Iraqi intel: Mughniyeh “co-founded” the Mahdi Army

posted at 2:29 pm on February 24, 2008 by Allahpundit

Problematic. Not only does it rest on a single source but both Shiites and Sunnis have reason to want it to be true, the former because Mughniyeh is a degenerate hero within their sect for his legendary jihadi exploits and the latter because having his fingerprints on the JAM ties it directly to the hated Iranians. If the source is acting out of sectarian motives — not far-fetched given that we’re talking about Iraq — then he’s got a motive to trump this up, regardless of which sect he belongs to.

Mugniyah helped form the Mahdi Army after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in April 2003. He recruited from the Shia communities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and then sent the recruits to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley for training. “The 300 fighters were trained on the use of assault rifles, booby-trapping and kidnapping operations,” the unnamed intelligence official told Al Zaman.

Once in Lebanon, the Mahdi Army recruits were sent to bases run by Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Qods Force, the foreign special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Hezbollah operates numerous bases in the Bekaa Valley, under the supervision of Syrian intelligence.

Read all of Roggio’s post for superb background on the Sadrist/Hezbollah connection. There’s loads of circumstantial evidence supporting it; like I said in the assassination post, it’s only logical that Iran’s number-one guy would be involved in building their new proxy in Iraq, especially given his spectacular success in Lebanon. “A natural fit,” as Roggio puts it. The only question is whether he played the initial Zarqawi-esque organizational role being asserted here.

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I wonder if Mugniyah being out of the picture might also have factored into why the cease-fire got extended.

Dudley Smith on February 24, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Stop it! – Diana West
U.S. forces should not ordinarily be engaged in nation-building — sorry, nation-stabilizing — nor should they ever be engaged in Sharia-nation-stabilizing, which is my core problem with our overall strategy in constitutionally Sharia-supreme Iraq as well as constitutionally Sharia-supreme Afghanistan (not to mention the constitutionally Sharia-supreme Palestinian Authority),but that’s another column.

Bottom line? History shows that the conditions that drove the model transformation of Japan do not exist today with regard to the Islamic Middle East. We’re going to need another strategy — for starters, an immigration policy and new laws to halt the creep of Sharia — to ward off the Islamization of the West.

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 2:58 PM

We really should’ve bombed the crap out of the Bekaa Valley by now.

CP on February 24, 2008 at 3:11 PM

I think we have given far to much significance to the role that sectarian sensitivities play in this conflict. A few common denominators exist regardless of the flavor the fascists claim to be: 1) They are all Muslim, 2) They all use the Koran, 3) We are the infidel crusader, 4) They all subscribe to Islamosupremecy, 5) They show total disregard for human life. 6) They have nothing but contempt for personal freedoms and individual rights. The list could go on and on, we kid ourselves believing one faction is better than the other. This is a clever common strategy the enemy shares in order to create false hopes for allegiances to a preceived moderate sect.

dmann on February 24, 2008 at 3:24 PM

I wonder if Mugniyah being out of the picture might also have factored into why the cease-fire got extended.

Dudley Smith on February 24, 2008 at 2:38 PM

I doubt it

bnelson44 on February 24, 2008 at 4:22 PM

I wonder if Mugniyah being out of the picture might also have factored into why the cease-fire got extended.

Dudley Smith on February 24, 2008 at 2:38 PM

I doubt it

bnelson44 on February 24, 2008 at 4:22 PM

I agree with bnelson. I think it’s more the presence of American soldiers and Marines, rather than the absence of his Iranian sponsored “Rabbi”.

darkpixel on February 24, 2008 at 4:48 PM

I would think this sort of information would help to erode the support for the Mahdi army among Iraqi shiites… if they still have any sort of Iraqi identity, that is.

At any rate, good riddance to Mughniyeh, who some believe we should have gotten rid of a long time ago.

(The article linked above contains the 1990’s version of Trutherism, but I still think the story of the soldiers contained therein sounds quite plausible)

joewm315 on February 24, 2008 at 4:57 PM

Guy looks like Rob Reiner

echosyst on February 24, 2008 at 6:24 PM


You beat me to it. I was thinking the same thing.

Chris L. on February 24, 2008 at 7:54 PM

You people just don’t get it, do you?So WHAT if Mugniyah is responsible for hundreds of American deaths? So what if he was a tool of Iran, and was training al Sadr’s militia to kill more Americans? So what if he had a $5 million bounty on his head, and the intelligence services of a half dozen nations have been after him for almost 3 decades?So what if Hezbollah has found an excuse to step up it’s harassment of Israel (our only true ally in the region), and perhaps launch new attacks?These issues are not important.
What’s really important is steroid abuse in baseball.You should know this, because that is the ONLY thing EVERY mainstream news outlet (and Congress) was focused on in the days following Mugniya’s “assassination”.Try to keep your eye on the ball, guys.Get your priorities straight.

Alalazoo on February 24, 2008 at 8:06 PM