Friendly Fire? Another Look at Brazen Raid in Iraq

Raid in Iraq that killed 4 soldiers may be boldest yet (Associated Press)
Excerpt: In perhaps the boldest and most sophisticated attack in four years of warfare, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers last week at the provincial headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala and then shot them to death…

The brazen assault, 50 miles south of Baghdad, was conducted by nine to 12 gunmen posing as a U.S. security team, the military confirmed. The attackers traveled in black GMC Suburbans — the type used by U.S. government convoys — had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English, according to senior U.S. military and Iraqi officials.

Has anyone considered the possibility that these gunmen dressed as Americans, speaking English, driving American-style security vehicles and carrying American weapons were, well, Americans? Given the Pentagon's never-repudiated plan to foment terrorism to achieve the Bush Regime's geopolitical objectives; given the fact that Iraq is filled with private military "contractors," some of whom are almost certainly on retainer to U.S. security organs for various bits of "wetwork" and other ops on what Dick Cheney calls "the dark side"; given that we are already being told that the people who carried out this killing were "Iranian operatives" or Iraqis funded, armed and trained by same; and given the fact that the Bush Regime is now openly seeking any half-plausible pretext to launch its long-planned attack on Iran – would it not be irresponsible of us not to speculate on the ultimate origin of this bloody strike?

After all, who benefits from such a raid? All those who want more war and chaos in Iraq. This desire is not exclusive to the Bush Regime, of course – but the latter are definitely the beneficiaries of continued bloodshed, as it justifies their current policies, obscures past policies --  their deep-dyed crime against humanity in launching the war in the first place -- and it will most definitely be used to justify future policies: the "surge," the coming hellstorm of intensified urban warfare in Baghdad and the attack on Iran.

The obvious benefits that accrue to the Bush gang from this atrocity don't necessarily mean they are responsible for it; but it certainly puts them in the frame along with several other suspects.

But let us say, for argument's sake, that the "official" story now being cobbled together is true: that the raid was carried out by the Mahdi Army forces of Shiite cleric Motqada al-Sadr. (Of course, to carry out this thought-exercise, we must put aside the fact that Sadr – who holds the balance of power in the Bush-backed Iraqi government in his hands, and who has been told by the government which is dependent upon him to have his troops lie low for a spell, while Bush feeds his "surge" fodder into the meat grinder in hopes of a temporary PR boost – would get no discernible benefit from such a brazen provocation, but could definitely be hurt in a number of ways if he were tied to it.)

But let us go forward. If Sadr's forces did it, then this too is an instance of "friendly fire" – because the Mahdi Army not only receives arms from Iran; many of its troops are even now being armed, trained, paid and deployed by the United States. They control whole units of the Iraqi military and other Iraqi security forces – the very forces whose close cooperation with U.S. troops is absolutely essential for the successs of the "surge," or indeed, of the entire American "mission" in Iraq. Or so we're told, at least.

Although Sadr opposes the American presence in Iraq as fiercely as he opposed the regime of Saddam Hussein, he has been brought into the Bush-backed "sovereign" Iraqi government, and his support was the key element that allowed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form the government. Sadr's troops have filled the ranks of Iraq's security forces, which they are using to conduct a sectarian war and carry out murderous "ethnic cleansing" operations.

One of the main thrusts of Bush's "surge" plan is that U.S. forces will soon be directly engaging the Mahdi Army. Thus American troops will be fighting against a sectarian militia that has in part been armed and trained by American troops. What's more, these "surging" Americans will be fighting alongside Mahdi Army troops that have infiltrated the official Iraqi army.

George W. Bush has put U.S. soldiers – the ones he and his sycophants claim so loudly to "support" – into a circular firing squad, where they will, in effect, be killed with their own weapons. All questions of moral equivalency aside, you would have to go back to Nazi Germany to find a major power whose leaders act in such a howlingly stupid and self-destructive fashion.

For more on the Mahdi Army's penetration of the Bush-trained Iraqi army, see the Guardian report by the remarkable Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who is virtually the only Western reporter who is able to report from "behind the lines" on the insurgency and the militias'

The Kidnapper's Story (Guardian)
Excerpts: Fadhel and other Mahdi Army commanders describe an intimate relationship with Iraqi security services, especially the commandos of the Iraqi interior ministry. He says the Mahdi Army often uses these official forces in conducting its own operations against Sunni "terrorists".

"We have specific units that we work with where members of the Mahdi Army are in command. We conduct operations together. We can't ask any army unit to come with us, we just ask the units that are under the control of our men.The police are all under our control, we ask them to help or inform them that shooting will take place in a street and it involves the Mahdi Army, and that's it."

In one operation Fadhel took part in last summer, Iraqi interior ministry commandos attacked a Sunni area in Dora called "Arab Jubour". The raid involved 28 pickup trucks, he told me. Of them 16 were ministry of interior, the rest Mahdi Army.

The new Bush plan to secure Baghdad gives a major role to the Iraqi army and police units in securing Baghdad. Few in the city expect that these predominantly Shia forces will seriously challenge their fellow Shia.

*Corrected version.*