|光明观察刊发时间： 2006-8-21 http://guancha.gmw.cn |
星期一，巴士拉的伊拉克警察抓住并逮捕了两个英军士兵。几个小时之内，英国军队做出强烈反应。尽管后来国防部否认，声称这两个人只是通过“友好协商”后归还给英军，英国军事官员，包括约翰•罗瑞莫准将（John Lorimer）告诉英国广播公司（BBC News (20/9/05)说英军袭击了伊拉克警察局以解救被捕人员。国防部也证实了这个说法。“英国军车”试图在警察局周围“维持保卫圈”。在英国坦克“推平了警察局的围墙”后，英国军队“冲进警察局证实他们不在那里”然后“在巴士拉的一所房子内展开营救行动”。按照熟悉这次活动的指挥官的话说。英国国防部告诉英国广播公司驻巴格达记者理查德•加尔频（Richard Galpin）说这两个士兵是“特别空勤团（SAS）特种部队的成员”。被捕之后，他们被移交给当地民兵组织。
按照BBC加尔频的说法，BBC Radio 4(19/9/05， 18)在“漂亮的服装和长枪不能搅和”（Fancy Dress and Big Guns Don’t Mix）为题的报道中说，巴士拉伊拉克警察告诉BBC说“那两名士兵是在冲过检查站阻拦住后才被捕的。当时双方发生交火，他们穿着传统的阿拉伯人服装。警察最终拦住他们后说在车里发现了炸弹和武器。人们普遍相信这两名士兵是在执行地下任务。”秘密行动？穿阿拉伯人服装？他们试图要干什么？要引起英军的注意还是伊拉克警察的注意？
《华盛顿邮报》（20/9/05）说“伊拉克安全官员星期一谴责他们抓住的英国士兵袭击伊拉克军队，或者试图安放炸弹。”路透社(19/9/05) 引用警察，当地官员和其他证人证实“两个秘密行动的士兵朝向他们走近的伊拉克警察开火后被逮捕。”官员说“这两个人戴着传统的阿拉伯人头巾，坐在没有标志的汽车里。”巴士拉政府官员莫罕默德•阿巴迪（Mohammed al-Abadi）说，“警察走上前去，其中一人朝警察射击，警察采取行动抓住了他们。”
设置陷阱的英国人？在接受“半岛电视台”（Al Jazeerah TV）采访时，受人欢迎的伊拉克领袖法塔赫•锡克（Fattah al-Sheikh），伊拉克国民大会（Iraqi National Assembly）成员和巴士拉政府代表说警察“抓住了两个非伊拉克人，好像是英国人，在克里斯达（Cressida）型汽车里。这是一辆作为诱饵的车，里面装有弹药，打算在巴士拉人口稠密的市中心爆炸。”和英国当局的士兵被马上移交给当地民兵组织的说法相反，锡克（al-Sheikh）证实他们“在巴士拉的情报部门，在国民警卫队手里，但是英国占领军仍然围困这个情报部门试图赦免他们的罪孽。”
英国国防部告诉苏格兰人(20/9/05) 说“特别侦察军团”（The Special Reconnaissance Regiment）和“英国秘密行动组”（British Covert Operations）说这两名士兵是今年建立起来的“秘密特别行动小分队”的成员，要在巴士拉“填补情报真空”。该组织在北爱尔兰和亚丁湾（Aden）获得“特别行动”的经验，英军秘密活动深入当地社区试图打破对外来力量的沉默态势。”这些精干的小分队在去年由当时的国防大臣杰夫•胡恩（Geoff Hoon）成立的特别侦察军团领导下“在反恐任务中收集所谓的人员情报。”当然，问题是穿着阿拉伯服装，携带炸弹对伊拉克警察开枪怎么构成“反恐”或者“收集情报”呢？
英国国防部官员的承认是非常说明问题的。稍微看一下特别侦察军团就非常清楚这两名士兵在从事什么样的行动了。白厅消息来源说最近成立的特别侦察军团是“根据在北爱尔兰从事秘密活动的单位建立的。” 特别侦察军团“吸收了所谓的“14 Int ”第14情报处，一个在北爱尔兰成立的隐蔽搜集被怀疑的恐怖分子情报的便衣单位。招收的人员接受SAS的培训。”7月22日卷入非法处决无辜巴西人梅内塞斯（Jean Charles de Menezes）事件的正是这个特别侦察军团。此人在斯塔克威尔（Stockwell）车站登上地铁列车后被人乱枪射杀。
根据刑警队长尼古拉斯•本威尔（Nicholas Benwell）所说，一直在调查英国军方情报单位极端秘密组织“军力研究小分队”（the Force Research Unit (FRU)的活动的苏格兰场（Scotland Yard）小组的成员说，该小组发现“军事情报人员勾结恐怖分子帮助他们处决所谓的”合法目标”比如共和军积极分子。政府支持的袭击行动的受害者中许多都是无辜平民。”
