The current leader of the Daesh terrorist group was an “eager” informant of the US military in Iraq, new records released this week have shown.
Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi replaced Abu Bakr aAl-Baghdadi, who was killed during a US operation in Syria’s Idlib province in 2019.
US officials opened a rare window into the terrorist chief’s early days as a militant with the release this week of dozens of formerly classified interrogation reports from his months in an American detention camp in Iraq. Details of Al-Qurashi, whose real name is Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman Al-Mawla, were known to the US Defence Department as he was in American custody beginning in January 2008. But the newly released records show that he was as invaluable to the US as much as he was a willing informant.
The portrait of Al-Mawla that emerges, according to details of the newly released documents published in the Washington Post, is that of someone who is eager to help the Americans, a prison snitch who offered US forces scores of priceless details that helped them battle the terrorist organisation.
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“Detainee seems to be more cooperative with every session,” one 2008 report says of Al-Mawla. “Detainee is providing a lot of information on ISI associates,” says another referring to Daesh in a different name.
The depth of cooperation was spelled out in 53 partially redacted reports of Al-Mawla working with American forces including assisting with artists’ sketches of top terrorism suspects, and identifying restaurants and cafes where his erstwhile comrades preferred to dine.
“He did a number of things to save his own neck, and he had a long record of being hostile — including during interrogation — toward foreigners in ISIS,” said Christopher Maier, assistant secretary of defence for special operations and low-intensity conflict, who discussed in an interview the records released by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, a Pentagon-funded academic institution at the US Military Academy.
The records, which were released as part of an academic study, have helped US officials fill in blanks in the biography of Al-Mawla who was a relatively obscure functionary in Daesh when he was named “caliph.”
Al-Mawla was captured in late 2007 or early 2008, and was subjected to dozens of interrogations by US military officials. The precise date of his release is not known, but the interrogation record stops in July 2008, said the Post.
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