The deal was brokered by the government of Qatar, which has agreed to host the five Taliban inmates in the Gulf emirate for at least one year. At this point in the 2016 election process, it is too early to endorse any particular candidate; thus, nothing posted on this website, should be construed as such. An al Qaeda fighter who had been released in exchange for former French hostage Serge Lazarevic was killed by French special forces during a raid in the Kidal region of northern Mali yesterday. The Associated Press reported that yesterday’s operation occurred in the Tigharghar mountains in the northern Kidal region.
French special forces also killed two al Qaeda leaders, Hamada Ag Hama and Ibrahim Ag Inawalen, in a nighttime raid in northern Mali in May. Wadossene, along with three others, had been released by the Malian government in exchange for the release of Lazarevic late last year. Lazarevic was seized in 2011 in Mali by jihadists affiliated to AQIM. Rijke appeared in an AQIM video released in November alongside Lazarevic, in which both appealed to their respective governments for their release.
AQIM has a history of taking Western hostages for propaganda purposes and as a source of revenue. In 2010, Michel Germaneau, a French hostage held by AQIM, died while in captivity.
AQIM was also responsible for the kidnapping of Spanish nationals in Mauritania and an Italian and French national in Mali in 2009, as well as many more abductions throughout North Africa. The al Qaeda branch’s prolific kidnappings have even led senior al Qaeda leaders to tighten their control over hostage-taking, possibly to better coordinate these types of operations.
In November 2010, AQIM emir Abdelmalek Droukdel said that France would have to negotiate with Osama bin Laden himself to secure the release of several French hostages. Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal. A man described by NBC as a senior Taliban commander in the Pakistani city of Quetta said that Noori is being treated for mental issues he developed after being held captive for 12 years.
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An Iranian-backed Shia terror group that claims it seeks reconciliation with the Iraqi government has kidnapped a US civilian in Baghdad. The kidnapping of the US contractor comes just a little more than a month after the US military released Qaiz Qazali, the leader of the League of the Righteous.
Qazali was released in late December 2009, purportedly as part of a reconciliation process, which the League has suspended this week as it claims the Iraqi government will not free all of its members.
But Qazali was released at the same time that a British contractor, who had been captured by the League of the Righteous in May of 2007, was turned over to the British.
The release of Qazali and his brother Laith, who was freed in July 2009 along with more than 100 other members of the group, has angered US military and intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal.
The kidnapping of the US contractor is seen as evidence the League of the Righteous has no intentions of reconciling as claimed and will continue to use violence to achieve their ends. Qais Qazali was the commander of the League of the Righteous before US forces detained him and several other Shia terrorists in 2007. The League of the Righteous was directly implicated by General David Petraeus as being behind the January 2007 attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala as well as other high-profile terror attacks in Iraq.
The attack on the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center was a complex, sophisticated operation. The US military caught a break when it detained Laith and Qais and several other members of the network during a raid in Basrah in March 2007. Both the Iraqi government and the US military have stated that Iran has backed various Shia terror groups inside Iraq, including elements of the Mahdi Army.

