Military history

CHAPTER 15

Proteus

THE CONVOY streamed south out of Baghdad. Twenty cars, mostly men with guns. The gunmen hung out the windows, pointing their Kalashnikovs at the terrified drivers. Get out of the way or we shoot, and maybe we shoot anyway—that was the message. The convoy moved quickly, weaving, south in the southbound, south in the northbound. Very fast. Unbelievably fast. Drivers veered and careered. We went wherever we wanted.

Ahmad Chalabi, the luminous Iraqi exile, rode in an armored car near the front. Two years before, Chalabi had helped persuade the American government to go to war to topple Saddam. Then he’d returned to Iraq, and the super-weapons Chalabi assured the United States were there never turned up. Then Iraq imploded. The Americans had shoved him away; they had even, some months before, sent intelligence officers to raid his Baghdad compound, accusing him of passing secrets to the Iranians.

And so here was Chalabi, driving south in a convoy full of guns. After forty-five years in exile, he had come home to a strange land. In the West, he was a famous man, and now a notorious one as well. He was a banker and a millionaire and a mathematics professor trained at MIT and the University of Chicago. He owned homes in London and Washington. But in Iraq, his roots had withered and died. And so now, in January 2005, Chalabi was reinventing himself as an authentic Iraqi. He was running for a seat in the new Iraqi parliament.

The convoy was low on fuel, and a gas station beckoned. Since the American invasion, Iraqis waited hours—even days—for gasoline at the pumps. Lack of refining capacity, smuggling, stealing, insurgent attacks: it was complicated. On the road south of Baghdad, the line was perhaps three hundred cars deep.

The Chalabi convoy cut straight to the front of the line. No one protested. It was the guns. Chalabi’s effrontery brought not even a peep. We got our gas and we sped away, guns out the windows. Very fast.

An hour later, we arrived at our destination, a Shiite town called Mushkhab. It was friendly country—to Chalabi, and still, then, to Americans. Chalabi got out of the car and walked forward. All the men of the town gathered round. They were wearing dishdashas and kafiyas. Chalabi stood in the center, dressed in a gray Western suit.

The Iraqis clapped and read poetry; some of it they sang. It was a tradition in Iraq, a serenade to the honored guest.

“Hey, listen, Bush, we are Iraqis,” one of the Iraqis called out, and everyone started clapping. “We never bow our heads to anyone, and we won’t do it for you. We have tough guys like Chalabi on our side—be careful.”

Everyone laughed.

We moved inside a mudhif, a long, fantastic structure woven of dried river reeds, a kind of pavilion of rattan. The room was laid with handwoven carpets, and the walls were hung with framed yellowed photographs of the leaders of the tribe, Al-Fatla, meeting with their British overlords many years before. A pair of loudspeakers sat at the front. Chalabi took the microphone in his hand.

“My Iraqi brothers, the Americans pushed out Saddam, but they did not liberate our country,” Chalabi told them. “We are asking you to participate in this election so that we can have an independent country. This is not just words. The Iraqi people will liberate the country.”

Chalabi went on a little more, warming to the men in the room.

“On my way here, I saw a huge line of people waiting for gasoline,” Chalabi said. “Some of them were there for two nights, carrying blankets with them. It makes me very sad to see my brothers wait for days to get gas at the station.”

Chalabi, the artful dodger. He could dissemble and dance and deflect, and he would never have to pay.

Lunch was served: a long table heaped with rice and roast lamb. Everyone stood, dozens of us, and we dug in with our fingers. After a time, we prepared to leave. The table and the ground around it were littered with rice and lamb bones. We re-formed into a convoy and sped toward the holy city of Najaf.

It was dark when we arrived. Only a few months before the fighting between American soldiers and the Mahdi Army guerrillas had destroyed the city, but on this night, Najaf was remarkably calm. The pilgrim hotels lay in ruins, but the golden dome of the Shrine of Imam Ali shimmered under a January moon.

Chalabi exited his SUV and strode through the twenty-foot-high wooden doors. A clutch of Sunni leaders, whom Chalabi had agreed to show around, trailed in step. The curiosities intersected: The shrine was one of the holiest of Shiite places, the tomb of the son-in-law of the Prophet and the very heart of the Shiite faith. A civil war was brewing, but the Sunnis were allowed to pass. As a non-Muslim, I waited outside the shrine. Across the street, a group of Iraqis gathered to stare.

