US transfers dangerous Hezbollah leader involved in murder of 5 US soldiers to Iraqi custody

The US government has transferred a senior Hezbollah leader who help set up the Shia terror groups in Iraq and was involved in the murder of five US soldiers in 2007 over to Iraqi custody.

Musa Ali Daqduq, the senior Hezbollah commander who was tasked by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to establish Shia terror groups into a Hezbollah-like entity, was transferred to Iraqi custody today, White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Reuters. Daqduq was the last prisoner in Iraq who was in US custody. Vietor said that Iraq assured the US that it would prosecute Daqduq.

US officials fear that the Iraqi government will be pressured by Iran and Shia political parties to release Daqduq.

The US Department of Justice had planned to prosecute Daqduq in a US court, but Republican Senators opposed the transfer of the terrorist to US soil for prosecution. Some wanted Daqduq to be tried by a military court at Guantanamo Bay.

Daqduq’s fake documents. Click to view.

Background on Musa Ali Daqduq

Daqduq is perhaps the most dangerous of the Shia terror commanders captured by US forces in Iraq since 2003. He has a pedigree with Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy militia and terror group that is based in Lebanon. At the time of his capture in March 2007, he was a 24-year veteran of Hezbollah. He has commanded both a Hezbollah special operations unit and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s security detail.

In 2005, Hezbollah’s leadership directed Daqduq to travel to Iran and partner with Qods Force, Iran’s elite special operations group tasked with spreading the Iranian theocracy to neighboring countries, to train Iraqi Shia terror groups, the US military said in a briefing in July 2007 after Daqduq’s capture. The US seized documents that outlined Daqduq’s role in supporting the Shia terror groups, which are collectively called the Special Groups by the US military. The Special Groups include the Mahdi Army, the League of the Righteous (Asaib al Haq, a Mahdi Army faction), and the Hezbollah Brigades.

In May 2006, Daqduq traveled with Yussef Hashim, the chief of Lebanese Hezbollah’s operations in Iraq, to Tehran to meet with the commander and the deputy commander of the Iranian Qods Force Special External Operations branch. Daqduq made four trips into Iraq in 2006, where he personally observed Special Groups operations.

Upon his return to Iran, Daqduq was tasked to organize the Special Groups “in ways that mirrored how Hezbollah was organized in Lebanon,” Brigadier General Keven Bergner said in the July 2007 briefing. Daqduq began to train Iraqis inside Iran to carry out terror attacks in their home country. Groups of 20 to 60 recruits were trained in the use of Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs), mortars, rockets, and sniper rifles, and instructed on how to conduct intelligence and kidnapping operations.

“These Special Groups are militia extremists, funded, trained and armed by external sources, specifically by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force operatives,” said Bergner. “In addition to training, the Qods force also supplies the Special Groups with weapons and funding of 750,000 to three million U.S. dollars a month. Without this support, these Special Groups would be hard pressed to conduct their operations in Iraq.”

Daqduq was captured in March 2007 along with two brothers, Qais and Laith Qazali. Qais was the leader of the Asaib al Haq, or the League of the Righteous, which is considered the most dangerous of the Shia terror groups, while Laith was a commander in the group. Qais was responsible for the January 2007 attack on the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center. Five US soldiers were captured during the operation and were executed by Qazali’s men as Iraqi police and troops closed in on the snatch team.

Despite the roles played by Qais and his brother Laith in killing US troops and working with Iran’s Qods Force, the US military released the two brothers and hundreds of their followers to the Iraqi government between July and December of 2009. The Shia terrorists were freed in exchange for a British hostage and the bodies of four other Brits who had been executed by the League of the Righteous while in custody.

The US military officially denied that the release of Qais and Laith was part of a hostage exchange, and instead insisted it was part of “reconciliation.” But US military and intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal privately said that the brothers had indeed been freed as part of a hostage exchange.

The League of the Righteous returned to terror activities shortly after the hostage exchange. In January of 2010, less than a month after Qais was finally freed, the terror group kidnapped Issa T. Salomi, a US civilian contractor, in Baghdad.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • mike merlo says:

    if ever there was a person to get ‘lost in the shuffle’ this guy certainly qualified

  • DickF says:

    Another reason to vote against Obama in 2012. (As if another was needed.)

  • Last Man says:

    Well at least the administration diplomatic work load will be diminished, they can kill two birds with one stone when requesting Iran extradite Daqduq and make further pleas for the return of the commandeered CIA stealth drone.

