The announcement yesterday of an arrest in March of a high-ranking Hezbollah terrorist in Iraq gives more credence to the accusations of Iranian involvement in Iraq’s insurgencies. The US caught Ali Moussa Dadouk in southern Iraq after he masterminded a Karbala attack that killed five American soldiers — and Dadouk fingered the Iranians for much more:
Iran’s elite Quds force helped militants carry out a January attack in Karbala that killed five Americans, a U.S. general said Monday. U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner also accused Tehran of using the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as a “proxy” to arm Shiite militants in Iraq.
The claims were an escalation in U.S. accusations that Iran is fueling Iraq’s violence, which Tehran has denied, and were the first time the U.S. military has said Hezbollah has a direct role.
A senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq, Bergner said. Dakdouk served for 24 years in Hezbollah and was “working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds Force,” Bergner said.
The general also said that Dakdouk was a liaison between the Iranians and a breakaway Shiite group led by Qais al-Kazaali, a former spokesman for cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Bergner said al-Kazaali’s group carried out the January attack against a provincial government building in Karbala and that the Iranians assisted in preparations. Al-Khazaali and his brother Ali al-Khazaali were captured with Dakdouk.
It turns out that Dadouk and the Quds forces took a page from the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. They used stolen American fatigues to send a dozen terrorists into the government compound in January, allowing them to pass through checkpoints so they could launch their attack. They killed one US soldier outright and abducted four others, who were later killed.
How were they able to do that? The Quds operatives have extensive intel about American installations in Iraq — a not terribly surprising development, considering the alliances they have with Iraqis in the area. The intel includes detailed information about the personnel, shift changes, duty assignments, and so on. Quds shared the information with the terrorists, using Dadouk as an intermediary.
Dadouk got himself captured with an intel trove of his own. He had detailed instructions on attacking convoys, instructional material for other techniques that he shared with his insurgency clients, and diaries of his meetings with them. Al-Khazaali had plans for eleven different attacks on American forces. They comprise part of the 18 high-level Iranian special agents the US has captured since February, but are lucky not to have been among the three killed.
Hezbollah is known as a client of Iran, a terrorist group that receives direction from Teheran via Damascus. Hezbollah so far has refused to comment on Dadouk’s status with their group, but after playing deaf and dumb for a month to American intelligence, Dadouk has himself confirmed his status as a high-ranking member. That clearly shows that Iran has violated any claims to neutrality in this conflict. The US and the UN need to deliver consequences to Iran for their acts of war — not invasion certainly, but some clear consequences that will make the mullahcracy think twice about its meddling in Iraq.