Did the CIA out an Iraqi lawmaker accused of terrorism to send a message?

Joshua Holland: From Juan Cole.
Following up on this post, here's Juan Cole:

This story about the Islamic Da'wa (Islamic Call) Party member of parliament, Jamal Jaafar Muhammad, who is alleged to have participated in the 1982 attack on the US consulate in Kuwait, strikes me as very fishy. First of all, that operation was a Da'wa Party operation, ordered by the leadership in exile in Tehran. So how many big expatriate Da'wa Party leaders were *not* implicated in it in some way? The first prime minister of post-Saddam Iraq, Ibrahim Jaafari, was Da'wa and was in Tehran at that point. Did he really not know about this? Nuri al-Maliki was in Damascus and the Da'wa in Syria and Lebanon helped to form the Lebanese Hizbullah.

Ezzedin Salim, whom Paul Bremer appointed to the Iraqi Governing Council and who was killed outside the Green Zone in May, 2004, when he was de fact president of American Iraq, was also al-Da'wa. In the 1980s he wrote in favor of Khomeinism and Shiite activism.

Da'wa hated the United States in the 1980s because Washington was seen as an ally of Saddam Hussein, whom Da'wa wanted to overthrow. Also because the US wanted to undermine Khomeini's Islamic Republic in Iran, with which Da'wa was allied.

I have spoken about this terrorist past for Da'wa before. I could never understand why the members of the Republican Party in the US were so delirious with joy that their president had installed the Da'wa Party in power in Iraq.

But the US intelligence agencies knew all this. So why are they making a big deal about MP Muhammad now?

I do not know. But I entertain deep, dark suspicions that this leak is a means for the US to put pressure on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. He is surely vulnerable to this sort of blackmail himself, since no Da'wa activist in Damascus in the 1980s can have been completely innocent of the organization's then darker side. I suspect the message to al-Maliki is, back off from the Mahdi Army and back off from Iran, or we can arrange to put you in the same docket as MP Muhammad.

As for the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, another main component of the ruling bloc in Iraq, it was a Khomeinist organization in the 1980s and 1990s that ran a guerrilla paramilitary, the Badr Corps. I don't know that it ever hit a specifically American target. But it wasn't exactly a US ally. To say the least.

If you start worrying about the Shiite government of Iraq having people in it who were anti-American in the 1980s, you'd have to arrest the lot of them. This is self-evident to US intelligence agencies. Therefore, making a big deal out of Muhammad is likely a way of telegraphing a threat.
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer.
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