Two weeks ago, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources revealed that al Qaeda had embodied its Iraq strategy in the slogan of “Iraq Tumadikum” (“We are marching to Iraq”).
Those same sources disclose another disturbing development. The Iraqi resistance has taken a leaf out of Osama bin Laden’s book – or rather, booklet.
Toward the end of defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s visit to Iraq, they published a booklet setting out anti-US resistance tactics for the months ahead. Hundreds of thousands of copies were run off by printing presses in neighboring Jordan before Jordanian and US intelligence services caught on to the project. The booklet was printed in and distributed from the offices of a minor publication called Majd, or “The Glory”, in Amman, which has a small circulation among Iraqi exiles and Jordanian supporters of the Iraqi Baath Party.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources, Saddam Hussein’s eighth audio tape, broadcast by the Al Arabiya station on Wednesday, September 17, was part of the publicity campaign for the new blueprint.
The forces comprising the Iraqi anti-US resistance are listed by this publication for the first time. They turn out to be slightly more than a collection of random tag-ends, made up – if the booklet is to be believed – of Iraqi ex-army officers and enlisted men, the officer and non-commissioned officer corps of the Special Republican Guards and a hodgepodge of Arab and Islamic “patriots and volunteers”.
Some strategic objectives are also listed. One is to weld the opposition forces into an army fighting under a single command; another, predictably, is to expel US “enemy” troops by stepping up attacks across Iraq. Readers are exhorted to preserve Iraq as a homeland for Iraqis of all ethnicities and faiths. The booklet specifically promises Kurds and Shiites roles in a future government in Baghdad.
Getting down to hard details, the authors define the paramount operational objective as being “to kidnap American soldiers in order to force a prisoner exchange between the US military and Iraqi volunteer forces.”
No sooner did he land in Iraq than Rumsfeld issued orders for American soldiers to keep to their bases and go out only with permission from their commanding officers.
Surprisingly, the booklet makes scant mention of Saddam. In a rare reference to the former Iraqi leader, the writers note an offer of political asylum he recently received from an unnamed Muslim country in the Far East, which our sources believe is Malaysia.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources disclose that the defense secretary received assurances during his visit that Saddam’s apprehension was not far off. The US military command in Iraq is meanwhile endeavoring to conduct its hunt for the deposed leader with a minimum of media fuss.