WASHINGTON – It has been denied, downplayed, overlooked, forgotten, disregarded and omitted from the public record.
But a thorough review of open-source material demonstrates conclusive and widespread cooperation between former members of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime and terrorists from the Iraqi al-Qaida network.
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Dozens of former Saddam Hussein loyalists captured by U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq were found to be working with al-Qaida or linked to their operations.
Here are some notable players in that alliance:
Muhammed Hila Hammad Ubaydi
- Muhammed Hila Hammad Ubaydi, aka Abu Ayman, was the former aide to the chief of staff of intelligence during the Saddam regime for 30 years. Ubaydi later led the Secret Islamic Army in the Northern Babil Province and was said to have had strong ties to the former terror leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. He was captured April 6, 2006, in southern Baghdad.
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri
- Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri is "the former vice chairman of Saddam's Baathist Revolutionary Command Council who swore fealty to Zarqawi and provided funding for al-Qaida and significant element of the Baathist/al-Qaida converts and collaborators.
- Abdel Faith Isa is a former Iraqi army officer who was later identified as an al-Qaida emir. He was captured May 6, 2004.
- Abu Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi is "believed to be a former officer in Saddam's army, or its elite Republican Guard, who (has) worked closely with al-Zarqawi since the overthrow of the Iraqi dictator in April 2003." Al-Baghdadi was among the candidates nominated as potential Abu Musab al Zarqawi's leadership position in al-Qaida in Iraq.
- Ahmad Hasan Kaka al-'Ubaydi was a former Iraqi Intelligence Service officer, and believed to have later become associated with al-Qaida affiliate Ansar al-Islam.
- Abu Aseel is a "former high ranking Saddam official" who was working with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi after 2002.
- Abu Asim was a Special Republican Guard officer under Saddam Hussein and is said to have been active within the insurgency after the fall of the former regime, including association with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
- Abu Maysira al-Iraqi was reportedly a "minister of information" for al-Qaida in Iraq and formerly an expert in information technology for Saddam's army. "He was an expert in information technology in Saddam's army and was entrusted with the additional task of waging the jihad through the Internet" for Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq."
- Abdul-Hadi al-Iraqi is being held in Guantanamo Bay and was called "a top leader with al-Qaida in Iraq and the Mujahedeen Shura Council and originally comes from Nineveh province. He was a major in Saddam's army but left to travel to Iraq to fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1990s" and was later identified as a "liaison between bin Laden and al-Qaida's leadership in Afghanistan, and the al-Qaida network formerly headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq." Al-Iraqi has also been cited as one of bin Laden's top al-Qaida commanders.
- Unnamed former air force officer – a man who was killed in a coalition raid in Iraq "was later identified as a retired officer in the Iraqi air force serving under the Saddam regime. The male who initiated the gunfire is a suspected al-Qaida terrorist for whom the troops were searching, as well as the retired officer's son. The former officer was killed April 14, 2006.
- Abed Dawood Suleiman and son Raed Abed Dawood – Suleiman was a former Iraqi general believed to have become Zarqawi's "military adviser." Raed was a former army captain in the Iraqi army and was caught April 15, 2005.
- Mohammed Khalaf Shkarah al-Hamadani, aka Abu Talha, was a key facilitator and financier for al-Qaida in Iraq. He reportedly was the head of a Zarqawi's terror cell. Al-Hamadani previously was a member of the Baath Party and a warrant officer in the former Iraqi army. He was captured June 5, 2005.
- "Al-Hajji" Thamer Mubarak was an Iraqi military officer who became a key aide to Zarqawi. Mubarak reportedly was involved in the August 2003 al-Qaida attack on U.N. headquarters in Iraq.
- Hasayn Ali Muzabir, a former Iraqi Intelligence (Mukhabarat) officer for Saddam's regime, was later identified as al-Qaida's emir of Samarra. Muzabir was killed in Balad, Iraq, on June 2, 2006.
