Friday, October 31, 2003

Who to believe?

Is Izzat Ibrahim coordinating the attacks inside of Iraq?

From the NY Times:

Mr. Hussein is believed to have met with Izzat Ibrahim, an Iraqi general who was officially the second highest ranking member of the Iraqi government at the time of the invasion, and who is described by American officials as playing a significant role in the insurgency.

General Ibrahim, who is No. 6 on the American most-wanted list, has been described by some Defense Department officials as having recently been in contact with members of Ansar al-Islam, a militant group that had been based in northern Iraq before the American-led invasion and which is linked to Al Qaeda.

Such contacts would be the clearest evidence to date of coordination between forces loyal to Mr. Hussein and members of the extremist group in the campaign against American forces in Iraq. But one senior American official said Thursday that while General Ibrahim was clearly playing a role in coordinating attacks by those loyal to Mr. Hussein, it was much less clear whether he had been in contact with Ansar al-Islam.

From the Washington Times:

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a top aide to ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, is dying of leukemia and cannot be playing any major role in orchestrating the current wave of attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces and their Iraqi allies, according to sources familiar with the old regime's functioning.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday appeared to pull back from earlier comments by U.S. defense officials that al-Douri had been masterminding strikes such as last week's wave of suicide attacks in downtown Baghdad, reportedly working with an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group that had operated before the war out of a small enclave in northern Iraq.

"I really don't have enough conviction on the subject that I would want to try and confirm or deny it," Mr. Rumsfeld told a Pentagon briefing.


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