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12: Assault on Al-Qaeda, Part 2

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Summer two thousand six the elite fighting outfit Task Force Black were on the trail of Iraq's deadliest terrorist Abu Bumu Saab all Zerkalo Zarko the number one priority for a man driven to unleash unspeakable carnage on the people of Iraq and coalition military forces Sarkar. We personified the dark sadistic and medieval vision of the future future of headings suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings but with the help of interrogators and military leadership task force black back finally brings down the death is our cow as we suspected would it was a devastating world organization welcome to covert show show about the shadowy world of international espionage top secret military operations Jamie Rennell take you inside history's greatest special operations Sion's missions to learn about the brave soldiers and operatives who risked their lives terminate the world's most wanted eliminate terrorist threats and protect countless countless innocent lives. This is the true story of Task Force Black Mackillop one of Iraq's most vicious terrorist leaders Abu Musab also also collie. This is the assault on al-Qaeda par to the farmhouse raid that led to the capture of five high ranking. Al Qaeda officers was born out of months of intelligence stemming from an the operation brought about by a general who arrived in Iraq almost three years prior. Stanley McChrystal took a radical new approach for hunting down Al-Zour Collie and destroying destroying a Q. I or Al Qaeda in Iraq. Here's former assistant secretary of defense. Tom O'CONNELL Stan McChrystal unique guy. years of of experience with our special operations forces at all levels former arrange commander he and bill mcraven were to of the early special operations leaders John Mulholland another that really took their operational experience and applied it to the battlefield sorta. I don't WanNa say said forget Washington but we know what to do here and by God we're going to do it and you get personalities that are that strong that experience that well respected the force falls in and their operational experience starts to start the show and it's just the type of guy you want in that position. McChrystal is the newly appointed commander of the Joint Special Operations Command or J. sock formed in the late nineteen eighties to coordinate the work of America's elite troops J. sock controls the best of the best from across the different branches of the United States military. These are these so-called special missions units units navy seal team six Army Delta Force and the Air Force Twenty Fourth Special Tactics squadron active in every corner of the world often on highly classified missions. The soldiers of J. sock are experts in precise targeted strikes against hard to reach enemies. Mark Urban is the author of two thousand eleven task force black. The explosive true story of the special secret forces war in Iraq is a very secret organization and it was tasked with finding the most sensitive types of mission against US enemies obviously in the context post nine eleven terrorist enemies as counter terrorism at the start of the Iraq War J. Socks mission had been to find and arrest the leaders of the old Iraqi regime including President Saddam Hussein sane once this mission was accomplished. A power vacuum was created and also Cowie was ready and waiting to step in in decapitated. See what some call the bath is to nationalise dealership. They probably assisted the growth of Al Khadra in Iraq because by taking away the leadership figures shakes that former the generals the key people who keep off this they live questionable of angry young militants Sunnis with nowhere to go and those people gravitated towards Cardo so McChrystal made a strategic decision to abandon the hunt for ex members of the old Saddam regime instead he focused almost all of his resources on just just one man Abu Saab all's or Kali Matthew Alexander former interrogator in Iraq and author of how to break a terrorist. I when I arrived my feeling was how can I contribute. How can I help in this. the violence and essentially in our commander came in and gave a big speech right after we got there and the point of the speech was the only way to win the Iraq war more to stop the violence between Sunni Shia is to find an killer capture of Hummus levels are Kelly to get to Oliver Cowie himself. McChrystal astill began building a complete picture of his terror network. He set up a large command center at an old Iraqi airbase in the town of ballade north of Baghdad and invited all of America's different spy agencies to set up camp there again former assistant secretary of defense. Tom O'CONNELL was a huge huge room. Saddam did a great job and building A TAILOR-MADE OP Center for those high value target activities in Iraq back. If you walked into their joint operations center you would be shocked at one the the focus on the the targets these are the top ten here the entire collection tasks this is how we're moving against them and as information brakes on each one you see the various various forces and the inner agency and the Allies and in some cases the Iraqis move against it and it's it's an unfolding story every day. It's constantly updated. It never blinks. It never sleeps and you put that much talent together. Give them the authorities days. They're going to be successful. The idea was that every piece of information however insignificant would be brought there and fed into a massive database if if McChrystal and his men learned everything they can about why they may be able to quickly find its weakest points and strike former FBI CIA a senior official Philip Mudd when we started working with special forces and I I remember General McChrystal. WHO's a real hero in this war the guy's a legend Terry not only a legendary operated take the way he constructed joint commands but I remember him coming into headquarters and saying you know we need some of your people and as any bureaucrat? Will you sit back there and say all right is in dog in the hunt. What are we trying to do here. 