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Top Iraqi Official Implicated In Terrorism

From his friends and allies at Reuters:

Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman of the Iraqi government, talks to reporters during a news conference with the spokesman for Baghdad’s security plan Brigadier General Qasim Ata in Baghdad on November 28, 2007.

Crackdown on Iraq Sunni leader after bombs found

By Waleed Ibrahim and Alaa Shahine

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces arrested dozens of people, including the son of a leading Sunni Arab politician, in a pre-dawn raid on Friday after a car rigged with explosives was found near the lawmaker’s office.

The incident threatened to increase political tension across Iraq’s sectarian divide at a time when violence has been falling dramatically.

The Shi’ite-led government said Adnan al-Dulaimi, leader of the Accordance Front, the main Sunni Arab bloc, could be stripped of the immunity from prosecution he holds as a member of parliament if he was found to have links to car bombs.

No one is above the law. Dr Adnan al-Dulaimi has immunity, but this does not exempt him from questioning and accountability,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

“The case is very serious and the accusations against him are very serious. He has to prove his innocence. He will be called for questioning. If the charges against him are proven, his immunity will definitely be lifted.”

Dulaimi rejected the accusations.

“This is all not true. These are false accusations,” Dulaimi told Reuters. “We are the ones who are subject to terrorism.”

Seven people were arrested on Thursday at Dulaimi’s office and 29, including Dulaimi’s son Mekki, were seized in a raid early on Friday at Dulaimi’s house, said Brigadier General Qassim Moussawi, security spokesman for Baghdad.

“We have also found quantities of weapons and uniforms of the army and police at the home of Dr. al-Dulaimi,” he told Reuters. “Dulaimi’s bodyguards are suspected of having links to car bombs and killings. There are confessions against them.”

Dulaimi’s party put the number of detainees at 53, while the U.S. military said the total was more than 40.

The wreckage of a four-wheel drive vehicle could be seen on the road outside a charity run by Dulaimi next door to his main offices in Baghdad, where security forces detonated the car after discovering it was rigged with explosives on Thursday.

Windows had been blown out of the charity building, which was covered with black smoke, and its main gate was destroyed.

Some Iraqi officials have said a second car was also detonated in the area but Iraqi Army Lieutenant Hussam Abdullah, at the scene, said there was only one.

Moussawi said the car bomb was found when security forces chased a suspected fugitive involved in a shooting into Dulaimi’s compound.

The U.S. military said one of Dulaimi’s guards had a key to the car that was rigged as a bomb. Two bystanders were hurt when one of the guards escaped, and five American soldiers and one bystander were hurt in the controlled blast when the car was destroyed, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Dulaimi had been asked to stay in his house “for his own personal safety,” it said.

Dulaimi’s bloc quit Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government in August and has so far rejected efforts to lure it back. It says it wants a greater say in security policy…

There is a silver lining in all this, of course.

It shows that the Maliki government now feels strong enough that it can finally crack down on these terrorists in business suits.

By the way, if Mr. Ali al-Dabbagh’s name sounds vaguely familiar, it came up a lot in the efforts to strip Blackwater contractors of their immunity and throw them out of Iraq, back in October.

From the Associated Press:

Iraq bill would lift contractor immunity

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi government on Tuesday approved draft legislation lifting immunity for foreign private security companies, sending the measure to parliament, a spokesman said.

The question of immunity has been one of the most serious dispute between the U.S. and the Iraqi government since a Sept. 16 shooting involving Blackwater USA guards that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.

The government’s decision followed reports that the State Department has promised Blackwater bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month’s shooting…

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the draft law approved Tuesday would overturn an immunity order known as Decree 17 that was issued by L. Paul Bremer, who ran the American occupation government until June 2004…

And from just ten days ago via BBC News:

Foreigners held for Iraq shooting

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

A group of at least 32 foreigners have been detained in Baghdad after an Iraqi woman was shot and injured, say Iraqi government officials.

Among those held are private security guards, with early reports saying two Americans were among those held. The US military later said none were arrested.

The incident occurred as guards tried to clear the way for their convoy in a traffic jam, an Iraqi official said.

The Iraqi government has vowed to crack down on the conduct of security firms…

After the arrests, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told Reuters news agency that those held would appear before an investigating judge in Baghdad on Tuesday.

“This is a message to security companies that no one is above the law,” Mr Dabbagh said. “Those involved will be put on trial and the innocent will be released.” …

Granted, Mr. Dabbagh is (or was) the official Iraq government spokesman. But I’m not sure being an Iraq Government spokesmen is quite the same as US government spokesmen. That is, merely the conduit for the head of the administration.

After all, Mr. Dabbah is described everywhere — including today’s reports — as being a powerful politician. So one might suspect that he is more than just a spokesmen in the way we use the term.

In any case he has been front and center in the criticisms of Blackwater.

Indeed, a search of Mr. Dabbah via Google reveals that more than 1/4 of his online mentions involve Blackwater.

Perhaps now we will see if anyone is above the law in Iraq, after all.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 30th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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