The Karbala attack and the IRGC


Qods Force logo. Click image to view.

The Iranians may be responsible the conducting the attack that resulted in the murder of five American soldiers in Karbala

On January 20th, a team of twelve men disguised as U.S. soldiers entered the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, where U.S. soldiers conducted a meeting with local officials, and attacked and killed five soldiers, and wounded another three. The initial reports indicated the five were killed in the Karbala JCC, however the U.S. military has reported that four of those killed were actually removed from the center, handcuffed, and murdered.

The American Forces Information Service provides the details of the attack in Karbala. Based on the sophisticated nature of the raid, as well as the response, or cryptic non-responses, from multiple military and intelligence sources, this raid appears to have been directed and executed by the Qods Force branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Sources agreed this is far too sophisticated an operation for the Mahdi Army or Badr Corps, while al Qaeda in Iraq would have a difficult time mounting such an operation in the Shia south. "The Karbala Government Center raid the other day was a little too professional for JAM [Jaish al-Mahdi, or the Mahdi Army]," according to a military source.

This raid required specific intelligence, in depth training for the agents to pass as American troops, resources to provide for weapons, vehicles, uniforms, identification, radios and other items needed to successfully carry out the mission. Hezbollah's Imad Mugniyah executed a similar attack against Israeli forces on the Lebanese border, which initiated the Hezbollah-Israeli war during the summer of 2006.

Imad Fayez Mugniyah

The details from the Karbala raid from AFIS:

"The precision of the attack, the equipment used and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well rehearsed prior to execution," said Army Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, spokesman for Multinational Division Baghdad. "The attackers went straight to where Americans were located in the provincial government facility, bypassing the Iraqi police in the compound."

At about 5 p.m. that day, a convoy consisting of at least five sport utility vehicles entered the Karbala compound and about 12 armed militants attacked the American troops with rifle fire and hand grenades, officials said.

One soldier was killed and three others wounded by a hand grenade thrown into the center's main office. Other explosions within the compound destroyed three Humvees.

The attackers withdrew with four captured U.S. soldiers and drove out of the Karbala province into the neighboring Babil province. Iraqi police began trailing the assailants after they drew suspicion at a checkpoint.

Three soldiers were found dead and one fatally wounded, along with five abandoned vehicles, near the town of Mahawil. Two were found handcuffed together in the back of one of the vehicles. The other two were found nearby on the ground. One soldier was found alive but died en route to a nearby hospital. All suffered from gunshot wounds.

Also recovered at the site were U.S. Army-type combat uniforms, boots, radios and a non-U.S. made rifle, officials said.

Mahawil is in Babil province, about 27 miles directly east of Karbala [corrected]. While it is impossible to prove, the attackers may have been making a bee-line towards the Iranian border.

The Karbala raid makes sense in light of the U.S. raids on the Iranian diplomatic missions in Baghdad and Irbil, where Iranian Qods Force agents were captured, along with documentation that divulged Iran's involvement with and support of Shia death squads, Sunni insurgents, and al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah. Five Iranians from the Irbil raid are still in U.S. custody, and captured U.S. soldiers would provide for excellent bargaining chips

If it is confirmed that Iran's Qods Force was responsible, the news that the United States has authorized the killing or capture of Iranian agents inside Iraq, as well as in Afghanistan and Lebanon makes all the more sense.

UPDATE: The Pentagon is actively investigating Qods Force's involvement in the Karabal attack.



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READER COMMENTS: "The Karbala attack and the IRGC"

Posted by Drazen Gemic at January 26, 2007 10:56 PM ET:

I understood that the nature of Iranian operation is covert one. They would not want to draw attention unneccessary to themselves.


Are you suggesting that the operaton possibly went wrong for some reason and Iraninans killed the hostages and abandoned the vehicles ? Maybe they discovered that they were not going be able to pass next checkpoint, or something ?


DG

Posted by Bill Roggio at January 26, 2007 11:02 PM ET:

If they just wanted to kill the soldiers, why cuff them and drive them 30 miles before doing the deed? The DoD report indicated the IPs caught onto this.

Posted by prozacula at January 27, 2007 12:50 AM ET:

why would iran support BOTH sunni and shia? that makes no sense. iran is shia.

Posted by Bill Roggio at January 27, 2007 1:01 AM ET:

Why should the US support The Communist Soviet Union against Nazi German? That makes no sense. The Soviet Union was a totalitarian state.

Posted by crosspatch at January 27, 2007 1:05 AM ET:

It has traditionally been the Sunni that have hated the Shia, not so much the other way round.

