2003-04-08 Iraq||Denied Entry Into Iran, Ansar Fighters Surrender
Denied entry into neighboring Iran, scores of Islamic militants who had retreated into the mountains during recent attacks by US forces are trudging through snow and across fields to surrender to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. The Ansar Al-Islam guerrillas are considered terrorists, would-be suicide bombers with ties to Al-Qaeda. But as 15 of them sat in the dimness of a cinder-block house here Sunday, some with frostbitten toes, they seemed more misguided and scared than dangerous. |
Some are boys. Others said they had never fired at an enemy. Upon surrendering Sunday, their weapons were seized, their watches and combs confiscated. And in their cracked and muddy shoes, they were put on a bus and shipped to jail.
|Until they exploded, anyway... |
Good place for them.
More than 300 Ansar guerrillas have agreed to surrender in the coming days to the Kurdish government, according to Abdullah Haji Mahmood, a commander in the Kurdish Socialist Party who negotiated the deal. Among them are Ansar leaders, including Abdullah Shafee, Mohammad Hassan, and a man identified as Dr. Omer.
Ansar was defeated in a two-day battle last month when US Special Forces and 6,000 Kurdish fighters attacked their strongholds along the Iranian border. About 250 of Ansarâs 700 fighters were killed; others fled over the mountains and sought refuge in Iran.
Let's see, 250 dead, 300 surrender, carry the one, that's around 150 bad guys missing.
But Kurdish officials said Iran has played a critical role in squeezing Ansar militants by preventing them from crossing the border, even for medical treatment. Although the Kurds have been asking Tehran to help isolate Ansar for months, Iran acted only after quiet US intervention, through both secret talks and diplomatic messages via Swiss diplomats, a ranking Kurdish official said Sunday. âIran is pushing back Kurdish members of Ansar,ââ the official said. âIran even refused to help the wounded. Perhaps the Iranians understand English better than Kurdish.ââ
|I think there were more killed in the bombardment and the 250 were killed in the ground assault. We're pretty close to accounting for all 600-700 of them... |
They understand English: Cruise missile, JDAM, Boeing, Marines, Special Forces, regime change, words like that.
Other Kurdish officials, however, said the Iranians are still holding a number of Ansarâs leaders, including bombmaker Ayub Afghani and Hemin Benishari, who allegedly specialized in military tactics and assassinations.
Holding is better than on the loose.
And Kurdish authorities are investigating whether Iran gave Arabs who belonged to Ansar safe passage to a third country.
Surprise meter didn't twitch
Although made up largely of radical Kurds, Ansar had an estimated 120 hard-core Arab fighters from Yemen, Morocco, Israel, Tunisia and other countries.
As they say, "The Usual Suspects". These would be the missing bad guys.
A number of them trained in Al-Qaedaâs camps in Afghanistan, and Washington claims Ansar manufactured chemical agents and was a terrorist bridge between the Middle East and Europe. Many of the Ansar fighters who have surrendered, however, âare different from Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda,ââ said Mahmood, whose men guarded and fed the guerrillas until they were taken to prison. âMost of them are brainwashed youths,ââ he said.
âWe believe they have been cheated and deceived and donât really believe what Ansar teaches... We have two options: to forgive them, or kill them. If we kill them, we will be no better than them.ââ Younger fighters not involved in killings will be released to their families following âelaborate security checks,ââ said Barham Salih, prime minister of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which governs the eastern half of the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq. âWe will investigate. This is not about vengeance. Itâs about justice.ââ
|Probably more like the Pak madrassah trash that swarmed into Afghanistan to fight the infidels and got slaughtered in droves... |
The Kurds have got their act together.
|Posted by Steve 2003-04-08 10:06 am||
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