Qaeda, the countries would have been demolished and men would have been displaced a long time ago. However, I call on those ignorant commentatorrs to thank God because we have something like Al-Qaeda. This is the cause of the honor of Islam and Muslims. As for the agents, let them die out from their grudges.

  • رعد ابراهيم

    2011-7-10

    No matter what al-Qaeda gets up to, and despite all its threats of attacks against Iraq, it does not scare us, because we are a strong people who have a strong will to reconstruct Iraq. In fact, we have the ability to reform the country and to make it much better than it was in the past. And we will achieve victory against al-Qaeda, God willing. Thus, these threats will not scare us, because we have gone through more difficult hardships and crises, and we have overcome them with our determination and courage. In fact, every terrorist member knows that he is afraid of being arrested by an Iraqi, who will tear this terrorist apart before he tears the bodies of innocent people apart. In fact, these threats are meaningless, because Al-Qaeda has been defeated in Iraq, thank God. Thus, it will be unable to carry out these threats.

  • نضال حميد

    2011-7-7

    Al-Qaeda has lost most of its popularity and the support of people who were deceived through the interference of this organization in Iraq’s home affairs. In fact, al-Qaeda has carried out heinous acts, namely murder, bombing, kidnapping and sowing fear as well as terror among the innocent. In addition, members of this organization have carried out random acts of murder against the innocent, which led to the increase in hatred among the people. The image of this organization was badly damaged, because it carried out many crimes against humanity. In addition, it presented itself as a protector of the Iraqis’ future, which will rule using fear and the threat of weapons. Besides, this organization has carried out terrorist acts in other countries, which has led to an increase in hatred between Muslims. In fact, many people consider Islam a religion that incites murder, terrorism and terrorizing people, since they do not know that Islam has nothing to do with such personal attitudes which are contrary to the divine laws. In fact, Islam calls for peaceful and brotherly coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims. Besides, Islam maintained the rights of the non-Muslims before maintaining the rights of Muslims. However, such extremist groups that are carrying out vicious acts represent only themselves. In addition, they are representing only themselves and they do not follow the Islamic principles when dealing with the innocent. As a matter of fact, there are manifestations of hatred and envy toward this anti-human organization. This has led to its restriction, since people are not convinced of its criminal acts, which are carried out against the innocent at present. Added to that, the whole world has currently paid attention to the possibility of any quick response, especially after the assassination of its leader, Osama bin Laden.

  • وائل حسني

    2011-7-7

    Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, the terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda has gone insane, and it started to issue numerous threats of retaliation against all the nations of the world, by means of cowardly terrorist attacks that the world has gotten used to hearing about. Today, after the elements of this organization have made successive threats against Iraq and its noble people, we have to take these threats seriously and deny these criminal losers of Al-Qaeda any opportunity. I make an appeal to the esteemed government to take all the measures deemed necessary, and to be at the maximum level of alertness, and to get everything ready, and to take any measures needed in order to face a possible attack by the terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda. The government should call on all of our heroic members of the security forces to be completely mobilized and ready in order to confront this barbarous organization, and to be ready to repel any attack that the takfiris could launch in order to harm the Iraqi people. This organization’s criminal and terrorist ideologies are such that it will not refrain from engaging in any act in order to satisfy its criminal instincts that it harbors as a result of its extremist ideologies. This organization has been struck by some sort of crazed madness following the killing of the criminal Osama Bin Laden, and we should not become passive or allow this organization to carry out its criminal plots in our country. As such, we urge our government to be on guard and ready to face these terrorist threats, and we should not give these murderers any chance to harm the Iraqis in any way. We ask God, the Lord of the universe, to protect Iraq and the Iraqis from the acts of these reckless people, and from the criminals of Al-Qaeda and their criminal threats, and to turn the threats of these criminals against them, and to ensure the peace and safety of all the Iraqis, by the sanctity of his name, Al-Salam, and to disgrace these criminals, and to keep them and their crimes far away from our country and our people. O God, keep our country and our people safe from terrorism, and from the criminal acts that this immoral organization is threatening us with. O God, protect our country and our people from the treachery of the organization of Al-Qaeda and its criminal elements, who are attempting to commit aggression against your servants and their country, which we implore you to bless with security, peace and stability.

  • عباس

    2011-7-2

    The cowardly, filthy al-Qaeda has carried out despicable and dirty acts, namely murdering the innocent everywhere and at any time. In fact, it is launching attacks against peaceful citizens in Iraq and other Arab countries, which have been harmed by al-Qaeda and its cowardly, filthy acts. Nowadays, this organization is brainwashing the youth and misleading them, using deviant ideas. Indeed, it claims that the easiest way to get to Heaven is by carrying out suicide attacks. In addition, it attracts them by paying them a great deal of money, so that they accept the situation. The blame here goes to the governments and the religious scholars, who do not publish the facts and advise the youth to be aware and not yield to al-Qaeda. They should also convince the youth to listen; if they do not get enough job opportunities and comfort inside their countries, they will inevitably gravitate to al-Qaeda. In addition, the cowardly al-Qaeda is taking advantage of all the suitable conditions in any country by testing the situation inside such countries. Besides, al-Qaeda is brainwashing the youth by convincing them that they have the right to do anything they want, and that al-Qaeda will pay for them and for their families, all that they want. However, we would like the youth to catch on to this situation quickly and follow new methods, by pretending to join these despicable groups and then reporting about their hideouts. In so doing, they will help get rid of al-Qaeda once and for all and live in peace and security forever. Thus, we call on the government and Muslim preachers to follow convincing methods with the youth by showing them the right path and convincing them to give up their work with the cowardly al-Qaeda. They should rather carry out good acts, work for Judgment Day, forget about life’s worries and think about the near future. In fact, God the Almighty and the Most Powerful will help them. In addition, the despicable al-Qaeda must be punished as soon as possible, by means of a huge attack launched by the youth, whom they want to brainwash and mislead to carry out immoral acts and to be Takfiri. In fact, al-Qaeda, which is murdering people, is able to do anything in the way it wants, and God the Almighty knows what is hidden in the human soul.

