Saddam Hussein’s In-Law and Head of Baath Party May Be Behind Al Qaeda in Iraq

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was Saddam’s former In-law, as his daughter was married to Uday Hussein, and became his successor as head of the Baath Party. If there’s anyone waiting to step into Saddam’s place, it’s al-Douri.

Al-Douri was rumored to have been a key figure behind the Sunni insurgency against US forces. Back then he was supposed to be in Syria, then Qatar, which has become a hub for supporting Islamic terrorism.

Now he’s back in a very big and public way. And the Baathists may have given ISIS the professional edge it needed.

Douri was the king of spades in decks of playing cards distributed to U.S. soldiers during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Today, Douri is openly directing operations of the Naqshbandis in Mosul.

The Naqshbandis command broad influence both within Iraq and over ISIS. The order is estimated to have thousands of soldiers, many of whom were previously members of the Iraqi army before the U.S. invasion. In some cases, like during the ISIS capture of Tal Afar, the attacking force was actually comprised almost entirely of the former Baathists.

The Naqshbandis have also significantly shaped the inner workings of ISIS. A former Baathist colonel was reportedly behind the ascension of ISIS’s current leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, to power after his predecessor was killed in 2010. The Naqshbandis have also held direct talks with ISIS that have given the group governing power over conquered territory for the time being.

The septagenarian ex-regime hardman has been reported to have joined fighters near his home town Tikrit and even to have paid a visit to the grave of the former dictator in a symbolic moment of return.

That strongly suggests that ISIS is at least to some degree a creature of Al-Douri or that both of them are united by a common backer, likely to be found in Qatar.

It would explain why the Baathists are allowing ISIS to take more of the credit than it deserves.

“He” also revealed Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s real name Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Bou Badri bin Armoush, the fact that he was born in the town of Samarra and not Baghdad and the names of other leaders on Baghdadi Isis council.

Perhaps the most significant charge @wikibaghdady made—and the one that now seems most prophetic, after the group took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-biggest city—is that ISIS’s inner chamber of power, hidden by Baghdadi’s public front, is led by a former Baathist and colonel in Saddam’s army called Haji Bakr. According to @wikibaghdady, it was Bakr who engineered Baghdadi’s rise to power after ISIS’s former leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, was killed in 2010 by a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in Tikrit.

The account claims, as Hassan’s translation below shows, that the two groups struck a deal which will place the Baathists in control of a new ruling coalition.

It might seem paradoxical that the Sunni insurgency shifted from a common source with the fellow Baathists in Syria to Al Qaeda, but alliances in the Middle East are temporary. Saddam Hussein and Iran had both tried to court Al Qaeda.

Islamic terrorist groups in the region routinely double as stalking horses for state interests, whether it’s Hezbollah acting on behalf of Iran in Lebanon or the PLO’s origins in serving Syria.

That doesn’t however mean that they don’t have interests of their own.

Meanwhile Saddam Hussein’s daughter has come out to endorse ISIS.

Daughter of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain has expressed satisfaction over ‘victories’ by extremist groups in their attack on north of the country, including a group led by her uncle.

She said she was happy that her uncle, who is also leader of the Iraqi Baath party, was successful in uniting other groups, including ISIL, for seizing Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq.

It’s the same story in Tel Afar.

On Sunday, Isis jihadists, backed by local Baathist remnants from Saddam’s old regime, overran Tal Afar, causing the exodus of most of the city’s Shia community.

“It is Baathists from Tal Afar who enabled Isis to take over the town. They have a strong presence and are very well organised,” said one senior Iraqi intelligence officer from the area. “This is the return of Saddam’s men.”

Meet the new boss, a reminder of why the old boss was taken out.

  • truebearing

    That N azi DNA is hard to exterminate. ISIS can respect it because it is evil and all about hate.

  • JackSpratt

    He should know where the WMD’s that didn’t make it to Syria, are stashed.

  • Veracious_one

    Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri is back because peace is un-Islamic.

  • Sarah David

    vengeance, watch out. More blood to be shed all over the place. Devil is alive.

  • Sarah David

    why do humans kill one another? what’s it really all about? Power? Money? What?