他告诉苏格兰《星期日先驱报》（Sunday Herald (23/6/02) 说“我放置炸弹，帮助研制新型炸药。我使用武器，如果你问我在搞情报的时候是否杀人，我必须说我帮助研制的东西肯定杀人了，我的联络员知道我做的一切。从来没有人告诉我别做什么事。你怎么能假装是恐怖分子而不像恐怖分子那样做呢？根本做不到。人家做什么，你就做什么。他们进行过多次谋杀行动，我一周七天都要干违法的事情，我的联络员都知道。他们知道我在制造炸弹，交给IRA的其他成员，他们并没有阻拦我。道理很简单，打败敌人的唯一方法就是打入敌人内部，成为敌人。”
但是巴基斯坦军方2005年2月披露美国已经“决心武装一批美军支持的民兵，混入由复兴社会党前成员组成的人中间”。这些人已经与扎卡维的基地组织网络相连。在非常隐蔽的行动中，美国获得“巴基斯坦制造的武器，包括来复枪，火箭推进的榴弹发射器（rocket-propelled grenade launchers）弹药，火箭筒，以及其他轻型武器。”巴基斯坦军方分析家注意到“武器不是被用来对付使用美国武器的伊拉克安全部队的”。相反，美国是在玩双重游戏，来消除“什叶派推动的宗教运动的威胁”。换句话说，加剧恶化的安全形势，渗透，操纵和武装恐怖主义叛乱分子。
这样的秘密策略的结果会如何呢？伊拉克本土的观点不管是逊尼派还是什叶派是值得关注的。巴格达卡齐迈因大清真寺（the al-Kadhimiyah mosque）的什叶派领袖锡克•贾瓦德•卡拉斯（Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi）告诉法国《世界报》（Le Monde）说“我不相信扎卡维还活着的说法。他只不过是占领者分化人民而创造出来的人物。”伊拉克最强大的逊尼派宗教权威“穆斯林学者联盟”（Association of Muslim Scholars）也同意这个观点，他们谴责号召人们武装起来反抗什叶派的呼吁是非常危险的举动，落入企图分化伊拉克人民，挑动内战的占领者的陷阱。“用殖民主义者的术语，这个策略就是“分而治之。”
译自：Caught red-handed :: British Undercover Operatives in Iraq :by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
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Caught red-handed :: British Undercover Operatives in Iraq ::
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
(Sunday September 25 2005)
"Regardless of doubts about Zarqawi’s existence, it is indeed difficult to avoid the conclusion that this overall interpretation is plausible. It seems the only ones who don’t understand the clandestine dynamics of Anglo-American covert strategy in Iraq are we, the people, in the west."
Zarqawi Eat Your Heart Out
Basra is relatively stable compared to central Iraq where violence involving insurgents, civilians and coalition forces is a daily routine. The city has rarely been a site of clashes between insurgents and coalition troops, nor is it a victim of regular terrorist attacks. This week, however, things changed. But not thanks to Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda ilk.