Right now it plays into the interests of Iran to maintain sectarian discord in Iraq just as in Lebanon. Don't forget that Syria and Iran are allies. Syria supports both Sunni and Shite factions in Lebanon to keep unrest going there. Iran is playing the same game in Iran.

The idea is to keep the unrest going. They are gambling that if they can keep the unrest alive, America will pull out and with America out, they can support the Shiite majority to an easy victory and Iraq basically becomes a province of a greater Iran.

But Iran might be overplaying their hand. If Iraqi forces start killing Iranians, it is game over.

Posted by DJ Elliott at January 27, 2007 1:11 AM ET:

prozacula

One other factor: Iran is predominatly Persian, Iraq is predominatly Arab.

That tribal fight predates islam and is still in play...

Posted by James at January 27, 2007 6:41 AM ET:

A possible reason for Iran to plan such a complex operation and take the risks involved, could be because it was a kidnap operation. Were there any high-value targets among the americans? (i.e. high level officer they hoped to "trade" for the Irbil 5).

Posted by Michael at January 27, 2007 7:54 AM ET:

prozacula,

It is a good question. Why would our enemies work with our other enemies, the Baathist of Syria and terrorist Al Qaeda?

Because, they all want similar goals. To keep control of their people by oppression of any kind, whether Communist style, or Mullocracy.

Question is why would Muqtada al Sadr have offices in Damascus, Syria? Why would a Shia, radical Islamic, have offices in largely secular run, Communist run, Baathist Syria?

Why would Shia Iran and Baathist led Syria work together to support Hezbollah terrorist against the legitimate government of Lebanon?

Remember that Sadr met with Al Qaeda officials, Syrian and Iranian Presidents last year in Damascus. One of their announcements was to defend each other against America. So, is not surprising Iran is promoting violence and chaos in Iraq.

Iran understands the stakes. A free Iraq eventually means the downfall of Iranian Mullahs and a Free Iranian people! They fear freedom of the people and want all control thru Sharia Law.

They're playing the ultimate Media propaganda war. They believe the American people are weak and will not "stay the course" in Iraq. They understand our Media better than our own government leaders. Unfortunately, they understand a vast majority of our public better as well. That a large majority of Media are against this war and Americans follow the large Media outlets like sheep.

What is pathetic is to hear Media talking heads tell us the public that we are "tired" of the war.

Pardon me? Who is tired? What has my government asked me to do that is so tiring in my life? See, the Media unfortunately works along with terrorist and rogue nations to weaken our willpower. They manage to blow up one single bomb and the Media reports it all day long. Yet you do not see the successes our soldiers have every single day. You're luck to see a small blurb roll across the bottom of the screen - 10 terrorist killed, 5 captured in Baquba. That's it, nothing else. But all Media talking heads will report of the single bomb all day long as if it is the greatest of human tragedies and we should just pull out, it is hopeless and no reason for us being there.

Imagine if they reported on the murders in California or New York across national headlines every single day this way??? Every single day our nation would hear more murders, more murders. The police cannot stop the murders! The problem here is the Media is doing a poor job and are falling right into the terrorist agenda. That is to "scare" Americans. Us poor, weak, trembling, peace-loving, Americans who cannot stand violence on our TVs and Videos every single day.

They've been at this propaganda and chaos war for 30 years. Our Media unfortunately either ignores it or fails to realize they are part of the problem. They've called us the Great Satan since they first raided our embassy. Some of Europe, especially French and German media eat this stuff up. You'd be surprised how twisted some of the stuff is coming out of Europe with hatred towards America.

Going into Iraq, opened up a can of worms from Damascus to Tehran for all of us to see. It exposed military connections and intel broadly in the open between Syria and Iran. It exposed these two nations for what they are - terrorist supporting nations. Shia and Sunni does not matter. They have an agenda and work together to achieve that agenda. Unfortunately, most of MSM is not doing enough to expose our enemies for what they are and still believe in Chamberlain-esque approaches.

We American civilians lead a protected and sheltered life. As a result, we're very naive in world issues, especially the Middle East. The Cold War ended and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Our Congress, our President all decided to dismantle large areas of human intel and downsize our military. But this was a mistake.

Another good question is to ask why would Germany and France be selling weapons and building bunkers for Saddam during the UN Oil for Food program?

You see, when America had the best of intentions against Iran and Iraq, even our allies allowed business with our enemies. It is the nature of the world we live in.

Good quetions all and more. Like why is Russia selling top weapons to Iran that have potential to bring our planes down?

attempt a blockQuote...

