Monday, November 16, 2015

The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s.
CONFRONTING THE ‘CALIPHATE’ This is part of an occasional series about the militant group Islamic State and its violent collision with the United States and others intent on halting the group’s rapid rise.


Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, center, chairs a joint meeting of the Revolutionary Command Council and the regional command of the ruling Baath Party on Oct. 31, 1998. Reuters

SANLIURFA, Turkey When Abu Hamza, a former Syrian rebel, agreed to join the Islamic State, he did so assuming he would become a part of the group’s promised Islamist utopia, which has lured foreign jihadists from around the globe.

Instead, he found himself being supervised by an Iraqi emir and receiving orders from shadowy Iraqis who moved in and out of the battlefield in Syria. When Abu Hamza disagreed with fellow commanders at an Islamic State meeting last year, he said, he was placed under arrest on the orders of a masked Iraqi man who had sat silently through the proceedings, listening and taking notes.

Abu Hamza, who became the group’s ruler in a small community in Syria, never discovered the Iraqis’ real identities, which were cloaked by code names or simply not revealed. All of the men, however, were former Iraqi officers who had served under Saddam Hussein, including the masked man, who had once worked for an Iraqi intelligence agency and now belonged to the Islamic State’s own shadowy security service, he said. All the decision makers are Iraqi, and most of them are former Iraqi officers. The Iraqi officers are in command, and they make the tactics and the battle plans,” he said. “But the Iraqis themselves don’t fight. They put the foreign fighters on the front lines.”The raw cruelty of Hussein’s Baathist regime, the disbandment of the Iraqi army after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the subsequent insurgency and the marginalization of Sunni Iraqis by the Shiite-dominated government all are intertwined with the Islamic State’s ascent, said Hassan Hassan, a Dubai-based analyst and co-author of the book “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.”The de-Baathification law promulgated by L.­ Paul Bremer, Iraq’s American ruler in 2003, has long been identified as one of the contributors to the original insurgency. At a stroke, 400,000 members of the defeated Iraqi army were barred from government employment, denied pensions — and also allowed to keep their guns.The U.S. military failed in the early years to recognize the role the disbanded Baathist officers would eventually come to play in the extremist group, eclipsing the foreign fighters whom American officials preferred to blame, said Col. Joel Rayburn, a senior fellow at the National Defense University who served as an adviser to top generals in Iraq and describes the links between Baathists and the Islamic State in his book, “Iraq After America.”Most of Islamic State’s leaders were officers in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq



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Most of Islamic State’s leaders were officers in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq

Almost all the top leaders in the Islamic State are former officers in the Iraqi army. The current leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, reshaped the original alQaeda affiliate by recruiting from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army. Read related article. Almost all the top leaders in the Islamic State are former officers in the Iraqi army. The current leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, reshaped the original al-Qaeda affiliate by recruiting from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army. Read related article.


Most of Islamic State’s leaders were officers in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
Major General, Colonel Republican Guard Intelligence, Colonel Air Force
Abu Ali Al Anbari
Abu Ayman al Iraq
Abu Muslim al Afari  al Turkumani
Abu Ahmed Al Alwani
Hajj Bakr
Abdullah Ahmed al Mishhadani
Zarkwai BagdadActually, they're not Ba'athists and were in conflict with the remnant Ba'athists for a long time. As a matter of fact, they are still fighting Ba'athists in Syria (Asad = Ba'athist). He wasn't released by Bush, he was released a detainee review board, and I have plenty of gripes about those policies. Back then, Abu Dua was a low level detainee, and those people were routinely released to level up and gain more prominence in the organization. It's not like detainees were secure in the Iraqi prisons, and constantly escaped there. Firing the Iraqi Army was one of the stupidest moves of the entire war, and don't get me started on the other stupid decisions by the State Department at that time. But those guys ended up being more of the nationalist groups like 1920th Revolutionary Brigade, and were more aligned with the Iraqi Islamic Party than the Ba'athists. Really, one of the things that led to the resurgence of DAASH was PM Maliki, who antagonized the Sunni and didn't try to make any headway with the Awakening members who largely drove DAASH from the country. Obama didn't help because he wouldn't engage with Iraqi leaders, who sided more and more with Iran. Lots to be mad about in how the whole thing developed.