Chalabi had entered his Islamist phase. It was another dance, another reinvention. In his speeches, Chalabi, the Western-educated mathematician, had begun to speak reverently of Islam and the Prophet. In Baghdad, he had begun forming alliances with Islamist leaders, most notably, most remarkably, with Muqtada himself.

It wasn’t terribly convincing. Chalabi did not wear a turban. He had no beard. He did not pray. He did not, really, even pretend. But as a practical politician—as an exile come home to a strange land growing stranger by the day—Chalabi had needed to do something.

After ten minutes inside the shrine, Chalabi reemerged. He climbed into his SUV and sped away, back to Baghdad. His goal had been accomplished. By morning, all of Najaf would know that Chalabi had come to pay homage to Ali at the shrine. I pressed him on this bit of opportunism, but he would not give the game away. “It’s bad for me to do this,” Chalabi said, cutting me off. “It defeats the purpose.”

Gamesman, exile, idealist, fraud: Chalabi was someone whom I never missed a chance to follow around. It wasn’t just that he was brilliant, or nimble, or ruthless, or fun. When I looked into Chalabi’s eyes and saw the doors and mirrors opening and closing, I knew that I was seeing not just the essence of the man but of the country to which he’d returned. L’état c’est lui. Chalabi was Iraq.

IT WAS 11 P.M. when I reached Chalabi’s house. It was only then, usually, that I could get in to see him, when the rest of the work was done. I walked past the armed guards and the rattling generators and up the stairs to his study. He was perched in a chair, sitting in a dishdasha, starched and brilliant. This was an oddity. For all of Chalabi’s posings as an Islamist, it was the only time I’d ever seen him dressed this way. As an Iraqi, that is. I’d come with a colleague, Jim Glanz, who had a doctorate in physics from Princeton. Chalabi and Jim regarded each other as fellow scientists. Sometimes the two of them would begin a conversation about a mathematical riddle or a scientific imperative, and I would be left to doodle in my notebook.

We sat down. Chalabi put on a Vivaldi concerto, and an attendant appeared with bowls of mango ice cream. Even in Baghdad, surrounded by armed guards, blast walls and generators, there were few pleasures that Chalabi denied himself. The Vivaldi floated out from a pair of sleek, expensive speakers. The chairs, tall and slim, were Frank Lloyd Wright, modeled after those in the architect’s well-preserved house on the University of Chicago campus, Chalabi’s alma mater.

No Iraqi leader worked harder than Chalabi. Many of them worked for a few hours in the morning and slept away the afternoons. Many of them, as the chaos deepened, returned to exile. Whenever I went to Chalabi’s house, night or day, I found him working, often on the most mundane aspects of public administration. One day, he had spread before him the charts of Baghdad’s antiquated electrical grid, then coughing and sputtering only four hours of electricity a day. Another time, Chalabi was examining the Jordanian bank records of fellow Iraqi officials who he believed had stolen public money. In addition to being deputy prime minister, Chalabi also served as minister of oil, and he often had oil production figures on the table before him.

I asked Chalabi about the negotiations on the Iraqi constitution. It was the summer of 2005 and the deadline was near. The Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds were at a standstill. Chalabi was intimately involved in every aspect of the negotiations. He spoke perfect English and perfect Arabic and his energy and intelligence were limitless.

Even so, I had to be careful whenever I chose to rely on him. Chalabi always had his own agenda, usually several of them, which he worked on different levels, like a game of three-dimensional chess. Chalabi wanted a unified Iraq, but he was a friend of the Kurds, who wanted autonomy. He was an entirely secular man, but he had pulled close to Muqtada, who wanted an Islamic state. He wore suits and he wore dishdashas. Who was he this time? I felt like any member of the American government must have felt in dealing with Chalabi: was I getting more out of Chalabi than he was getting out of me? Or was I being conned and charmed into submission?

“We are on the brink of an agreement,” Chalabi said. “Everything has been settled.”

I took out my notebook. This was news. Chalabi’s face was blank. What was settled, exactly? I asked.

“Oil,” Chalabi said, spooning some ice cream. “There is an agreement on how to share the oil.”

Oil lay at the heart of everything in Iraq.

How?

“It’s settled,” Chalabi said, face still blank. “The central government will control the oil and gas extracted from existing fields, and the regional governments will be allowed to control fields that are not currently being exploited.”

We talked details, about which Chalabi was distressingly vague. What’s left to be settled? I asked.

