May 30, 2007

Sadr's Militia Kidnapped Britons

Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army apparently masterminded the kidnapping of five Britons in Iraq. The abductions likely came as retribution for the death of Sadr's lieutenant in a gunfight earlier this month between the Mahdis and the British:

Iraq's most prominent Shia militia has emerged as the chief suspect in the kidnappings of five British nationals in Iraq.

Negotiations with the Mahdi Army are already under way after one of several spokesmen for the armed force under the command of the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr claimed responsibility for the kidnappings at the finance ministry in Baghdad.

Hundreds of Iraqi and American troops raided Sadr City, Baghdad’s largest Shia neighbourhood, in an operation that ended early today. Residents said areas of Sadr City were sealed off and several arrests were made.

Iraqi forces have established a special battalion of soldiers and police officers to search for the kidnapped men. “We are conducting search operations near the site where the abduction took place,” said Brig Gen Qassim al Musawi, an Iraqi army spokesman.

If this is true, it challenges the status of Sadr as a politician to a degree not seen since his capitulation in Najaf in 2004. It also highlights the problem of Sadr's influence on the Interior Ministry, controlled by one of his allies and reportedly infiltrated to a high degree by Mahdis and other Shi'ite militias. The kidnapping took place at a government building, the first time Westerners have been abducted from such a facility.

The abduction itself was a complicated, well-planned event. The Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, told the BBC that he suspected the Mahdis of the kidnapping. He said it took a number of people to seal off the building, get inside, and abduct four private security contractors and the computer expert they were protecting. Zebari said that local police almost certainly were involved in the "sophisticated" operation.

The big worry is that the Mahdis will sell the hostages to another group, perhaps even al-Qaeda. The commandos of the SAS have been put on alert in case they are needed for rescue and extraction. In the meantime, the UK and the US have to pressure the Maliki government to either take care of Sadr or to stand by while we do so. The raids on Sadr City this week sent a message, but as we have seen with Sadr in the past, that message needs to be personal -- and final, this time.


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Comments (26)

Posted by Paul A'Barge | May 30, 2007 9:48 AM

Kill him. Now.

Posted by tgharris | May 30, 2007 10:06 AM

Until al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army are conclusively dealt with, we're just spitting in the wind.

Posted by Dave | May 30, 2007 10:23 AM

If true, he has given us a concrete reason, to take he and his goons out. Before, it was a matter of politics and agenda. Not anymore...

Pull the trigger on this guy, his gang and if needed, their families. This is war, kill this porky pig.

Posted by exdem13 | May 30, 2007 10:31 AM

Mookie's been strutting his stuff since he got back. I wonder what his handlers in Tehran have told him during his absence? Time to give him the reality adjustment....again..... This time, how 'bout we give him a .50 -cal headache and not apologize for it at all?

Posted by Ryan | May 30, 2007 10:44 AM

I'm a contractor in Iraq, and I go to sites in a similar fashion. Now, you pretty much need to take enough PSD to control the building AND defend from outside, assuming the FPS at the site, etc. are all either enemy or at least colluding. This is craziness.

I'd be happy to contribute to a "market solution" to this Sadr problem; maybe if enough people contribute, it will happen.

Posted by NahnCee | May 30, 2007 11:14 AM

Since the Brits have proven themselves to be such accommodating and groveling hostages, why should Mookie, et al, decline taking advantage of them?

Posted by Lightwave | May 30, 2007 11:59 AM

This story demonstrates a number of points:

1) Note the difference between the US reaction to three kidnapped soldiers and the UK response to the five kidnapped contractors. We turned ouver every rock and have made dozens of arrests going after the people responsible at every turn for that action. The UK? Wringing their hands.

2) You think the Brits completely folding on the response of the naval incident earlier this year has anything to do with more Brits being kidnapped by Islamists? What's going through Gordon Brown's mind right about now? When he takes over for Blair, is he going to stay or complete the UK withdrawal?

3) Why is Mookie still breathing, anyway? Every one that he takes should be considered an ongoing insult to our troops and our country. At this point either he's actively attacking the US and UK or he's lost control of the elements that are doing that, and refuses to deal with them. There's no reason he shouldn't be in a pine box or better yet in Gitmo right now.