"In another development, Saudi authorities arrested Hasan al-Zarqani, head of Muqtada al-Sadr's Damascus office, in the Saudi holy city of Medina, a spokesman for the Iraqi Shia leader said on Monday. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Miqdad al-Saad said that Sheikh Hasan al-Zarqani, head of external affairs of al-Sadr's Syria office, was arrested on Monday afternoon while he was performing religious rituals at the Jannat al-Baqai cemetery. "Sheikh Hasan al-Zarqani was among hundreds of pilgrims but his arrest was intentional," al-Saad said."

The game is still in play, and I'd say it is growing more critical every day. It appears the Saudi's have begun making the stakes a little higher for the Shia and Iranians. The Saudi's announcement to increase oil production is crucial step forward against Iran.

What I'd really like to see is Jordan and Saudis help us against Syria. Cut off Syria from Hezbollah and cut off the ratlines and the financial lines as well.

Posted by Captain America at January 27, 2007 9:18 AM ET:

I also contend this is Iran and that it was conducted to send a message back to Bush.

But keep in mind that this operation was fairly complex and would take some time to develop. The mission was likely developed well before Irbil but given approval once we refused to release the IRG thugs we captured at Irbil.

Keep in mind, Iran (like bin Laden) have serious reservations about our willingness to stay in fight, given the Jimmy Carter and the 1983 Lebanon bombing.

Posted by Richard1 at January 27, 2007 11:54 AM ET:

Bill,

Some things still seem disconnected.

Since when do American officers travel in Chevy Suburbans?
Where did they come from?


Posted by RW at January 27, 2007 12:11 PM ET:

If Iran thinks this will buy off the presure, they are mistaken. The media can not carry their pail on this story as ugly as it is for a long enough time to stop the will of the CIC, Gen. Petraeus and our soldiers.

Expect more actions similar to this as the vise gets tighter in both military and economic terms. The region is now fully alerted to the danger of a Persian fundamentalist beast. And they will not be passive to the US led response.

God bless and protect our brave military around the world!

Posted by AMac at January 27, 2007 12:58 PM ET:

Iranian involvement in this raid makes a lot of sense.

The USG has been very reluctant to publicize or make any hay about Iranian stoking of violence in Iraq. I suspect there are elements in the State Dept. and the Pentagon who say,

"We can see a lot of bad and nothing good coming out of confirming the extent of what we see. We need to bring the moderate elements of the Iranian government to the table, and allegations will undermine them and aggravate the situation generally. Besides, the European, Arab, and American media won't give our intelligence any credence, anyway. Or they'll spin the raid as further evidence of American weakness and incompetence."

This hypothetical posture is consistent with the Iraqi Study Group's "play nice" recommendations, as well.

If the IGRC or Qods Group has a plan that maintains plausible deniablilty and if they can reasonably anticipate a weak-kneed US response--then there doesn't seem to be a great deal of downside to green-lighting the operation.

Even if it fails (or succeeds only partially, as happened), it still sends a message. "As bad as we're already behaving, we're still being restrained. Here's a taste of how Iraq will look if you provoke us into ratcheting things up."

Posted by Michael Whitehead at January 27, 2007 1:50 PM ET:

First, a minor correction: Mahawil is East of Karbala and not West, as Bill noted.

Mahawil lies along Highway 8 north of Al Hilla, the capital of Babil province. While Babil and southern Iraq is mostly Shia, the northern part of Babil is primarily Sunni. When I was stationed in Hilla in 2003-4 this part of Highway 8 was put off limits to us due to enemy activity and we were forced to travel to Baghdad on Highway 1, commonly referred to a MSR Tampa.

In all likelihood the attack was conceived, originated and ended in this Sunni and insurgent friendly area.

This attack was very disturbing to me because I had been in the provincial headquarters building many times. I visited there shortly after a car bomb attack that detonated in front of the building and killed 8 Iraqi policemen.

Posted by Mike at January 27, 2007 2:01 PM ET:

Tampa was still hot when I was in Iraq in 05. The thing that bothers me the most about this was that the soldiers where taken with such ease. Even when "secured" in a Iraqi base we would always have a "firewatch" at condition 1 and eveyone else would be condition 3. Seems to me these guys got a little too comfortable.