Well, Chalabi said, there is no agreement yet on the role of Islam in family disputes.

This was a delicate issue. The Shiite Islamists had been pushing to give clerics a role in the new Iraqi state. The proposed language would allow ordinary Iraqis to go to a cleric to settle domestic disputes. That would have marked a departure from the secular, progressive law that Iraqis had enjoyed for decades, and which the Americans were pushing now.

“Whether to allow clerics on the Supreme Court has not been decided,” Chalabi said, taking in another spoonful of ice cream.

I sighed. There wasn’t much point in asking Chalabi where he stood on all these issues. I knew him too well for that; he would not have answered.

“It’s the same old story,” I told Chalabi. “You call it progress, you say you are near an agreement, but at each session you resolve maybe half of your differences. And the next day you resolve half of what is left. But it never ends.”

“Yes,” Chalabi said crisply, glancing in Jim’s direction. “Zeno’s Paradox.”

Jim nodded knowingly.

“An infinite converging series,” Chalabi said.

“It’s called Zeno’s Paradox,” Jim said, jumping in, with Chalabi looking on. “You add an infinite number of smaller and smaller numbers together and get a finite sum. In other words, an infinite number of meetings and you get to the constitutional agreement in a finite time.”

“Yes, exactly,” Chalabi said with a smile.

“So you’ll never get there,” I said, trying to pick up on the metaphor, whatever it was, “because it’s infinite.”

“No,” Chalabi said, smiling blankly. “That’s not right.”

Jim laughed. I tried to change the subject.

“Okay,” I said to Chalabi, “you seem to be backpedaling on women’s rights. You say you are secular, but if you let Islamic courts get involved in family disputes, then you are inserting Islam into the state. You are doing the Islamists’ bidding.”

Chalabi put down his spoon. “Absolutely false,” he said.

“But how can you square being secular with allowing imams to settle divorces and inheritance?” I asked.

Chalabi shifted in his chair and smiled warmly.

“Have you heard the joke about the rabbi and the priest on the airplane?”

How could I refuse? I didn’t know the joke.

“A priest and a rabbi are riding on a plane,” Chalabi said, leaning back. “After a while, the priest turns to the rabbi and asks, ‘Is it still a requirement of your faith that you not eat pork?’

“The rabbi says, ‘Yes, that is still one of our beliefs.’”

Jim and I had put our pens down.

“So the priest asks, ‘Have you ever tasted pork?’

“To which the rabbi replies, ‘Yes, on one occasion I did succumb to temptation and tasted pork.’”

Chalabi was grinning widely.

“The priest nodded and went on with his reading,” Chalabi said. “A while later, the rabbi asked the priest, ‘Father, is it still a requirement of your church that you remain celibate?’

“The priest replied, ‘Yes, that is still very much a part of our faith.’

“Then the rabbi asked him, ‘Father, have you ever succumbed to the temptations of the flesh?’

“The priest replied, ‘Yes, Rabbi, on one occasion I was weak and broke with my faith.’

“The rabbi nodded understandingly for a moment and then said, ‘A lot better than pork, isn’t it?’”

Chalabi beamed at his joke, and Jim and I laughed. After a few more minutes it was time to go. Past curfew. The streets of Mansour were dangerous in the fall of 2005. Kidnappers and insurgents were everywhere, even in Baghdad’s best neighborhoods. Chalabi uttered something to an attendant, and we said goodbye. As we drove from the compound, a row of Iraqi police cars appeared, their blue lights flashing, getting in line to escort us back across town.

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A COUPLE OF MONTHS later, Chalabi returned to Washington, for the first time since the start of the war. This was no small thing. Only a year before, American intelligence agents had claimed Chalabi had passed secrets to the Iranian government. The break seemed final.

But the wheel was turning again. Iraq was imploding, and in the fall of 2005, the men and women inside the Bush administration were scrambling for any friend they could find. So here was Chalabi, riding in a limo, making the rounds at the Pentagon and the Old Executive Office Building. Just like the old days. After that, he took a detour to DuPont Circle and the American Enterprise Institute, one of the think tanks that had backed him and the war. Dressed in a dark gray suit and red necktie, Chalabi told a gathering of people in a twelfth-floor conference room that Iraq, now freed from Saddam, was making its way toward democracy and the rule of law. Then he asked for questions. A hand went up.

“Mr. Chalabi,” a man said from the back. “Did you deliberately mislead the American people about weapons of mass destruction?”

