ISIS Leader: ‘See You in New York’

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.
The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S.  detention camp in Iraq in 2009.
“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.
King didn’t take these words from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a threat. Al-Baghdadi knew that many of his captors were from New York, reservists with the 306 Military Police Battalion, a unit based on Long Island that includes numerous numerous members of the NYPD and the FDNY. The camp itself was named after FDNY Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, who was killed at the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
King figured that al-Baghdadi was just saying that he had known all along that it was all essentially a joke, that he had only to wait and he would be freed to go back to what he had been doing.
“Like, ‘This is no big thing, I’ll see you on the block,’” King says.
King had not imagined that in less that five years he would be seeing news reports that al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISISthe ultra-extremist army that was sweeping through Iraq toward Baghdad.
“I’m not surprised that it was someone who spent time in Bucca but I’m a little surprised it was him,” King says. “He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst.”
King allows that along with being surprised he was frustrated on a very personal level.
“We spent how many missions and how many soldiers were put at risk when we caught this guy and we just released him,” King says.
During the four years that al-Baghdadi was in custody, there had been no way for the Americans to predict what a danger he would become. Al-Baghdadi hadn’t even been assigned to Compound 14, which was reserved for the most virulently extremist Sunnis.
“A lot of times, the really bad guys tended to operate behind the scenes because they wanted to be invisible,” the other officer says.
“The worst of the worst were kept in one area,” King says. “I don’t recall him being in that group.”
Al-Baghdadi was also apparently not one of the extremists who presided over Sharia courts that sought to enforce fundamentalist Islamic law among their fellow prisoners. One extremist made himself known after the guards put TV sets outside the 16-foot chain-link fence that surrounded each compound. An American officer saw a big crowd form in front of one, but came back a short time later to see not a soul.
“Some guy came up and shooed them all away because TV was Western,” recalls the officer, who asked not to be named. “So we identified who that guy was, put a report in his file, kept him under observation for other behaviors.”
The officer says the guards kept constant watch for clues among the prisoners for coalescing groups and ascending leaders.
“You can tell when somebody is eliciting leadership skills, flag him, watch him further, how much leadership they’re excerpting and with whom,” the other officer says. “You have to constantly stay after it because it constantly changes, sometimes day by day.”
The guards would seek to disrupt the courts along with and any nascent organizations and hierarchies by moving inmates to different compounds, though keeping the Sunnis and the Shiites separate.
“The Bloods with the Bloods and the Crips with the Crips, that kind of thing,” King says.
The guards would then move the prisoners again and again. That would also keep the prisoners from spotting any possible weaknesses in security.
“The detainees have nothing but time,” King says. “They’re looking at patterns, they’re looking at routines, they’re looking for opportunities.”
As al-Baghdadi and the 26,000 other prisoners were learning the need for patience in studying the enemy, the guards would be constantly searching for homemade weapons fashioned from what the prisoners dug up, the camp having been built on a former junkyard.
“People think of a detainee operation, they think it’s a sleepy Hogans Heroes-type camp,” the other officer says. “And it’s nothing of the sort.”
Meanwhile, al-Baghdadi’s four years at Camp Bucca would have been a perpetual lesson in the importance of avoiding notice.
“A lot of times, the really bad guys tended to operate behind the scenes because they wanted to be invisible,”  the other officer says.
King seemed confident that he and his guards with their New York street sense would have known if al-Baghdadi had in fact been prominent among the super-bad guys when he was at Camp Bucca.
King had every reason to think he had seen the last of al-Baghdadi in the late summer of 2009, when this seemingly unremarkable prisoner departed with a group of others on one of the C-17 cargo-plane flights that ferried them to a smaller facility near Baghdad. Camp Bucca closed not along afterward.
Al-Baghdadi clearly remembered some of the lessons of his time there. He has made no videos, unlike Osama bin Laden and many of the other extremist leaders. The news reports might not have had a photo of him at all were it not for the one taken by the Americans when he was first captured in 2005.
That is the face that King was so surprised to see this week as the man who had become the absolute worst of the worst, so bad that even al Qaeda had disowned him. The whole world was stunned as al-Baghdadi now told his enemies “I’ll see you in Baghdad.”

Will the US de facto side with Shi'a nations ( Iran and Iraq ) vs GCC nations such as Saudis , Kuwait , Qatar in a Middle East Sunni vs Shi'a conflict with ISIS / ISIL being proxy fighters for Sunni nations ? 

From Hot Air.....

Shi’ites mobilizing in Baghdad as ISIS approaches — with tacit Sunni support from Saudis, Kuwaitis?