Posted by rbj | May 30, 2007 12:12 PM

Take him out two years ago.

Posted by patrick neid | May 30, 2007 12:17 PM

mr sadr is still living because when it was suggested three years ago that he be executed by myself and many others here, it was argued very successfully by the appeasers that it would be against out better interest to execute the "leaders". this was when he was nothing but a fat punk with a few thousand dead enders for follows. now with millions the cost will be that much higher. it is this same stupid logic that the leaders of iran, syria, hamas, hezzbollah and sudan are left alive to plan on how to kill more of us.

we are not fighting to win, we are fighting to tie. bin laden continues to be right about us.

Posted by Carol_Herman | May 30, 2007 12:25 PM

It's an inside job. At least 40 terrorists, ALL in Iraqi uniforms. With ID's. AND, they knew the layout of the Ministry!

The problem? The people think its funny when the Americans, donning surgical gloves, "go looking for bits and pieces of their kidnap victims.

With Bush in office, this is easy! And, you have no idea how the American money flows in! Even though we're told the Iraqis could be as rich as the Saud's. What with the underground oil wealth, and all.

Well, let's see? Let's say it was a dictator in charge? How many Iraqis would be lined up and shot? Till someone, not wanting to die, spilled the beans?

No. We're not at war! What we are doing is insanely "legal." As if wars are run by lawyers; and instead of bullets, you get paperwork.

How did this get planned? There's cooperation.

How come we didn't run into these problems in germany and japan? Ah. We had enough troops. And, attacking one American military person stood you a good chance that you and your family would meet your deaths. Besides, you wanted to eat. And, we controlled food distribution, too.

We're just not in the same mindset. We've got to readjust to new realities.

Take this one: When we handicapped our police, we got a more professional service. HOWEVER, the schools in gang infested neighborhoods aren't safe. NOTHING IS SAFE! And, very little real English is spoken.

So lots of people see things as worse; though they appear better in the press. But nobody believes the media, anymore.

And, Bush is afraid of his own shadow! He has no talent. No one in his family can recognize talent. And, James Baker made off with billions. Because he's very powerful in this stinking vacuum.

Posted by Fen | May 30, 2007 1:41 PM

"It also highlights the problem of Sadr's influence on the Interior Ministry, controlled by one of his allies"

For starters, toss this guy and his associates out on their tails.

Then kill Sadr.

Posted by james23 | May 30, 2007 1:48 PM

One of my early metrics for success of the surge is whether al-Sadr is dead or behind bars. That he is neither bodes poorly for success.

Posted by Cindi | May 30, 2007 1:49 PM

I can only second what others have said.

Blow. His. Ass. Up.

Then his lieutenants, one at a time or by the party-pack.

Posted by lexhamfox | May 30, 2007 3:52 PM

Fen, The person you are referring to is actually over at the Finance Ministry now although the militia does have its tentacles all over the police forces which are under the Interior Ministry. He maintains the police payroll through his current role. The abductions took place at the Finance Ministry I think but I could be wrong.

I have heard US and British intelligence think that the abductions could be the result of SAdr's waning influence after being out of the country for four months. They have voiced doubts that Sadr is still in total control and that hardliners have taken control over some of the more violent elements. They ahve also said that certain parts of the organization could be answering to Tehran.

Posted by NahnCee | May 30, 2007 4:27 PM

The following was posted at InstaPundit two days ago. So far, I have seen no follow-up anywhere.

* * *


I was present today when an Iraqi General was arrested on suspicion of murder and other crimes. The American commander, LTC Doug Crissman, narrowly averted a possible bloodbath today when he intervened, without orders from above, and arrested the General. The General was with 14 heavily armed men. I was a few feet away and snapped a photo of Crissman and the Iraqi General only seconds before Crissman silently grabbed the General's pistol out of his holster. Crissman's men had silently disarmed the other 14 men who were all around the building. The General was clueless. Incredible, and brilliantly executed by LTC Crissman. More in a couple of days. (I got it all on video/photo.)

Instapundit readers are the first to know.

And I'd like to know more.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | May 30, 2007 4:41 PM

Do we need to have bumper stickers, blimp ads, billboard campaign, or commercials here? For crying out loud... kill Al-Sadr!

