Friday, April 25, 2014

Terrorist group's Baghdad rally bombed

In five days, Iraq is supposed to hold parliamentary elections.  Today a campaign rally in eastern Baghdad was bombed.  NINA notes that a car bomb went off near al-Senaa Sports Club, the stadium the rally was being held in.  Iran's Focus Information Agency notes that the gathering was a "rally for the Saadiqun bloc, the political wing of the Asaib Ahel al-Haq militia"  BBC News adds, "Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq is backed by Iran and is a public supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."  Raheem Salman  (Reuters)  reports, "The militant group, Asaib Ahl Haq (League of the Righteous), introduced its candidates for elections on April 30 at the rally in eastern Baghdad."

The League of what?

Peter Moore and four other British citizens were kidnapped by the League of Righteous. Of the other four, three corpses were turned over: Jason Crewswell, Jason Swindelhurst and Alec Maclachlan in one handover.  Much, much later, the remains of of Alan McMenemy were handed over. The kidnapping was mentioned in the State Dept's "2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:"

Five British men (a computer expert and four bodyguards) were kidnapped in 2007. Peter Moore, the computer expert, was released unharmed on December 30, while the bodies of three of the four bodyguards were returned on June 19 and September 3 to the United Kingdom. The whereabouts of the fifth man remained unknown at year's end. Fifteen Americans, four South Africans, four Russian diplomats, and one Japanese citizen who were abducted since 2003 remained missing. There was no further information on the 2007 kidnapping of the Ministry of Science and Technology acting undersecretary, Samir Salim al-Attar.

For more on the League, we'll drop back to the June 9th snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

That's the League of Righteous.

Al Jazeera says 10,000 people were in the stadium. And that Sheik Qais al-Khazali spoke at the gathering and insulted Sunnis.  al-Khazali was in US custody but Barack Obama decided to negotiate with terrorists so Peter Moore and four corpses could be released to England.  America's president likes to say he thought Nouri al-Maliki was going to prosecute al-Khazali but even Barack can't be that dumb.

Nouri released him and now even pays the 'militia' which hunts and kills Sunnis in Iraq.  It's a detail no one mentions in today's reporting.  Tim Arango (New York Times) broke that news in September of last year:

In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.

They're terrorists.  The League of Righteous is terrorist.  You can step back and argue that with regards to British and American forces, they were at war.  (You don't have to step back, if you don't want to.)  But they are terrorists on the government payroll to terrorize the Sunni population in Iraq.

And if you don't step back, you should grasp that the US had placed al-Khazali in military prison and the plan was to put him on trial -- US military trial -- for his killing of 5 US service members.  But Barack decided to let him go.  Maybe Barack can fly to Baghdad and campaign for him?

There were at least three bombs and Al Jazeera says 31 people are dead and fifty-six more injured.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports a Kirkuk roadside bombing left Iraqi soldiers injured, Judge Edan Hassan Khalaf was left wounded "in an armed attack on his home west of Kirkuk," a Hamrin roadside bombing left 1 person dead and another injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects, and an armed battle southeast of Ramadi left 9 rebels and 4 soldiers dead.  Alsumaria adds that last night that 1 police officer was shot dead in Qadisiyah.  All Iraq News notes "4 Iraqi Army Intelligence elements were killed [. . .] at the main road between Beji and Tikrit."

The following community sites -- plus Black Agenda Report, Jake Tapper, PBS NewsHour, Jody Watley,, Latino USA, Iraq Inquiry Digest, the Guardian, Dissident Voice and Pacifica Evening News -- updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is

    the new york times
    alissa j. rubin