  • محيسن ابراهيم

    2011-6-13

    The threats of the terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda will not change anything. In fact, for more than eight years, Iraq has been suffering from these threats of having criminal operations carried out against it. However, I think that the operations of these terrorist groups will not affect or terrorize the Iraqi people. What do they want to do? In fact, they have already done everything. Thus, may God send them to Hell. And we will not be afraid of these threats, because this terrorist organization cannot destroy the people of Iraq.

  • مراد عوني

    2011-6-11

    I urge the Iraqi government to be on the alert and take precautions in order to confront and respond to all the attacks carried out by the groups and organizations of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and to work intensively in order not to allow groups of al-Qaeda to target citizens again or resume their activities in Iraq. It is very essential to be extremely cautious and work more, and everybody should have the same objective, to prevent these groups from killing the people of Iraq. They will not be allowed to implement their threats or carry out their operations inside Iraq's land. The government’s duty is to continuously work for the safety of the people of Iraq and for the preservation of their lives and their safety, by providing them with full protection. I call on God to protect Iraq and Iraqis from all the risks that may beset or surround them, especially by the al-Qaeda groups, which intend to reactivate their terrorist acts in Iraq. But thanks to God and the Iraqi security forces, these terrorist groups will not come back, as they have long caused great damage to Iraq and the Iraqis, through killing, bombings, kidnappings, threatening and laying booby-traps everywhere, as well as sending suicide bombers among people in order to kill the largest possible number of innocent Iraqis. We have faith in God and the Iraqi security forces that they will protect the land of Iraq and the Iraqi people from danger that may be inflicted on them by terrorist groups which do not want the good for Iraq and Iraqis. The government needs to provide all means of safety and stability for Iraq and Iraqis, in order to prevent what happened in the past against innocent people from reoccurring. It must stand against these terrorist groups that want to destroy the Iraqis and carry out threats in order to intimidate people.

  • بوبو

    2011-5-27

    We ask God to admit him to His spacious Paradise.

  • احمد خطاب

    2011-5-26

    If Osama bin Laden is gone, then we are all Osama bin Laden. The Muslim peoples have many heroes who fear no one but God the Almighty. We consider him a martyr with his Lord. As for the Americans, we seek God’s help against them.

  • ابومصعب

    2011-5-23

    The nation has millions like Osama bin Laden, may God have mercy upon him. O God! Make him a leader of the mujahidin, and the coming days will show you that Al-Qaeda can change the course of history and it will achieve victory over the children of the apes and pigs as well as their supporters.

  • elradwan

    2011-5-23

    Al-Qaeda will continue!

  • ahmed

    2011-5-23

    They are a small group striving in the cause of God. O God! Make them hold steadfast to the faith and fight against the enemies of God and the enemies of the true religion. O God! Give them power to always take the route of the truth. May God have mercy upon sheikh and martyr Osama bin Laden, as well as all the Muslim martyrs. O God! Admit all of them to Paradise. Amen .

  • mohamed

    2011-5-22

    O God! Give victory to the Muslims everywhere and defeat the crusaders.

  • عبده

    2011-5-16

    May God guide you.

  • البرنس المجاهد

    2011-5-16

    Your analysis is wrong and al-Qaeda will grow, God willing. Stop deceiving yourselves by repeating these false myths. You say this because you are afraid of al-Qaeda. You do not want to acknowledge this, but we will have 1000 new Osamas, and you will see.

  • رغد

    2011-5-16

    The comments are many, but the question is: did Osama bin Laden die as a terrorist or as a person of real faith?

  • حسن الاسدي

    2011-5-16

    It is normal, as God would not have let him survive. I believe that the work of al-Qaeda in Iraq is contrary to the laws and the divine norms. The al-Qaeda organization is only an organization that took it upon itself to distort the image of Islam before the infidel West. Islam is a religion of tolerance and forgiveness. How significant is al-Qaeda next to the Americans present in Iraq? Al-Qaeda attacked the dignified Iraqis in most of its attacks. There is no strength except from God. I believe that the al-Qaeda organization is an infidel terrorist organization with no moral qualifications, as it gives no worth to humans. What they call Jihad is a misconception of Jihad. They justify a policy of animosity among Muslims, and they distort the image of Islam before the world. Al-Qaeda, under the leadership of al-Zawaheri, was not successful in any work in Iraq, because in spite of the governmental corruption, Iraqis have become more determined than they used to be. This is because they are active people and they choose to live in friendliness with all their factions and sects. The only card left for Al Qaeda in Iraq is its members’ bad reputation