An Iraqi court recently ruled that Ali Musa Daqduq, a Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist accused of helping to coordinate the 2007 abduction and murder of five American soldiers in Karbala, Iraq, should be released due to “lack of evidence.”
The decision comes only months after the Office of Military Commissions started filing charges of murder, terrorism and espionage against Daqduq, marking the Hezbollah terrorist as the first potential defendant without connections to al-Qaeda or the Taliban to be tried before an American military commission.
The Iraqi court’s decision, however, comes as little surprise to the many American intelligence officials and lawmakers who expressed grave concern in December 2011 when, as the remaining American troops exited from Iraq, Daqduq was the last of 1,000 US detainees handed over to the Iraqi government.
That concern was pointedly expressed by Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who said, “Given Iraq’s history of releasing detainees, I expect it is only a matter of time before this terrorist (Daqduq) will be back on the battlefield.”
Those suspicions were heavily fueled by the Iraqi government’s stated promise that Daqduq would only be prosecuted on the single charge of illegalentry into Iraq with a forged passport, a charge which carried a maximum sentence of five years.
However, the Obama administration insisted that it had been assured by the Iraqi government that Daqduq “would be tried for his crimes,” criminality which included murder and terrorism.
Unfortunately, that assurance proved rather shaky in that it rested on an Iraqi promise that an investigative judge would consider the American allegations, a promise that apparently never materialized. As one intelligence officer said, “This is one of many things we just dropped,” adding that Daqduq “will go back to the Iranian terror machine.”
Daqduq’s participation in the Iranian terror machine had begun in 2005 when, as one of Hezbollah’s most experienced covert operatives, he was sentto Iraq to help the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps al-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) arm and train Iraqi Shiites to fight American and coalition forces.
At that time, the IRGC-QF was spending upwards of $3 million every month in an attempt to replicate the Hezbollah militia model by using its terrorist proxy to train small groups of Iraqi Shiites in what were termed “Special Groups.”
To that end, Daqduq, spent his time training the Iraqi Special Groups in Iranian training camps. There, he instructed his terrorist pupils in the use of mortars and rockets; kidnapping operations; and the manufacture and deployment of roadside bombs (IEDS).
In fact, Daqduq was an expert in the use of IEDs, in particular the IRGC-QF-designed Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP), more powerful and deadly than ordinary IEDs. An estimated 10 percent of the 4,322 Americans killed in combat in Iraq since 2003 were victims by EFP.
In addition to his terror training schedule, Daqduq was also regularly sent by his IRGC-QF handlers on operational missions, which included the mission to attack the Provincial Joint Coordination Center (PJCC) in Karbala, Iraq, some 60 miles south of Baghdad.
As part of that operational mission, Daqduq was named chief advisor and liaison between the IRGC-QF and Qais al-Khazali, head of the Special Groups in Iraq and militia commander of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), the insurgent group charged with carrying out the Karbala raid on January 20, 2007.
In that attack, AAH gunmen riding in armored SUVs, wearing American-looking military uniforms and holding identification cards were waved through a PJCC checkpoint by Iraqi guards. Moments later, they exited the vehicles, throwing grenades and spraying the compound with small arms fire, killing one American soldier and wounding three others.
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