American forces on Monday stormed the house of Saleh al-Mutlaq, an Iraqi parliamentarian who advocates a US withdrawal timetable, killing six people including a family of four.
Al-Mutlaq is the key figure in recent efforts to depose the Iraqi prime minister with a transitional administration to end the occupation. His bloc controls 11 seats in the Iraqi parliament, and recently joined the Shi'a bloc of Muktada al-Sadr in withdrawing support from Prime Minister al-Maliki after his meeting with President Bush in Amman.
Death is no stranger to al-Mutlak. One hundred members of his National Dialogue Front died during the 2005 election campaign.
US and Iraqi security forces said they acted on a rumor that the house was an al-Qaeda front, a preposterous notion that was disproven by the results of the raid.
The real reason for the attack lies buried in the "dirty war" being carried out daily, but it will be interpreted as an assault on the flickering peace process in Iraq. It is now confirmed that Gen. George Casey, Baghdad commander, was preparing significant US troop reductions last year based on contacts with Sunni insurgents seeking a negotiated settlement. Al-Mutlak was, and remains, been a key intermediary between insurgent groups and US officials. The efforts of Casey to broker troop reductions and negotiations were ended by President Bush who has persisted in seeking military victory.[see New York Times, Jan. 2, 2007]
- Al-Mutlak participated in a peace conference with an American delegation earlier this year in Amman. [for transcriptions of his interview in the Huffington Post see here.]