Two Faces of the Iraq Insurgency

(Los Angeles Times) Solomon Moore - The story of the Mashhandani brothers offers a glimpse into the lives of two lethal Sunni Arab insurgents. With his radical Islamic convictions and his membership in Ansar al Sunna, a militant group based in northern Iraq, Ali Mashhandani was fighting for an ideological goal. Khalid Mashhandani was more of an opportunist. He created his own group of unaffiliated insurgents and set about smuggling cars, kidnapping for ransom, and hiring others to attack U.S. convoys. Ali served in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and afterward joined Hussein's bodyguard corps. Hania, Ali's sister, said her brother began spending long hours at the mosque and eventually became an adherent of the ultraconservative Wahhabi movement of Islam, which advocates a return to the proclaimed purity of early Muslim communities. Several years ago, Hania said, Ali became a member of Ansar al Islam, the parent group of Ansar al Sunna. The group is known to have coordinated attacks with al-Qaeda and has taken responsibility for a number of kidnappings, videotaped beheadings, and deadly strikes on U.S. and Iraqi forces.

2005-05-20 00:00:00

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