July 19th, 2007 04:38 EST
Cyber Islamic State of Iraq
BAGHDAD " U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq held an operational update Wednesday at the Combined Press Information Center.
Bergner began the conference by saying the surge of operations in Iraq continues to make progress."
"These operations are increasing pressure on extremists by disrupting their networks, denying safe havens and reducing operating bases," Bergner said."
In particular, Bergner said Iraqi and Coalition force operations continue to disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership and undermine their abilities to conduct terrorist operations."
Coalition forces captured Fatah Da`ud Mahmud Al Mashadani on July 4." Mashadani served first as the al-Qaeda Media Emir for Baghdad and then was appointed the Media Emir for all of Iraq." In this capacity he served as an intermediary between al-Qaeda leader al-Masri, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri."
Along with al-Masri, Mashadani co-founded a cyberspace organization in cyberspace called the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006, said Bergner."
"The Islamic State of Iraq is the latest effort by al-Qaeda to market itself and its goal of imposing a Taliban-like state on the Iraqi people," Bergner said.
Bergner said in reality the Islamic State of Iraq is a "front" organization that wants to put an Iraqi face on the foreign leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
According to Mashadani, al-Masri created a fictional political head of the Islamic State of Iraq known as Umar al-Baghdadi, said Bergner." In reality, al-Baghdadi is an actor named Abu Abdullah al-Naima.
Mashadani has confirmed that al-Masri maintains exclusive control over al-Naima as he acts the part of the al-Baghdadi character, Bergner said." Furthermore, said Bergner, al-Masri swore allegiance to al-Baghdadi to make the character appear more credible.
Bergner said Mashadani has confirmed that al-Masri and the leaders with whom he surrounds himself, none of which are Iraqi, make the operational decisions for al-Qaeda in Iraq.
"As Mashadani explained, he and al-Masri created the Islamic State of Iraq fictional leader named al-Baghdadi to create a perception of Iraqi leadership in al-Qaeda in Iraq," said Bergner.
"Al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders misrepresent themselves and purposely deceive the Iraqi people and their own members." Islamic State of Iraq leaders cloak themselves in Iraqi nationalism, but in fact their purpose is to subjugate the Iraqi people under a foreign-led terrorist organization that wants to impose a Taliban-like ideology on Iraqis," Bergner said.
Bergner went on to say the effect of the surge of operations in Iraq, combined with the courage of the Iraqi people to stand against al-Qaeda in Iraq is having a clear effect.
"The effects of these operations are enabling Iraqis to turn away from the terrorists and work more closely with their government, their security forces and the Coalition," he said."
(U.S. Army story by Spc. Emily Greene, Combined Press Information Center)