A hunch, and a salute...
I have a hunch that today's arrest of the Deputy Health Minister, Hakim al-Zamili, by Iraqi commandoes has something to do with the abduction on November 19, 2006 of Ammar al-Saffar, who formerly occupied the same post at the Ministry of Health. Al-Saffar (born 1950 in Baghdad, graduate of Mustansiriyya University with a degree in Business Administration, left Iraq in 1978) was a high level Da'awa Party member and was close to both ex-PM Ibrahim al-Ja'afari and current PM Nouri al-Maliki. He was abducted from his family home near Maghrib Street in Waziriya by a renegade squad of the Mahdi Army, according to a knowledgable source. The source added that al-Saffar had been threatened by the Sadrists who control the Health Ministry to give up his post for one of their own or else they would hurt him or his family. Al-Saffar had been living outside the Green Zone with his elderly mother, and with minimal security. His wife and children live in London.
There have been ongoing negotiations between the Da'awa Party and the Sadrists to secure his release, but some believe that al-Saffar is already dead.
In other news, the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger has a great story about the 'Snake Eater'. This line of thinking conforms to the alternative counterinsurgency techniques that I was writing about: see my post from December 1, 2006, 'Go Smart'.