The death of former Saddam General Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri last week provides an opportunity to ask Nance about who the insurgent commander was, how he evaded capture or death for so many years, and what the hell is really going on in Iraq. In addition to his time on the ground, Nance has written defense intelligence textbooks on the subject—books that are occasionally dense but “are exhaustively detailed for a reason,” he says. “I am not here to entertain, but to share hard intelligence, won by the blood of dead soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and intelligence officers and explain the deep history of these groups which leads you to ISIS.”
He is not shy about the why of knowing: So that “we kill the right people with what we learned.” Nance runs his own analytical organization, TAPSTRI, the Terror Asymmetrics Project and is author of, most recently, The Terrorists of Iraq: Inside the Strategy and Tactics of the Iraq Insurgency, 2003-2014.
On Friday, Iraqi television announced that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was killed in Iraq. A blip in the news, but obviously a man who you think was a shadow leader of ISIL. Who was he?
General Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was the Dick Cheney of Iraq. He was a close personal confidant of Saddam Hussein and blood member of the Saddam clan by marrying his daughter to Saddam’s son, Uday. He was a powerbroker in the Iraqi Baath party during Saddam’s rule and commanded all Iraq forces in northern Iraq, where ISIS would later invade so successfully. In the 1960s, he worked alongside Saddam when the Baath were underground, and he planned the details of the 1968 coup d’état that brought Saddam to power. He was one of the key decision-makers to plan and wage war against Iran, and he led the Revolutionary Command Council in the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. After Desert Storm, he led the cleansing of the southern Iraq marsh Arabs. His strategy was simply to kill most of them, drain the marshes, and thereby wipe the rebellion out.
During the Anfal campaign of genocide in northern Iraq, he killed and displaced tens of thousands more Kurds. With such a stellar record of mass murder, he was the one to order his cousin Al-Hassan al-Majid—a.k.a. “Chemical Ali”—to use Mustard, VX, and Sarin nerve gas to kill over 5,000 Iraqi Kurds in Halabjah.
This man, designated the “King of Clubs” by U.S. intelligence, was arguably the most sinister of the entire pack of trading card characters. Being naturally red-headed and freckled, a childhood of teasing may have led him to be as ruthless as he was easy to identify.
One thing about al-Douri that was important—crucial—is that he was a devout Muslim in the Sufi Naqishbandi sect. He even formed his own insurgent group called the Men of the Naqishbandi Army (Jaysh al-Rijjal al-Naqishbandi, or JRTN). This is interesting because al-Qaeda and ISIS loathe these Sufi Muslim sects.
I remember the dude, he was the skinny redheaded guy. I also remember him being designated King of Clubs. There is much more in the article... the guy says the US blew it big time, leading to the present situation.
http://phasezero.gawker.com/an-intellig ... 1699407909
Found via Tam at VFTP.