- Muhammad Hamza Zubaydi was a "Baath Party official in charge of security in central Iraq and had helped put down an uprising by Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq in 1991." Zubaydi was later found to be an associate of Zarqawi's al-Qaida branch in Iraq.
- Abdul Hamid Mustafa al-Douri was a relative of Saddam's former aide Izzat al-Douri. As an aide to Zarqawi, and head of the Salaheddin province al Qaida branch and car-bombing network, he was captured in a joint Iraqi police and army operation in a village in northern Tikrit.
- Haitham al-Badri – "Before joining al-Qaida in Iraq, Badri was a warrant officer in the Special Republican Guard under Saddam. After the invasion, he joined the insurgent group Ansar al-Sunna, where he trained recruits and carried out attacks."
- Salas Khabbas is "a former member of the Baath party and (was) closely linked with al-Qaida." Khabbas "specialized in attacking convoys and kidnapping." He was captured July 12, 2006, by Polish intelligence agents.
- Abu Zubair was trained in Iraq and was reportedly sent by Saddam's government to lead "supporters of Islam" into northern Iraq to assassinate leading Kurds and to assist in building chemical warfare facilities.
- Rafid Fatah "also known as Abu Omer al-Kurdi, was also trained by Saddam and worked with (Abu) Zubair against the Kurds. It is not known when he left Iraq, but he too became a leading member of al-Qaida . His whereabouts are not known."
- Mohammed Hanoun Hamoud al-Mozani is a former Iraqi intelligence officer who was captured by police after bombings in Baghdad and Karbala. It was later revealed he was paid by al-Qaida to carry out attacks on civilians.
- Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi is a former member of Saddam Hussein's intelligence services who rose to No. 2 in al-Qaida's Iraq wing. Al-Saeedi reportedly "told interrogators that al-Qaida in Iraq exchanges logistical support and information with supporters of Saddam Hussein."
- Muharib Abdullah Latif al-Juburi was a military intelligence officer in Saddam's army and later rose to a leading position for al-Qaida in Iraq. Al-Juburi also served as the "Information Minister" for the Islamic state of Iraq.
- Abu Mustafa was a Saddam-era military officer who told Time magazine he spent his time in jail (post-invasion) "studying Salafi Islam and receiving lessons in jihad from bearded Iraqis and detainees who came from places like Syria and Saudi Arabia" before joining the jihadist fighters in Iraq.
- Abu Ali was "among those who have thrown their support behind the jihad. ... A ballistic-missile specialist in Saddam's Fedayeen militia, he fought U.S. troops during the invasion and has served as a resistance commander ever since, organizing rocket attacks on the Green Zone, the headquarters of the U.S. administration in Baghdad. When interviewed by Time last fall, he spoke of a vain hope that Saddam would return and re-establish a Baathist regime."
- Omar Hadid, according to Middle East news outlets cited by Powerlineblog.com, was a former personal body guard of Saddam and had trained with al-Qaida in Afghanistan before fighting against coalition forces in Fallujah and elsewhere. Hadid, according to an al-Qaida biography after his death, also had a relative who was an official for Iraq's intelligence services and worked with Hadid on postwar operations.
- A former Saddam Hussein officer was appointed as an al-Qaida leader to set up attacks on Iraqi oil sites in early 2007.
- An unnamed former Saddam Fedayeen leader as an insurgent leader responsible for al- Qaida/foreign fighter camps in Syria.
- Abu Raja hails from a family who was "well-connected" during Saddam Hussein's rule and later joined forces with al-Qaeda.
- Abu Haydr had an "important government job" before the invasion and later enlisted with al-Qaida.
- A group of former Iraqi Republican Guard officers reportedly has been "giving ground-to-ground missiles, including Scud-B and Hossein missiles" and collaborating with al-Qaida to launch attacks on key targets in Iraq.
