Documents reveal insurgents’ ‘Baghdad Strategy’
U.S.: Al-Qaida weakening, lacks Iraqi support
The American military command in Iraq on Tuesday released what it says are the “Baghdad Strategy” and “Baghdad State of Affairs” as seen by the al-Qaida in Iraq terror network. The documents purport to show a weakening group that is lacking “leadership, military capability and Iraqi support,” according to a military news release.
The release is the latest in a series of maneuvers by the U.S. command to punch holes in the public reputation of the network and its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Last week, U.S. officials released excerpts of a videotaped message and mocked Zarqawi in the Baghdad news briefing.
Tuesday’s release said the new documents were discovered among a stack of videos and other papers during an April 16 raid in Youssifiyah, south of Baghdad. Youssifiyah is a hotbed of the insurgency, a town in which an Apache helicopter was shot down last month, and in which there have been rumored sightings of Zarqawi himself.
“The discovery of these documents is extremely relevant. This information confirms what the government of Iraq, coalition forces and ultimately the people of Iraq already know — that [al-Qaida in Iraq’s] role only attempts to impede Iraqis in following the road to prosperity, security and national unity,” Brig. Gen. Rudy Wright, a Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman, was quoted as saying.
According to a translation of the document accompanying the release, the unnamed author acknowledges the sway of Shiite politicians and militias in Baghdad, and their control of the army and police through the Ministries of Interior and Defense.
“During a military confrontation, they will be in a better position because they represent the power of the state along with the power of the popular militias. Most of the mujahidin power lies in surprise attacks (hit and run) or setting up explosive charges and booby traps,” the provided translation reads.
“Thus, what is fixed in the minds of the Shiite and Sunni population is that the Shiites are stronger in Baghdad and closer to controlling it while the mujahidin (who represent the backbone of the Sunni people) are not considered more than a daily annoyance to the Shiite government.”
The document also apparently details a state of affairs in which the most successful insurgent operations are car bombs, sniper attacks and roadside bombs targeting patrols. The document also addressed media policy and recruiting.
The number of successful attacks on American troops in Iraq has varied greatly in recent weeks. March saw the lowest number of military deaths in more than two years. Those numbers more than doubled in April to 71 U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq.
There was no way Tuesday to independently verify the authenticity of the documents.