Monday, October 08, 2007


Iraqi govt releases video confessions from Shiite cult after Najaf battle in January

(Reuters) - The Iraqi government on Monday released video confessions from followers of a Shi'ite cult arrested after a major battle with U.S. and Iraqi forces in January near the holy city of Najaf. One of the confessions said the cult leader slain in the battle had met critics of the Iraqi government, including the country's first post-war prime minister Iyad Allawi.
The fierce battle in the area of Zarga, north of Najaf, left 220 militants dead, including spiritual leader Dhia al-Garrawi. Iraq said the heavily-armed group planned to assassinate top Shi'ite scholars to destabilise the country. Riyadh al-Garrawi, who was captured after the fighting, said on the video confession that his brother, Dhia, had met both Allawi and Sunni cleric Harith al-Dari outside Iraq.
Dhia al-Garrawi had proclaimed himself the Mahdi, a messiah-like figure in Islam, and had a cult following. Allawi and Dari, both of whom spend most of their time abroad, are very critical of the Iraqi government and Dari has often accused it of forcing confessions from detainees for political ends. "(Dhia) requested me to arrange an interview with Allawi and (an intermediary) arranged a meeting with Allawi in Jordan," Riyadh al-Garrawi said on the video, shown at an Interior Ministry news conference.
He said Dhia also met Sunni cleric Dari at least twice to discuss political issues, in Syria's capital Damascus and the Gulf emirate of Dubai. "He told me they debated politics and agreed they were against federalism and favoured a secular state," he said.
Usama al-Nujeyfi, a lawmaker from Allawi's bloc, called the investigation results a sham. "It's not a proper investigation, it's all politicised. Dr. Allawi is a national leader who rejects violence in all its forms," he told Reuters. Dari was not immediately available for comment on the video confession.

Labels: , , , , , ,

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?