- Adullah Rahman al-Shamary "was an officer in [Iraq's] feared Mukhabarat General, an intelligence service run by Saddam's son, Qusay." Al-Shamary told Richard Miniter, from a prison cell, that Qusay Hussein "oversaw the Mukhabarat's relationship with Jund al-Islam, an al-Qaida wing operating in northern Iraq before the 2003 American invasion" and he was involved in the Jund al-Islam-Mukhabarat relationship.
- Yasser al-Sabawi is Saddam's nephew and reportedly was linked to a Saddam Fedayeen cell arrested for being involved in the al-Qaida/al-Zarqawi beheading of Nicholas Berg. The video of the beheading was posted on al-Qaida-linked website, and Berg may have been kidnapped by the al-Sabawi's cell and then sold to Zarqawi's group.
- A former colonel in Saddam's army was said to have later become the leader of al-Qaida's branch in the Diyala province of Iraq.
- Haydar al-Shammari (may be the same person as Adullah Rahman al-Shamary) is a former Iraqi intelligence officer who claimed his commander, Abu Wa'il, ordered him to aid al-Qaida members fleeing Afghanistan to enter Iraq through Jordan and Syria. Al-Shammari then assisted their mission in joining up with Ansar al Islam.
- Abu Iman al-Baghdadi told BBC news that Saddam's intelligence services were assisting al-Qaida affiliate Ansar al Islam with arms to counter the PUK, and al-Baghdadi was checking on Abu Wa'il status in assisting the group.
Eighty-five fighters were killed, though many escaped, when a joint Baath/al-Qaida camp was confronted by Iraqi forces in March 2005. Gen. Adnan Thabet said the camp was "frequented by members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's branch of al-Qaida [and] was built after the U.S. offensive to retake the rebel enclave of Fallujah in November. "They were Zarqawi followers and Baathists from the old military because they knew how to fight. They fought like old soldiers."
- The Islamic Army in Iraq is an insurgent group that includes former members of Saddam's Baath Party, Muslim Brotherhood members and worked with al-Qaida in the past until a recent spilt in which an IAI spokesman told al Jazeera "the Islamic Army in Iraq had decided to disunite from al-Qaida in Iraq. ... In the beginning we were dealing with Tawhid and Jihad organization, which turned into al-Qaida in Iraq."
- Mohammad's Army, also known as Jaish-e-Mohammed, is a group that includes pro-Saddam members of the former regime's Intelligence, Security and Police services. Responsibility for the 2003 attack on the U.N. building in Iraq was claimed both by members of al-Qaida in Iraq (including Zarqawi) and Mohammed's Army. The material for the bomb was from the former regime's stock, for which members would have had superior access, though observers said insurgents could have acquired it on their own. Abu Omar al-Kurdi, an al-Qaida/Zarqawi associate later admitted responsibility for making the bomb after his capture.
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While the Bush administration contended there was evidence of a Saddam Hussein/al-Qaida connection before the war, those assertions have come under heavy criticism, especially from Democrats who contend they and others were deceived about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. However, as WND reported last year, pre-war documents posted online by the Pentagon included a letter from a member of Saddam's intelligence apparatus indicating al-Qaida and the Taliban had a relationship with the regime prior to the 9/11 attacks.
A letter by the member of Saddam's Al Mukabarat to a superior, dated Sept. 15, 2001, reported a pre-9/11 conversation between an Iraqi intelligence source and a Taliban Afghani consul.
The information had been released on the orders of National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, and the letter was reviewed by an independent Middle East analyst who concluded it appeared genuine.
The letter indicated bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan were in contact with Iraq – noting a specific visit to Baghdad – and said the U.S. had proof Saddam's regime and al-Qaida were cooperating to hit a target in the U.S.
The documents also suggested the possibility the U.S. could strike Iraq and Afghanistan if an attack on the U.S. proved to be tied to bin Laden and the Taliban.
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This article was prepared with the assistance of Mark Eichenlaub, a free-lance writer and manager of the website regimeofterror.com.