Iraqi Troops Free Kinapped Tribal Leaders
Bill Roggio writes:
Just 24 hours after the capture of 11 Sunni and Shia tribal leaders in northern Baghdad, the Iraqi Army has freed eight of the sheikhs. Meanwhile, Multinational forces Iraq has identified the Mahdi Army commander responsible for the kidnappings, and has begun to name other Mahdi Army leaders as being involved in criminal and insurgent activity.
Iraqi soldiers conducted the raid in as of yet unidentified region near Baghdad, likely with the aid of US Special Forces, and killed four of the kidnappers. "We have rescued eight of the hostages and are working to free the others. We killed four of the kidnappers," Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al Askari said.
And this time the bad guys were JAM.
Earlier today, Multinational Forces Iraq "identified Arkan Hasnawi, a former brigade commander in Jaish Al Mahdi [Mahdi Army], as responsible for the kidnapping of Shia and Sunni tribal leaders from Diyala Province yesterday." ... The identification of Hasnawi as a former Mahdi Army commander and leader in the Special Groups is new pattern of releasing the names of Shia terror leaders.
Releasing the name of someone who kidnapped a tribal leader in a society like Iraq may have the same effect as putting up a Wanted Poster in the post office. The circumstances suggest that a struggle is now underway for the allegiance of the Shi'a, who must now decide whether to back the Iraqi government or acknowledge the suzerainty of the militias. Maybe the kidnapping of the tribal leaders was intended to convey the message that the Government can't protect you from the JAM. If so, the swift retribution and the public naming of the suspects sends the message that one's life expectancy in the militias is strictly limited. Which argument proves more convincing will become evident in the next days.