Saturday, June 28, 2008

"US raid on Maliki homestead connected with the current negotiations": Karbala governor (Updated)

Security for the province of Karbala was turned over to Iraqi authorities last October (Reuters), so it was with consternation that Karbala security authorities found out about an operation conducted at dawn Friday by the Americans, in which they airlifted 60 soldiers into the town of Janaja, and specifically into an area that is the birthplace of Prime Minister Maliki and the residence area of his extended family. The operation resulted in the killing of one man (said by McClatchy to be a relative of Maliki's), and the arrest of another man, said to be not a resident of the area.

The McClatchy account gives most of the details, but there are a couple of points that the McClatchy account doesn't make clear:

(1) The Karbala governor didn't just call for an investigation of the incident, on the basis that it was dangerous and illegal, having been carried out with absolutely no coordination with Iraqi authorities, local or Baghdad. Rather, he called for the handing over of the American soldiers responsible for the killing to the Iraqi justice system for prosecution.

(2) He said he thinks this operation "was connected with the negotiations about a security agreement with Washington."

Here is what he said in a telephone interview with AlHayat:
Karbala governor Aqil al-Khazaali condemned the operation ... and he said "The municipal administration in Karbala was dumbfounded when they found out the American forces had committed this outrageous and illegal violation of the precinct of the Prime Minister of Iraq". And he demanded "the handover of those American soldiers and officers involved in the airlift operation, to the Iraqi judiciary for the killing of an innocent and unarmed civilian, for their arrest of another, and for their terrorizing of families".

Al-Khazaali added: "The airlift operation was against the law, because the security responsibilities were turned over [to Iraq] last year". He stressed it is the Iraqi security forces in the city who are authorized to conduct pursuit of wanted persons or outlaws. He said this operation was dangerous and illegal because there was no coordination with either the [local] defence or interior ministry, or even with the central government. He said his view was that the airlift operation "is connected with (in the sense of entangled with) the negotiations for a security agreement with Washington."
In a separate story, AlHayat quotes a Dawa party official by the name of Hasan Saneed to the effect that the Americans have presented a revised draft of a proposed agreement, and this is under study by the UIA and the Dawa leadership, but the other remarks are ambiguous. He said an agreement won't be signed "before July"; that the Americans have added some "new concepts that aren't clear"; and so on. There aren't any specific details.

A spokesman for the main Sunni parliamentary bloc said the government has promised to present this to Parliament once it has finished studying it; that parliament won't approve anything that infringes national principles, as was the case with the former draft; and so on and so forth. The gist of this is that the negotiation process isn't over, in fact the language suggests a document will be put to parliament, the only questions being when and including what details.


Nahrainnet adds: As for the specific trigger for this operation, a security source in Karbala "pointed the finger at the American 'development office' that was recently opened, and that is thought to be in reality the office of an American consultate on the model of the American consulate in Hilla where they conduct spying and intelligence-gathering operations, and where they recruit agents. The source said the initial information circulating at the provincial level tends to the conviction that there was involvement by those responsible for the American office that was opened recently in the province--this is a security office opened recently under the guise of participation in the development of the province, located in the district of Ibrahimiya, where it is surrounded by heavy security walls, having the character of a security and intelligence [installation], covering its missions with the appearance of development, in order to make contact with various levels of the population."

The operation itself was conducted by American special forces, and the location, the town of Janaja, is located about 10 kilometers from this office. The source said "We are starting to understand that among the missions of this office is the takeover of the security and intelligence file of the whole province..."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

update from mcClatchy

A high-ranking member of the Iraqi government told McClatchy on Saturday that the raid was conducted by a U.S. Special Forces "antiterrorism unit that operates almost independently." Other U.S. and Iraqi officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the involvement of Special Forces.


The second is that the man described by the military as "a local security guard" was actually a cousin of Maliki's and served as the personal bodyguard of Maliki's sister, relatives and Iraqi officials said. Ali Abdulhussein al Maliki was killed at his guard post outside the villa belonging to Maliki's sister, said the guard's brother, Ahmed Abdulhussein al Maliki.

The brother — ...Abdulhussein, who was not present during the raid, said his brother and three other bodyguards were at the home of Maliki's sister, their cousin, in a guard station attached to the main, two-story villa. Before dawn Friday, Abdulhussein said, the guards heard U.S. helicopters in the area. Abdulhussein said about 50 American ground troops in camouflage then stormed into Janaja. He said he still has no idea why they came to the Maliki home.

"(The troops) raided this room, the guard room, and detained the guards, including Ali, who'd memorized a few English words and tried to tell them, 'I'm police. I'm a Maliki guard,'" Abdulhussein said. "They tied the hands of the three guards and took Ali to the room. Ten minutes later, they heard gunfire. The American forces killed Ali."

so far nobody in any of the comment sections is wording the (to me, obvious)implications. in the middle of an important agreement between 2 parties, one of those party's attacks and kills a relative of the other party. sounds kinda like a threat to me. i could be wrong of course, but i still find it odd no one is saying it.

if one of maliki's relatives was unsavory one would think there might be a less blatant approach to taking him out. arriving w/helicopters and dozens of special forces...not too subtle.


8:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home