Posted by RJ at January 27, 2007 2:15 PM ET:

Rules of Engagement: How do we intend to fight this war? A simple question that seems to constantly be revised. Like a diamond, such arguments rotate through many facets, each tying to show its brillance. Problem is, as I go to my local VA hospital, I now see more people who have been in this conflict. Just like being told one has a cancer growing within his body, we all wonder how long this death march will last if we can't kill off every cancer cell discovered. Where are those who can talk directly to us--fellow citizens, who are willing to inform us as to what is being done and needs to be done? For example, for me Sen. Chuck Hagel looks too well dressed, too poised in his camera work, too distant in his sincerity...why? Sen. Kennedy talks as if his gilded throne knows no cracks within its logic of construction. Maybe a quick read of Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer" is in order. I expect to see Russian ground to air missiles bringing down our choppers sooner, rather than later. Rules of Engagement. Remember when the media brought out the long knives for President Bush when he gave his "Axis of Evil" speech? I played war when a kid...why should we let our kids and grandkids do this same folly again? I say it is time to win...or retreat our major forces while letting those in the shadows begin a merciless bloodbath way below the radar! I don't like what I see in my VA hospital! I truly doubt any honest veteran ever does!

Posted by Esoterik at January 27, 2007 2:49 PM ET:

"Seems to me these guys got a little too comfortable."

They may very well have been "a little too comfortable." But just how likely are you going to be to challenge "your own troops" until perhaps it is already too late.

The other factor here is the level of Intel this raid was conducted with. They knew exactly when to be there, exactly where in the headquarters they needed to go. As it is described, the raiders "bypassed the IPs on the compound." I am not certain what to make of that comment. Did they enter the compound in such a fashion that they did not engage in anyway the IPs, or did the raiders perhaps have cooperation from elements within the IPs which made this "bypass" possible?

There is also no mention of casualties other then our five soldiers. Were any of the "local officials" they were meeting with killed or wounded? If not, that raises some questions as well.

Posted by Tony Campbell at January 27, 2007 2:54 PM ET:

So what? The U.S. isn't going to do much about this. Just another day in Iraq. A few rogue radical fundementalists distorting the "Relgion of Peace".

Posted by Jack Burton at January 27, 2007 3:21 PM ET:

A few? Is that a joke?

Posted by Richard1 at January 27, 2007 3:25 PM ET:

Michael Whitehead,

If the attackers were Sunnis why did they not kill any Shiites?

Posted by Tom W. at January 27, 2007 4:49 PM ET:

This was a failed raid. It accomplished nothing. Our troops are now aware of the danger and won't get fooled again.

We need to stop building these creeps up into some kind of unstoppable juggernaut. As insurgents they've achieved nothing. They hold no terrority; the majority of Iraqis hate them; and they've been unable to stop Iraq from becoming a democracy and beginning an economic revival.

They're losers who occasionally get lucky. This "well-planned" raid only served to expose another of the insurgency's methods, which will will now counter.

Posted by red river at January 27, 2007 5:39 PM ET:

This raid has elements of the of the Blackwater ambush from 2004 - the other one - the Baghdad Airport Road ambush.

Both this raid and the other one they used several SUVs, radios, had Anglo participants, the attacks were rehearsed, they passed through checkpoints, and they targeted High Value persons. The Airport Road ambush also involved PKMs and RPGs used from moving vehicles.

In the 2004 ambush, they tried to completely kill the targets, but were fought off. They also attacked before the contractors had picked up their VIP.

In this raid, its not clear if they were fought off or had a timeline to meet to prevent fire superiority developing and then pinning them down.

They may have lost control of their prisoners either via an escape attempt, they were not who they wanted ( most likely), or they thought they were being tracked.

The motive is not clear. Destroying the JCC would have been a coup. Snatching and keeping some prisoners would have been almost as good. But they did not accomplish either.

They did not attack anyone else because they had a specific goal and did not want to waste time or introduce any other friction. The destruction of the Hummers was a distraction to create more confusion about how many people were missing.

The fact they abandoned their vehicles means they have a strong, well-heeled support base in country. Obviosuly this has been practiced.


Posted by Mark at January 27, 2007 6:10 PM ET:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we've since reportedly picked up several suspects whom we believe were involved in this incident. If so, then the odds are good they're ratting out their pals and we, in turn, are now hot on the trail of the perps.

Assuming that the Iranians were, in fact, behind this evil deed, then I'll wager they'll find out soon enough that we, too, can mount these kind of ops...and that we're a whole lot better at them than they are.

Posted by Typhoon at January 27, 2007 6:14 PM ET:

Red River-

Anglos = Persians

Posted by Drazen Gemic at January 27, 2007 7:23 PM ET:

Fascinating story, worth reading:

here

Posted by Jesse at January 27, 2007 9:45 PM ET:

I thought I read somewhere that the attackers were chased and a couple of them were killed.

Anyone else read that?

