American Forces Arrest Leading Moderate Sunni Iraqi And His Family, Later Call It "A Mistake"
Even if Sunnis were not as represented in the elections, it is the strong belief of the United States and, I believe, of the (Iraqi) government that Sunnis must be included now in Iraq's political future.
--Condi Rice, May 15th, Interview With Jawad Kadhom of Al Iraqiyah in Baghdad
"This is what happens to those who boycotted the elections."
--Yelled by an American translator to the family of Sunni leader Mohsen Abdul-Hamid as American forces dragged him and his sons away today
What kind of fu*k-ups do we have running the American forces in Iraq? Didn't Rummy get the memo from Condi? Aren't they in the same cabinet?
This is incredibly stupid, and either the work of a military that doesn’t want things to settle down in Iraq, or a military that is inept. I’m not sure which is worse. Some Bush cultist who supports this war from afar at their keyboard while real Americans are in harm’s way every day will have to explain to me what was to be gained from kicking the door down of one of the country’s most powerful moderate Sunni leaders early in the morning, firing stun grenades and pulling hoods over his head and those of his three sons, and dragging them away to over ten hours of hell.
They were released later today without an apology, even though the Americans knew full well who the hell he was when they kicked his door down and the translator yelled those chilling words. The Americans did manage to say that the arrest and holding of Abdul-Hamid and his family for over ten hours was a “mistake,” which I'm sure counted for a lot when he was kept face down on the ground with an American boot on his neck in front of his house for 20 minutes before being hauled off with a hood over his head.
Questions were already being raised yesterday about how accidental or mistaken the raid really was.
Mr Abdul-Hamid was certainly well known to the Americans. He was selected to sit on the US-appointed Iraqi governing council shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein and briefly served as its president.
How will moderate Sunnis in Iraq feel towards the Americans when word of this stupidity makes the rounds over the coming days?
The most serious fall-out from his detention is likely to be among Sunni Arabs themselves, who respect him despite his Kurdish roots. The Islamic Party described the arrest of its leader as a "humiliation".
How will the new Iraqi leadership of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari not be damaged gravely as it becomes clear that the Americans violated the requirement that they notify the Iraqi government in advance before doing something like this?
It appeared that the Americans had not sought permission for the raid from the Iraqi government, again raising questions about its supposed sovereignty. It also threatened the most serious rift between Washington and Baghdad since the administration was sworn in a month ago.
President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, issued a strongly worded condemnation of the arrest, saying: "I consider treating a prominent political leader such as Abdul-Hamid in this way unacceptable."
If we wanted to blow things up into a civil war in Iraq, this is one surefire step towards doing so. Hell, he was a moderate Sunni for God’s sake and we treated him and his family today like they were insurgents when we knew full well who he was. And then we rubbed al-Jaafari’s nose in it and made him look like a puppet.
And the American media won't report a word of it, and then wonder why things are going to hell about a week from now.