We return to the regularly scheduled blogging
No one can claim with certainty that it was al Qaeda, but the Iraqis here seem convinced of it. At a meeting today in Baqubah one Iraqi official I spoke with framed the al Qaeda infiltration and influence in the province. Although he spoke freely before a group of Iraqi and American commanders, including Staff Major General Abdul Kareem al Robai who commands Iraqi forces in Diyala, and LTC Fred Johnson, the deputy commander of 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the Iraqi official asked that I withhold his identity from publication. His opinion, shared by others present, is that al Qaeda came to Baqubah and united many of the otherwise independent criminal gangs.
Speaking through an American interpreter, Lieutenant David Wallach who is a native Arabic speaker, the Iraqi official related how al Qaeda united these gangs who then became absorbed into “al Qaeda.” They recruited boys born during the years 1991, 92 and 93 who were each given weapons, including pistols, a bicycle and a phone (with phone cards paid) and a salary of $100 per month, all courtesy of al Qaeda. These boys were used for kidnapping, torturing and murdering people.
At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.My apologies for the graphic nature of the last paragraph. It's hearsay. It's unsubstantiated. But it is in line with the piles of children's skulls referenced previously. Of course, it isn't going to be in the New York Times any time soon. . .
Meanwhile, Badger 6 draws your attention to two articles on al-Anbar Province, written nine months apart.
Situation Called Dire,
Showcase and Chimera.
He's also got a friend, Jack Army, who gave an Iraqi associate a chance to write an open letter to the American people. Part I and II are both up.
Oh, and I recently got to experience a little of what FOD talks about here, on Arab mentality. Muslim mentality, really but it has occasionally infected other Arabs as well. Conspiracy theories are a side effect of this mindset. Unfortunately, there is truly little one can do when dealing with conspiracy theorists. I just nod and walk away.
Finally, Lawdog takes on the Scooter Libby case in a way I can add about nothing to.