Posted by Richard1 at January 27, 2007 9:48 PM ET:

Typhoon,
Persians = Aryans

Posted by Michael Whitehead at January 27, 2007 10:51 PM ET:

Richard1

Right now we can only surmise whether the attackers were Sunni or Shia. My previous comment was based on a map recon and nothing else. Mahawil, where the 5 SUV's were abandoned and the dead Americans found, is located in hostile Sunni country. If the attackers were Shia, why would they flee into what, for them, would be enemy territory?

Najaf and Kufa are directly to the south of Karbala, and those two towns are heavily Shia with a lot of Sadr supporters. If the attackers were Shia, they would have fled south and in the direction of these two towns.

Posted by DSL at January 27, 2007 11:23 PM ET:

Why does anyone assume that this operation is too "sophisticated" to be pulled off by Iraqi terrorists, and that only the Iranians could do this? The Iraqi insurgents are not stupid, and they've had lots of practice at this. It's a classic mistake to underestimate your opponents--something we've done to our detriment in Iraq for some time now.

Posted by Soldier's Dad at January 27, 2007 11:38 PM ET:

"why would iran support BOTH sunni and shia?"

Iranian oil costs $15-$20 to get out of the ground.

Iraqi and Saudi oil costs $3-$5 to get out of the ground.

A stable Iraq pumping to its limits, along with a stable Saudi Arabia pretty much puts Iran out of the oil business.

If Saudi Arabia can pump 10 million barrels per day, an Iraq at peace can match that.

Irans lousy 2 million per day in exports will be trivial.

Oil at $30/barrel gives Iran a profit of $12/barrel. Oil at $60/barrel gives them a profit of $48.

Admadajhid(or whatever his name is) promised all the Iranians that they would "enjoy" the oil profits.

All this nonsense about Shia and Sunni is just that. Iran wants to keep Iraqi production off of world markets.

Posted by Bill Roggio at January 28, 2007 7:13 AM ET:

I've had to delete several comments from this thread as the commenters: 1) went wildly off topic 2) insulted other commenters.

If you had an email address I attempted to contact you. If not, so be it.

Posted by snowflake at January 28, 2007 11:19 AM ET:

Michael Whitehead and Mike,
Beadwindow. Watch your descriptions of routes used by our forces.

Regards

Posted by Richard1 at January 28, 2007 1:06 PM ET:

Michael Whitehead,

Thank you for the reply. Of course, if they were making a bee line for Iran, as Bill hypothosized, then they would not be heading South.

Posted by honestjoe at January 28, 2007 8:19 PM ET:

This smells like an inside job. If there wasn't any inside job on this, then it shows a major breakdown in intelligence and security.

How else could they obtain a top Iraqi official's license plate and get through all the heightened security 'disguised' as Americans with identification cards and driving 'American-style' vehicles like the ones used to carry U.S. officials, through checkpoints and be able to conduct a twenty-minute surprise attack including sound bombs, with no apparent response from nearby security forces, even as they drove BACK through the checkpoints!?!

And how did they know when to storm the provincial headquarters just as a U.S. military civil affairs team was meeting with local leaders?

Also the major Shi'ite religious festival was taking place, and 8,000 extra Iraqi 'security personnel'were in the area.

They were waved through by Shia security forces on heightend security against Sunni attacks to protect 3,000,000 Shia pilgrims at the ceremonies celebrating the greatest Shia martyr.

Highly unlikely that the ambushers were Sunni.

It is important to note that the heightend security was also because Gates was there and in less than 24hrs 5 more even worse attacks took place! Such as The lone UH-60 helicopter that was brought down on January 20 is a disaster for the United States.

Posted by honestjoe at January 28, 2007 8:27 PM ET:

This single event is the biggest hit the Army has taken to date in Iraq!

The List of Casualties from this attack contains the following:

2 Colonels
1 Lieutenant Colonel
1 Major
1 Captain
2 Command Sergeant Majors
1 First Sergeant
1 Sergeant First Class
2 Staff Sergeants
1 Corporal

Sec. Gates had a meeting with these high ranking military personel. He was in Baghdad on 19 Jan. The chief medical officer had been meeting with him, as well as the other high rankers!

That's one hell of a lot of brass on a single helicopter flight. This indicates infiltration into the Green Zone of untold proportions.

Let's be clear, half of the manifest includes four field grade officers and two CSMs. That's a huge loss for a small and agile force such as what we've got deployed in Iraq. On top of this fact is also the fact that CSMs are the enlisted equivalent of general officers. CSMs run the army. CSMs can bring any company grade officer down with little effort. The only officers that will generally stand up to a CSM and call them on the carpet would be full bird colonels (two of which were lost on this flight) and command officers (i.e. generals).

The loss of a single CSM can often bring a full brigade to a standstill.

When faced with an insurgency using guerilla tactics, taking out four field grade officers is a victory of epic proportions.