  • Erik says:

    You have got to be kidding me! The one-and-only guy we could’ve kept from that chapter in our proxy war and we completely cave to the Iraqis…fantastic! He’ll be sitting in Tehran before the month is out…

  • Eric says:

    This is one to watch. An Iranian terror proxy force commander who committed atrocities on Iraqi sovereign soil. Now in Iraq’s hands for judicial action. Iraq is now called down on both sides of the argument between Iran, who will pressure for his release, and the US, who will insist on his prosecution under the law of the land in Iraq. What to do…what to do… This will probably go off the MSM’s radar immediately, but there is real importance here. Iraq knows this will have influence beyond all normal proportions on the relationships they carry with both the US and Iran in the immediate future.

  • steve tucker says:

    Why didnt the US just shoot him while they had him in custody?

  • Toejam says:

    “Why didnt the US just shoot him while they had him in custody?”
    Good question steve. AndIi agree with the “Termination with extreme prejudice” method when dealing with dangerous slimeballs.
    In the modern World of Wikileak and others the details would be used to turn the bad guy into the victim.
    Liberal progressive ideology sucks!

  • Erik says:

    Don’t believe the hype from the Administration…the SFA only covered Iraqis, not third-country nationals such as Daqduq. Per the letter of the agreement we could’ve flown him out months ago and there would’ve been nothing the Iraqis could’ve done; but publicly it would’ve killed us and so the military gets thrown under the bus again.
    Also, the military commission route was always a non-starter based on the specific details of his case. We needed him in Federal court where a lot more derogatory evidence would be admissible.

  • Darrell says:

    What a disaster. Like most of the political mishap news, this story is released on a Friday – hoping the weekend will take the brunt of the bad coverage.
    Interesting to see how long Daqduq will remain in Iraqi custody. I believe that Daqduq will be exchanged for former FBI Agent Bob Levinson that Iran has been holding.

  • DickF says:

    Just saw a report that said Iraq only intends to charge Daqduq with a passport violation and entereing Iraq illegally. Nothing about any charges related to the murder of the U.S. soldiers.
    This is starting to look like a job for SEAL Team 6.

  • flloyd says:

    just another day in the war on terror,its a joke how this crap happens.the guy will be sipping tea with the ayatollas and planning more death and destruction in no time.its time that we have an american spring and get rid of the people who make these ridiculous decisions.

  • kit says:

    DickF are you serious? Really? And who got us into this mess?

  • gary siebel says:

    It is an unfortunate truth that some individuals are just plain lucky enough to beat the rap.
    Ever hear of O.J.?

  • davidp says:

    Sad to see reflex blaming of President Obama when the article says “Republican Senators opposed the transfer of the terrorist to US soil for prosecution”.
    Always hard to believe how aggressive Iran is against the U.S. while complaining about sanctions. Iran is definitely “axis of evil” territory.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    Capturing this SOB may have made sense at the Time, but I’m thinking Delta wished they would have waxed his sorry ass when they had the chance.
    Persoanlly I say both Dems and Republicans are to blame for this puke going to the Iraqis (IE…FREE) The Dems didn’t want a military tribunal and the Republicans didn’t want him to come to the US and waste away at the Colorado supermax with nice people like the Aryan Brotherhood to keep him company. It’s a shame someone didn’t just toss a grenade into his cell and call it a day. Hezbollah, and Iran’s Quds force need to be treated the same way we treat Al Qaida and the Taliban…no mercy no remorse!
    This guy will be kicking it in Tehran with our malfunctioning drone in no time…lovely.

  • blert says:

    You entirely missed it: the Republican Senators don’t want his crimes tried in Federal courts.
    Gitmo is what they have in mind…
    Perverting warfare into lawfare is a Leftist nostrum.
    Unlawful combatants are NOT due process of law.
    That’s the essence of being an UNLAWFUL combatant.
    In WWII we just stood them up and shot them — at will.

  • Mr T says:

    It may be interesting now he is in Iraqi custody. The US gets blamed for torture and mistreating prisoners, which has happened in isolated cases. Individuals can get angry and lose control at times. We also find and prosecute most people involved in such activities.
    The Iraqis are not similarly constrained as are most non western countries. They guy must have tons of useful information, however, most of it probably relates to Iranian and Hezbollah activities against Israel. Iraqi Muslims would not want any of that information to get out and help Israel. They would be interesed in his Iraqi operations, many of which probably continue to this day.
    Hopefully, they will give him the full middle east treatment and pry this information from him. Knowing that Iran has infiltrated the Iraqi security forces, they may try to limit his interrogation, a la Jack Ruby. In any case, they will work to get him out of there as quickly as possible.
    This is a guy who deserves to spend his life in prison. Who will they trade him for so he can kill more people? Will the world be watching?


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