Iraq frees man whom U.S. considers top threat
BAGHDAD — Iraq freed a jailed Hezbollah commander wanted by the United States on Friday, his lawyer said, returning him home to Lebanon in a move that underscores Washington's waning influence in Baghdad since last December's troop pullout.
The United States believes Ali Mussa Daqduq is a top threat to Americans in the Middle East and had asked Baghdad to extradite him, even before two Iraqi courts found him not guilty of masterminding a complex raid that left five American soldiers dead in 2007. But Iraq's Shiite-led government, which is close to Hezbollah's top patron Iran, refused to hand him over.
The move vastly complicates the Obama administration's efforts to prosecute Daqduq, as Shiite Hezbollah dominates the Lebanese government and the United States has no extradition treaty with the country.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States was upset with the decision and had made its feelings known to the Iraqi government.
“Daqduq should be held accountable for his crimes,” Nuland told reporters, adding that the United States would pursue him with all legal means possible and had been in contact with Lebanon on the issue.
Washington believes that Daqduq worked with Iranian agents to train Shiite militias to target the U.S. military during the years of sectarian violence that gripped Iraq over the last decade and that he was behind the raid on a U.S. military base in the holy city of Karbala where the five soldiers were killed — four of them shot after being kidnapped.
U.S. forces held Daqduq for four years, handing him over to Iraqi authorities when American troops left Iraq.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.