Chalabi smiled as if he’d been waiting for the question.

“This is an urban myth,” he said.

The audience gasped.

The meeting broke up a few moments later. I walked outside, past the protesters on the sidewalk, to my hotel a few blocks away. I was pondering the mystery of Chalabi. I called Robert Baer, a former operative for the CIA. I’d never met Baer but people told me he was the man to talk to. He’d worked with Chalabi in the 1990 s in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, when the CIA was trying to cause trouble for Saddam. Back then, the CIA loved Chalabi; he seemed willing to go anywhere, do anything. He’d cobbled together a band of guerrillas that was harassing the Iraqi army, just what the CIA wanted. Then things got out of hand; it turned out Chalabi was serious, even if the CIA was not. Chalabi wanted to topple Saddam, and he’d turned his guerrillas loose on one of Saddam’s divisions. He’d almost started a war. Back in Langley, CIA officials were furious. They claimed to be stunned. After that, the CIA pushed Chalabi away. It was only later, when he was adopted by neoconservatives in other parts of the American government, that Chalabi began to rise again.

Baer was at his home in Colorado.

“Chalabi?” Baer said on the other end. “Smarter than the collective IQ of everyone in Washington. So fast. And he reads. And he figures out relationships. He read me like an open book.”

How did things get so out of control out there, way back then? I asked.

“It was a paper-flow problem,” Baer said of Chalabi’s mini-invasion. In other words, Baer said, Chalabi made his plans clear to his handlers in the CIA, but for bureaucratic reasons, people in the upper reaches of the American government had not been informed.

“Let me just say, everything Chalabi said he was going to do, he did,” Baer told me. “This was not some rogue Chalabi coup. They knew about it back in Langley. I understand that the division chief at the CIA never thought Chalabi would do it. I still have the cables.”

I asked why the CIA came to loathe Chalabi.

“Chalabi was as true to me as the day is long,” Baer said. “The thing with Chalabi is, he is Levantine. In order to get anywhere with him, you’ve got to conspire with him, enter his world. Manipulate people. Do people in. Like when he tried to introduce me to Iranian intelligence in Salah al-Din.”

Iranian intelligence? I said.

“Yeah,” Baer said. “Chalabi said to me, Look, I need these guys. I need to make sure the Iranians are not going to cause trouble for me. Would you like to meet them?”

Baer explained how, as an American, even as an American spy, he was prohibited from meeting representatives of the Iranian government. At the time, the Iranians were sitting at the other end of the hotel lobby from Baer. They were wearing turbans.

“This is where the gray area comes in,” Baer said. “The whole time we were there, Chalabi was traveling in and out of northern Iraq and in and out of Tehran. If you asked Chalabi, he would say, I have to deal with the Iranians. In our terms, in American terms, that would make him an Iranian asset. All of his CIA connections—he wouldn’t get away with that sort of thing with the Iranians unless he had proved his worth to them. He’s basically beholden to the Iranians to stay viable. If he got out of hand, they would kill him.

“He’s not our guy,” Baer said.

WE DROVE EAST out of Baghdad, in a convoy as menacing as the one we had ridden south to Mushkhab on the campaign trip earlier that year. After three hours of weaving and careering, we reached the end of the plains of eastern Iraq, and the terrain turned sharply upward into a ridge of arid mountains. We had come to the border, one of history’s great fault lines, the ancient boundary between the Ottoman and Persian empires. To our right lay the abandoned fortifications and rusting hulks of the Iran-Iraq war.

I rode with Aras Habib, Chalabi’s chief of intelligence and one of the targets of the CIA raid the year before. The Americans were not so interested in Aras anymore. He seemed a character from an Eric Ambler novel—of uncertain origins, of uncertain ends. In Baghdad, the word was that Aras had used the Baathist files he and his men had seized after the fall of the regime in 2003 to hunt down and kill many of its senior members. With Aras, there wasn’t any way to know for sure. Talking to him was like trying to get a quote from a monk. Aras was a Feyli, a Shia Kurd, and as we approached the Iranian border he pointed to a cluster of houses off the main road. “My grandfather’s father is from this town.” Then we crossed over into Iran itself, and the ruins of Iraq gave way to swept streets and a tidy border post with shiny bathrooms. A different world.