On Monday, two British soldiers were arrested and detained by Iraqi police in Basra. Within a matter of hours, the British military responded with overwhelming force. Despite subsequent Ministry of Defence denials, insisting that the two men had been retrieved solely through “negotiations”, British military officials, including Brigadier John Lorimer, told BBC News (20/9/05)  that the British Army had stormed an Iraqi police station to locate the detainees. Ministry of Defence sources confirmed that “British vehicles” had attempted to “maintain a cordon” outside the police station. After British Army tanks “flattened the wall” of the station, UK troops “broke into the police station to confirm the men were not there” and then “staged a rescue from a house in Basra”, according a commanding officer familiar with the operation. Both men, British defence sources told the BBC’s Richard Galpin in Baghdad, were “members of the SAS elite special forces.” After arrest, they had been handed over to local militia.
What had prompted this bizarre turn of events? Why had the Iraqi police forces, which normally work in close cooperation with coalition military forces, arrested two British SAS soldiers, and then handed them over to militia? A review of the initial on-the-ground reports leads to a clearer picture.
Fancy Dress and Big Guns Don’t Mix
According to the BBC’s Galpin, reporting for BBC Radio 4 (19/9/05, 18 hrs news script), Iraqi police sources in Basra “told the BBC the two British men were arrested after failing to stop at a checkpoint. There was an exchange of gunfire. The men were wearing traditional Arab clothing, and when the police eventually stopped them, they said they found explosives and weapons in their car… It’s widely believed the two British servicemen were operating undercover.” Undercover? Dressed as Arabs? What were they trying to do that had caught the attention of their colleagues, the Iraqi police?
According to the Washington Post (20/9/05) , “Iraqi security officials on Monday variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives.” Reuters (19/9/05)  cited police, local officials and other witnesses who confirmed that “the two undercover soldiers were arrested after opening fire on Iraqi police who approached them.” Officials said that “the men were wearing traditional Arab headscarves and sitting in an unmarked car.” According to Mohammed al-Abadi, an official in the Basra governorate, “A policeman approached them and then one of these guys fired at him. Then the police managed to capture them.”
In an interview with Al Jazeerah TV , the popular Iraqi leader Fattah al-Sheikh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly and deputy official in the Basra governorate, said that police had “caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market.” Contrary to British authorities’ claims that the soldiers had been immediately handed to local militia, al-Sheikh confirmed that they were “at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime.”
No wonder the Iraqi authorities were annoyed. Two British SAS soldiers had been caught undercover dressed as Arabs, loaded with explosives and anti-tank weaponry , acting uncooperatively at a routine checkpoint, and opening fire on police when approached. This is hardly a mistaken case of ‘friendly fire.’ The undercover operatives had conducted themselves suspiciously and aggressively. When it became clear that the British Army was about to use overwhelming force to rescue the operatives, it is hardly surprising that Iraqi police were reluctant to give them up, preferring to interrogate them to find out precisely what they had been doing.
The Special Reconnaissance Regiment and British Covert Operations
British defence sources told the Scotsman (20/9/05)  that the soldiers were part of an “undercover special forces detachment” set up this year to “bridge the intelligence void” in Basra, drawing on “special forces’ experience in Northern Ireland and Aden, where British troops went ‘deep’ undercover in local communities to try to break the code of silence against foreign forces.” These elite forces operate under the Special Reconnaissance Regiment formed last year by then defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, “to gather so-called human intelligence during counter-terrorist missions.” The question, of course, is how does firing at Iraqi police while dressed as Arabs and carrying explosives constitute “countering terrorism” or even gathering “intelligence”?
The admission by British defence officials is revealing. A glance at the Special Reconnaissance Regiment gives a more concrete idea of the sort of operations these two British soldiers were involved in. The Regiment, formed recently, is “modelled on an undercover unit that operated in Northern Ireland” according to Whitehall sources. The Regiment had “absorbed 14th Intelligence Company, known as ‘14 Int’, a plainclothes unit set up to gather intelligence covertly on suspect terrorists in Northern Ireland. Its recruits are trained by the SAS.” This is the same Regiment that was involved in the unlawful 22nd July execution - by multiple head-shots - of the innocent Brazilian, Mr Jean Charles de Menezes, after he boarded a tube train in Stockwell Underground station.
