High Baathist official Held in Najaf Bombing
Kareem Ghatheeth, a Baath Party “Security Director,” was captured recently in Najaf by Badr Corps militiament in a firefight. They say that he is the mastermind behind the Najaf truck bombing of Aug. 29 that killed Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, along with a hundred or so others. The Badr Corps is the paramilitary branch of SCIRI. Badr spokesman Abu Zu’l-Fiqar al-Hasan insisted that Ghatheeth, who had been dismissed as Security Director by the Americans, had confessed to masterminding the bombing. He also charged that the former police chief of Najaf, Husayn Yasin al-Juburi, arrested Sunday on corruption charges, had helped with the bombing operation by reopening a road in Najaf that had earlier been closed for security purposes. UPI, which reported the story, could verify neither charge, and said that there was no indication if the Badr Corps had turned Ghatheeth over to the United States. Badr leader al-Hasan also expressed confidence that al-Qaeda had somehow been involved in the bombing (which seems an intellectually lazy attempt to reduce all enemies to just one; al-Hasan had just charged the Baath with the deed!) See
Meanwhile, members of the Interim Governing Council met Monday in Najaf with the governor of the district and local city notables on the security issue in the wake of the bombing. They decided to name a couple streets after Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim and to have an annual commemoration of him. But all this seems to me window dressing, since the IGC is not actually in charge of security (the Spanish are). The Badr Corps expressed its willingness to do more policing. (al-Sharq al-Awsat).