The long-feared regional war between Shi’ites and Sunnis may be closer than ever. The Washington Post analyzes the rise of ISIS (sometimes called ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, which didn’t only grow organically in the vacuum left by the American withdrawal from Iraq. While the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait oppose ISIS, their subjects have helped build it and may end up threatening to rewrite the political map of Southwest Asia:
As Sunni jihadists have pushed from Syria deep into Iraq, making startling gains that are now threatening Baghdad, they are highlighting the increasingly uncomfortable position of Persian Gulf states that have backed Syria’s predominantly Sunni rebels.
Officially, Iraq’s southern neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, oppose groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which captured advanced weaponry caches and forced a dramatic retreat of government security forces across northern Iraq this week.
But citizens in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have quietly funneled vast sums of money to and joined the ranks of ISIS and other jihadist groups fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria over the past two years, analysts and U.S. officials have said.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has ignored the conflict, just as he has ignored the Nouri al-Maliki government for the last several years. So too has Kuwait, the emirate rescued by the US after Saddam Hussein’s attempt to forcibly annex it to Iraq, and the reason why the US was involved in Iraq in the first place. That leaves Iran to come to Maliki’s rescue, and further exacerbates the millenia-old conflict between the Sunni and Shi’a branches of Islam in the region.
Now Iran is suggesting that their nation should partner with the so-called “Great Satan” — the US — to defend Baghdad and what’s left of Iraq:
Shi’te Muslim Iran is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.
The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic’s leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.
Officials say Iran will send its neighbor advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say. …
Tehran is open to the possibility of working with the United States to support Baghdad, the senior official said.
That move would not only make the Saudis and Kuwaitis more hostile to Maliki, but also more hostile to the US. The outreach to Iran over the last year by the Obama administration has already perplexed and angered them, and they worry that the US might be thinking of shifting alliances to the Shi’ites in order to disentangle itself from the responsibilities of containing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. A military alliance on behalf of the Shi’ites to salvage the debacle in Iraq might not have that intention, but that’s how it will be perceived.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, the city’s defense will rely on Shi’ite mobilization, further highlighting the sectarian divide:
Hundreds of Iraqis converged on volunteer centers across Baghdad on Saturday in response to a call by Iraq’s highest Shiite cleric to fight back against a Sunni jihadist group making rapid gains across the north.
Iraqi Shiite volunteers were responding to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who on Friday issued a rare call to arms to the nation’s Shiites, setting the stage for sectarian war, local media reported.
Satellite channel Sky News Arabia broadcast footage showing dozens of Iraqis gathering at centers in Baghdad to volunteer in the fight against ISIS.
Shiite religious volunteers would partially plug the ranks of Iraq’s decimated security forces, after jihadists from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rapidly seized ground from the northern city of Mosul to a town just 60 miles north of Baghdad this week in a stunning military advance that threatens to divide this fragile nation.
Only “hundreds”? [See update below.] If all Sistani can summon to face down ISIS while it’s 50 miles out and closing in on Baghdad is a few hundred fighters, then both Sistani and Maliki may well be doomed, at least in the capital. Iran may well have to commit troops to just provide a retreat corridor to Basra and allow the Shi’ites in Iraq to organize better for a counter-offensive, if and when American help ever arrives.
Even if they do manage to hold Baghdad, it’s going to be a very different place if Sistani succeeds:
Baghdad residents said those signing up are largely members of Shiite militias notorious for bloodletting during the darkest days of Iraq’s civil war, raising fears of a return to levels of sectarian violence that could tear the country apart.
That sectarian violence has already arrived. After the Sunni-extremist ISIS sweep and brutal occupation, it’s going to be almost impossible to put Iraq back together as a multi-cultural democratic republic.
The Kurds are well aware of these consequences. They’re fighting ISIS in the north, as this AP video shows, and perhaps staking out their own turf for independent statehood after decades of being bottled up by successive Iraqi monarchs, dictators, and republics:

Raw: Kurds Clash With ISIL in Iraq

Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, took control of the Iraqi...

AP Television News footage showed Kurdish fighters, known as peshmerga, driving out militants who had taken over an army outpost some 15 miles west of the oil city of Kirkuk. The position had earlier been abandoned by Iraqi army troops. Long coveted by the Kurds who have a self-rule region in northern Iraq, Kirkuk fell under the control of the peshmerga this week after Iraqi army forces left. …
The latest bout of fighting, stoked by the civil war in neighboring Syria, has pushed the nation even closer to a precipice that could partition it into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish zones.
The Turks won’t be happy about that — they have been fighting Kurdish separatists for decades on both sides of the border. On the other hand, if the alternative is ISIS reaching their borders, the Turks might have to reconsider their previous opposition to Kurdish statehood.
Update: I got my ayatollah scorecards mixed up in the first version of this post. Ali al-Sistani was the Shi’ite cleric that attempted to work with the US; it was Moqtada al-Sadr who went to war intermittently with the US, who later semi-retired from politics. Since we’re on that subject, though, Sadr hasn’t been silent either:
Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who led the once-feared Mahdi Army militia, on Wednesday called for the formation of units to defend religious sites in Iraq.
Sadr said in a written statement that he was ready “to form peace units to defend the holy places” of both Muslims and Christians, in cooperation with the government.
His call came after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the government would arm citizens who volunteer to fight militants, following the fall of Iraq’s second city Mosul and a swathe of other territory to jihadist Sunnis on Tuesday.
But Sadr’s involvement in the formation of such units would almost certainly be unacceptable to Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority, members of which are also deeply mistrustful of Iraq’s Shiite-led government.
He’s also making that call from Beirut, not Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Washington Postprofiles Sistani for a reminder of his influence:
Sistani emerged from relative passivity after Saddam Hussein’s ouster by U.S. forces in 2003 to become a vocal religious and political guide for Iraq’s suddenly empowered Shiite masses.
His words Friday marked a radical departure for a man who has played a powerful hand in shaping Iraqi politics, but has typically urged Iraqi Shiites to resist provocation to sectarian bloodshed.
And as the most powerful religious authority in Iraq, Sistani’s words were likely to find support among the country’s Shiites and political leaders, who are desperate to hold on to power and have a fleet of well-trained Shiite militias ready to act.
My apologies for confusing the two in my original post, and thanks to Calbear for correcting me by e-mail.