Chalabi got out of his SUV as an Iranian cleric approached. The cleric wore a turban and a robe, Chalabi a camouflage T-shirt and slacks. They shook hands. Then the cleric said something strange: “We are disappointed to hear that you won’t be staying in the Shiite alliance,” he said to Chalabi. “We were really hoping you’d stay.” I considered the irony: an Iranian cleric expressing regret that Chalabi had left an Iraqi political alliance. For the moment, the border between Iran and Iraq had disappeared.

Chalabi ducked into a bathroom and reappeared in a well-tailored suit and tie. Then we drove to Ilam, a nearby city, where an eleven-seat Fokker jet was idling on the runway of the local airport. We took off for Tehran, flying over a dramatic landscape of canyons and ravines. We landed in Iran’s smoggy capital, and within a couple of hours Chalabi was meeting with the highest officials of the Iranian government. One of them was Ali Larijani, the national security adviser.

I met Larijani the next morning. Chalabi arranged it. “Our relationship with Mr. Chalabi does not have anything to do with his relationship with the neocons,” Larijani told me. His red-rimmed eyes, when I met him at 7 a.m., betrayed a sleepless night. “He is a very constructive and influential figure,” Larijiani said of Chalabi. “He is a very wise man and a very useful person for the future of Iraq.”

Useful to whom? I wondered. The Iranians were deeply involved in Iraq, pumping in guns, pumping in money. I asked Larijani about reports that a few months before, the Iranian government had brokered a deal among Iraqi Shiite leaders to choose a prime minister. At the time, Chalabi had been one of the contenders. Larijani was happy to have me believe it. “America should consider this power as legitimate. They should not fight it.”

A couple of hours later came a meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president. I was with a handful of Iranian reporters who were led into a finely appointed room just outside the president’s office. First came Chalabi, dressed in another perfect suit, beaming. Then came Ahmadinejad, wearing a face of childlike bewilderment. He wore a pair of imitation leather shoes and bulky white athletic socks, and a suit that looked as if it had come from a Soviet department store. Only a few days before, Ahmadinejad had publicly called for the destruction of Israel. He and Chalabi, several inches taller, stood together for photos, then retired to a private room.

Chalabi wanted to be prime minister; of that there was no doubt. Was he telling the Iranians that he was running? Or was he asking for their permission? Was he carrying a note from the Americans? Or taking one back? The possibilities were endless.

When the meeting ended, Ahmadinejad asked Chalabi if there was anything he could do to make his stay more comfortable. Chalabi said, Why, yes, in fact, there was: would he mind if he, Chalabi, took a tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art?

In a few moments, we were there, in the middle of a country still in the throes of an Islamic revolution, strolling past one of the finest collections of Western modern art outside Europe and the United States: Matisse, Kandinsky, Rothko, Gauguin, Pollock, Klee, van Gogh, five Warhols, seven Picassos, much more, and a sprawling garden of sculpture outside. The collection had been assembled by Queen Farah, the shah’s wife, with the monarchy’s vast oil wealth. On this day, the gallery was all but empty. We had the museum’s enthusiastic English-speaking tour guide all to ourselves.

“Thank you, thank you, for coming!” Noreen Motamed exclaimed, clapping her hands.

We walked the empty halls. Chalabi moved deliberately, nodding his head, pausing at a Degas and a Pissarro.

“Wow,” Chalabi said before Jesús Rafael Soto’s painting Canada. “Look at that.”

A retinue of turbaned Iranian officials walked with us, unmoved by the splendor. Ahmadinejad had stayed behind.

For all of the furies that emanated from its halls, the Iranian government had taken fine care of Queen Farah’s collection. The only clue that we were in Tehran, and not New York or London, was the absence of the middle panel from Francis Bacon’s triptych, Two Figures Lying on a Bed with Attendant, which depicts two naked men.

“It is in the basement, covered,” Motamed said with a disappointed expression.

Finally, we came across a pair of paintings by Marc Chagall, the twentieth-century modernist and painter of Jewish life. The display contained no mention of this fact.

Chalabi gazed at the Chagalls for a time. Then, with a rueful smile, he turned, to no one in particular, and said loudly: “Imagine that. They have two paintings by Marc Chagall in the middle of a museum in Tehran.”

The Iranian officials seemed not to hear.

