debkafile: Iraq’s renegade Baath party names Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri new leader and successor to Saddam Hussein, who was hanged Dec. 30 for crimes a

Saddam’s former deputy, who escaped US capture after the 2003 invasion, was falsely reported by Baath sources to have died on the run. US intelligence dismissed the claim as a red herring. debkafile reports: From his places of hiding, usually Syria but also Yemen, he ran many of the Baath Sunni terrorist and guerrilla operations in Iraq. As one of Saddam’s closest confidants, he was also in charge of Saddam’s secret funds. The Baath party announced that henceforth its insurgent operations would focus on the single goal of fighting the Americans. Our military sources take this as an order to Baathist fighters to quit the Sunni factions waging war on Iraq’s Shiite community in keeping with Saddam’s last injunction to the Iraqi people: to unite behind the common enemy, the US. It also appeals to the Shiite rank and file who served in Saddam’s army to join the Baath militias to avenge Saddam’s death and build bridges to end their sectarian war. This move is designed to undermine the new Bush master-plan for bridge-building to curb Sunni-Shiite warfare in Iraq

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