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It looks like the coalition of the willing may have managed to contribute to achieving something that even Saddam Hussein could never have done. An alliance between Al-Qaeda and Hussein's supporters (Bin Laden hated Hussein as far as I understand it).
Quote: Al-Qaeda directs Iraqi hit squad Marie Colvin discovers a deadly alliance has been formed between terrorists from various Arab countries and Saddam Hussein loyalists.
The Sunday Times, London
Sunday, August 10, 2003
RAMADI, Iraq -- Al-Qaeda terrorists who have infiltrated Iraq from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have formed a deadly alliance with former intelligence agents of Saddam Hussein to fight their common enemy, the U.S. forces.
The alliance, known as Jaish Muhammad -- the army of the prophet Muhammad -- is believed to be responsible for increasingly sophisticated attacks on U.S. soldiers.
In the past four months, it has smuggled millions of dollars, weapons and hundreds of Arab fighters across the desert border with Saudi Arabia.
Details of the alliance have emerged from Iraqi intelligence and U.S. military sources, and from local supporters in a belt of restive Sunni Muslim towns to the west of Baghdad.
Influenced by Wahhabism -- a fundamentalist strain of Islam followed in Saudi Arabia and by Osama Bin Laden -- it represents a new frontline battle force for al-Qaeda in its holy war against the U.S.
The head of the group is a senior Saudi al-Qaeda officer, while most of the lieutenants and foot-soldiers are Iraqis who can move more easily among the local population.
The Sunday Times knows the name of the al-Qaeda leader, but has been asked not to publish it for fear of jeopardizing security operations. He does not direct every attack, but oversees training and ensures that cells follow his commands about targets.
He relies on two senior former Iraqi intelligence officials, including Muhammad al-Kudier, a former director of special operations in Mr. Saddam's mukhabarat security service, for planning, logistics and recruitment.
According to the sources, they run a training camp at Razaza, 45-kilometres from Ramadi, at a former lakeside tourist resort that Mr. Saddam had turned into a base for army manoeuvres and weapons storage.
Jaish Muhammad appears to analysts to be an improbable alliance. Al-Qaeda was formed by Mr. bin Laden to drive U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia, home to the two holiest sites in Islam. Mr. Saddam's ruling Baath party was, by contrast, deeply secular.
There was deep skepticism in the run-up to the war when the U.S. administration of President George W. Bush alleged links between Mr. Saddam and Mr. bin Laden, who directed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S.
But a different kind of co-operation is emerging in Iraq, driven by a mutual hatred of the west, and the U.S. and British in particular. It is a marriage of bitter losers who have vowed not to give up.
For the Arab foreigners in Jaish Muhammad, the alliance is a jihad, similar to that forged by Mr. bin Laden and his allies to expel Russian forces from Afghanistan. According to those who know them, the Iraqis have joined for a combination of religious and nationalist reasons.
The Saudi al-Qaeda officer, who moves across the border but was believed to be in Iraq last week, is supported by wealthy Saudis rather than the Riyadh government.
His Iraqi partners recruit from the pool of security and intelligence officers who are unemployed and embittered by their loss of status.
Recruits are selected on the basis of skill with weapons and their religious tendencies. After vetting by the Wahhabis, they begin al-Qaeda-style training.
They are given lectures to prepare them for jihad and are taught the tactics of guerrilla warfare, such as how to make remote-controlled bombs.
After training they stay in safehouses. "They are spread out so it's difficult to arrest them," said an Iraqi source. "When there is an operation they are brought to collection areas -- either mosques or a training camp." Messages are passed by word of mouth because of the U.S. monitoring of electronic communications.
Jaish Muhammad is the most dangerous of Iraq's diverse elements of resistance and its presence is increasingly potent.
Early last week, an Iraqi source said Jaish Muhammad was concentrating on remote-controlled explosives. Then, on Thursday, in the Karadeh neighbourhood of Baghdad, a U.S. Humvee pulled up as it did daily on the main street and the soldiers went into the shops for cold drinks to offset the heat.
At 2:15 p.m., a remote-controlled bomb that had been buried in a dirt square exploded, seriously injuring two soldiers and killing two Iraqis.
It was clear this was a sophisticated device -- it was "shaped" so that only the target side of the street was fully hit.
Foreign fighters were also suspected of organizing Thursday's truck bomb attack on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, which killed 19 people. It was by far the most advanced attack of its kind since the war ended.
Yesterday, the top U.S. military officer said the continued incursion of foreign fighters into Iraq could lead to a diplomatic showdown between the U.S. and Iraq's neighbours.
"It's a serious issue," said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff. "We have to convince these countries surrounding Iraq that it is not a good idea to allow foreign fighters in."
The U.S. confirms it believes al-Qaeda is operating in Iraq. Paul Bremer, the civilian administrator, said the military had found strong links between al-Qaeda, other Iraqi groups and guerrilla attacks that have so far killed 55 U.S. soldiers since Mr. Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1.
-------------------- The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.
And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.
"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.
I imagine the military and corporate power in America is hoping for another 100 years of "the war on terrorism". It's the perfect enemy really - capable of terrifying the american population and providing a handy excuse for naked wars of aggression without any justification at all.
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