The military indicates it is investigating the event. One question must be answered:

Who knew so many high value targets would be on this flight, especially who within the Iraqi government and military?

Remember at first the government said the choper was brought down by two rockets from two different locations but then it was said it was taken down by three rockets from three different locations. That means this was a prepared attack and was done with inside information.

But this is nothing for it gets much, much worse!

Posted by honestjoe at January 28, 2007 8:33 PM ET:

Going in through check-points and back out through check-points. And speaking English. And the license plate of a top official taken from inside the Green Zone!

Also the guards radioed the headquarters that the convoy was on the way. Nobody informed the Americans in the headquarters, though.

But why abduct the soldiers just to kill them shortly thereafter in a location away from this facility? It doesn't make sense given all the precision of that raid.

Well to get the answer we first have to look at the Iraqi official's license plate.

Maj. Gen. Qais al-Maamuri, a police commander in Hilla, said the plate had been stolen from a BMW that belongs to Abdul Falah al-Sudani, a member of the Shiite Muslim Dawa Party.

Sadr's faction exists within the Dawa Party. Thats the old Shiite Muslim party that Saddam murdered and exiled to Itan. Its most prominent memebr today is Prime Minister Maliki.

Posted by honestjoe at January 28, 2007 8:36 PM ET:

The Sadr movement also won the agriculture, transport, and education ministries. The outgoing SCIRI interior minister was given the coveted Ministry of Finance.

As a cleric, al-Sadr does not take a direct role in politics. But his supporters were given control of six Cabinet positions, including the Health Ministry. Similarly, Iraq's Interior Ministry that runs the police and domestic intelligence services has been controlled for over a year by a leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and accused of operating death squads.

Sadr's and SCIRI's were awarded with various ministries in exchange for joining the government. One of Sadr's ministers, for instance, was in charge of the airport. He immediately fired the British security firm contracted to provide security.

The Bush administration has urged the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to confront Shiite militias, including al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Al-Maliki, who relies on al-Sadr for political support, has been slow to act, saying it may not be until next year before militias are disarmed. Al-Sadr's support was instrumental in putting al-Maliki in power.

Because of al-Sadr, "Al-Maliki was able to become prime minister despite the fact that other political parties had gained more seats in parliament," says Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival. "He is al-Sadr's prime minister."

Posted by honestjoe at January 28, 2007 8:38 PM ET:

Maliki needs al-Sadr for more than political support he needs him for actual survival. It is important to know that al-Sadr's father-in-law was the founder of Dawa and, of course, his father was the founder of Fadhila (sp?) - Party of Virtue. al-Sadr has the power to cripple Iraq - as if it isn't crippled already - with civil disobedience, strikes, boycotts, and armed conflict.

The U.S. doesn't want Maliki but they didn't have a choice as they had tried to get Dawa to give up power by meddling in Jaafari's reascension to power after the last election. The best they could attain was Dawa's second choice but they traded that for relative peace with the Shia militants against U.S. and British forces.

The U.S. would prefer Az al-Hakim and the Badr gang because they know that SCIRI would absolutely be dependent on the U.S. for its continued existence in Iraq.

Here is something to keep in mind as well, An Iraqi judge is alleging that elements of the Mahdi Army have infiltrated the Green Zone, the area behind concrete barriers where the Iraqi government offices are. Sunni Arab guerrillas have long been said to be trying to figure out a way to get into the Green Zone and conduct a major operation there. So far they have failed, but was the truly credible threat from a different quarter?

Posted by BobK at January 28, 2007 11:11 PM ET:

Honestjoe says:


When faced with an insurgency using guerilla tactics, taking out four field grade officers is a victory of epic proportions.

The military indicates it is investigating the event. One question must be answered:

Who knew so many high value targets would be on this flight, especially who within the Iraqi government and military?

Remember at first the government said the choper was brought down by two rockets from two different locations but then it was "


Brings to my mind an event from early November 2006. During turnover to new unit arriving in Bagdad at MOD post for MiTT with IA the units(101 & 2ID) rode together for "learning" etc.

SOME HOW the 1 Humvee with BOTH UNITS Lt. Col's was hit with an IED Killing Both as well as 2 others. Normally Iraq and US units convoy in certain pattern/sequence. They differed this time. Questions are still unanswered on this event.

Posted by honestjoe at January 29, 2007 2:50 AM ET:

THE BIG PICTURE!

Understand that Iran and Saudi Arabia are pulling the strings.

What we have here is a proxy war between Iran and the Saudis.

Iran is backing the Shias in the south, Saudi Arabia is backing the Sunnis.

