A multi-billion dollar mystery is unfolding in Iraq, and it may reach to the highest levels of the Iraqi government.
It involves what the New York Times calls an “extremist Shiite group” that has now reconciled with Prime Minister Maliki and his regime. The group is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of five British contractors who, according to the Guardian, were installing a sophisticated financial tracking system in Iraq’s ministry of finance in 2007.
The story so far:
Today, the Times reports:
“An extremist Shiite group that has boasted of killing five American soldiers and of kidnapping five British contractors has agreed to renounce violence against fellow Iraqis, after meeting with Iraq’s prime minister.
“The prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, met with members of the group, Asa’ib al-Haq, or the League of the Righteous, over the weekend, said Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the prime minister, confirming reports. ‘They decided they are no longer using violence, and we welcome them,’ he said in a telephone interview.
“Mr. Dabbagh first revealed the negotiations in remarks on Monday to Al Iraqiya, the state television network. ‘We have reached an agreement to resolve all problems, especially regarding detainees who do not have Iraqi blood on their hands,’ he said. He did not say anything about British victims of the group.”
In other words, Maliki met with a bunch of Shiite terrorists, welcomed them with open arms. Why would he do that?
In addition, the Times reports, the terrorists have a “liaison to the government.” By coincidence, his name is also Maliki, and he wants to get into the government’s favor and take part in the “political process”:
“Salam al-Maliki, the insurgent group’s liaison to the government, said in a telephone interview that the group had not renounced fighting the Americans. ‘Of course we want to get into the political process, because circumstances have improved, and the United States is out right now,’ said Mr. Maliki, who is not related to the prime minister. ‘We told the government anyone who has Iraqi blood on their hands, you should keep him in jail. We are only fighting the United States.'”