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Dot Com slash covert McChrystal established a special detention facility next door to his command center enter were interviews of suspected al-Qaeda members would be conducted keeping all of the Intel gathered central to one location former interrogator in Iraq Iraq Matthew Alexander the Interrogation Unit you essentially composed of where we kept the prisoners in also our Turkish Asian rooms in our analysis room in our desks which we called the gator pit part of our facility was an old Saddam era aircraft hangar and then the rest of it was just kind of make shift built additions to a warehouse essentially where you would just take plywood in throw it would up in Crete compartments in rooms but it was really essentially like a very quickly built haphazard facility where sure where it was just kind of all thrown together last minute when it felt like well our task force had its own detention facility because of our pace which essentially Ashley was go out capture senior leaders of al Qaeda get information out of them through interrogation in quickly turn around and go back out in catch new leaders this and do that in a manner in which always going up the chain of command towards Kali using this massive amount of up-to-date intelligence McChrystal unleashed the most most dangerous weapon in J. socks Arsenal the coalition forces special mission units of elite frontline soldiers these units would work in an entirely tiredly new way historically they ran only one or two major operations per year now they would conduct multiple raids on a daily basis Fran Townsend former White House counterterrorism adviser we found over the years in the war was that you need there needs to be a continuous loop right right of information and so the operators need to understand from the intelligence community what the capability is and the intelligence community needs to understand what the operators are seen being on the ground and so they can task each other right and they can and you get better and more refined th you know. I can remember visiting Iraq and watching them. They didn't go out once on a night. They went out multiple times. oftentimes the intelligence operators would go with the special forces they would do they would get what's called pocket litter there were hard drives a piece of paper out of people's pockets they come back they bring it to analyst back on the base who from the CIA who would go through that information that that would lead to another targeting package and the operated the special forces would go out again. That's sort of continuous feed. Continuous loop is what made them incredibly effective well. It all starts by piling in the back of a Stryker vehicle in sitting in a very cramped space. That's very hot in very dark and then you're you're going through the streets you know and there's all types of hazards roadside bombs and snipers in by the time you get to the target usually already drenched in sweat in your adrenaline going and then the team conducts a raid of the location in go out they go in in the the capture your intended target and then they immediately call you say you're jumping out of the vehicle. You're running down. The street won't get when it gets really exciting is when you have more than one house. oftentimes the these terrorists they would run out of one house jump a wall and into another house and then you'd have to wait a second house in sometimes it would ended up with a third or fourth house and then there's only two interrogators so you could end up with as many as ten or fifteen captured personnel and the I need have ten or fifteen minutes between two interrogators to try and figure out who were the bad guys and back to the base. The critical factor is speed every time a militant militant is captured the members of Q. I around that individual will try to cover their tracks by reorganizing the entire network. It's a cat and mouse game. The terrorists wrists constantly changed their routines abandoned safehouses and recruit new men to replace those that have been lost or captured but if McChrystal's people can work worked faster than their enemy they will destroy a Q. I before it can regenerate what I saw general McChrystal do as A. I'm not a field opera but I'm a career analyst. That's what I saw him. Do was not just evolutionary was revolutionary. You think about the history of warfare you know tanks artillery aircraft you think about the history of intelligence strategic work that identifies the Soviet nuclear arsenal for example now. Let's fast forward to what we've been doing. The past decade plus you take technical technical information. Things like stuff you oughta captured cell phone or captured hard-drive. You take detainee. Operation Detainees are saying about the network. They just came from you. Take pieces of paper you might capturing raid last night and you put them in a big hopper and say our software or nationalist. Our people have to be good enough so so that when the with within the the the timeframe of ours they can