Friday, December 15, 2006

US may have planned to nab Krekar from Norway

Mullah Krekar, the former head of Ansar al-Islam, continues to be protected by the Norwegian government. According to Aftenposten and Newsweek, though, the US had a plan to change that.

The Aftenposten article says that Krekar's lawyer and Norwegian government officials are claiming ignorance of any such plan:
"We knew that there was a threat of kidnapping in 2003, but the evaluation of something resembling a military action is new to me," attorney Brynjar Meling told newspaper Dagbladet on Friday.

Meling was responding to a report in the international magazine Newsweek that US officials at the Pentagon considered sending special forces to Oslo to seize Krekar, who recently landed on both US and UN lists of people suspected of supporting or financing terrorism.
[ ... ]
Erna Solberg, the head of Norway's Conservative Party who was government minister in charge of immigration matters at the time, said she was never informed of any such plan. She said it would have "created a huge conflict with Norwegian authorities... but they can certainly have planned it and thought about it," she told Dagbladet.

Jan Petersen, a former head of the Conservatives who was Norway's foreign minister at the time, said he wasn't aware of any such plan, either.

"We don't know anything about it, so there's nothing to comment on," he said. "The most important thing is that it didn't happen."
Of course, having a plan for an operation and actually considering the operation are two completely different things. Plans are often drawn up for actions that the planners know will never be carried out.

On the other hand, I can see a scenario such as this one in which some members of the Norwegian government wish to be rid of Krekar, but need plausible deniability.

Meanwhile, though, Krekar lives as a free man in Oslo.

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