Hezbollah operative flown home from Iraq

Al Mayadeen TV channel in Lebanon announces that Ali Mussa Daqdouq al Mousawi, a Hezbollah operative who was detained in Iraq in 2007 after an attack on the Provisional Joint Coordination Center in Karbala is on his way to Lebanon after being released by the Iraqi government.  Whether it is true or not, al Mayadeen will probably inform us how this guy was received as a hero.

The case was of great concern to the US, as the New York Times reported, especially since it was one of the few live pieces of evidence that they might have ever had that Hezbollah still has operatives who train insurgents in Iraq and contribute to terrorist activities.

Daqdouq was accused of killing five US army troops in Karbala, Iraq. On January 20 2007 he was allegedly part of an attack on the Provisional Joint Coordination Center. The attackers wore Iraqi army uniforms and US army uniforms and had fake IDs. An American soldier was killed on the spot, and another four were taken hostage and their bodies were found dumped on the side of a road.

The US military prosecutor’s documents also state that in 2006-2007 Daqdouq had been travelling around Iraq to train insurgents from the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, also known as the Khazali Network, a Shiite groups with alleged ties to the Iranian Al Quds force. The group claimed responsibility for over 6,000 attacks on US, Coalition and Iraqi Forces.

Qais al-Khazali split from Muqtada al-Sadr‘s Mahdi Army after Shiite uprising in 2004 to create his own Khazali network. When the Mahdi Army signed a cease-fire with the government and the Americans and the fighting stopped, Qais al-Khazali’s faction continued fighting, during the battle Khazali was already issuing his own orders to militiamen without Muqtada al-Sadr’s approval. The Khazali Network was thought to count around 3,000 members in 2004. But later on, in 2011, it’s force had dropped to aroun 1,000 fighters.

Daqdouq had been in Iraq from May 2006. He had close ties with the AAH leader. When he was caught in Iraq he had on him a recording of a US soldier who had been kidnapped by the AAH. Reports say that Daqdouq confessed during interrogations.

He was left in the Iraqi government custody although the US military struggled against such a decision. But an agreement signed by the Bush administration stated that the Iraqi government controlled decisions about such prisoners.

The negotiations for Daqdouq’s fate were tough and under the table. While the Obama administration struggled to obtain his extradition to the US, the Iranian government pressured the Iraqi government to release him and send him back to Lebanon, which is a black hole in terms of law enforcement and cooperation with the United States. What the Iraqi government did was to hold Daqdouq until the US presidential elections were over and then release him on “lack of evidence.”

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