Iraq’s Awakening groups have been given much of the credit for reducing the level of violence in the country. But the arrest of a prominent leader of one of the groups may signal a wavering of loyalty to the government among some of the fighters, says the BBC’s Hugh Sykes in Baghdad.
A photograph published on an official website shows Adil al Mashadani standing in an office of the Ministry of the Interior, his wrists cuffed in front of him. He is wearing a beige polo shirt – with his name scrawled in English on white tape stuck across his chest.
A press release from the Multi-National Force in Iraq says he is suspected of leading a cell that has attacked and killed Iraqi security forces with IEDs – roadside bombs. They also believe he operated mortar or rocket teams, and “extorted bribes in excess of $160,000 a month from the citizens of Fadhil”, as the press release puts it.
The Iraqi authorities have made another serious accusation against Mr Mashadani – that he maintained links with remnants of the former regime of Saddam Hussein. The Centre for Imposing Law on Baghdad – set up under the “surge” of US troops in 2007 – says Mr Mashadani was running a new military wing of the old Ba’ath Party.
If this is true, it is a profoundly worrying development. But it would not be a surprise.
RTFA. After Bush’s invasion, a famous quote from a Ba’athist official was, “What should they do? Sit in their kitchens with their wives? Do you expect them to sing and dance?”
“They can do anything and they can do everything,” he added.
Is our tame Iraqi government smart and shrewd enough to utilize their experience and skills? And, yes, they mostly are Sunnis who used to govern the majority Shia community now dominant in the government.