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During the 9/11 media blitzkrieg, perhaps in an attempt to put a happy face on the deteriorating situation in Iraq, there was much media fanfare over the killing of one Abu Jaafar al-Liby. Mr. Al-Liby was described as the "Number Two Leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq" in numerous news stories. There was no corroboration of this heretofore absolutely unknown individual's terrorist status other than information "from Iraqi authorities."

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An AP story carried on Yahoo News contained the assertion that"Four other insurgents were killed and two were arrested in the raid, a ministry spokesman, Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, told the AP. Al-Liby was in charge of the Baghdad sector of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Khalaf said. He said two letters were found on his body -- one addressed to Bin-Laden, the other to Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, who is thought to be al-Qaeda in Iraq's leader. Both letters pledged loyalty and promised more attacks, Khalaf said."

Putting aside for a moment the possible address on the putative Osama Bin-Laden letter (Mr. Osama Bin-Laden, Cave #42, Bedrock, Waziristan, Pakistan) one wonders how many times will a number two, right hand man or major operative be killed or captured? And how long will mainstream media keep printing this kind of headline? Googling Mr. Al-Liby's name yields approximately twenty thousand hits. That means that this information was regurgitated in some form by thousands of print and other media outlets worldwide.

Googling "Al-Qaeda number two arrested" yields over 4.7 million hits. The most recent a September 4, 2006 Washington Post article entitled "Iraq Cites Arrest of a Top Local Insurgent" with the money quote in the first sentence of paragraph two:

"The arrest of Hamed Jumaa Faris Juri al-Saeidi, described by Iraqi officials as the No. 2 leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was the latest in a series of blows to the Sunni Arab insurgent group, believed responsible for numerous suicide attacks on civilians and other deadly violence."

Wow, a "Number Two" gets arrested on 9/4/06 and a week later another "Number Two" gets killed. Seems like Al-Qaeda leadership in Iraq is something like a game of musical chairs. However, the family of Thamer Mousen al-Jibouri should feel slighted. Mr. al-Jibouri, killed in the same action as Mr. Al-Liby is described as merely the fourth ranked member of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.  

In late June, the family of Mansour Suleiman al-Mashhadani was undoubtedly gratified to hear of their relative's stature at the time of his death as reported by Fox News:

Mansour "reportedly served as a right-hand man of Zarqawi's, and also served as a liaison between Al Qaeda in Iraq and the various tribes in the Youssifiyah area, as well as playing a key role in their media operations,"
Not exactly a number two but a right hand man, that's not too shabby!
Fox seems to dig the whole number two concept as well:
US Special Forces Kill Number Two Terrorist in Iraq.
"FOX News has confirmed that Abu Azzam, who was believed to have been in charge of the financing of terrorist cells in the war-torn country, was killed during a raid in Baghdad early Monday morning Iraq time. Azzam is thought to be the top deputy to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq's most wanted terrorist."
Too bad Newsweek later questioned Mr. Azzam's importance. Aw, nuts, and I thought we had ourselves another number two. That damn liberal media always wants to spoil the fun!

Not to worry, a month earlier the Department of Defense was able to report the death of Abu Zubair, "a lieutenant" to Abu Musab Zarqawi. He also had one of those letters addressed to Zarqawi. Maybe that's how they found Ol' Abu Musab and blew him up! "Dear Abu Musab, hope this letter finds you well..."  Kaboom!
I did wonder why Mr. Zubair wasn't the number two guy as we had taken out the old "number two" only a month before on June 26, 2005:

"Top Zarqawi Aide Killed in Attack"

"Abu Alghadiya, a Syrian dentist married to a Jordanian woman, was described by Arab media as the `number two' in Iraq's Al Qaeda network and tipped to succeed its leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi".
Maybe Zubair wasn't a dentist so he wasn't qualified to be a full fledged number two? I keep googling my way through even more right hand men and lieutenants, becoming convinced that Zarqawi must have had the anatomy of an Indian deity. Then I stumble on something chilling:

"A Zarqawi Cell Prince, Six others captured in Baqaba."

"An Iraqi police source told reporters that soldiers of the Iraqi Army captured Taifor Abdulsattar Malallah one of the "princes" of the Musab Zarqawi terrorist group in Baquba."

Damn glad we got rid of that terrorist prince! He might have had one of those Aladdin Lamps that he could rub and blow up the Empire State Building. Really dodged a bullet from that Prince Malallah!

I finally run out of time and patience. There are just too many number twos, lieutenants and right hand men. But I did finally find, a site that has meticulously notes each arrest. Apparently, the number of Really Bad Guys killed or captured currently stands at 41. Thank goodness as we stand down those Iraqi's will keep standing up and getting those number twos! Can't wait for the next headline.

Originally posted to normcash on Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 01:44 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If only someone would nab our #2. (5+ / 0-)

    Dick Cheney in leg irons.

    There's a sight I'd like to see.

    Visit Satiric Mutt -- my contribution to the written cholesterol now clogging the arteries of the Internet.

    by Bob Johnson on Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 01:30:44 PM PDT

  •  To answer the question in the diary title, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    normcash, marykk

    Q: How many times will we catch number two?
    A: Personally, I'd love it if this administration would catch shit day in and day out.  They've certainly done plenty over which to catch shit.

    this message is intended to inform. any annoyance, abuse, threat, or harassment is solely in the perception of the reader, not the intention of the poster.

    by horsewithnoname on Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 01:33:55 PM PDT

  •  I want to see the organizational chart (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Johnson, Jerome a Paris, normcash

    1 spot on top and about a hundred on the next line!

    "My methods are new and causing surprise. To make the blind see, I throw dust in their eyes."

    by marykk on Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 01:36:42 PM PDT

  •  At least one more Number 2 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I predict an October surprise on the Pakistan border... a full scale assault (Musharuff having covered his ass with a hands off policy) to find Bin Laden.  However, Bin Laden is probably dead, or smart enough to flee before the Marines arrive... and they'll capture or kill at least one more Number Two, and maybe numbers three and four after bombing the hell out of everything in proximity.

    Thanks for the well researched information.

  •  We have a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    President that is one big number 2.

  •  Number Two (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Did they ever catch this guy?

    "Everything's shiny, Captain. Not to fret."

    by rmwarnick on Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 02:05:49 PM PDT

  •  A Near Infinite Number of Times? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Maven, normcash

    I mean, every time Number Two gets caught or knocked off, somebody has to move up on the organizational chart, don't they?  Pretty convenient for Bushco.  But it would be nice if they would give out an organizational chart BEFORE they "get" the Number Two rather than them just declaring that is who a body is after the fact.  I mean . . . if they don't people might get suspicious that they just "get" Number Two when their numbers look bad or something.

    When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

    by foolrex on Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 02:15:25 PM PDT

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