put together a picture of what that network looks like for example foreign fighters across Iraq doc. What is all this information. Tell us about money about suicide bombers about leadership and not only put that picture together do it well enough so that an operator can conduct a raid raid within twenty four hours contrast were that where we were in terms of intelligence and military operations even fifteen years ago and where we are today all that coming together so that you're not only constructing a picture of a foreign fighter network. You're not only operating on that picture within twenty four hours. You're doing it for years on end with people from every Consi in town incredible in a way the most important Tortilla that general McChrystal Jason brought this whole oh fake was that if you hit an organization false enough accurately enough and repeatedly enough you you could actually cause them to collapse now in other conflicts around the world various counter-terrorist feels. It tried this but they never really found that. It worked the old idea. What if you killed somebody. We drank them screaming from that home. In the middle of the night he would simply create many more people who wanted revenge had held true and and this idea that you could actually take down a whole terrorist militant organization had never been material that never been made real actually made to work that. McChrystal's attitude was yes. I know if we go into someone's home in the middle of the night will create a business that we want to take down so fall elst that when that angry brother will son whatever it is tries to report to take part in the Jihad. There's no one to talk to because all of his father or brothers friends they have also been lifted in the same forty hour period now. This was a critical to what they wanted to do. It involved Mount Mount multiple raids every night. Sometimes a particular task force would do what they call bounce homes they go from one target they would find intelligence there they go on to another target and another another one and they could round up a whole group of people half dozen people say and petit commits and sell in one night and little by little that was going to have an effect. Jay sock had developed into a well oiled machine every single night for special task forces spread out through Iraq doc and performed up to a dozen raids at one time each group was assigned to take down targets in a different part of US occupied territories to the north is task force read formed from the army's seventy fifth Rangers Brigade to the West Task Force blue made up of US Navy seals the center of Iraq was the responsibility of task force green staffed by the US Army's most elite unit Delta Force and finally these soldiers were joined by the SAS ask operating under the codename feeling among many of the American intelligence operators that the SAS and the other British special forces also is the Special Boat Service and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment had skills that were quite unusual and quite different to the type of skills that Delta force or the seals at the American training and operational activity at all been based around if you like action man leaping out of helicopters boarding ships this kind of stuff assault rolls whereas the British special forces because of their long involvement not just in Northern Ireland but in places like the Balkans where they've been involved in the hunt for war criminals they had skills to do with the patient nurturing uh of targets and groups have targets now that involves surveillance involved creativity stealth about how for example could you get a remote surveillance camera hammer onto a balcony overlooking at target. You might be interested in they came up with all sorts of things they drove around in Baghdad taxis they disguise themselves and the American intelligence people saw some of these during the early years in in Baghdad and they liked it. They actually there's something we can learn from these people because because they could better that counseling themselves they also got Iraqi colleagues that they could use some of those cover tasks but right the way through the Americans did value the fact act that the British could add another very highly trained very professional special operations task force to their lay down because they were in Baghdad. They could go after ah the same very very high. Importance targets McChrystal and his team worked through their targets night after night. The supply lines of foreign fighters were being being intercepted. Bombmakers were taken out of action mountains of intelligence captured and analyzed despite two years of taking all Zerkalo as network apart the ultimate objective the man himself still eluded them were under tremendous amount of pressure to deliver results quickly every day we were reminded of how important it was to find an killer taps rebel muscles are Kylie because he was the key to winning the war and that pressure was reinforced from a variety of leaders continuously on US support for covert comes from manscaping who who is number one in men's below the belt grooming manscaping offers precision engineered tools for your family jewels okay so here's the TMI portion of the recording and I no longer rocky nut fro anymore so I have to take care of some things down there and it's a delicate operation and let me tell you razors and testicles tickles don't generally go together and there until now hasn't really been anything on the market that can take care of things down there safely well. 