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Returning the Terrorists to Tehran

In January, 2007, five American soldiers were brutally murdered in Karbala, Iraq,  by a team of operatives who had been trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ foreign legion, the Quds Force. The mastermind of the operation was a senior member of Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based terrorist organization that is a virtual part of the Iranian regime. That man, a Lebanese named Ali Musa Daqduq, was subsequently captured in southern Iraq, as were other key members of the assassination team.

Daqduq is still under American control in Iraq, the last of the killers from the 2007 remaining in prison.  Not so the others.  Incredibly, the other captured terrorists were subsequently released to the Iraqi government in the summer of 2009, and speedily repatriated to Iran, part of a swap for British soldiers who had been taken hostage by Iranian-run thugs.  American military officers were not happy about the release, and when I discovered what was going on, and wrote about it, I received very vigorous denials from the (Bush) Pentagon, along the lines of  “what do you take us for?  We would never do such a thing.”

But they did, and not just with the Karbala killers.  Hundreds of Iranian and Iranian-trained terrorists who were once under U.S. control were sent home via the Iraqis, despite the predictable and entirely justifiable rage of American military men and women.  But they were told to do it by their political bosses, and they followed orders, as they must.

It seems they are now on the verge of liberating Ali Daqduq, who has a lot of American blood all over his claws, not only from the Karbala Five. He worked directly for the Iranians, training Iraqi terrorists — sometimes in Iraq, sometimes in Iran itself — to assassinate our troopsThey are planning to turn him over to the Iraqi government, which will, as it always has, arrange for his onward travel to Iran.

The symbolism of the release would be awful.  Daqduq is the last prisoner in American hands, and he is a proxy for Iran, our major enemy.  Everyone in the region, from Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to Israel and Jordan, would see it as proof positive of Obama’s fecklessness, a final act of self-humiliation in the last hours of the Iraq War.

For once, Congressional Republicans have been fighting on the side of the angels, sending very strong letters to Attorney General Holder and Secretary of Defense Panetta, demanding that Daqduq be retained under American control, and suggesting that the best course of action is to transfer him to Guantanamo.  So far, there is no indication that anything of the sort is about to happen, and one will get you five that Daqduq gets a hero’s welcome in Tehran very soon.