His continued existence belies our seriousness in all matters Iraq and the whole concept of having an official government preside over tribal militias. If Al-Sadr lives, a centrally "democratized" Iraq doesn't. If this is the case, we should probably just get out now and keep our silos warm.

Posted by mullah cimoc | May 30, 2007 6:45 PM

mullah cimoc say unidentified sources not for reliable information.

how reporter know him militia commander? maybe him running him food cart. no, this sound like the lie.

usa people now time for be victim of disinformation campaign by intel agency. this because ameriki type of desperation for the good news. him listen big lie and want believe.

true: usa media not free. neocon him working for the israeli.

so many the dead for big lie and power. sick killer him sick. him your neighbor? him your policeman? him your son in law?

for learn and study and reading: a man called intrepid, by william stevenson and inside the company, a cia diary by phillip agee.

this help ameriki understand how him usa media be so control and not free. part the mind control. google: mighty wurlitzer +cia but remember now so more the advance and the technology.

Posted by gaffo | May 30, 2007 7:50 PM

Dave is advicating killing Mahdi Leadership's wives and children.

Who else here thinks that muder is the American Way?

If the majority share Dave's view of the moral foundation of today's America, maybe the Germans should have won WW2 afterall...........................

So lets see a show of hands:

All for murdering small babies and kids if they are related to the Mahdi Army's Leadership say "I".

Posted by Joe | May 30, 2007 9:29 PM

Were gonna kill Sadr because we SUSPECT he was in on the abduction? Wouldn't that be something Saddams henchmen would do? Think Sadr didn't have some inside help? Shows how little control we have on the ground in Iraq when something like this happens every day. The police and Interior Ministry are totally corrupt in that country, think the surge will solve that? You can kill Sadr anytime, why do you think we've held back? How bout massive Shia uprising circa 2004. You know Maliki is in bed with Sadr, Maliki probably has ties to Iran too. Still glad we invaded Iraq?Were the occupiers, we've propped up a puppet government, Bush and the neo-cons bury their heads in the sand and tell everyone how great things are going. Just watch the news folks, Iraq is a mess.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 31, 2007 12:00 AM

So lets see a show of hands:

All for murdering small babies and kids if they are related to the Mahdi Army's Leadership say "I".

Let's see a show of hands of everyone who thinks that entities like gaffo should be offered a choice between leaving the United States and living elsewhere, or being locked up for treason.

Posted by Clyde | May 31, 2007 8:19 AM

Why is that fat swine still breathing? And no, I'm not talking about Michael Moore, I'm talking about Mooqie.

Posted by millie | May 31, 2007 10:13 AM

Unbelievable responses from americans. Ok walk me through this, the iraqi's will be dancing in the streets when saddam is overthrown, nope. It will all be ok when iraqi's see his sons dead and covered in make-up looking like david guest, nope. It will improve if the iraqi's see saddam hussein in is underpants looking like george of the jungle with toothache ,nope . They need to see us kill a scarier evildoer, I know if we kill abu-musab al-zarqawi ,show him wearing unsuitable foot wear for the climate then they will fly their own american flags that they have been waiting to fly. So are you people really saying that killing the ultimate baddie sadr from the dark side will make a difference.(if it wasn't for you pesky americans) Here in the u.k we are not wringing our hands and it is very insulting to our people that americans are spewing this,oh can any allie have an opinion on to kill or not to kill,their lives our at stake as well. If we disagree will we be terrorists. Interestingly bin-laden is not on this list-oh i forgot ,the 7ft fugitive got away on a donkey . Can ask for americans to get your heads out of your arses and explore guerilla warfare/occupation/religious divide , you will find that you can drop as many bombs you like,invade every country,it won't help. The only way we will be able to get our citizens back is by diplomatic means and through intellegence on the ground. This approach however is missing in the u.s with belief that they are all evil and non human- cannot negoiate with evil it has to be destroyed, maybe that saying should be printed on american dollar's ,not in god we trust.

Posted by patrick neid | May 31, 2007 1:28 PM


i'm sorry that we apparently executed all your favorite monsters.

