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[infowar.de] Zarqawi target of info-ops campaign
Zarqawi target of info-ops campaign
WASHINGTON, (UPI) May 9, 2005
By PAMELA HESS
The U.S. military this week has been issuing unusually detailed news
releases from Iraq about intelligence gleaned from captured insurgents,
part of a new information-operations campaign meant to drive a wedge of
suspicion between anti-government fighters.
The disclosures are intended to encourage or hasten the implosion of the
Iraqi insurgency, which has evolved into a loose confederacy: foreign
fighters waging what they consider a holy war; Iraqi fighters loyal to the
former regime; Iraqi mercenaries and criminals; and Iraqi nationalists who
oppose the occupation, according to U.S. military officials.
By the U.S. military's reasoning, the group will eventually splinter and
turn on each other as the factions have fundamentally different long-term
interests and are only temporarily united by their common enemy: the
United States and the fledgling government in Baghdad. Terrorist
organizations are most often defeated because of internal squabbling, a
military official said.
The main target of the information-operations campaign is Jordanian
terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's primary figure in Iraq. Zarqawi
is believed to be the mastermind behind the wave of car bombings that have
killed hundreds across Iraq in the last two years and more than 200 in the
last two weeks.
By trumpeting what it has learned in as much detail as possible, the U.S.
military believes it may force Zarqawi to second-guess his lieutenants,
undermine his confidence in his safe houses and planned operations -- not
knowing which have been compromised -- and withdraw from or do battle with
Iraqi insurgents he suspects may be wavering.
Over the weekend the U.S. military detailed the intelligence gathered from
two captured Iraqi figures with close ties to Zarqawi: Abu Zubaydah, aka
Abu al-Abbas, in Baghdad May 5; and Ghassan Muhammad Amin Husayn al-Rawi
on Apr. 26 in Rawah in northwestern Iraq.
According to the military, Abbas was allegedly the key planner for both
the April 2 attack on the Abu Ghraib prison and the series of car-bomb
attacks carried out April 29 within the vicinity of Baghdad. Abbas told
interrogators that documents confiscated at his home contain plans and
intelligence for the assassination of a prominent Iraqi government
official, and he apparently has knowledge about Zarqawi's network members
and the movement of foreign fighters into the country.
Amin coordinated meetings for other senior members of the network and
facilitated movement and meetings for Zarqawi and foreign fighters in the
Rawah region. He also provided information that led to the capture of
Abbas, the military said.
"Both (Abbas and Amin) ... have provided Iraqi and coalition forces with
significant insight into the Zarqawi network. The most notable details
gained from these detained terrorists specifically concern the operations,
logistics and locations of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi network members, foreign
fighters and suicide bombers within Baghdad and the western corridor of
Iraq," U.S. Central Command announced Sunday.
The accuracy of the information being released is intrinsic to it being
effective in undermining Zarqawi's confidence in his network and
associates; if he sees inaccurate or false information, he will recognize
The detailed public release of intelligence is hoped to have the ancillary
benefit of reassuring the Iraqi people -- who are increasingly bearing the
burden of the violence in Iraq -- that the government and coalition forces
are making progress against the insurgency.
It is also hoping to deflate Zarqawi's public image, from al-Qaida's
"prince" in Iraq to a terrorist overseeing an organization that is coming
Last week the military released what it says was a letter confiscated
during a raid in Baghdad that shows the insurgency is weakening.
The letter was a request for an audience with Zarqawi to discuss
operations and to complain about the incompetence of Zarqawi's lieutenants.
It references one leader in particular who told the fighters either they
must martyr themselves or leave the insurgency.
According to Joint Staff Director of Operations Lt. Gen. James Conway,
there are indications some recent suicide bombers may have been martyred
against their will.
"We have seen some instances where an individual has obviously been
detonated from afar; he has not pulled the cord or done the
self-detonation thing," Conway said. "So we're asking ourselves: What's
all that mean? And we don't have the answers yet."
The U.S. government is offering a reward of $25 million for Zarqawi's capture.
"I'm absolutely confident that if he stays in Iraq he will be captured, or
if he resists, he'll be killed," Conway said.
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