The Old Gray Nutsack puts it like this:
But as the army battalions arrived there, they saw streets full of people calmly going about their business. There were no armed Sunni mobs, no cowering Shiite victims. After hours of careful searches, the soldiers - assisted by air surveillance - arrested some people suspected of being insurgents, but found no evidence of any kidnappingsThis would seem to corroborate what Al Qaeda Mesopotamia has claimed:
It would be strange for a man who is actively trying to create a civil war to deny a hand in this, if it were true. So what is the truth? The Scotsman puts it like this:
Even Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist who is Iraq's most wanted man, offered a version of the Madaen developments. His network, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, issued a statement on Islamist Web sites saying the kidnappings were a fabrication by Iraqi and American authorities. The statement went on to say that it was the Iraqi Army and the police who had rounded people up in Madaen, and that the victims were Sunnis, not Shiites.
"Three brigades have been moved towards the area and this morning there were five from the Iraqi national guard, the ministry of interior and multinational forces," Kassim Daoud, the minister of state for national security, told parliament.So if you're keeping score, Al Zarqawi is blaming America and Allawi for creating this as an excuse to clean house in the area, certain Shiite politicians have used this as ammunition against Allawi (who handed in his resignation last week), and the Iraqi government seems to have bought into this full-force. The media? They are exposed here for what they are in Iraq and have been from the beginning; bystanders posing as news gatherers. They have been a major element in this affair, acting as a loudspeaker for an event that may have been an urban legend. Updates will be posted as more info comes to light.
"Three areas where we suspected there were terrorists were raided but no-one was found. There are other areas we will attack soon."
Update: Jawa hits this shit and points to Speed of Thought, A nice blog that I have not heard of until now.