BAGHDAD, Iraq — Senior Iraqi government officials said Saturday that a U.S. Special Forces counterterrorism unit conducted the raid that reportedly killed a relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, touching off a high-stakes diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iraq.
U.S. military officials in Baghdad had no comment for the second day in a row, an unusual position for a command that typically releases information on combat operations within 24 hours.
The U.S. military handed Iraqi forces control of Karbala security in October 2007. By the end of 2007 the U.S. military had transferred nine of the country’s 18 provinces to Iraqi control.
“We are afraid now of signing the long-term pact between Iraq and America because of such unjustified violations by the troops. Handing over security in provinces doesn’t mean anything to the American troops,” said Mohamed Hussein al Musawi, a senior Najaf-based member of the prime minister’s Dawa Party. “We condemn these barbaric actions not only when they target a relative of Maliki’s, but when any Iraqi is targeted in the same way.”
Outrage over the mysterious operation has spread to the highest levels of the Iraqi government, which is demanding an explanation for how such a raid occurred in a province ostensibly under full Iraqi command.
“This is a big embarrassment for Prime Minister Maliki because he was in that area two days before the incident, telling his people that we are the masters in our country and the decisions were ours to make,” Othman said. “This is why we are afraid of agreements and immunity. … If there are wanted people in any area, why not send an Iraqi force to do the job?”
Raed Shakir Jowdet, the Iraqi military commander of Karbala operations, told journalists Friday that the Americans had acted on faulty intelligence.
Now now. Isn’t it more likely that the actions were faulty than that the intelligence was?