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Thank you so go ahead and get twenty percents off go to manscaping dot com use the code owed covert the turning point was the farmhouse raid in the moments after operatives to control of the Farmhouse Farmhouse Task Force black swept the building looking for any clues to ulcer cowboys whereabouts along with the hostages the task force provided McChrystal's J. Socks Special Operations Command with the computers and phones they found on the premises the rate became known as larch wood four they sweep everything they think might the aerobics mobile phones computers everything else and they take it away as a result of launch with four and subsequent operations consumer generated a huge amount of actionable intelligence came into Jason's hands in the House that Ah fool so all to get they had a computer when Ajay sock analysts started to probe one of the captured computers he discovered something extraordinary raw footage of ulcer collie himself from his recent propaganda video the footage shows him in a desert area firing weapons and urging his his supporters to show no mercy against their so called enemies he Iraq's Shia community and the US forces this video proves to be vital because it shows Jay sock what else collie looks like currently the task force swab the laptop and send the material evidence for DNA analysis through traces of DNA that were found late in the US Senate was backed up and sent back to the US for analysis they would conclude. It was his laptop on the laptop. They found around the video of him. Performing in the desert they found sorts of other things of course information about operations of his sells strategy documents if they were absolutely sure that they had got much closer to the person they wanted the analysts realized that Al-Zour does your car we must have left the house just hours before the SAS arrived. It wasn't until we discovered the video footage of him. from one of our rates that we actually started to get excited that we're close because the house where we picked up that video footage one of the teams told us or are we at least believed from what he told us that that had been in that house probably within the last forty eight hours before we rated it and that's when we we finally had the confidence to think that we're we're trail. The assault team from J. Sock has secured a major breakthrough from my position in the White House. I I remember it building over time. I don't remember there being single. Aha moment where you said now I know we're going to get him. It was the momentum had shifted the raids raids of his network were getting faster and closer to him and so you had the sense we're going to get there you had you had an increase in confidence that we were getting closer that we're putting the squeeze on him and that the military was ultimately going to be successful something else that stood out to the investigators after further reviewing the videos videos made by als or Kali they discovered outtakes. We analyzed it and we we find this raw video our colleagues in the one where he's out in the desert firing in the gun jams and he doesn't know how to declare it. Many of our colleagues followers know him to be a fearsome warrior but the video clearly shows him to be an overweight unimpressive oppressive figure of a man and appears completely unable to control the recoil of his machine gun initially he appears not to know how to fire more than one shot at a time and immediately immediately after he figures out how to switch it to fully automatic mode his weapon jams and the self styled holy warrior can't get it going again. He has to ask a friend. The unblock the stoppage the video that we saw that al-Qaeda released didn't have all the Kooks in it you know it only showed is probably being a strong on fighter that that whole image of infants ability but the reality is on the raw footage he didn't even know how to clear weapon and so the professors told a very different picture of who he was he was far from the seasoned fighter he had led people to believe he was. The coalition released the full. We'll unedited video to the media. Meanwhile deep inside the Task Force's secret detention center Jay socks interrogators gators got to work on the five men they captured from the Farmhouse Matthew Alexander a senior military interrogator who witnessed and conducted many of these. He's interviews firsthand. The men that we brought in we called the group of five and we knew that they were five important members al Qaeda but we didn't know what their roles were. Initially you know they claimed to be just a taxi driver. A guy who was there to videotape a wedding and they had this very unbelievable story that they're there to attend a wedding. Even though there was no bride or groom there were suicide bombers in the house but essentially we went to interrogate these five separately and little oh by little we will get information from one of them and then we'll take that and turn around and use it against the other for one member of the group the senior ache you is operatives known as Abu Hater refused to say anything other hyder initially claimed that he was just a videographer that he was there to film the wedding and he was probably one of the detainees gave the least amount of information initially he was interrogated for about twenty days during that time he just maintained this story that he was just there to videotape a wedding. Even though it was completely unbelievable for weeks rotating teams of interrogators try psychological pressure please for Cooperation Asian subtle threats despite their efforts he would not talk and officials had to make a decision