Special Forces Nabs 286th Key Zarqawi Aide
(Reuters) July 20, 2005 – American Special Operations forces, in an audacious operation near Mosul, have captured another key lieutenant of Iraq’s al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, General John Abazaid said on Wednesday.
The Central Command (Centcom) commander, speaking in a commanding voice, told “Wolf Blitzer Live” that Delta Force commandos have captured Zarqawi biological weapons commandant Haafez Abu Ali, in a daring daylight raid against his vast underground biological weapons laboratory.
“This was Zarqawi’s main leader in Mosul” said Abazaid, “after we captured his 47 other main leaders in Mosul. We are working our way through his chain of command.” This capture “will really hurt the operation of Zarqawi’s pretty significantly,” he said. “We got those hajji bastards on the run now, and I think this one will defintely turn the tide.”
A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added, “When you look at all the pictures of the Zarqawi network lieutenants that we’ve been telling you exist, he’s the second-in-command of the Mosul element and has the reputation of being the ‘oral-fecal emir’ of Mosul for Zarqawi.”
Abu Ali has long been believed to be behind the development of biological agents for use against American forces, specializing in helminthic infections designed to strain US medical capabilities and lower GI morale. Most of these helminths (worms) are passed on through what physicians call oral-fecal contact.
“People don’t actually intentionally eat (deleted),” explains Colonel Howard Ascariasis, Delta Force’s surgeon. “What happens is flies eat the (deleted) and walk around in the (deleted) at ten o’clock in the morning, then they drop by to share lunch with you at noon. That’s why we built enclosed crappers that are downwind of our living quarters here, with screens. Screens stop flies. We’ve seen some of them clawing at the screens with their little legs trying to create a breach. Iraqi flies are persistent mother(deleted)s. But our screens are very strong, and we also have the hajjis come in with a (deleted)-sucking truck, we call them SST’s, every three days to suck the (deleted) out of the crappers, and they pour in deodorized fluid that smells like lizards. Flies are deathly afraid of lizards. But after a couple of days, the (deleted) smell overpowers the lizard perfume, and the damn flies are back. Between the SST’s and the screens, though, we minimize how many flies can eat (deleted) then share lunch with the boys.”
Asked what particular danger Abu Ali posed, Colonel Ascariasis said, “Ass scratching.”
“That’s the other way we get oral-fecal contact,” said Ascariasis. “These guys go digging in their asses when they itch, which transfers microscopic particles of feces to their fingers, then they forget to wash their hands. Then they play a game of tonk or spades, or they lift weights, and they pass around these particles which can contain helminth eggs.”
Ascariasis noted that the sprawling base and airfield at Mosul was almost brought to a standstill in May by an outbreak of pinworms.
“We suspect that Abu Ali was behind that one,” said Delta Force commander Colonel (redatcted). “It was almost like a little Manhattan Project trying to get rid of those things. People couldn’t hold still. They were like Alabama grade schoolers, squirming and digging up in there all the time.”
Colonel Ascariasis worked with the base commander, Brigadier General Vincent Papilloma, to develop a complex plan that involved the whole base following a very strict sequence of activity for three days, which included psillium laxatives, mandatory handwashing by the whole base every half hour, 30,000 tabs of Mebendozole, 300,000 alcohol wipes, and the burning and reconstruction of all latrine facilities.
“We couldn’t tell the press then,” said Abaziad, “but we think this was the work of Abu Ali. If we had let anyone know that he had this kind of impact before we caught him, then it would have emboldened the terrorists. But we’ve got him now, and with the information he gives us after a week in the Bucca detention facility with those Kurdish interrogators, we can probably roll up the rest of Zarqawi’s 300 or so key aides. I think we are really turning a corner here.”
Sergeant First Class (redacted), one commando who participated in the raid, described the scene in the underground weapons laboratory.
“Fly hatcheries everywhere,” he said. “That’s how he planned to bypass the screens. You can’t just paint the whole (deleted)ing base in lizard pheremones. Huge ventilation fans to keep from killing the flies with the methane gas from the (deleted) that was in Sterno-heated chafing dishes all over the place. That’s how he kept the worms alive. It was the methane that initially gave them away. The ventilation shaft came out at a drainage grate in the street, and one day a cab driver flicked a cigarette and the explosion went off next to a resupply hummer. At first we thought the cabbie was bombing us, so we hosed his cab down with the 50′s and some 40 mike-mike. But then we saw the flame drift out of the grate. It was a lucky break. We searched the dead cabby and found cocaine on him, so we know he was also an insurgent.”
The anonymous Pentagon official said Delta Force was involved in the operation that snared Abu Ali, but was unable to say whether Iraqi government forces played a role.
Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq, led by the Jordanian-born Zarqawi, has carried out some of the deadliest attacks in Iraq.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “This is great news. Abu Ali could have exported his weapons of mass urticaria anywhere in the world. You might say this secret lab proves that Iraq had wepaons of ass destruction, which is what we meant to say all along.”