Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The alleged arrest of a maimed terrorist

According to a number of tweets that are now making the rounds on the forums the military commander of Katâ'ib 'Abdullah 'Azzâm - Sâlih al Qar'âwî - has been arrested by the Kingdom of Sâ’udî Arabia (KSA) yesterday morning.

A post on the Ansâr al Mujâhidîn Arabic Forum about the alleged arrest of Sâlih al Qar'âwî

Sâlih al Qar'âwî is the son in law of deceased Egyptian Islamic Group (EIG) big shot Khalîl al Hukâ'imah and was a close companion of Abû Mus'ab al-Zarqâwî. The latter ordered al Qar’âwî to form the ‘Abdullah ‘Azzâm Brigades as an al Qâ’idah (AQ) project for the Levant (Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, Syria) after his participation in the Battle of Fallûjah.

A photo showing Sâlih al Qar'âwî as seen in the KSA newspaper al-Sharq al Awsat

The ‘Abdullah ‘Azzâm Brigades are considered a terrorist organisation by the US. The group has claimed rockets strikes on Israel in 2009 as well as a failed suicide attack on a Japanese oil tanker in 2010. Their Amîr is not as sometimes wrongly stated al Qar’âwî but Mâjid bin Muhammad al Mâjid. Sâlih al Qar'âwî himself has been designated as a terrorist by the US and features on the KSA Most Wanted List of the 85.

The first visual-audio release by the 'Abdullah 'Azzâm Brigades Amîr Mâjid bin Muhammad al Mâjid in 2012

His arrest is allegedly a breach of covenant by the KSA. Sâlih al Qar'âwî is said to have suffered multiple amputations and lost an eye following an airstrike on his house in the AfPâk region and was brought back to the KSA after an agreement with the Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nâyif. As commonly known the Ministry of Interior tries to encourage their most wanted ones to turn themselves in. A feat, that nearly got Muhammad bin Nâyif killed.

The suicide bomber 'Abdullah al Asîrî who tried to kill Muhammad bin Nâyif in 2009 hugging his famous brother Ibrâhîm

In this case the deal between AQ and the KSA is said to have been: Al Qar'âwî returns home, he and his family are taken care of; he is neither imprisoned nor questioned. The last point is especially important because Sâlih al Qar'âwî as field commander of the 'Abdullah 'Azzâm Brigades has a lot of important information regarding AQ's plans for the Levant, especially Lebanon.

A video released by the 'Abdullah 'Azzâm Brigades showing a rocket attack on Israel by its Lebanon based Ziyâd Jarrâh Battailon in 2009

The history of al Qar'âwî as an ‘Irâq veteran belonging to the inner circle of al-Zarqâwî who is furthermore linked by marriage to the EIG guy who officially announced the group's merger with AQ and who has a history of imprisonment in Syria and the KSA is evidence for the importance of this arrest. His knowledge about AQ in the Levant is of great importance in the context of the current crisis in Syria.

Muhammad Khalîl al Hukaymah - al Qar'âwî's father-in-law announcing the joining of the Egyptian Islamic Group to al Qâ'idah in a video released by al Qâ'idah's al-Sahâb Media in 2006

The alleged breach of covenant by the KSA may be linked to the recent release of an interview with the Deputy Consul of the KSA in Yemen who is held hostage by al Qâ’idah in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since 2012. Unlike earlier messages the latest one included harsh attacks on the KSA and especially the royal family. The arrest of al Qar’âwî could be pure revenge.

The KSA deputy consul in Yemen 'Abdullah al Khâlidî in the latest video release by al Qâ'idah in the Arabian Peninsula's al Malâhim Media

The tweets announcing the arrest do not mention this connection but the same account features the video in question. Be it as it may, the tweets include a dire warning to the KSA to release al Qar’âwî or to face the consequences.