Saudi's "OPEN" support includes financial backing for minority Sunnis because of the civil war between them and Iraq's Shiite majority. Before that the Sunnis were geting the money from private donations such as extremist Wahhabi mosques and the Bin Laden family wich is an immensely wealthy family intimately connected with the innermost circles of the Saudi royal family.

15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. Many in the Saudi government played a direct role in funding 9/11. Saudi Arabia is a brutal dictatorship that makes Iraq under Saddam Hussein look like Disneyworld. Lets capture the Saudis who funded 9/11 and rid the country of its ayatollahs!

Sunni bin Laden and Sunni al Qaeda could declare a jihad against Iran .It would take us out of the gunsights .

bin Laden v. the Ayatollah

If America withdrew from Iraq and a Sunni-Shi'ite war took off, the narrative of the long war would inevitably change. It would go from Islam versus the West to Islam versus itself and we would reap dividends in the long run.

Redefining the war on terror as essentially the product of ancient feuds within Islam immediately shifts the argument onto terrain favourable to the West. As it stands now our being in Iraq unites the Muslim world against "US".

Both sides are using "US" our children and our resources!

So let "US" turn the table and start using them and there resources.

Once we leave they will fight each other doing our job for "US" while we rebuild and reunite our great country!

The first thing you will see if we let them fight it out with each other is gas prices will fall because the Saudi's will be forced to increase oil production as a crucial step against Iran.

Leaving Iraq will give "US" the ablity to fight the war on terror by going after the Saudi named Osama Bin Laden!

Each day in Iraq helps terrorists and weakens America. We can not fight terrorism effectively while engaging in an act (The invasion + occupation of Iraq) that is on par with the behavior of the terrorists and Osama Bin Laden. An exit of Iraq is a first step toward regaining our credibility, strengthening our forces, and being in a position where we can effectively combat the real terrorists.

Posted by ajacksonian at January 29, 2007 1:03 PM ET:

Cars stolen in the US have been tracked to Iraq and verified by the VIN of those vehicles. Late model vehicle types of those used by the US overseas have been the target for theft from the Gulf Coast and LA Basin areas. It is apparent that these are not chop-shop specials, but whole vehicles that are exiting via some means, possibly through crime cartels, and then shifted to the Middle East. Unravelling that entire chain is something that really does need to be done, but is not a high priority amongst law enforcement... or they are very quiet about it.



Omar at ITM suspects the Kerbala attack to be an inside job, also.



There is an apparent conjunction between Transnational Terrorist operations involved with standard criminal syndicates and getting this larger picture in focus is very necessary, especially due to the Hezbollah operatives in the US that have been using similar contacts. Particularly worrying is the cooperation between FARC and Hezbollah in South America as FARC needs to operate amongst the various drug cartels, emerald gangs and drug kingpins in the region. Exactly how integrated Transnational Terrorists are with the criminal element is a large unknown, but they are not isolated networks. State based support can play a part in this, too, but the entire network is no longer dependant upon States.



So having Hezbollah spin-up a well integrated cell or set of cells, using distributed support and supplies is not unknown to that organization as that is how it operates in Lebanon, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela... and the US, apparently. In-filtering a few, select and skilled individuals is well within their capability and scope. al Qaeda, by being a smaller and more highly distributed system could do the same, but that requires some few individuals at distributed points to be pulled together and work together, which is not their standard mode of operation. They prefer the spin-up of indigenous cells, clean out any questionable individuals, give some nominal training and oversight and leave them to their own ends until a larger operation needs to happen, at which point they start bringing in external cells for surveillance, logistics and clean-up, allowing the local cell to suddenly gain those things to pull off the operation. That would more clearly have been seen in Karbala, but was not, as that would be far more people than a Hezbollah standard operation.



This sort of attack, as Mr. Roggio noted, was more indicative of such from Mugniyah and also note that this type of attack is more in the style of FARC and South American counter-police/military assassinations which Mugniyah had opportunity to learn during his stay in Argentina during the early 1990's. That is how the Transantional Terrorist network operates.... it is interesting to compare/contrast FARC military tactics used in South America to those of Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. Much of what was seen is better for a tropical climate with large amounts of vegetation than for the arid regions of Lebanon. That would, however, give him the necessary wide-ranging contacts to carry off something like this both from the criminal supply side and from the infiltration side in Karbala.

Posted by Mark at January 29, 2007 1:15 PM ET:

Invading Iraq was an act of terrorism honestjoe? Give me a break, seriously.

Posted by honestjoe at January 29, 2007 1:19 PM ET:

Look I could go on for days to prove that there have been attacks on our military in Iraq that have been (for some time now) "STATE" sponsored. This is not new at all and it is not just done secretly by Iran but openly by the Saudi's.