they arranged to have him sent to Iraq's main detention. Shen facility Abu Ghraib prison in the Saddam Hussein era Abu Ghraib prison was one of the world's most notorious with torture weekly the executions and vile living conditions as many as fifty thousand men and women were crammed into cells there at one time after the regime's collapse the complex was deserted and quickly refitted as a US prison with accompanying medical center however even under US military control the prison soon descends ends once again into a place where prisoners were systematically and illegally abused. Matthew Alexander wanted to avoid these men reaching Abu Ghraib. He believed he could get the information he needed from. Abu Haider using the traditional interrogation techniques so after the first few weeks of interrogation when when he wasn't providing any information the the senior analyst on our on our team decided to transfer him decision was made to get rid of him that he would never talk and so we sent him to another prison where he would just disappear into the anonymous crowd and I decided that I would go in and interrogate they gave him one last time before he left and I didn't really have permission to do that but I felt that he was or could provide very important information towards findings or Kali and so about six hours before he was transferred he was to get on a helicopter. I went in and brought him into interrogation. Asian Room and began a conversation and that conversation started with nothing about al Qaeda nothing about terrorism. It started with a friendly conversation about he was What was his life story on. How did he come to be sitting in a chair opposite me and getting to know each other and we shared stories about yeah. are are both of us have appreciation for Ultimate Fighting Championship we talked about wrestling. We talked about soccer. We talked about the politics of the Middle East and we talked about a lot of things just so I can kind of understand who he was and what I understood stood and got to know about him that I five and a half hours is that he was a grand diga West. This is a man who really held himself in high esteem every time. I said I did something he would say. He did that plus one better you know he's that type of person who always had to be the smartest most capable person the room in once. I understood that about him in that was his personality type than I knew exactly what type of technique to use against him and that was a technique called pride go up which is where I would constantly strike a stroke his ego constantly make him believe in this fallacy that said that he was a very important man that he could affect the future of Iraq and then in the last fifteen minutes what I did was essentially offer him a deal offered him the chance to work with US instead of Al Qaeda and a secret program that didn't exist in which he could be a person who could influence the future of Iraq Alexander visited Abu Haider in his cell at night regularly and coaxed more and more information out of him about als are cowboys whereabouts all on the pretext of proving his worth for the non existent secret program. What I asked him was to prove his trust that we did have a relationship in which I could trust him he could trust me and I told him. If I was going to trust him that he would have to give me the name of a terrorist who I was thinking about and that he knew the name and I knew the name but but I wanted him to say it and the reality is I didn't. I didn't have any name in mind. It was all bluff but he thought about it for a while. It looked me up and down. They said the name you're looking for is a boot Abu Ayoub al-Massari in at the time was the number two man al Qaeda right below circle and so I knew immediately he knows other you've Mostra for certain he knows Sikali and so as soon as he said that he knew Eupol mastery I immediately started to think who else does he know Collie because even master himself itself you know he was kind of the ghost of al-Qaeda the guy that nobody would ever admit to meeting nobody had ever seen and here's the guy sitting in front of me was the first person we ever had to admit to meeting almost three so. I knew he was extremely important. In a new he had to know other people in the inner circles of Al Qaeda and a few weeks later I went to meet with him one night in his cell and he said I said you're so close to getting this program. All we need. Is that one last piece of information. That'll that'll convince my bosses and he said I'll give it to the interrogators tomorrow and the next day he came in and he told the interrogators that every month of we would meet with his spiritual adviser. Who was our detainees best friend. Hey folks real quick. I want to talk talk about one of our sponsors this week. vistaprint one of the things that people don't realize about acting and voice overs and podcasting is that just like any other business. It's all about the people that you know and it's the connections that you make and you really never know what those connections are. GonNa come from so it's really important to be able to have something on you so that you can handle somebody just in case you make that one connection. 