Alawi: Insurgency backed
by $1 billion fund

By WND Staff

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Iraq’s new leader says the Shi’ite and Sunni insurgency in Iraq is being financed by more than $1 billion coming from foreign sources.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Alawi offered details of Baghdad’s assessments of the insurgency during an interview with the London-based daily Al Hayat.

Alawi said the insurgency included al-Qaida and was being financed by $1 billion from Saddam Hussein loyalists and elements in neighboring countries such as Jordan and Syria.

“The money is held with certain people and is being used to finance crimes against the Iraqi people,” Alawi told Al Hayat on July 15. “The money is being distributed by followers of Saddam Hussein outside Iraq.

“There also exists a certain coordination between al-Qaida operatives and remnants of the ousted [Saddam] regime,” he said.

Alawi’s assertion appeared to dispute that of a U.S. Senate report released earlier this month that ruled out links between the former Saddam regime and al-Qaida. The prime minister, in a statement that also differed from the Senate report, said Saddam sent his weapons of mass destruction arsenal abroad prior to and during the U.S.-led war in 2003.

The prime minister said he was basing his assessments on interrogations of leading insurgents captured in Iraq. Iraqi authorities had captured what he termed “big names involved in financing terrorism and they are demonstrating cooperation with investigators,” he said.

The captured operatives included the personal driver of Abu Mussib al-Zarqawi, regarded as the most lethal insurgent in Iraq and responsible for most of the suicide car bombings that have killed hundreds of Iraqis in 2004. Alawi also cited two al-Qaida members who had planned a major attack against U.S. forces. He identified the two as a Moroccan and a Tunisian.
Alawi described the al-Qaida-inspired network as including a range of Islamic foreign nationals. Al-Zarqawi has recruited many of these foreign volunteers with assistance and financial support from Saddam loyalists.

“We are discovering a sort of increasing cooperation between parts of the Saddam regime and elements of al-Qaida, for example al-Zarqawi,” Alawi said. “Over the last two or three days, we have captured a number of crucial figures who have started to fully and effectively cooperate with the investigative and judicial authorities.”

Alawi told Al Hayat that Iraqi authorities arrested more than 500 criminals in Baghdad alone this week. They included members of the al-Qaida leadership as well as drug and arms dealers who have been cooperating in insurgency activities.

“Some of them are elements from the leadership of the al-Qaida organization,” Alawi said.

Also on July 15, Alawi announced the creation of the General Security Directorate, which he said would focus on combating the insurgency movement in Iraq. He said the new domestic intelligence unit would “annihilate terrorist groups.”

For his part, al-Zarqawi has portrayed Alawi as a leading enemy. On July 14, al-Zarqawi posted a statement on an Islamist website warning that his Tawhid and Jihad group would kill Alawi.


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