Who is fighting in Iraq? Part II After talking to many people in Lebanon, I am now more convinced than ever that the segment of the foreign fighters in Iraq is in fact much smaller than alleged in the US press, but still received support and funding from some elements in Saudi Arabia, among other places. But the occupation, any occupation, is the most effective breeding ground for opposition to occupation. But as I indicated a few days ago, the elements of the former Ba`th party (which is being restructured (still under the lousy symbolic leadership of Saddam) are deliberately using the Zarqawi name and network to divert attention. There is a very informative article on the subject by Iraqi economist Khayr Ad-Din Hasib (he was a former Nasserist who served in the National Bank in Iraq in the 1960s. He fled Iraq after the rise of Saddam, and became a bitter rival of the Saddam regime. The regime confiscated his property, and harassed his friends and relatives from what I heard. He founded in exile the Centre for Arab Unity Studies, and is known as a great fund-raiser and skillful manager. I was very disappointed when Hasib made up (sort of) with the regime in the 1990s, and met with Saddam. His sympathy for the Iraqi people under the sanctions led him to that, I heard. I ran into Hasib at a dinner in Beirut, and the subject of Iraq was discussed. Hasib wrote an article on the "Iraqi national resistance" in Al-Quds Al-`Arabi on July 18th. He said [I am translating some parts of the article]:
"We return to the question: What is the resistance? The first group: is the former Iraqi army that operates under two names: the majority works under the name of the Secret Islamic Army and this group comprises forces from the organizational and intelligence groups because their formations are from the leaders and officers of the army and intelligence....Their numbers are more than 10,000...and are sometimes called the Islamic Iraqi Army, or the National Iraqi Army, and their activities extend to Diwaniyyah, Nasiriyyah, `Amarah...The second group is part of the Iraqi army, but is smaller and is a section of the Ba`thists, and operates as "Muhammad's Army." The third group is "The Partisans of Sunnah Community", is organized tightly, and many of them were trained in Afghanistan and returned to Iraq. They follow the method of the Qa`idah group, but are not organizationally linked to them due to intellectual differences, and religious interpretations of some matters. Their numbers are around 4,000. The fourth group: are the Partisans of Islam Community (Jama`at Ansar Al-Islam), are tightly organized, learned in Afghanistan and then moved to Northern Iraq before the war with the Americans, and fought wars against the Kurdish National Union Party, and the strike that was dealt them early in the war affected them. Most of them are Kurds but have a large number of Arabs especially from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Their operations were specifically in the north but moved in the recent period to the provinces of the center and the South, Basrah and `Amarah. The fifth group are the Battalions of the Revolution of the 1920, and it is believed that this group is linked to the Body of [Sunni] Islamic Scholars. They are few in number but have financial resources due to aid to them from Arab and international sides. But they do not have large manpower resources. They are between 1000 and and 1500, and initially they were in Fallujah and Ramadi but have spread in Mosul and Baghdad and Diyala and other areas. The sixth group: is the Army of the Mujahidin and is a group formed from some groups after the occupation. The link between those groups was the bad treatment at the hand of the occupation. They are mostly nationalist pan-Arabists Nasserists, who collect money to buy some weapons. Their resources are simple and their operations sporadic. They cooperate with other groups when the operation takes place in their areas. The seventh group: is the Council of Consultation for the Mujahidin, and this group was formed from the agreement and coalition between a large number of organizational groups and their aim is the execution of operations against the Americans, and ending the mistakes by other organizations. The eighth group is Al-Qa`idah group, which is the best funded, and is linked to other Arab groups and has an extensive network, and is supported by folks of Saudi capitalists, and by elements of the Saudi intelligence [apparatus] that is opposed to the government. This group has more than 5,000, and was named the Community of Unification and Jihad, and is currently named Al-Qa`idah in Mesopotamia, and is led by Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi. The Ninth group: is the Islamic (Wahhabi) Usuli Resistance, and was led by Shaykh Mahdi As-Sumaydi`i, who was arrested a few months ago, and it is believed to be small in size and limited in effectiveness. The tenth group: is the Armed Resistance of the Sufi Muslims, and is limited in number but believed to be effective. The last group is comprised of groups that are either family based or is from one region, and is found all over Iraq and its provinces. But they are not linked, and are not linked to the previous groups."
There is no way for Angry Arab to verify the accuracy of Hasib's information, but thought that this well-informed source knows far more than New York Times' reporters, for sure. In other news, I bought a copy of Saddam's last novel, titled Get Out of Her, You Damned One. I bought the book at a London bookshop, where I found books that have no identifications or information about the publishers. Dissident Gulf groups often sell their books in those bookstores. This one was no exception: it has no information, but seems to be put out by Iraqi Ba`ithists. I hear that Iraqi Ba`thists in Amman have tons of money, and are spending lavishly. The new novel (as I reported before) carries the same boring and no-talent style of Saddam of previous novels. But this one is even worse. The boring and tedious personality of Saddam comes through on every page; and in the last section has a scene of the battle between the Arabs and the Romans. The scene include the burning of "two towers" of the enemy, and Saddam seems to relish describing that part. It so distresses me that there are indeed some in the Arab world who express admiration for this brutal tyrant. Let us hope that his jailing and trial will finally put an end his literary career. A good book on Saddam's tyranny and the corruption of his family and inside circle is by his former physician `Ala' Bashir, titled, I Was A Physician of Saddam. The man was featured in a long profile in the New Yorker a few years ago by JON LEE ANDERSON. In one section in the book, it tells the following story: [when `Udayy Saddam Husayn was trying to become a practicing Muslim] One day, `Uday sent [his aide] Muhammad Jabir to the cleric to ask him whether it is permissible for him to drink a glass of wine after dinner. When the cleric heard the question, he asked: "Who wants to know that?" Jabir said: "It is `Udayy." [The cleric] `Abbas said: "in his case, yes, it is permissible." (p. 236, of the aforementioned book).