Who bombed the al-Askariya mosque in Samarra? It's a question many, including myself, have asked, and it's produced so many answers that it could well be used as a verbal Rorschach test for paranoia. This week, the Iraqi government announced that it had captured an al-Qaeda fighter from Tunisia who had confessed to having been one of bombers. Case closed; end of conspiracy theories? Nah.
The man who informed the world of this alleged development was Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's National Security Adviser. The last we heard of him was just after the killing of Zarqawi (plus some other people in his near circle). Mowaffak held a press conference to announce they'd found documents on a laptop, and then promptly released the text of one to the media. Blogger Abu Aardvark wrote about it, questioning the veracity of what Mowaffak had said. I think the Aardvark's scepticism was well founded.
Now Rubaie is at it again, it seems. Claiming to have solved the bombing has several functions. Conspiracy theories get deflated. Al-Qaeda gets the blame. The nation, esp. Sunni and Shia, can unite against the common enemy, who is trying to incite civil war. It's all good propaganda for the new government.
But I doubt it's true. It's not just that al-Qaeda in Iraq have denied it, but they have, and they tend to be straight about what they have and have not done. The Mujahadeen Shura Council has said Rubaie's allegation was "a new play performed by the government of (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki to prove its worth and try to regain the confidence it has lost even among those who voted for it". Agreed. It's also a continuation of the Americans' 2004 psyop campaign to "villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response" in order to cohere the country.
I still stand by my hypothesis that it was Israel's way of punishing the world's most famous devotee of the Twelfth Imam - President Ahmadinejad of Iran - for having repeated Khomenei's call for the Zionist colony in Palestine to be wiped from the pages of history. Mowafak Rubaie's announcement this week hasn't altered the results of my imaginary Rorschach test.