Your Name

I WAS RUNNING along the Tigris toward the Iraqi checkpoint when I noticed a different group of guards. Not unfriendly, but no one from the old crowd was there. As I approached, one of them told me to stop and he asked me for an I.D., which he pronounced slowly and loudly “Eye-Dee.” Of course I didn’t have one with me. I started haggling with the new guards: I let them talk, I talked myself, I huffed and sighed, the usual things that worked. I moved through the checkpoint and got on with my run. After only a few steps I heard a heavily accented South African voice yelling “Stop!” I looked toward the Baghdad Hotel and saw one of the South African guards. Big and bald, dressed like Rambo. I ignored him and kept running. He raised his rifle and took aim. “I’ll shoot,” he said. He was running, scurrying actually because he was so fat and so loaded down with gear. “Restricted area,” he said. Not a trace of humor or warmth. The Iraqis looked on, obedient and oblivious. That was the end of that. I turned around and started running back.

The Tigris River Park was in a shambles. The Humvees were gone and the Americans had left. The grass, so green only a few months before, was dead and brown or departed. In a few places it was overgrown. The sprinkler heads had all been stolen; here and there a single pipe sprouted from the ground and gurgled water. Someone had put up another concrete wall in what was left of the open space, and coils of barbed wire had been strung across the lovers’ lane.

I spotted a group of children. They saw me and came running. They were brothers and sisters, the children of our next-door neighbor, a friend. They lined up in a row, as if for inspection, to say hello: Bilal, Shahla, Sukaina and one of their playmates. It had been some time since I’d seen them and there had been a change: Shahla, only nine, had begun covering her hair. She wore a bright white hejab. She looked like a tiny imitation of her mother.

I ran as far as I could to the other end, where the usual soccer game was unfolding. I stopped for a minute to rest. A couple of our Iraqi guards had joined in; they seemed strange outside of their usual American world. A young Iraqi boy came over and stood at the chain-link fence and stared at me for a while. “What is your name?” he said to me in loud English. I told him but it didn’t seem to reigster. He kept looking at me. “What is your name?” he said again, and I told him again. I rested some more then resumed my running, back toward the checkpoint for another lap. The Iraqi boy ran with me on the other side of the fence, repeating the question again and again. A look of desperation came over his face.

“What is your name?” he said, running along.

“What is your name?”

Communiqués (2)

1.

There is no doubt that the Americans’ losses are very heavy because they are deployed across a wide area and among the people, and because it is easy to procure weapons, all of which makes them easy and mouthwatering targets for the believers. But America did not come to leave, and it will not leave no matter how numerous its wounds become and how much of its blood is spilled….

The Shia—these in our opinion are the key to change. I mean that targeting and hitting them in their religious, political, and military depth will provoke them to show the Sunnis their rabies…and bare the teeth of the hidden rancor working in their breasts. If we succeed in dragging them into the arena of sectarian war, it will become possible to awaken the inattentive Sunnis as they feel imminent danger and annihilating death….

The solution that we see, and God the Exalted knows better, is for us to drag the Shia into the battle because this is the only way to prolong the fighting between us and the infidels.

—Letter, said to have been written by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, to the leadership of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obtained by Kurdish forces in January 2004.

2.

We the group of Al-Sahaba Soldiers of Iraq claim responsibility for an explosion of a Shia temple in Saydia, on the commercial street. Thanks be unto Allah they were victorious, and a number of the unbelievers were killed—those friendly with the Americans, the oppressors and the killers in Iraq.

—News Release

Al-Sahaba Soldiers

May 20, 2005

3.

A Tahwid lion, Abu Leith al-Nagdi, from the Ali Daggana al-Ansari Suicidal Brigade, drove his car bomb on the morning of Monday, Moharam 1, 1427, to attack one of the barracks of the apostates of the governorate of Al-Nasariya. It was a blessed operation. Many of them were killed or injured—not less than thirty apostates. Some of them were high-ranking officers. Thanks unto Allah.

Allah is great, Glory to Allah, His messenger and the mujahideen.

—News Release

Information Department

The Mujahideen Shura of Iraq*6 

January 31, 2006

4.

The lions of the Al-Bara’a bin Malik Suicidal Brigade made a new attack on a volunteer center of the apostate National Guard in the area of Moshahada, north of Baghdad. The lions chose the time when hundreds of apostates were gathered at the site. The lions burst into the center with light and medium weapons and harvested many heads. All whose feet could not carry them away fell in their own blood. All who were in the center were killed. Their dead bodies were all over the place. Thanks unto Allah.

Allah is great, Glory to Allah, His messenger and the mujahideen.

—News Release

Information Department

The Mujahideen Shura of Iraq

January 18, 2006

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