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US One Step Behind 'Iraqi Phantom' (Al-Douri)
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 10-28-2005 | Adrian Blomfield

Posted on 10/27/2005 6:39:03 PM PDT by blam

US one step behind 'Iraqi phantom'

By Adrian Blomfield in Dour
(Filed: 28/10/2005)

Some senior Iraqi officers call him a phantom. In certain western coalition circles, he is known as Macavity, the mystery Ba'athist.

Six times in the last 10 months, US forces say they have come tantalisingly close to catching Izzat al-Douri, Saddam Hussein's former right-hand man and the second-most wanted fugitive in Iraq.

Izzat al-Douri, Saddam's former right-hand man

But each time he has managed to slip away, though on some occasions the Americans claim to have been so close that they found the dinner still on his plate.

That Douri has managed to remain at large for so long is quite a feat. His red hair marked him out as the most distinctive member of Saddam's inner circle. He reportedly suffers from both diabetes and leukaemia, though stories of his health are as contradictory as conflicting reports over whether the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has one leg or two.

Within weeks of Saddam Hussein's fall in April 2003, US officials accused Douri of co-ordinating Iraq's insurgency. As the months went by, he was also named as the link between the Sunni-Arab uprising and Zarqawi's al-Qa'eda In The Land of the Two Rivers network.

A $10 million bounty was placed on Douri's head but to no avail. The King of Clubs in the coalition's "most wanted" pack of playing cards, he is the most senior of Saddam's allies still at large.

Many Iraqis believe he is dead. US officials believe he is alive and suggest that he regularly commutes into Iraq from neighbouring Syria.

Last year the Iraqi government announced that he had been captured in a major operation near Tikrit during which 60 people were allegedly killed. It later emerged that not only had Douri not been caught. There had never been an operation.

The most frequent sightings of the man have come in Dour, his home town across the river from Tikrit. It was in a hole on the outskirts of Dour that Saddam Hussein was found hiding in December 2003.

Though the town only has a population of about 30,000, it is perhaps the perfect place for Douri to hide, mainly because it has a larger proportion of old, red-headed men than anywhere in Iraq.

Earlier this year, American soldiers thought they had at last tracked down their quarry when they raided a house and found an old man with red hair lying on a bed and attached to a drip. He appeared to match exactly the photograph the soldiers carried and suspicions were only raised when the man's family begged the Americans to take him away for treatment.

The most recent close call came in the spring. Acting on a tip-off, American soldiers raided a tent in the eastern desert where a banquet was being laid out for Douri and his supporters. Unfortunately for the Americans, they got there before he did.

"The lamb had been slaughtered and they were cooking it," said Major Ken Harvey, commanding US troops in Dour. "Dinner was laid out, but we were too early. We picked up everyone else, but they told us nothing. We left a team out there but of course he didn't turn up. He's not stupid."

How much of a role Douri plays in the insurgency also remains unclear. Some senior officials in Baghdad and Washington continue to maintain that he is an instrumental figure, though given his Sufi background it seems unlikely that he would have formed a close bond with Islamic extremists.

Most foreign fighters are Salafist Muslims who regard most Sufis as mystics and heretics.

Army officers involved in the hunt for Douri say his role in the insurgency has probably been exaggerated from the start, maintaining that most of his energies have been devoted to evading capture.

"He has very little hands-on control," said Lt Col Gary Brito, who has been involved in operations to capture Douri. "He can pull in the support but I wouldn't portray him as a major threat. To say that he's the kingpin - well I haven't seen intelligence to suggest that."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aldouri; behind; debaathification; gnfi; iraq; iraqi; iraqiofficers; one; phantom; procoalition; step; us

1 posted on 10/27/2005 6:39:05 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Like sand in an hour glass, your time slowly slips away. Keep running Red, the Cavalry is on your ass.....the first slip, first mistake, the first screwup and you are ours, your cell awaits in Cuba, with a beautiful ocean view....

Dead man walking.


2 posted on 10/27/2005 6:46:25 PM PDT by armydawg1 (" America must win this war..." PVT Martin Treptow, KIA, WW1)
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To: blam

Sometimes I wonder if Douri or Zarqawi are in-country.

Isn't looking for a red head or an guy missing a leg narrowing it down a bit?


3 posted on 10/27/2005 6:49:54 PM PDT by wingman1 (University of Vietnam 1970. Forget? Hell.)
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To: wingman1

"Isn't looking for a red head or an guy missing a leg narrowing it down a bit?"

