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The Karbala Raid (UPDATED)
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, January 27, 2007

If you've been keeping up with this story through the MSM, you know that "insurgents" dressed and equipped like Americans (and apparently speaking English) entered an Iraqi military compound in Karbala province where, apparently, a meeting was taking place between Americans and Iraqis and succeeded in attacking and killing one US soldier on site and kidnapping and eventually murdering 4 more.

If you haven't, here's the LA Times version and the BBC version.

As to the attackers? The LA Times quotes an Iraqi official:
Karbala Gov. Aqil Khazali, saying he had been briefed by a U.S. official, said the intense search may have pressed the insurgents to execute the captured soldiers.

"They were killed by the criminals near Hillah in Babil province after being encircled and surrounded by the American and Iraqi forces," Khazali said.
The BBC says:
The Americans say they are not only trying to determine who carried out the attack but also the reason for the breakdown in security at the government compound.
Or, contends the BBC, their identity is unknown.

Enter Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail (HT: NotherBob2).

First, an important point. An idea of who they weren't.
The American Forces Information Service provides the details of the attack in Karbala. Based on the sophisticated nature of the raid, as well as the response, or cryptic non-responses, from multiple military and intelligence sources, this raid appears to have been directed and executed by the Qods Force branch of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps. My sources agreed this is far to sophisticated an operation for the Mahdi Army or Badr Corps, while al-Qaeda in Iraq would have a difficult time mounting such an operation in the Shia south. "The Karbala Government Center raid the other day was a little too professional for JAM [Jaish al-Mahdi, or the Mahdi Army]," according to a military source.

This raid required specific intelligence, in depth training for the agents to pass as American troops, resources to provide for weapons, vehicles, uniforms, identification, radios and other items needed to successfully carry out the mission. Hezbollah's Imad Mugniyah executed a similar attack against Israeli forces on the Lebanese border, which initiated the Hezbollah-Israeli war during the summer of 2006.
Got that? Looks like? Reminds one of? And who backed that? Roggio goes on:
Mahawil is in Babil province, about 27 miles directly west of Karbala. While it is impossible to prove, the attackers may have been making a bee-line towards the Iranian border.

The Karbala raid makes sense in light of the U.S. raids on the Iranian diplomatic missions in Baghdad and Irbil, where Iranian Qods Force agents were captured, along with documentation that divulged Iran's involvement with and support of Shia death squads, the Sunni insurgent, and al-Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah. Five Iranians from the Irbil raid are still in U.S. custody, and captured U.S. soldiers would provide for excellent bargaining chips

IF it is confirmed that Iran's Qods Force was responsible, the news that the United States has authorized the death or captured of Iranian agents inside Iraq, as well as in Afghanistan and Lebanon makes all the more sense.
Indeed. Excellent points, excellent analysis and I'd guess it'll be proven to be spot on eventually. If so, a whole new front in this war has just been blown wide open. And you heard it from a blog first.

UPDATE: If you're wondering what Qods Force is, a little primer can be found here. Essentially they are the equivalent of our training embeds, with additional duties in intelligence gathering, as well as planning and carrying out attacks. IOW, they have a mission very similar to US Army Special Forces.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

the IRaqi/Iranian border is EAST of Karbala!
Written By: geographer
URL: http://
There you go, stepping on a great story with FACTS. For now I’m going with the bee line and expecting the error to be elsewhere. The Iranian need for captive Americans is just, in view of our past history with Iran. Also, what other reason for such a raid? And at this time? I don’t recall anything like it before.
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
"at least five SUVs", "about twelve men", "US Army style uniforms", "the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles ",

There seems to be a lot of vagueness here, which is understandable. That does seem to be a lot of vehicles for the number of men involved, though, and what exactly is a US "style" uniform? What kind of radios were found? Were there any Iraqi casualties?

I seem to recall a somewhat similar raid a month or so ago, on an Iraqi government education office(?). There also seem to be a few more similar types of attacks reported. There may be Iranian involvement, but there isn’t enough information available yet for me to make that conclusion. As far as sophistication goes, let’s not underestimate the other players in Iraq.

Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Well, if you look at an actual map of Iraq, you’ll see that Babil province is east of Karbala, so the mistake was made in saying that it was west, not in suggesting that they were heading for the Iranian border. That is still possible.
Written By: doobs3
URL: http://
What’s going unmentioned in all of this is that wearing the uniform of the adversary to lull him into a false sense of security is a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977

Article 39.
2. It is prohibited to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse Parties while engaging in attacks or in order to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations.

It really frosts my cookies that the MSM will howl every time some terrorist piece of junk at Guantanamo gets a hangnail, but they make no mention of the fact that this "operation" was a war crime.
Written By: Publius
URL: http://
I recall reading something about a if the Iranians wanted bargaining chips, fine, but it seems to me they were risking a lot if they got captured. Maybe they knew there would be a very important notebook computer at that meeting?

Also, wouldn’t there be softer targets to kidnap?
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

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