Sunday, February 22, 2009

Iraqi Politician Linked to Attack?

CNN and others are reporting that a Sunni politician in Iraq has been implicated in an attack that killed two of his fellow parliament members:
The lawmaker, Mohammed al-Daini, denied the allegations in a televised statement and accused the government of "political blackmail." But an Iraqi military spokesman showed videotaped statements from al-Daini's bodyguards that appeared to implicate him in the plots.
In 2007 this man came to America as part of a delegation and made a case against the surge, then later met with liberals working for HuffPo, where the following tender moment took place:
Mohammed said to me, "No bombs, no shooting, no helicopters, no soldiers, no working." There was just the gentle breeze and the sounds of waves hitting the shore.

In that moment I felt a profound sense of sadness for Mohammed and for all the human beings trapped in the tragedy of Iraq. I could tell that in this same moment, Mohammed relaxed in the way that one relaxes just as when one takes a deep breath that catches. I imagine it's the first time that's happened in many years.
No doubt this guy is a hardliner. He was against changing the Iraqi flag, which Saddam manipulated in the early 90s by inserting his own calligraphy-scribbled "Allahu Akbar" in what some experts thought was an attempt to coddle the Islamist terrorists operating under that banner. One of the experts was none other than Iraqi General Hussein Kamel, who defected in 1995 and told UNSCOM weapons chief Rolf Ekeus about how things were becoming more spiritual in Baghdad:
The Government of Iraq is instigating fundamentalism in the country. This is of concern for Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait. It is against Europe and US. Now Baath Party members have to pass a religious exam. This would strengthen Iran. It would be detrimental for the whole region. (The interpreter remarked that Iraq and Iran would have the same mentality) This will be another world war. Every party member has to pass a religious exam. They even stopped party meetings for prayers.
When combined with the activities of Izzat al-Duri (still number one on their most-wanted list) it kinda pokes holes in that "Saddam is too secular to work with al Qaeda" argument many still insist upon. But just how it might relate to al-Daini or whether he might have ties to deeper underground Sunni radical elements remains unclear.

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