Not in Iraq. Red hair is "Esau" like, not at all uncommon. Then come the Keltoi and Franks....

One-leg = ~2-4% of the population. Not a 2nd glance...


4 posted on 10/27/2005 7:22:41 PM PDT by Prost1 (New AG, Berger is still free, copped a plea! I still get my news from FR!)
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To: Prost1

Is your reference to "Keltoi and Franks" within the last 100 years? I'm not sure I understand.

2-4% of the people in a warzone with missing limbs I do understand.

Thanks for your input.


5 posted on 10/27/2005 7:39:47 PM PDT by wingman1 (University of Vietnam 1970. Forget? Hell.)
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To: wingman1

No, the Keltoi are the Celts. They settled in Anatolia and mingled/migrated throughout the area due to wars and dispersement.

The Franks were the Crusaders and many were Celtic.

The Iraqis of today have an inordinate number of people with missing limbs, much like Viet Nam, due to the long years of war. Also, Saddam used to torture people so badly that they lost limbs as a result. It is reported that one armed and one-legged people are not that uncommon and this predates the US crusade.


6 posted on 10/27/2005 8:14:23 PM PDT by Prost1 (New AG, Berger is still free, copped a plea! I still get my news from FR!)
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To: Dog; Coop; AdmSmith; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Straight Vermonter; Wiz; Calpernia; Deetes

Ping


7 posted on 10/27/2005 8:19:27 PM PDT by Cap Huff
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To: Prost1
"It is reported that one armed and one-legged people are not that uncommon and this predates the US crusade"

Even if up to 4% of Iraqis have lost limbs, it still narrows down the hunt and eliminates at least 96% of the population, and probably much more. Certainly many of the other amuptees have lost arms, or the opposite leg. Unless he's not even in Iraq anymore, it's just unbelievable that Zarqawi hasn't been found yet.

Too bad David Jansen wasn't alive, he could give valuable info to our intelligence guys on how an amputee stays one step ahead of the law.

8 posted on 10/27/2005 8:34:15 PM PDT by TheCrusader ("The frenzy of the Mohammedans has devastated the churches of God" -Pope Urban II, 1097AD)
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To: TheCrusader

When you are surrounded by amputees you have a tendancy to look away, at first. Then, when you think no one is looking, you look.

So, given this premise, it would not be unthinkable that a one-legged guy would not be easily identifiable.

I know. My buddy lost his leg in a motorcyle accident around 1967. Lots of people never looked him in the face when he hobbled around on crutches...


9 posted on 10/27/2005 8:39:40 PM PDT by Prost1 (New AG, Berger is still free, copped a plea! I still get my news from FR!)
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To: TheCrusader

I bet we could find one or both in Syria if we looked.


10 posted on 10/27/2005 9:47:23 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Ninety-nine Republican Arlen Specters arenít worth one Democratic Zell Miller)
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To: wingman1

You'd be surprised. There were several kids I saw that had red hair. One girl looked more Irish than Iraqi!


11 posted on 10/27/2005 10:07:51 PM PDT by SFC Chromey (We are at war with Islamofascism)
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To: ducks1944; Ragtime Cowgirl; Alamo-Girl; TrueBeliever9; maestro; TEXOKIE; My back yard; djreece; ...
Some senior Iraqi officers call him a phantom. In certain western coalition circles, he is known as Macavity, the mystery Ba'athist.

Six times in the last 10 months, US forces say they have come tantalisingly close to catching Izzat al-Douri, Saddam Hussein's former right-hand man and the second-most wanted fugitive in Iraq.


LIzzat al-Douri, Saddam's former right-hand man

But each time he has managed to slip away, though on some occasions the Americans claim to have been so close that they found the dinner still on his plate.

12 posted on 10/28/2005 6:01:34 AM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Cap Huff

Thanks for the ping.


13 posted on 10/28/2005 6:01:54 AM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Calpernia

Thanks for the ping!


14 posted on 10/28/2005 6:06:04 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: blam
Last year the Iraqi government announced that he had been captured in a major operation near Tikrit during which 60 people were allegedly killed. It later emerged that not only had Douri not been caught. There had never been an operation.

These kinds of ruses can be very effective in sowing doubt & dissension among the enemy. The insurgents have to wonder if the message they just received is really from him or perhaps a plant. Other insurgents who know he can finger him then have to abandon immediate plans and re-locate or go into hiding.

15 posted on 10/28/2005 6:32:33 AM PDT by mark502inf
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