A Shiite Saddam?
The proliferation of sectarian warfare and de facto civil war is no longer a debatable question in Iraq. More pertinent, it seems to me, is: who is behind this shift? And what evidence is there that Shiite militias now control parts of the Maliki government itself? A key figure, many agree, is the former interior minister and now finance minister, Bayan Jabr. If you want to read an excerpt from a truly disturbing piece about Jabr's past, his corruption, and his ties to murderous Islamist thugs, this report from Harper's Magazine by Ken Silverstein is well worth a few minutes. Jabr is quite clearly an agent of anti-Sunni death squads, and is integral to the government the United States supports. Money quote:
Iraqi Sunnis accuse Jabr of sponsoring abuses committed by Shiite militias linked to his Interior Ministry. General Muntazar al-Samarrai, a former commander of special forces at the Interior Ministry, publicly stated that Jabr had condoned the torture of detainees. In late 2005, Falah al-Naqib, who preceded Jabr as head of Interior, told the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, that sixteen Sunni men whom Jabr ordered to be arrested were later executed, according to an account in The New Yorker.
American officials began pushing for Jabr's ouster from the Interior Ministry in 2006, suggesting that he was too close to Shiite militias and had turned a blind eye to death-squad activities — or, in the most generous interpretation, had taken insufficient steps to control them. Either way, Jabr is thought to have greatly contributed to the political violence in Iraq. "He allowed his ministry to become a preserve of the Shia militias," said Ken Katzman, a senior analyst on Iraq at the Congressional Research Service. "It all flows from there."
I'd like to know more about Jabr and hope the MSM will follow through with more reporting. My fear is that we may be creating our own new version of Saddam in Iraq. Except, he's a Shiite and a key ally of Iran. Substituting one murderous tyrant for a second is bad enough. But this one would be allied with an Iran that truly does have WMDs - and is trying to get nukes.