« Afghan and Briton Are Killed in Attack | Main | With Eye on Aid, Syria Opposition Signs Unity Deal »

U.S. Fears Hezbollah Operative Held in Iraq May Go Free

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/world/middleeast/us-fears-hezbollah-operative-held-in-iraq-may-go-free.html
November 11, 2012
U.S. Fears Hezbollah Operative Held in Iraq May Go Free
By MICHAEL R. GORDON [-ir] [maliki is in power struggle with fellow Shi’a groups and Iraq’s Sunni minority] [the SOFA that President Bush signed in 2008 provided for U.S. to leave by December 31, 2011] [Obama kept it on track] [the flurry of attacks that began in January, after U.S. withdrew combat troops in December, has continued to ramp up?] [followup] [however, this about the Shi’a govt the U.S. helped put in power while toppling the Sunni one of Saddam] [a Lebanese man the U.S. thinks is from Hezbollah and was in Iraq killing Americans has been held in jail] [followup] [apparently someone in the al Maliki govt just told U.S. authorities they no longer have legal basis for holding the man!] [*]
WASHINGTON — A senior Iraqi official has told the Obama administration that Iraq no longer has a legal basis to hold a Lebanese Hezbollah operative who has been accused of helping to kill American troops in Iraq, and United States officials are concerned that he may soon be released, American officials said Sunday.
American officials said that the United States ambassador in Baghdad, Robert S. Beecroft, had been instructed to seek a meeting with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq to urge that the Hezbollah operative, Ali Musa Daqduq, be kept in detention. [Ali Musa Daqduq] [*]

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/world/middleeast/us-fears-hezbollah-operative-held-in-iraq-may-go-free.html
November 11, 2012
U.S. Fears Hezbollah Operative Held in Iraq May Go Free
By MICHAEL R. GORDON [-ir] [maliki is in power struggle with fellow Shi’a groups and Iraq’s Sunni minority] [the SOFA that President Bush signed in 2008 provided for U.S. to leave by December 31, 2011] [Obama kept it on track] [the flurry of attacks that began in January, after U.S. withdrew combat troops in December, has continued to ramp up?] [followup] [however, this about the Shi’a govt the U.S. helped put in power while toppling the Sunni one of Saddam] [a Lebanese man the U.S. thinks is from Hezbollah and was in Iraq killing Americans has been held in jail] [followup] [apparently someone in the al Maliki govt just told U.S. authorities they no longer have legal basis for holding the man!] [*]
WASHINGTON — A senior Iraqi official has told the Obama administration that Iraq no longer has a legal basis to hold a Lebanese Hezbollah operative who has been accused of helping to kill American troops in Iraq, and United States officials are concerned that he may soon be released, American officials said Sunday.
American officials said that the United States ambassador in Baghdad, Robert S. Beecroft, had been instructed to seek a meeting with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq to urge that the Hezbollah operative, Ali Musa Daqduq, be kept in detention. [Ali Musa Daqduq] [*]
At the same time, however, American officials are worried that their efforts may fall short, and they quietly informed Congressional leaders last week that there was a risk that Mr. Daqduq may soon go free.
Mr. Daqduq, who was captured by British forces in Basra in March 2007, was the last detainee to be handed over to the Iraqis by the United States as American troops withdrew in December 2011.
American military officials have accused Mr. Daqduq of working with the Quds Force — an Iranian paramilitary unit that supports militant movements abroad — to train Shiite militias in Iraq during the war. One of the most serious allegations stems from his suspected role in helping to organize a January 2007 raid in Karbala that led to the deaths of five American soldiers. [*]
The case is politically delicate for the White House not just because of the allegations against Mr. Daqduq but also because of the timing. Some Iraqi officials have previously suggested that they would seek to mollify the Obama administration by putting off releasing Mr. Daqduq until the presidential campaign was over, but American officials repeatedly insisted that they did not want him released at all. [*]
“The United States continues to believe that Daqduq should be held accountable for his crimes,” said a State Department official, who asked not be identified because he was discussing a delicate diplomatic issue. A spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined to comment.
Mr. Daqduq, a member of Hezbollah since 1983, once supervised the security detail for Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s supreme leader. He worked in the group’s external operations unit, and has repeatedly visited the Tehran headquarters of the Quds Force. [sounds like they have him dead to rights] [*]
Mr. Daqduq was captured during a raid in Basra on March 20, 2007, that also netted Laith Khazali and his brother Qais, the leaders of a Shiite group known as Asaib Ahl al-Haq. A hard drive recovered at the site contained documents about the planning of the Karbala raid and even scanned copies of the contents of the wallet of one of the Americans killed in the attack. [held since 2007] [*]
When he was captured, Mr. Daqduq at first pretended to be deaf and unable to speak, a pose that American officials believe was intended to keep his accent from betraying his Lebanese origins. Later, though, he began to talk while in American custody, officials said.
After Mr. Daqduq was transferred to Iraqi custody, an Iraqi court ruled that there was not enough evidence to hold him. The United States sought his extradition for trial by an American military tribunal, but that request was turned down. The charge sheet prepared by American military prosecutors accused him of murder, terrorism and espionage, among other crimes. [I remember this guy] [*]
President Obama urged Mr. Maliki not to release Mr. Daqduq when the Iraqi prime minister visited the United States in December 2011. Iran, meanwhile, is believed to have been pressing for his release, making his fate something of a test case for Iraq’s relations with the United States. Mr. Daqduq is believed to be living under house arrest in the Green Zone area of Baghdad.
“It is a symbolic test for Maliki,” said Ramzy Mardini, an adjunct fellow at the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies, based in Beirut. “Is he more concerned about his relationship with Tehran or his relationship with Washington?”
Relations between Iraq and the United States are under strain from other issues like continued flights by aircraft from Iran to Syria that are believed to carry military supplies for government forces. Under American pressure, Baghdad ordered two flights to land in Iraq for inspection, but no military supplies were found.
Last spring, an internal American government assessment observed that Iraq appeared to be calculating that it could keep Mr. Daqduq detained long enough to appease the Americans but not so long as to offend Iran and Hezbollah. The possibility that Mr. Daqduq might be released soon was raised in a discussion last week between a senior adviser to Mr. Maliki and a senior Obama administration official, American officials said.
“We continue to work closely with the Iraqi government to explore any possible legal options that may remain in this case,” the State Department official said. “We appreciate the steps the Iraqi government has taken so far in seeking to hold Daqduq accountable.”

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://hydrablog.csusm.edu/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/20054