Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Protection and betrayal

This article about the assassination of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha set up by the betrayal of his security chief, Capt. Karim al-Barghothi, is interesting because of the links it reveals between a man at the centre of the fight against the terrorists, common criminals and the terrorist organisations. I imagine it's like this the length and breadth of Iraq.

I [Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of Counterterrorism Blog] spoke with a senior American military intelligence officer yesterday who filled me in on some of the details emerging from the investigation. He said that al-Barghouti had been in debt to some people in the car smuggling racket in Mosul who were affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The men in the car smuggling racket had a deal with AQI: the terror group would allow them to operate, guaranteeing their security, and in return they would pass information to AQI about who was in debt to them. The men in the smuggling racket passed on information about al-Barghouti's debt, and AQI told them to pressure on him to repay the debt immediately -- something he was unable to do.

This put al-Barghouti in a no-win situation. He couldn't go to the authorities because doing so would have exposed his corruption and illegal activities. Then AQI approached him to offer a way out: they would repay his debt in exchange for al-Barghouti admitting al-Rishawi's assassin to the compound, and not asking too many questions while he was on the way in. In this way, AQI created problems for al-Barghouti in order to proffer the solution.

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