It appears that our terrorist friends in the Middle East, and more particularly in Iraq, have been employing similar tactics with great success, feeding what is in effect a fictional narrative to a gullible, reflexively anti-U.S. press to reinforce the fiction that the kingpins of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which leads the supposed "Islamic State of Iraq" shadow government, are strong, powerful, organized, and ready to take over as Iraq's rulers when the infidel (us) leaves.
But today we learn that:
U.S. Special Operations Forces scored a major victory against al Qaeda in Iraq’s senior leadership and gained valuable insight on the al Qaeda creation known as the Islamic State of Iraq. On July 4, Coalition forces captured Khalid Abdul Fatah Da’ud Mahmud Al Mashadani, a senior al Qaeda in Iraq and Islamic State of Iraq leader and close associate of Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda’s commander. Mashadani, also known as Abu Shahed, was captured in Mosul and is thought by the U.S. military to be the most senior Iraqi-born leader in al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).But wait, there's more:
During interrogations, Mashadani admitted that the Islamic State of Iraq was merely a puppet front group established by al Qaeda in order to put an Iraqi face on the insurgency. Mashadani cofounded the Islamic State of Iraq with al-Masri in 2006. “The Islamic State of Iraq is a ‘front’ organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within AQI in an attempt to put an Iraqi face on the leadership of AQI,” said Brig. Gen Bergner.In other words, the fearsome Al-Baghdadi is a sock puppet. He never existed. (Wonder how much waterboarding was used to extract this info?)
But not only is the Islamic State of Iraq a contrived entity, its leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi is as well. “To further this myth [of the Islamic State of Iraq], al Masri created a fictional political head of ISI known as Omar al-Baghdadi,” said Brig. Gen Bergner. Al-Baghdadi is actually played by an actor named Abu Abdullah al Naima, and al Masri “maintains exclusive control over al Naima as he acts the part of the fictitious al-Baghdadi character.”
It's fascinating how the MSM has endowed Al-Baghdadi over the last year or so with an array of super powers, successfully transforming him from a mere terrorist thug into an Islamofascist mastermind the Coalition could not possibly defeat, let alone find.
If we had a more objective media, it would be hard for the terrorists to pull off this kind of propaganda coup. But, playing the anti-U.S. Western media like an infidel Stradivarius, Al-Qaeda and its allies, who are actually being devastated in battle after battle with our forces, have created the perception that they're a lot more formidable than they are. In this case, they perfected a dominant counter-narrative that is now proving to be an elegantly constructed pack of lies. Such stories are easy to sell to a media that hungers, 24/7, to make George Bush and the U.S. look like morons. Now it's the media itself that collectively looks like a bunch of dolts. Not that this would ever bother them.
For a bunch of Islamic fanatics, Al-Qaeda et. al. have learned a lot about effective propaganda from the atheists of the left. Too bad another of their sham fictions has been put to rest. For now.
The Belmont Club has a slightly different spin:
Now the "Idolatrous Guard" [Al-Qaeda for the Iraqi National Guard] is having a chuckle over the "fake" Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, as AQI's feared leader turns out to be no more genuine than Mickey Mouse. One can only imagine how the Shi’ite Imam Al-Mahdi Army, AKA the “Army of the Antichrist”, is reveling in confirmation that the Islamic State of Iraq is nothing more than a front organization for a bunch of Salafists holed up in a Pakistani cave.
[Bill] Roggio is right in saying that Mashadani's capture is a victory for US Special Forces. Without those kinetic operators and the intelligence behind them no information operations will work. Words need bullets to back them up. But bullets need words behind them too, if they are to destroy ideas and not simply gunmen. So Mashadani's capture is also a victory for the shadowy warriors of the [American] counternarrative. They are not only telling a story. They are writing one.