Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hamdani Pal Reinvents Himself as ‘Opposition’

The Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper today features a longish interview (Arabic link) with Staff Lt. Gen. Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Rahman al-Mufti, yet another of those Amman-based officers in the orbit of Gen. Raad al-Hamdani, who's been a topic of discussion here on this blog lately.

Al-Mufti actually refers to “my friend” al-Hamdani three times in the course of the interview, claiming that there are another 400 Iraqi officers above the rank of Brig. Gen. residing in Amman, and many more in Syria.

Al-Mufti echoes al-Hamdani’s denunciations of Maliki’s government by questioning their loyalty to Iraq, and claiming that there are unserious about reconciling with ex-officers.

Al-Mufti’s story is interesting since he was one of Saddam’s high ranking officers who was returned to active service after 2003 and was made commander of the Fourth Division of the Iraqi Army (based in Kirkuk). He was ostensibly returned because he was a Kurd, and hence wouldn’t be a Ba’athist (…Kurds were exempt for the most part from membership, since they are, err, ethnically Kurdish and that is usually an impediment towards being an Arab chauvinist).

Al-Mufti left the army after he was transferred to headquarters, and now refuses to return so as not to give the Iraqi government a media victory, or so he claims.

Another claim he makes is that the Americans used “small nuclear weapons” in the battle of Baghdad, a thing one hears often from unrepentant ex-regime kooks who still glorify the good old days of Saddam. Had the Republican Guard fought from within the city, al-Mufti adds, then they could have held out against the Americans for five years. Such is the military genius that Iraq now lacks, and with which we’re expected to reconcile. Ahemmm.

But there’s more to the story: first of all, he says he was “discovered” by the Americans after someone handed a CD with names of Iraqi officers for 3,000 dollars. That is code for “I was recruited by the CIA through the Kasnazani brothers.”

Secondly, and more importantly, he was transferred from his command post in disgrace, a point understandably not mentioned in the interview. On October 21, 2006, the Kurdish newspaper Hawal published pictures (Kurdish link, PDF) showing al-Mufti at a farewell ceremony for what is identified in the article as the 101st “unit”. The ceremony took place on September 2, 2006, according to the expose. He’s the one near the podium wearing glasses. Then, a bunch of gypsy dancers (kawliya, also a byword for prostitution) were brought in, who proceeded to grind up against the Iraqi and American officers, stuffing their faces in their hefty bosoms.

It was a big scandal at the time, and al-Mufti was yanked out of his command.

But he’s in Amman now, pretending to be the voice of martial rectitude while whiling away the days with his former brothers-in-arms, such as that other paragon of soldierly conduct, Gen. al-Hamdani.

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