U.S. officials confirmed Monday that five Americans were killed in Saturday’s attack, but they revealed no information about how the gunmen obtained a top Iraqi official’s license plate, U.S. and Iraqi army uniforms and identification cards and vehicles like the ones used to carry U.S. officials.
Most Iraqi officials live in the American-protected Green Zone, where entry is strictly controlled. If the license plate were stolen from Sudani’s car inside the Green Zone, that would suggest an inside job.
American soldiers frequently complain that sympathetic Iraqi police and soldiers tip off targets of raids in advance, but Iraqi officials marveled at the brazenness of Saturday’s attack in Karbala, a city controlled by Shiites.
The attackers stormed the provincial headquarters just as a U.S. military civil affairs team was meeting with local leaders. Using familiar Chevrolet Suburbans and at least one Toyota Land Cruiser, they roared through checkpoints without stopping. Iraqi officials said they wore American and Iraqi military uniforms, brandished American and Iraqi IDs and carried American weapons.
The attack was so well executed that Karbala provincial officials at first accused the Americans of raiding the headquarters.
This is simply not a good sign.