According to Detective Sergeant Nicholas Benwell, member of the Scotland Yard team that had been investigating the activities of an ultra-secret wing of British military intelligence, the Force Research Unit (FRU), the team found that “military intelligence was colluding with terrorists to help them kill so-called ‘legitimate targets’ such as active republicans... many of the victims of these government-backed hit squads were innocent civilians.” Benwell’s revelations were corroborated in detail by British double agent Kevin Fulton, who was recruited to the FRU in 1981, when he began to infiltrate the ranks of IRA. In his role as a British FRU agent inside the IRA, he was told by his military intelligence handlers to “do anything” to win the confidence of the terrorist group.
“I mixed explosive and I helped develop new types of bombs”, he told Scotland’s Sunday Herald (23/6/02) . “I moved weapons… if you ask me if the materials I handled killed anyone, then I will have to say that some of the things I helped develop did kill… my handlers knew everything I did. I was never told not to do something that was discussed. How can you pretend to be a terrorist and not act like one? You can’t. You’ve got to do what they do… They did a lot of murders… I broke the law seven days a week and my handlers knew that. They knew that I was making bombs and giving them to other members of the IRA and they did nothing about it… The idea was that the only way to beat the enemy was to penetrate the enemy and be the enemy.” Most startlingly, Fulton said that his handlers told him his operations were “sanctioned right at the top… this goes the whole way to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister knows what you are doing.”
Zarqawi, Ba’athists and the Seeds of Discord
So, based on the methodology of their Regiment, the two British SAS operatives were in Iraq to “penetrate the enemy and be the enemy,” in order of course to “beat the enemy.” Instead of beating the enemy, however, they ended up fomenting massive chaos and killing innocent people, a familiar pattern for critical students of the British role in the Northern Ireland conflict.
In November 2004 , a joint statement was released on several Islamist websites on behalf of al-Qaeda’s man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Saddam Hussein’s old Ba’ath Party loyalists. Zarqawi’s network had “joined other extremist Islamists and Saddam Hussein’s old Baath party to threaten increased attacks on US-led forces.” Zarqawi’s group said they signed “the statement written by the Iraqi Baath party, not because we support the party or Saddam, but because it expresses the demands of resistance groups in Iraq.” The statement formalized what had been known for a year already – that, as post-Saddam Iraqi intelligence and US military officials told the London Times (9/8/2003) , “Al Qaeda terrorists who have infiltrated Iraq from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have formed an alliance with former intelligence agents of Saddam Hussein to fight their common enemy, the American forces.” Al Qaeda leaders “recruit from the pool” of Saddam’s former “security and intelligence officers who are unemployed and embittered by their loss of status.” After vetting, “they begin Al-Qaeda-style training, such as how to make remote-controlled bombs.”
Yet Pakistani military sources  revealed in February 2005 that the US has “resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population”, consisting of “former members of the Ba’ath Party” – the same people already teamed up with Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda network. In a highly clandestine operation, the US procured “Pakistan-manufactured weapons, including rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry.” A Pakistani military analyst noted that the “arms could not be destined for the Iraqi security forces because US arms would be given to them.” Rather, the US is playing a double-game to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement” – in other words, to exacerbate the deterioration of security by penetrating, manipulating and arming the terrorist insurgency.
What could be the end-game of such a covert strategy? The view on-the-ground  in Iraq, among both Sunnis and Shi’ites, is worth noting. Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi, the Shi’ite Imam of the al-Kadhimiyah mosque in Baghdad, told Le Monde: “I don’t think that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi exists as such. He’s simply an invention by the occupiers to divide the people.” Iraq’s most powerful Sunni Arab religious authority, the Association of Muslim Scholars, concurs, condemning the call to arms against Shi’ites as a “very dangerous” phenomenon that “plays into the hands of the occupier who wants to split up the country and spark a sectarian war.” In colonial terms, the strategy is known as “divide and rule.”
Regardless of doubts about Zarqawi’s existence, it is indeed difficult to avoid the conclusion that this overall interpretation is plausible. It seems the only ones who don’t understand the clandestine dynamics of Anglo-American covert strategy in Iraq are we, the people, in the west. It’s high time we got informed.
. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091900572.html?nav=rss_world
by courtesy & © 2005 Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed