But the reality of the situation is that those arrested and presented to us as al-Qaeda senior operatives are in fact members of the Iraqi armed resistance which the government has been fighting since the 2003-U.S. invasion.
The paradox is that after each operation and arrest campaign, we are more or less made to believe that the government has succeeded in rooting out all terror.
But on closer look at the identity of those shown on television as being al-Qaeda operatives, one finds that many of them are university professors, intellectuals and people of note whose social position as well as religious, intellectual and political orientations can in no way class them as ‘terrorists.’
We cannot claim that they are ‘innocent’ from the government’s perspective. For sure they have been arrested because the government is not happy about their practices, ideas and actions.
But little do we know that these people can also be part of a growing group of Iraqis who openly oppose corruption in the ranks of the government and its summary arrests and secret prisons.
Charges like these in government’s mind are enough to put them behind bars and exhibit them as successes of its security forces on television.
In case you weren't aware, Newsweek is a terrible source for information:
Anyway, so now Newsweek is reporting on who comes after Baradar. And it raises a lot more questions:
A top Taliban intelligence officer and several other knowledgeable insurgent sources tell NEWSWEEK that the insurgency’s top commanders named two replacements for Baradar last month at a shura—or senior council meeting—near the Pakistani frontier city of Quetta. The anointees: Abdul Qayum Zakir, a former Guantánamo inmate and ruthless field commander; and Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, a portly financial and logistical expert who commands a large militia force…There’s a lot to unravel here. For one, I’d be curious as to what, exactly, a “top Taliban intelligence officer” really is. They do not, as best I know, have a formalized intelligence organization, even though I’d describe their intelligence gathering capability as highly complex. If they do have members dedicated to analyzing and acting on intelligence—if their organization is not, as most assume, so cellular and distributed that individual groups run their own, local collection—then that is actually very interesting information, and suggests a hierarchy I’d never really had reason to assume exists.
To this end, the Taliban are emphasizing that Zakir’s and Mansoor’s appointments were made with Mullah Omar’s explicit consent. But according to other fighters, few people truly believe Omar had any say in the matter. The mullah has not been seen or heard from since November 2001, when he fled Kandahar on the back of Baradar’s motorcycle. As a result, most Taliban are skeptical of claims or rumors that Zakir and Mansoor—or any Taliban commanders, for that matter—have had direct contact with their missing leader.
Secondly, if Mansoor’s appointment was only decided last month—December of 2010—then why was Syed Saleem Shahzad reporting on it last February? It could be that they were confirming, or re-upping Mansoor’s promotion, and maybe adding Zakir to the mix. But that description sounds damned fishy. The Taliban wouldn’t take 10 months to name a replacement for a senior official like this.
Lastly, there’s the claim that Mullah Omar hasn’t been seen or heard from since 2001. That is, flatly wrong...