Skip to comments.Hussein's Agents Are Behind Attacks in Iraq, Pentagon Finds
Posted on 04/28/2004 9:13:54 PM PDT by neverdem
WASHINGTON, April 28 A Pentagon intelligence report has concluded that many bombings against Americans and their allies in Iraq, and the more sophisticated of the guerrilla attacks in Falluja, are organized and often carried out by members of Saddam Hussein's secret service, who planned for the insurgency even before the fall of Baghdad.
The report states that Iraqi officers of the "Special Operations and Antiterrorism Branch," known within Mr. Hussein's government as M-14, are responsible for planning roadway improvised explosive devices and some of the larger car bombs that have killed Iraqis, Americans and other foreigners. The attacks have sown chaos and fear across Iraq.
In addition, suicide bombers have worn explosives-laden vests made before the war under the direction of of M-14 officers, according to the report, prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The report also cites evidence that one such suicide attack last April, which killed three Americans, was carried out by a pregnant woman who was an M-14 colonel.
Its findings were based on interrogations with high-ranking M-14 members who are now in American custody, as well as on documents uncovered and translated by the Iraq Survey Group. While the report cites specific evidence, other important assessments of American intelligence on Iraq have been challenged and even proven wrong.
The contents of the report were either quoted directly or summarized by five United States government officials and military officers who had read it. It provides a more detailed portrait of the insurgency. In the past, American officials have typically described the insurgents as a rudderless guerrilla movement of foreign fighters, Islamic jihadists, former Baathists, and common criminals. The report does not address the question of how broad-based support for the insurgency is.
The seven-page "Special Analysis" was written under Defense Intelligence Agency guidance by the Joint Intelligence Task Force, which includes officers and analysts from across the civilian and military espionage community. It is not known whether it represents a fully formed consensus or whether there might be dissenting assessments.
Officials who have read the study said it concludes that in Falluja, which is currently encircled by the Marines, an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 hard-core insurgents, including members of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard who melted away under the American-led offensive, are receiving tactical guidance and inspiration from these former intelligence operatives. "We know the M-14 is operating in Falluja and Ramadi," said one senior administration official, speaking about another rebellious Sunni Muslim city nearby.
The report does not imply that every guerrilla taking up arms against the Americans is under the command of the M-14, nor that every Iraqi who dances atop a charred Humvee is inspired by a former Iraqi intelligence agent. But the assessment helps explain how only a few thousand insurgents, with professional leadership from small numbers of Mr. Hussein's intelligence services and seasoned military officer corps, could prove to be such a challenge to the American occupation. "They carefully laid plans to occupy the occupiers," said one United States government official who has read the report. "They were prepared to try and hijack the country. The goal was to complicate the stabilization mission, and democratization."
The report, completed March 26, was commissioned to answer a simple but provocative question: in Iraq, who is the adversary?
As the American-led forces approached Baghdad last spring, the M-14 put into place "The Challenge Project," in which Mr. Hussein's intelligence officers scattered to lead a guerrilla insurgency and plan bombings and other attacks, the report states. The M-14 officers, according to the report, were sent "to key cities to assist local authorities in defending those cities and to carry out attacks."
The operation was designed with little central control, so community cells could continue to attack American forces and allies even if Mr. Hussein was toppled, and in the event that local commanders were then captured or killed.
The intelligence report was first mentioned publicly last week, during testimony before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, in appearances by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The classified study was sent to Capitol Hill for scrutiny by lawmakers, and is being distributed to commanders in Iraq to help focus their planning to quell the insurgency.
The report also illustrates how Hussein loyalists are manipulating dissatisfaction with the occupation and cultivating a climate of fear that did not vanish with Mr. Hussein's capture. Policy makers who have read the document say it underscores their concerns that a pervasive fear that allowed Mr. Hussein to rule his nation is, even today, deterring millions of Iraqis from supporting the American-led occupation. The pacification of Iraq cannot succeed without the consent and participation of a larger number of Iraqis, according to officials on Capitol Hill and within the administration.
The document says that "cells of former M-14 personnel are organizing and conducting a terrorist I.E.D. campaign against coalition forces throughout Iraq. The explosives section of M-14 prepared for the invasion by constructing hundreds of suicide vests and belts for use by Saddam Fedayeen against coalition forces." The fedayeen are former government paramilitary forces that attacked American forces on the initial offensive toward Baghdad, and are said to be among the insurgents still fighting today.
The report says that under Mr. Hussein, M-14 was responsible for "hijackings, assassinations and explosives," and that its officers are responsible for "the majority of attacks" today. In one detailed section, it describes how M-14 organized "Tiger Groups" of 15 to 20 volunteers trained in explosives and small-arms who would organize and carry out bombings, including suicide attacks.
It cites an attack in the first week of April 2003, when a suicide bomber killed three American special operations soldiers near the Haditha Dam. The dam had been captured to prevent Iraqi forces from blowing it up A civilian vehicle approached a checkpoint, and a pregnant woman stepped out and began screaming, the military said in a statement issued after the attack. When the soldiers approached, the woman and the vehicle detonated. The new intelligence report quotes captured M-14 officers as saying that the woman who carried out the suicide attack was a colonel in their organization.
After all, it would make sense for Saddam to accept defeat during our offensive to oust him from power, since he had no chance of winning such a battle.
To plan an "insurgency" (I hate that word) in the streets after the fact would be the only option Saddam would have, however he didn't anticipate his "spider hole" being discovered.
If the NYTimes says so, it must be true.
Do you realize what you're saying?
That would be abusive. These people should be imprisoned, given 3 square meals and resort style living for their efforts in trying to maintain their status of living.
I'm being sarcastic after reading this
Gee .. could this be the reason why the iraq military under Saddam was fired and is now being rebuilt?
It's utter nonsense. Hussein's only plan was to hope that France and Russia could stop us as they guaranteed they would. There was no Plan B.
If any of his former operatives are behind the current trouble it is not because they "planned for the insurgency even before the fall of Baghdad." It's because they are thugs and they resent sharing power with the Shia and the Kurds, and because even if a power sharing situation materializes, as former Hussein thugs they have no chance of participating in it. They are simply looking to mess up the June 30th date.
These bozos have already demonstrated on countless occasions that they cannot plan their way out of a paper bag. They certainly weren't planning an insurgency before Baghdad fell.
In some wars, that merely means destroying a conventional army. However, as in this case, the irregular forces must also be destroyed.
It is folly to speak of the winning hearts and minds of these irregular forces any more than it would be to speak of winning the hearts and minds of a German SS Division.
They have to be killed.
The Iraq War was not "won" when that statue of Saddam fell one year ago. The war will not be won until Saddam's irregular forces are isolated and killed. Fallujah is a start but there may be other Fallujahs.
Saddam's irregular forces are no match for the U.S. military and they have no hope of defeating the U.S. military on the battlefield.
However, Saddam's irregular forces have a very real possibility of defeating the U.S. by striking at America's Achilles' Heel which is the morale American Home Front.
Let's face it. Compared to the to the American Home Front of 1944, the American Home Front of 2004 has the backbone of a chocolate eclair.
In their corner, Saddam's irregular forces have the American liberal news media and the Democrats who have a common goal of undermining the resolve of the American Home Front.
The Iraq War will be won or lost in a race between the U.S. military's efforts to kill Saddam's irregular forces and the efforts of Saddam's irregular forces, the American liberal news media and the Democrats to convince the American Home Front that America has lost the Iraq War.
I concur. They're unsurrendered elements of a defeated army, fighting out-of-uniform as renegades and subject to being shot on sight. Whoaaaa, how many ways can you spell dead?
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