Shia reconciliation will lead to US release of Iranian proxies
5:17 PM, Aug 4, 2009 • By BILL ROGGIO
The Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, has agreed to reconcile with one of the most dangerous Shia terror groups in Iraq:
The Asa'ib al-Haq was behind the kidnapping and murder of five US soldiers in Karbala in January 2007, and the subsequent kidnapping of five British contractors in Baghdad later that spring. Two of the Brits are dead (their bodies have been turned back over to British officials), and two others are strongly suspected of being killed by the Asa'ib al-Haq.
The US turned over the brother of the leader of the Asa'ib al-Haq in June, and in July, turned over a senior Qods Force officer who directed one of the three regional commands assigned to direct operations in Iraq. The officer was released under the guise of being one of the "Irbil Five," who were five low-level Qods Force officers who were not as senior or as dangerous.
The US will continue to release these high-level Iranian operatives and their Iraqi proxies. As a US intelligence official told me back in July, "you'd better get used to it."
The kicker here is that the US is not obligated to release these Iranian agents at this time. In fact, the US could push hard to hold them and for the Iraqis to make exceptions under the Status of Forces Agreement.
For instance: the US captured Abd al Hadi al Iraqi as he entered Iraq sometime in late 2006. Abd al Hadi al Iraqi is a senior al Qaeda military commander. He directed al Qaeda paramilitary forces in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas, and was sent to Iraq to bolster al Qaeda's operations there. What are the odds that the US will release Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, who is currently at Guantanamo Bay, to the Iraqis?