Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Dark Sword

Two different sources on possibly the same event. The first, an New Yorker article called Moving Targets by Seymour Hersh says the US is embarking on a manhunt, consisting of targeted assassinations aimed not just the top, but at the middle of the Ba'ath structure. (Hat tip: a Belmont Club reader) Hersh casts his assertion in dark, foreboding terms, comparing it of course, to Operation Phoenix in Vietnam. But the key claim, that an unconventional force consisting of American Special Forces and Iraqi intelligence agents is taking the field to crush the insurgency, may be true. This has some collateral confirmation from the BBC, which claims top Iraqi intelligence officials from the new government are working closely with the CIA at Langley to establish a new internal security service, with the help of Jordan. Both articles hint at the worst American motives. Hersh suggests that the manhunt approach is the evil product of Israeli intelligence and Lieutenant General William (Jerry) Boykin, while the BBC emphasizes the possible recruitment of ex-members of the Ba'ath secret service, who may not be so ex.

The two articles may not refer to the same thing as it is hard to think of Army operations like Task Force 121 being run out of Langley. It is much more likely that the two events are different parts of a larger picture. The BBC refers to a Washington Post claim that the Iraq internal security force is funded from classified items in the US budget. This may be the first glimpse of post-Operation Iraqi Freedom operations.

The Belmont Club was at first horrified to learn that Saudi Arabia was eligible to subcontract for Iraqi reconstruction projects. But on further reflection, why not? The involvement of Jordan in training the new Iraqi internal security service in possible cooperation with Israel (if both the BBC and Hersh are to be believed), suggests that America is responding to radical Islamic infiltration of the West with some counter-infiltration of its own. And what better way to suborn the enemy but with the Iraqi reconstruction fund ready to hand?