BAGHDAD Ñ Insurgents captured in Fallujah have told Iraqi military interrogators that
most of those fighting in Fallujah were former security officers for the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The insurgents said Saddam organized special operations units, starting in 2001, to counter any foreign invasion in Iraq. Most of those units, the insurgents said, are still active in the Sunni Triangle.
Officials said the Sunni insurgency was being directed from Syria. They
said Saddam loyalists were receiving funding and orders from senior aides of
the former Saddam regime based in Damascus, including ex-Vice President
Izzet Ibrahim Al Douri.
Iraqi Interior Minister Faleh Hassan Al Naqib said his government and
the U.S.-led coalition faced a revolt throughout the Sunni Triangle, Middle East Newsline reported. Al
Naqib said the revolt was being directed by a unified command and control
network led by Saddam loyalists. He said the insurgents sought to prevent or
disrupt national elections scheduled for Jan. 27.
"The battle for Fallujah has become the test for Saddam loyalists," an
Iraqi official said. "Fallujah was the center of the terrorism and the symbol
of the terrorists."
The uprising in the Sunni Triangle has included insurgents who had been
based in Fallujah. Officials said Sunni insurgents, including Abu Mussib Al
Zarqawi, and up to 2,000 fighters left Fallujah over the last two months to
launch a revolt in other cities.
At a news conference in Baghdad, on Nov. 16, Al Naqib said the great
majority of insurgency casualties in Fallujah were Iraqi nationals. He said
only 24 foreigners were found dead among the more than 1,250 reported killed
in 10 days of fighting in Fallujah.
Al Naqib identified Mohammed Yunus Ahmad as the key
liasion and coordinator between Saddam loyalists in Syria and Iraqi
insurgents. Ahmad had been a minister and a senior official in Iraq's ruling
Al Naqib also said Saddam formed an Islamic insurgency group Jaysh
Mohammed, composed of former special operations officers. The minister
said the leader of the group, identified as Moayad Yassin Ahmed, was
arrested on Nov. 15. Ahmed, also known as Abu Ahmed, was identified as
a former officer in the Iraqi Air Defense Command.
Ahmed was said to have met former Iraqi minister Al Ahmed in Syria to
coordinate the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Al Naqib said Saddam established
Jaysh Mohammed as the military wing of the Baath Party in April 2003 after
the fall of the regime.
Officials said the Iraqi resistance appears to have changed tactics and
no longer seeks a head-on clash with the U.S. military for the control of
major cities. Instead, Saddam loyalists and foreign volunteers have launched
attacks on police stations and other facilities meant to intimidate security
forces and seize weapons and material.
"This ultimately is not going to be won in the kinetic sense Ñ in
battle," U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker, told the House
Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. "It's going to be won in having
Iraqis taking ownership and investing their own personal sweat and blood."
Iraq's interim government has been bracing for an
insurgency throughout the Sunni Triangle.
Iraqi officials said the U.S.-led invasion of Fallujah has sparked a
revolt in cities throughout the Sunni Triangle. They cited insurgency
campaigns in Baghdad, Baiji, Baqubah, Hadith, Mosul, Ramadi, Samara and