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We knew we had identified individuals in various cells that were part of the pieces of putting these bombs together the other. We knew that Zarqa we had a spiritual adviser. We knew that he was going to visit him and so as you got each of those little elements you understood but it was absolutely the inevitable that we'd be successful is just a matter of being patient because eventually he would we had enough intelligence and enough of a network that eventually he was going to make a mistake and give us an opportunity and that's exactly what happened using this information. J. sock swiftly traced the spiritual adviser and began following him day and night using high-tech systems uh-huh like Predator drones as well as old fashioned undercover operatives. They created what McChrystal called the unblinking eye. Their target was never out of sight. Abu Haider tells Alexander that if they wanNA find all Zerkalo they need to look for one particular sign so our detainee a hater told us that his best friend was all Rochman any told us where to find out Rochman any told us that we would know when I'll rochman was going to visits our colleague because he would get into a blue car so we went and found Brockman at a mosque in Baghdad to the analysts dismay. Every times are Cowie's. His spiritual adviser drove around the city. It would be in a white car. We followed him from his mosque twenty four hours a day and eventually he did got in a blue car and we lost him in Baghdad traffic and so all that work you know everything that had gone in to try to find some in that moment was lost and we were devastated. We'd put all this effort into it and because we lost a car in traffic we'd lost their chances colleen uh but lucky for us this this adviser. He went back to the same mosque. I mean that's where he teaches. That's where he he lives until he picked him up again and followed him again and I believe a couple weeks later he went and got in that same blue car again and then we fall this man got into his car and headed out of town so the time came they decided that they'd assemble the resources to see where he was going and they use. Predator other methods to fully he's call by now. Pictures from the drone were being fed live to Jason Sox command center. Everyone including General McChrystal himself watched in silence as Roman drives into a large compound and gets out of the car. Uh to the task force's surprise Abu Musab Al-Zour Cali the man responsible for killing so many innocent men women and children walked into the car to greet him time is precious and critical discussion was held in the command center. Is it worth trying to capture all Zerkalo alive in broad daylight. Is it better to wait until nightfall and take him when he's asleep. If they strike they risk a heavy firefight and numerous casualties worse. Al-Zour cow is a master the last minute escape if they wait he could easily slip through the net again. This could be their one and only chance to finish the job. Matthew View looks on totally unaware of what decision the commanding officers would take to take out Al-Zour Cowie McChrystal believes. There's no time to lose he. He can't even wait twenty minutes for the Assault Force to arrive by helicopter he ops for another plan designed to take all cowie completely by surprise. General Stanley McChrystal's decision is that nothing can be left to chance he calls up to sixteen fighters patrolling nearby once the blue car arrived at the house. helicopters took off immediately to go to that House and captures Cali and it was about twenty minutes away and there was a period time in which we were just waiting. I was watching it live on video. in the car had arrived at the house. We'd seen you know all Rochman go inside and we were just waiting and we're expecting to watch the helicopters land in the rate which we typically would watch and instead after about maybe a five minute minute wait the house just exploded and it turns out that the committee had just decided to order the bombing house to ensure that circle he didn't escape again in you know so then maybe ten or fifteen minutes after that the helicopters landed still alive on a stretcher being carried away and and that's when one of the special operations soldiers ran up and stopped these two Iraqis carrying on the stretcher and I looked at him and tried to roll off the stretcher and the soldier grabbed him in conway died. It was sort of a sweet justice office if you will that. SARCOMAS last image was a US soldier grabbing him the day following the bombing the coalition announces to the world that they have their man at last and released photos of his dead body as a grim confirmation. The following is an excerpt group from former secretary of defense. Donald Rumsfeld's two thousand six NATO speech last evening. US forces in Iraq in a town called Baka killed Abu Masada is czar calway the leading terrorists in Iraq and one of the three senior al-Qaeda leaders worldwide there are going to be people who are determined to kill innocent men women children and and they'll others will come along but in terms of someone who has gotten up that high and and then that effective killing Lillard literally thousands of Iraqis were killed bill by this man the death of is our car we while enormously important I will not mean the end of all violence in that country and one ought. I'm not to take it as such but let there be no doubt his the the fact that he is dead. is a significant victory in the battle against terrorism in that country and I would say worldwide because he had interests well outside of Iraq. He was an integral part of the global war on terror. It's a devastating blow to al Qaeda in Iraq. The man who was thought to be invincible was dead. You know it's interesting. I don't from my time in the White House. I remember hearing the the the moment win. Saddam Hussein was killed. I remember coming into to the White House in hearing sarcophagi had been killed but it's not there's no relish in that right