Friday, May 25, 2007
passive abject, i'm sure:
The Maliki government wants parliamentary immunity from prosecution removed for 15 Sunni politicians, including "almost all" of Saleh Mutlak's National Dialogue Council. Well, Mutlak is ready to pick up his marbles and go home anyway, but removing his immunity gives him precious little reason to stay in the political process. One of Mutlak's deputies, Khalaf al-Ayan, is believed by both Maliki and the U.S. military to be implicated in a number of attacks as a member of the Islamic Army of Iraq. Eli:

An American military official this week confirmed to The New York Sun that on April 3, American forces raided Mr. Ayan's house in Yarmouk and found stores of TNT that matched the kind used in the suicide belt that detonated on April 12 at the Iraqi parliament's cafeteria. That blast killed a member of parliament, Mohammed Awad, a Sunni Arab member of Mr. Ayan's Dialogue Front, yet the terrorist who killed him is believed to have been a member of Awad's security detail.

But the background on Mr. Ayan, who has threatened to return to "resistance" if the political process does not yield to the demands of his Sunni constituency, also implicates him in a string of attacks in Mosul on May 17 that detonated bridges and blew up a police station, according to one senior Iraqi Sunni official and an American intelligence officer who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the investigation. A raid last week on his parliamentary offices, in which American forces participated, yielded time-stamped before-and-after photos of the attacks, according to these sources.

Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed credit for the May 17 attacks, as it did for the parliament bombing. Mr. Ayan is believed to be the political leader of a rival of that group, the Islamic Army of Iraq, suggesting that the two organizations are cooperating. "The Islamic Army of Iraq coordinates attacks with Al Qaeda," the senior Iraqi official said. "The insurgency has consolidated."

Much of this is murky. Even granting that Ayan is a member of the IAI, the IAI is an enemy of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which takes credit for the parliament bombing. It's difficult to credit the idea that IAI collaborated with AQI on the attacks, since the only plausible rationale for such cooperation is to attack the collaborators in the government... Ayan among them. Still, the time-stamped photographs are pretty damning. It's simultaneously possible for Maliki to be primarily interested in purging Sunni rivals -- among the 15 is Mohammed al-Daini, who helped expose an Interior Ministry torture chamber last year -- and for those rivals to have done the dirt.
--Spencer Ackerman
It's also possible that AQI simply managed to infiltrate the security detail, isn't it?
Blogger Unknown | 12:38 PM