Sunday, February 22, 2009

Washington said canvassing senior Saddam-era oficers (UPDATED)

Saudi newspaper AlWatan said on Friday that an American "legal delegation" met recently in Amman with Saddam-era army officers currently residing in Jordan, Syria and the Emirates, following the announcement by the Iraqi government of the opening of offices in a number of countries to facilitate the return of former-army personnel to Iraq and service and/or retirement.

So the question is: If there is this initiative by the Iraqi government, then why are these officers meeting, not with the Iraqi authorities, but with an American delegation?

The AlWatan account offers a couple of hints. First it says:
The sources said the American delegation which is nearing the end of its meetings that began ten days ago, is going to prepare a report to present to the American administration that will include the names of Iraqi officers of high rank, and their views and suggestions in the matter of restoring security and stability to Iraq.
And secondly, there is a remark that seems to explain the above phrase "of high rank". The journalist writes:
The sources explained that the Iraqi government's limitation of officers it will restore to service to [officers] of the rank of muqaddam [lieutenant colonel?] and lower is something that is going to impede the project of national reconciliation, because that means those [that had] rank of higher than muqaddam will be prevented from entering Iraq.
There is what you could call a shady character to this story, which could reflect either the story-telling, or it could reflect the nature of what is actually going on. For instance, the American delegation is described as a "company of the civic organization 'Together'", and it is said to be headed by a "professor Carla OLeary of the Washington University of political science". *

But if the gist of the story has any merit, then I would say it probably supports the boogieman theory, namely that the Obama administration is making friends with what still-excluded Baathists it can--and that more or less openly, given that the "sources" here have gone to the trouble of pointing out to the reporter that Washington is asking these senior Baathist officers for their views on how to stabilize Iraq--in order to have them ready--either in reality or in the imagination--in the event it needs to threaten Maliki with a coup for any reason.

(h/t LB of RoadstoIraq for spotting this article)


* UPDATE: The person in question--a reader points out--appears to be Carole A. O'Leary, of the American University's Centre for Global Peace, where she is Project Director involved in a number of Iraq-related projects, including the Iraq Human Rights Commission Project. More information here. (Among other things, she acted as an adviser to the commission drafting the 2005 Iraqi Constitution, on topics including federalism). None of the information on the AU-CGP site appears to dovetail with the idea of meeting senior Saddam-era army officers, gathering their views on Iraqi security, and reporting the results to Washington.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carole A. O'Leary

8:54 AM  
Blogger badger said...

thank you

10:34 AM  

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