because the minute one of these leaders killed or taken out on the battlefield battlefield. You're moving on because there's going to be somebody to replace them. In so I frankly I can remember hearing Sarkhouh was killed knowing that that gave us a window of opportunity thirty while they were regrouping to continue to target them in further degrade their capability clearly their work was not over with the intelligence that was collected from the smoldering remains remains of Ulcer Cowie's compound another series of raids was launched and started to fall like a stack of Dominos. I think the truth is that findings was an absolute imperative he in many propaganda statements had summed his nose he he basically made the case that his ability to wage his kind of G. had without being captured or killed was a sign of his power and of the weakness the US on the Iraqi government that it was trying to set up so killing him on doubtedly had an impact there was a lot of expectation from from the rate of material was recovered it allow further inroads there were dozens of rates in the weeks that followed to be made into the kite strong structure and we can see eh that little by little through two thousand six through to the early party number seven they did successfully take them down to his car is our Co.. If you like was evidence of a bigger strategy that was really getting seriously affected by that point and by the summer of two thousand and seven uh-huh cadre in Iraq had largely been smashed. The death is our cow as we suspected would it was a devastating blow to the organization there was you know a good deal of chaos inside the organization and what you do is you know when you're targeting. You're also collecting intelligence on the network and so with that allows you to do as the minute he's dead their former vulnerable the the the people around him than they realize and so you do a series of raids that is devastating reading and they never really came back from from his death and it turned the tide of the war and the momentum to the side of the coalition in a way. I I suppose should have been expected but you can never be confident. You had that moment. You know I mean obviously it's good news. It's a victory on. He clearly had some operational talent had some leadership talent had the trust of bin Laden. had a larger than life figure so you can't say it's a bad thing to take him in his and his minions out. Was it a blow to al Qaeda and Iraq I think so they changed the landscape escape immediately now and there are those in even in the policy community in the United States and in the media that said it really made no difference personally I think it did better to dump them off than have him still operating on the battlefield and he had killed along America's interrogator. Matthew Alexander offers a different in perspective though I do think there was an element of justice although I think justice is best served in court but in an environment like this. We're doing counterinsurgency. We're still in a combat zone. You know a killer. Capture is the justice that you're trying trying to get from the perspective of a soldier who's hunting a terrorist in in a combat zone and do I lament over the death is our Collie in no way yeah. This was a guy who had murdered thousands of people in fact he murdered many more people than Osama bin Laden ever. Did you say Cali could be responsible for upwards almost one hundred thousand deaths by starting the civil war in Iraq and so. I don't think the world's GonNa Miss Him. I can't really the say do I agree with this or not agree with to bomb the house if it was me I'd like to say that I would have waited in raid the house so we could avoid civilian casualties but I can't blame the commander either for bombing the house because we had escaped before and you can make the argument that killings colleagues saved thousands sense of lives. I the lives at cost but there's no way really to justify this regardless. al-zirkli led the Jihadist insurgency into Iraq. When he was killed it was hoped that his campaign of terror would collapse tragically in death? Al-Zour colley left a legacy of more death and bloodshed by two thousand thirteen terrorist operation he helped grow in Iraq had morphed into the terror group. We know today as Isis and by two thousand fourteen the group had full control of the Iraqi city of collusion thankfully by early two thousand thousand Nineteen Isis influence over the region was diminishing. The fight against terrorism still continues. That's all for covert. Susan to we will be back for season three special. Thanks to the folks at audio boom and world media rights and all the sponsors that help make this podcast possible title. I want to take a second. Thank all of you for listening if you have time and feel so inclined swing on over to Instagram at covert podcast there's all kinds ends of additional content and if you want you can say hi. I'd love to talk to you. Covert is an audio boom in world meteorites co production hosted by me Jaime Renou. It's produced by audio booms. Ben Hasley Rachel Jacobs Casey Georgie and Karen Bevan and by Pascal Hughes for World Meteorites we had additional production action help from world media rights by Gerald's Bangla David mcnabb's the series creative director and executive producers for audio boom are Brendan Regan and Stewart last asked if you haven't already don't forget to follow us on spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts stitcher wherever you find your favorite shows and if you've got some time it gives us a review

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