Here’s a whole new meaning for the phrase “phony war:” we started under a fake pretext, we celebrated a fake victory, and for quite a while now, we’ve been chasing after a fake insurgent leader. Add this to the litany of failure.
BAGHDAD, July 18 â€” For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi called Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, Mr. Baghdadi issued incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by an Iraqi Interior Ministry official in May that Mr. Baghdadi had been killed, he appeared to have persevered unscathed.
On Wednesday, the chief United States military spokesman here, Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, provided a new explanation for Mr. Baghdadiâ€™s ability to escape attack: he never existed.
General Bergner told reporters that a senior Iraqi insurgent captured this month said that the elusive Mr. Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose declarations on audiotape were read by a man named Abu Abdullah al-Naima.
General Bergner said the ruse was devised by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the Egyptian-born leader of the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Although the group is mostly Iraqi, much of its leadership is foreign, and Mr. Masri was reportedly trying to mask the outsidersâ€™ dominant role.
[tags]Iraq, al-Baghdadi, fake, failure[/tages]