Saudi's are collaborating with terrorists and have attacked us with proxies.

The reason we are only talking about Iran and not Saudi is because The Saudis have huge influence in this country, both politically and economically.

The most important facet of this influence to consider is what happens when the active and powerful foreign entities "objectives are in direct conflict with our nation" objectives and its interests and security; and when this is the case, who pays the ultimate price and how.

I'll illustrate this with the most important recent case, the catastrophe endured by our people; the September Eleven terrorist attacks. Let's observe how certain foreign interests, combined with their U.S. agents and benefactors, overrode the interests and security of the entire nation; how thousands of victims and their loved ones were kicked aside to serve the interests of a few; foreign influence and its agents.

Senator Graham's Revelation
It has been established that two of the 9/11 hijackers had a support network in the U.S. that included agents of the Saudi government, and that the Bush administration and the FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship.

In his book, "Intelligence Matters," Senator Bob Graham made clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties in the House and Senate intelligence committees.

"The most serious omission, in my view, is part 4 of the report, which is entitled Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters. Those 27 pages have almost been entirely censured. The declassified version of this finding tells the American people that our investigation developed information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States. In other words, officials of a foreign government are alleged to have aided and abetted the terrorist attacks on our country on September 11, which took over 3,000 lives."

"Our investigators found a CIA memo dated August 2, 2002, whose author concluded that there is incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government. On September 11, America was not attacked by a nation-state, but we had just discovered that the attackers were actively supported by one, and that state was our supposed friend and ally Saudi Arabia."

"We had discovered an FBI asset who had a close relationship with two of the terrorists; a terrorist support network that went through the Saudi Embassy; and a funding network that went through the Saudi Royal family."

The Treasury and State Departments have catalogued the Saudi government's decades of support for Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

They are still operating in America right NOW!

Posted by honestjoe at January 29, 2007 1:21 PM ET:

Mark

I should have been more clear it was late and I was tired. I was meaning in the mindset of the Muslim world there concepts, ideals and beliefs are not at all like ours. To "ALL" of them we are invaders!

Posted by Bill Roggio at January 29, 2007 1:35 PM ET:

And now this thread has devolved enough from the subject at hand. This is your warning honestjoe.

Posted by AMac at January 29, 2007 7:38 PM ET:

Bill,

The Karbala attack appears to be an important story with many, many loose ends. E.g., the men arrested as being participants: innocent, suggestive of IRGC or AQIZ involvement, something else? Where did the Suburbans and radios come from; what codes were used? Fingerprints at the scene? The response of Iraqi police and IA during the abduction--none killed or wounded?? How did the commandos get through checkpoints before and after; what seemingly tripped them up at the final IP checkpoint?

I hope that if/when additional information becomes available, you can update this story.

Posted by Azr@el at January 30, 2007 2:56 AM ET:

It seems that the u.s. troops that were captured in this exceptionally well planned and well executed snatch lived long enough to give up any passwords to the laptop that was the main goal of the operation. By the way they expired, i'm going to say the interrogation was old skool; something along the lines of, "give me the password" followed by the report of pistol fire to the temple of one of the handcuffed fellows in the back. repeat until correct password is yielded.

If the attackers were IRGC commandos then where they ditched the car seems the right move, it shakes suspicion off their tail and casts it squarely on the sunni insurgency, not for long of course , but long enough to make good their evac out of country. Overall fairly impressive; very good use of deception throughout the operation; the blowing of the motor pool to hide the numbers of G.I.s snatched, the use of the uniforms, the english language proficiency. These guys had their timing down, had their target well surveiled, they may not be supermen but they managed to write a chapter of the textbook on this one; no casualties on their part, mission accomplished and everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else. If this the iranians, then they've just made their bones to move up to the majors; sas country. My condolences to the family members of the fallen servicemen.

Posted by AMac at January 30, 2007 10:11 AM ET:

A short summary of the incident went up on 1/29/07 on IraqSlogger (so have grains of salt nearby while reading). The piece is not very well written and includes no references or hyperlinks. New (to me) details provided by author Robert Y. Pelton:

"Forced to flee, the interlopers captured two soldiers in the building and then another two who were sitting in a Humvee outside. They left behind four casualties, one U.S. soldier was killed, and three wounded."

"The kidnappers did not shoot any Iraqi soldiers or guards on the way in or out."

Posted by MaximilianBeers at February 4, 2007 5:38 PM ET:

America's gloves are off!

Let's slaughter any Iranian IRGC agents that are in Iraq!

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