Since late 2006, US and Iraqi forces have captured and killed several high-level Qods Force officers inside Iraq. Since mid-October 2008, Iraqi and US forces have killed one Qods Force operative and captured 17 during raids throughout southern and central Iraq. Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has supported various Shia militias and terror groups inside Iraq, including the Mahdi Army. Immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iran established the Ramazan Corps to direct operations inside Iraq. US military officers believe that Iran has been ramping up its operations inside Iraq since its surrogates suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Iraqi military during the spring and summer of 2008. The League of the Righteous was a faction of Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army that splintered after Sadr announced in June 2008 that he would disband the Mahdi Army and formed a small, secretive military arm to fight Coalition forces. Sadr loyalist Qais Qazali was commander of the League of the Righteous up until his capture in 2007. The League of the Righteous receives funding, training, weapons, and direction from the Qods Force.
The size of the League of the Righteous is unknown, but hundreds of members of the group were killed, captured, or fled to Iran during the Iraqi government offensive against the Mahdi Army from March to July of 2008, according to the US military. Sadr is looking to pull the rank and file of the League back into the fold of the Sadr political movement. The Promise Day Brigade, the newest of the Iranian-backed groups, was formed by anti-American Shia leader Muqtada al Sadr during the summer of 2008 after he announced he would disband the Mahdi Army and formed a small, secretive military arm to fight Coalition forces in June. The Hezbollah Brigades, or Kata’ib Hezbollah, has been active in and around Baghdad since 2007. The terror group is an offshoot of the Iranian-trained Special Groups, the US military said last summer.
Both the US military and the Iraqi military believe that the Special Groups are preparing to reinitiate fighting as their leaders and operatives are beginning to filter back into Iraq from Iran. In July 2009, General David Petraeus, the commanding officer of US Central Command, said during an interview at the World Affairs Council Global Leadership Series that Iran continues to back the Special Groups. Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Any Officer, looking at the facts, should know that you can’t release this guy without effectively breaking the faith with the rest of your Soldiers. Mohamad Ali Ag Wadossene, a member of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa, had previously been captured by French forces in Mali sometime last year. A Malian military official stated that a dozen other AQIM fighters were also captured in the assault. Hama, who also went by Abdul Karim al Tuareg, was the leader of AQIM’s Katibat al Ansar. He was kidnapped along with another French national, Philippe Verdon, who was killed by AQIM in 2013. And in 2013, four French hostages were released by AQIM after being held for three years; it is speculated that a ransom of 20 million Euros was paid to free them. The Taliban official said he had not personally been in touch with the released prisoners, but his men in Qatar were. The US recently released the top leader of the group under the guise of a reconciliation program, but the release actually was related to a hostage exchange.

Qazali was behind the kidnapping and murder of five US soldiers in Karbala in January 2007 and numerous other acts of terrorism before he was captured in March 2007. The Shia terror group previously executed four other British contractors who had also been held hostage.
At the time of Qazali’s release, US military and intelligence officials said that the reconciliation program was an excuse to conduct a hostage exchange and warned that the group would return to terrorism.
Qais commanded a large Mahdi Army faction and served as a spokesman and senior aide to Muqtada al Sadr. The assault team, led by tactical commander Azhar al Dulaimi, was trained in a mock-up of the center that was built in Iran. While the Iranian government has denied the charges, Iraqi and US forces have detained dozens of Iranian Qods Force officers and operatives, captured numerous Shia terrorist leaders under Iranian command, and found ample documentation as well as Iranian-made and Iranian-supplied weapons. The US military says that Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah have helped establish, fund, train, arm, and provide operational support for Shia terror groups such as the Hezbollah Brigades and the League of the Righteous. Iraqi troops went on the offensive against the Mahdi Army and other Iranian-backed terror groups in Baghdad, Basrah, and central and southern Iraq. The operation forced Muqtada al Sadr to agree to a cease-fire, disband the Mahdi Army, and pull the Sadrist political party out of the provincial elections. The new group, called the Brigade of the Promised Day, has not been linked to any attacks since its formation in the summer of 2008.
The League of the Righteous conducts attacks with the deadly armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles known as EFPs, as well as with the more conventional roadside bombs. The terror group has increased its profile by conducting attacks against US and Iraqi forces, using the deadly explosively-formed penetrator land mines and improvised rocket-assisted mortars, which have been described as flying improvised explosive devices.
Hezbollah Brigades receives funding, training, logistics, guidance, and material support from the Qods Force.
All five men who were released, including Noori, are being treated at a hospital in Qatar, the relative said of Noori. The terror group, which was part of the Mahdi Army until the spring of 2008, has received extensive financial and military support from Iran’s Qods Force, the external division that backs Hezbollah and is tasked with supporting the Khomeinist Islamist revolution. The US soldiers were executed after US and Iraqi security forces closed in on the assault team. The unit had excellent intelligence and received equipment that made them appear to be US soldiers.
Daqduq is a 24-year veteran of Hezbollah, and he commanded both a Hezbollah special operations unit and the security detail of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
Iran denies the charges, but captive Shia terrorists admit to having been recruited by Iranian agents and then transported into Iran for training. 4, 2009, Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin, the deputy commander of Multinational Forces Iraq, said that Iran continues to arm, fund, and train the Special Groups, and that munitions traced back to Iran continue to be uncovered in Iraq.
I didn’t think it would change anything, but I knew a victim of the 2007 attack, and the LOR nearly killed me in summer 2008 with an EFP, so I did what I felt I needed to do. Azhar al Dulaimi, the leader of the January 2007 Karbala assault team, was killed in a raid in Baghdad in May 2007.

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