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Maliki Government’s Whitewashing of Hezbollah

1:10 PM, Nov 20, 2012 • By MATTHEW LEVITT
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But what most grabbed the attention of senior coalition leadership was an “in-depth planning and lessons learned document” about the attack on the Karbala Provincial Coordination Center. The document laid bare the extensive pre-operational surveillance, logistical preparation, and tactical drills that were carried out. Later, both Daqduq and Khazali would concede “that senior leadership within the Qods Force knew of and supported planning for the eventual Karbala attack.” According to Daqduq, “the Iraqi special groups could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Qods Force.”

In late February 2012, the U.S. government publicly announced the filing of military commission charges against Daqduq. The eight-page charge sheet, issued secretly just days after Daqduq was turned over to Iraqi authorities, accused Daqduq of murder, terrorism, spying and other charges. Under the Iraqi judicial system, the Iraqi court’s May 29th decision to release Daqduq was automatically appealed. On June 25 the decision to free Daqduq was upheld, by which time Washington had lodged a formal request for Daqduq’s extradition.

It is possible a fair trial would have ended in Daqduq’s acquittal on some or all of the charges. But summarily releasing him on the basis of patently false procedural grounds suggests something other than the rule of law was at play in the Iraqi judicial system. Daqduq’s release is an ominous sign of the direction in which the Maliki government is taking Iraq. It also underscored how quickly Washington’s influence over its erstwhile ally in Baghdad has waned.

Matthew Levitt directs the Stein program on counterterrorism and intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and is the author of Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God (forthcoming 2013).

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