Who is Abdolmalek Rigi?Jund'allah has long been associated with western intelligence so Debbie displays normal and expected curiosity as to why the west would be in bed with a possible AQ-related Sunni terrorist. Well, I wondered the same thing in 2007 when both ABC and the New York Times reported on Jund'allah and figured they were a convenient but strange proxy.
Abdolmalek Rigi was arrested in Pakistan and then given to Iranian government agents. The New York Times reports he was arrested Tuesday on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, (via Press TV reported). DEBKA reports "an Iranian bomber forced down a Kyrgyzstan airliner heading out of the emirate to seize its most wanted fugitive, Abdol Malek Rigi, leader of the Baluchi Jund Allah underground movement."
That still looks plausible but some complications have arisen since 2007. Number one, Obama is in office. Number two, Iran has released their AQ house captives, such as Saad bin Laden, and number three, Obama is ramping up the war against the Taliban.
So my new questions (sorry Debbie, still not answering yours here)..
1) How does Jund'allah fit in with the Quetta Shura that included Baradar?
2) Does the news that Baradar might be sent back to Afghanistan have an bearing here?
3) Was Pakistan involved in Rigi's capture, and if so, why? What benefit do they get from handing him over to Tehran vis a vis our current surge against the Taliban?
Puzzling. Add to the puzzle that Quetta is KSM's boyhood home and it gets ever weirder. As to Quetta, a Baloch journalist for NBC News interviewed the Taliban's Mullah Manan about his boyhood home back in late 2009 from his hideout in Helmand:
'We are not safe in Quetta,' Manan answered, referring to the Taliban forces. 'These days, the Pakistani security forces are looking for us and it is no longer safe to even cross the border to visit friends. Besides,' Manan added, 'we control almost 80 percent of Afghanistan, why should we hide in Pakistan?'"Which seems true based on Baradar's capture in Karachi. But what was he doing in Karachi? Well, here's Global Security:
Crippling the Taliban leadership by attacking the ‘Quetta shura’ and weakening its influence over Taliban fighters in Southern Afghanistan, seemed to be an important element of the new Obama Administration strategy on Pakistan and Afghanistan. By April 2009, fearing US drone attacks, a large number of Taliban’s Afghan leaders had moved from Quetta to Karachi, Peshawar and other cities.So good on Obama--threatening to drone Quetta might have flushed Baradar and allowed his capture in Karachi. As to Rigi, the old ABC story might provide some clues:
"He used to fight with the Taliban. He's part drug smuggler, part Taliban, part Sunni activist," said Alexis Debat, a senior fellow on counterterrorism at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant who recently met with Pakistani officials and tribal members.In other words, not an overly pious one-dimensional terrorist. Drilling down further:
A senior U.S. government official said groups such as Jundullah have been helpful in tracking al Qaeda figures and that it was appropriate for the U.S. to deal with such groups in that context.Which seems to fit into the puzzle somehow, perhaps in the 'lucky break' we got in capturing Baradar. But.. if all of that is true and he's now captured and in custody in Iran, that can't be good for any conceivable reason:
The interior minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, said Mr. Rigi was arrested Tuesday on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, Press TV reported. But Al Jazeera, the satellite TV channel based in Qatar, reported from Pakistan that Mr. Rigi was arrested in Pakistan last week and handed over to Iran.If Pakistan arrested him was it in response to our fingering of al-Baradar? Even if he was captured on the plane (from Dubai, of all places) somebody had to fip off the Iranians. Was it Dubai in response to the Hamas assassination? Sounds like a friggin mess.