"The only way we will be able to get our citizens back is by diplomatic means and through intellegence on the ground."

you mean to say bribe your citizens back so the perps will have more money to kill more people. i see, in hindsight of course, that you had some very successful negotiations with the home grown "tube bombers" just as the spanish and bali diplomats before you. who's forgetting the italians who readily give to the terrorist kitty banks--mustn't say piggy bank these days, must we!

keep us posted going forward on the progress toward londonistan. if you think its bad now you are really going to cringe when this war really starts. it's still in the middle east.

Posted by NahnCee | May 31, 2007 2:35 PM

Millie, you might want to read the following for a primer example of the difference between Yurp/Brit "soft power" (i.e., wringing your hands and groveling), and American "hard power" (i.e., the gentle art of persuasion through intimadation ... or else).

Trust me - the "or else" option is *much* more fun to implement than the hand-wringing one. But then you have so many little brown Muslims to support in your country any more, you probably can't afford to be buying any Really Big Guns any time soon, can you?

Posted by gaffo | May 31, 2007 8:09 PM

Nancy, so being opposed to killing babies is Treason here in new USSA?

nice try at bobbing a weaving and changing the subject.

I'll try one more time: Simple question - a simple Ya or Ney shall suffice.

Nancy, do you support the United States Armed forces used to kill small children and babies related to the Terrorists we are fighting?

Dave does - or so he claims to.

- yes you supporting killing babies - or no you do not.

We await your response to this question - rather than another duck and weave.

Posted by millie | June 1, 2007 9:32 AM

Is it possible to visit this website and post different opinions without being called a terrorist-no wonder your nation is divided and becoming paralysed between left and right. Your domestic politic's is not relevent to the international community,so disagreement with your government does not mean 'we' support your democrates. You are a democracy and your government was voted.So being called secular and lefty is amusing without knowing anything about my politic's.The lack of insight into the u.k's role in the war on terror and iraq is quite sad considering our soldiers too are being blown up,traumatised and families destroyed. So these terrorists are my friends then,how pathetic. Maybe you should look to your irish american friends who continued to fund raise and gunrun for the i.r.a. Gerry adams,martin mcguiness(self confessed i.r.a commander) Welcomed for years in the whitehouse,hypocrites. The u.s sat back for 2 years in ww2,even during the battle of britain, until pearl harbour the u.s was neutral but selling equipment and supplies.It was only following 9/11 that the irish terrorists were put on the 'list you are in no position to judge or .I quite like tony blair,his legacy should be his/our achievement in northern ireland. There is parallells of this framework that could be used in the middle east, more so with israel/palastine. He does want to be able to bring this experience as a diplomate ,he is good at that.. Having talks with syria and iran was a good move(totally agree probably talking for years-the british government was saying no,no whilst they were having talks with different factions for years in northern ireland. What did we learn? Well you have to give everyone the chance to express their views even if they are talking crap,with reduced conditions to get started(it has to be hardliners-they are able to bring peace,moderates make war,hense sinnfein in government. Atrocities have to be addressed and not condoned.(the bloody sunday inquiry is still going on after 30 years). Haditha/abu graib,i know there has been some prosecutions but 'only doing their job',and everyone is a terrorists any way doesn't work. There was internment without trial ,bad intelligence led to random imprisonment,This was a huge mistake ,made them into hero's and if they weren't already a member of the i.r.a they soon were. Intelligence on the ground was the biggest coup for the british goverment.They managed to infiltrate the terrorist cells at high levels,i am not just talking financial, and 'buying off,' the people of northern ireland had had enough and so risked their lives and lost their lives to prevent bombings(i.r.a law -grasses=torture and bullet in head) People were willing to risk this with different rationales, everbody is not evil. In the u.k believe me we understand the rising numbers of islamofacists breeding in the u.k and across the world, we disagree with you on what action to take.Did you notice the reaction to the 7/7 bombings,the following day we were back on the tube,these people were not going to affect our way of life, you don't have to be killed to be terrorised.We are intitled as an allie to not repeat our mistakes from previous conflicts and you should respect that. However i do know that this enemy of our countries are way of scale then previous terrorists, and do require different methods. A broad coalition of countries ,mutual respect ,equal in life and death, a united front from around the world, you had this on 9/11, and i can see, judging by the response's given to my post's why this won't happen and america is cut loose from the world. At bit rambling i know ,i have been on night's ,going back to bed.