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March 09, 2007

The Iranian General, Continued: "Treasure Trove" of Intel, Maps

Allah linked a story the other day that a US official had denied the man's objection -- and yet another US official had confirmed it. For what it's worth, the WaPo has a confirmation of his defection as well.

One guy may be denying the story to different media outlets, and one different guy may be going around confirming it. Who's right? I have no idea, though one can speculate that Mr. Denyey is just attempting to do his job by keeping this story secret, and Mr. Confirmey is a dick -- possibly a partisan for "our team" -- who wants the good news out there and isn't sufficiently concerned about keeping secrets, you know, secret.

Whatever one thinks of either cat, or if this ever should have been leaked, obviously it would be nice if it were true. Which I'm inclined to think it is. Mr. Denyey has a strong and good motive to lie; but what's Mr. Confirmey's motive to just make this crap up? Maybe to scare the Iranians, maybe to "ghost" them and see what their reaction may be, maybe to sow doubts about the regime's solidarity; but if that's the plan, why would Mr. Denyey go around sabotaging the disiniformation scheme? Perhaps he's out of the loop, or perhaps he's the dick, pissed off that the Administration is daring to be so dishonest as to push disinformation against an enemy country.

What seems definite is that he is missing, as Iran's official news agency reports he's gone:

Iran's official news agency, IRNA, quoted the country's top police chief, Brig. Gen. Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam, as saying that Asgari was probably kidnapped by agents working for Western intelligence agencies.

Unless, of course, they're the ones pushing some sort of subtle disinformation gambit.

From there, everyone disagrees as to what's hapened to him:

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Asgari was in the United States. Another U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, denied that report and suggested that Asgari's disappearance was voluntary and orchestrated by the Israelis. A spokesman for President Bush's National Security Council did not return a call for comment.

The Israeli government denied any connection to Asgari. "To my knowledge, Israel is not involved in any way in this disappearance," said Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry.

An Iranian official, who agreed to discuss Asgari on the condition of anonymity, said that Iranian intelligence is unsure of Asgari's whereabouts but that he may have been offered money, probably by Israel, to leave the country. The Iranian official said Asgari was thought to be in Europe. "He has been out of the loop for four or five years now," the official said.

"Out of the loop for four or five years now." Seems like what you'd claim if a general absconded, so as to cast doubt on the accuracy of his intel.

Allah struggles mightily to get a handle on it all.

The Iranian former deputy defense minister who disappeared in Turkey last month left his country with documents that prove that there is a link between the Iranian military establishment and terror groups including Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, the pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Friday.

A former colleague of Ali Reza Asghari, 63, told the newspaper, which is published in London, that the document also cites groups such as the Mahdi Shi’ite militia operating in Iraq.

Even better, a Saudi newspaper claims Iran is changing and reinforcing its air defenses, fearing that the Ashghari has delivered maps indicating the key sites for Iran's nuclear program.

Meanwhile, an Arabic newspaper claims -- claims -- Sadr is back in Iraq.

Not sure if I want that to be true or not. If there is now firm intelligence Moqtada al-Sadr is working directly with Iran, will al-Maliki continue insisiting on a hands-off policy on a murderous traitor?

And would he recognize one of his key bases of support, Sadr City, post-surge? The watchwords there seem to be peace, hope, and normalcy.

When Raheem al-Darraji looks at the dusty lots just east of Sadr City where scores of bodies have been dumped since last year, he visualizes a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster and perhaps a merry go-round.

"We should have an amusement park," said Darraji, one of two elected mayors in Sadr City, the sprawling Shiite neighborhood where U.S. and Iraqi troops have been peacefully clearing homes since March 4. "We want to rehabilitate the area so that families can have fun."

In an interview at his office, Darraji said the amusement park was one of several projects that community leaders are pushing U.S. officials to fund in negotiations about how to handle the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia that has controlled the neighborhood for years.

A concentrated makeover of Sadr City, he said, would support plan's goals in two important ways: by giving young Mahdi militants an alternative to a life of violence and by providing residents with proof of the government's ability to improve their daily lives, diluting support for the militia.

Darraji's requests, however, also reflect a broader effort by Iraqi leaders to dart past "clear and hold" to the more lucrative phase of the new security plan known as build.

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posted by Ace at 02:21 PM

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