Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

...Because Iraq's issues are one-dimensional

The Washington Post has a story today about the Iraqi government's plans to relocate the Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) away from the border areas for now, and eventually away from Iraq.

The aftertaste of Ernesto Londono's copy is that the Iraqis are doing this due to Iran's undue influence over the decisions of Maliki's government. The MEK serving as an auxillary force in Saddam's reign of terror is only mentioned in passing. Even then, Londono uses the wishy-washy "reportedly" to describe the MEK role in supressing the 1991 Uprising. Apart from doing Iran's bidding, the Iraqis have no clearly defined reasons of their own to dislike the MEK, the story infers.

The MEK has plenty of Iraqi blood on its hands. Kirkuk and Kifri in 1991, and Ramadi in 1995, come to mind. But who's interested in what the Iraqis have to say for themselves, right? Certainly not the WaPo, unless its a sob story about how bad things are, relayed with the kind of rhetorical flourish that may or may not put someone in line for a Pulitzer.

Note to Londono & Co: Away with thee to the Hindu Kush, for there await the stories that will garner you prizes, and sustain your egos. Iraq is depleted, so off you go to greener pastures.

UPDATE: ADIL AL-MASHHADANI: Several news outlets are reporting that Adel al-Mashhadani was arrested by Iraqi troops today. Fighting broke out with his fighters in the Fadhl neighborhood of Old Baghdad afterwards. This is great news. Mashhadani was one of Al-Qaeda's point guys in eastern Baghdad, responsible for countless numbers of deaths. The Americans thought it wise to hire him, and trot him out to reporters, without mentioning what he had done. This is how I put it in February 2008:

Even thugs who were doing Al-Qaeda’s bidding just a few months ago and had only turned because Al-Qaeda had appointed someone else to replace them were polished up and made presentable and available for media comment: Adil al-Mashhadani was reborn as a respectable local notable. “Let’s get him in a photo-op with David Ignatius!”
I followed up in the comments section of that post with a description of how I would've handled it:
I certainly would not have hired Adel al-Mashhadani! I would have watched him battle it out with his replacement, Ala’a al-Alawi, and then sent in the Iraqi Army to shoot and arrest the remnants of both gangs.
I'm not sure, but I think I was the first to identify Adel al-Mashhadani as the leader of the insurgency in Fadhl (July 2007).

Now who wants to bet that Odierno will try to move heaven and earth to get this thug released? And all the venal reporters, as well as the self-described 'experts', will eat it up.


Anonymous amagi said...


I think you sell Odierno short... and, look, I'm all for punishing the guilty, but these news stories about the Sahwa not getting paid and having leadership arrested... they don't worry you? I mean, clearly they don't and you've said in the past that your connections tell you these guys just don't have any fight left in them... but I'll be honest -- I thought the economy would have expanded faster and these guys would get absorbed by, you know, business opportunities. Real ones. Young men with with no money in their pockets just sitting around... that's bad news. What is going to happen to all of these guys?

11:01 PM, March 28, 2009

Blogger bg said...


re: [I'm not sure, but I think I was the first to identify Adel al-Mashhadani as the leader of the insurgency in Fadhl (July 2007).]

yes i recall you mentioning that
that name (long before then btw)..

was this Mashhadani the
fictitious al-Baghdadi??


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