It's become clear now that there were no 60, 100 or 150 hostages taken in Mada'en and not even 10 despite the 1000 protestors who appeared in Firdaws square and despite all the statements, threats and condemnations coming from politicians.
I frankly doubted the accuracy of the news from the beginning although it was reported by major media.
I realize that there's a critical security situation in that small town and I can confirm that Mada'en is infected with a lot of gangs which should be dealt with strictly but I can't imagine how a hundred people could be kidnapped from the streets! This needs too many fighters and too many vehicles and a large place for hiding the hostages.
Some time ago, the TV showed the terrorists who blew up the police station of the town several months ago and after that the locals asked the government to rebuild the station and the ministry of interior promised to consider the request which indicates that a peace- loing society strongly exists in the town.
However, let's go back to the main point.
As some people started to talk more about the background of the problem, the new theory suggests that the crisis apparently originated from a tribal conflict about some government-owned lands; the tribes in question are the Jubour (mixed She'at and Sunni) and the Albu-Darraj (mainly She'at). However, the conflict never reached the degree where killings and kidnappings can happen as most tribal conflicts can be solved through negotiations.
The claim that the lands were given by the government to the Salafi groups is not true, the truth is that these lands were used by some of the locals to plant crops and build houses and they don't officially belong to any of the arguing parties.
The head of the "Sunni property department" expressed his readiness to send a delegate for investigating and solving the case in cooperation with a She'at delegate in order not to give the case a sectarian scope but in fact, this suggestion painted the case with a sectarian dye. It's common sense that the conflict has to be solved by the authorities not by clerics or, they can leave it to the tribes' Sheikhs if no governemnt interference was desired.
Then why did this happen? Let's go back a few days in time and try connecting the events.
The news suggested that the visit of senior American officials was aiming at participating in drawing the outlines of the face of the Iraqi security forces.
The American government denied the story but a She'at figure stressed that the American government is intervening to stop certain She'at parties from controlling the security systems for reasons he considered unconvincing.
That's why the crisis was fabricated in Mada'en and that's why it got mentioned by prominent Assembly members and the PM and other senior politicians even before they had certain news about the situation.
I think the motive was to put pressure on America and other members form the Iraqia list and the Kurdish alliance by submitting a new security formula that rescues the Shea't from an imminent genocide on the hands of the extremist Sunnis so they demand a greater active control over the security systems to confront the challenges threatening the She'at leaders and people.
It's true that She'at were threatened many times and sustained many atrocities but so did the other segments of the people here and faking such crisis is not in the interest of the country; especially after we've seen many signs of unity among all Iraqis against terrorism. Someone comes now and ruins this by faking sectarian troubles ignoring everything about the higher national interest and the critical nature of the moment.
Many parties and leaderships have been seeking control over the security file and this had been clear since as early as April 2003 when everyone began offering their services or their militias' services in keeping security and protecting lives and property since they had trained and armed militias.
But the motive behind this is clear as well, I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I said that I see a Saddami way of thinking here; 30 years ago Saddam made the basement of the republican palace his head quarters, he took control over the Mukhabarat file (which was called the department of public relations at that time) and the generals who lead the 1968 coup used to laugh when Saddam's name was mentioned saying "who's that guy? Isn't he the one sitting in the basement signing badges and distributing rifles!?"
Those generals didn't realize how dangerous those badges and the elements carrying those badges and rifles could be. Saddam didn't need to build an army and he didn't need many stars on his shoulders to overthrow the generals who had whole divisions under their command.
Is someone trying to revive this strategy now?
I think yes.
Ali points out other possibilities in a post he wrote yesterday.