Saddam Regroups, Coordinates Terror Onslaught on Baghdad

In the space of 48 hours, the Ramadan bombing offensive on Baghdad claimed upward of 40 dead – mostly Iraqis – and over 220 injured. It struck terror at the heart of the Iraqi capital, first targeting US administration and military headquarters at the heavily secured landmark al Rashid hotel, where US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying as a guest. The next day, Monday, October 27, five suicide bomb-cars struck almost simultaneously in the morning rush hour. Four targeted police stations. The most lethal was carried out by an ambulance packed with explosives detonated at the gates of International Red Cross headquarters. Ten Iraqis were killed. However, one police station attack was foiled by Iraqi police who shot and wounded the only assailant to be caught. He had a Syrian passport and drove a car packed with TNT and three mortar rounds.
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To achieve this clockwork precision, the deadly series must have been planned in detail for months and the targets carefully chosen with the help of expert intelligence – which the Americans clearly lack. The masterminds showed audacity and cunning. For instance, a large blue-painted electricity generator had been adapted by military engineers to perform as a multi-rocket launcher. It was parked unnoticed at the correct distance to mount the stunning attack on the al Rashid hotel.
In a Special Expose appearing on October 24, DEBKA-Net-Weekly drew on its intelligence and counter-terror sources to uncover a new organization Saddam Hussein has put together in long consultations with his Baath strategists. It is meant to serve him as a power play to demonstrate that he is still a force to be reckoned with and commands the loyal support of his own die-hards, as well as foreign terrorists groups such as the al Qaeda network and Arab sympathizers.
Tunnel vision of a comeback
Indeed, intelligence and Baghdad sources revealed to DEBKA-Net-Weekly that Saddam actually signed what he called a “presidential decree” carving Iraq into six districts, each administered by a governor appointed either by himself or Baath officers.
He placed himself at the head of an “Interim Command for Armed Activities against US and Zionist Forces,” the controlling body of the six districts and coordinator of their “armed activities” and those of foreign terrorists and fighters.
Our expose revealed the structure of Saddam’s underground regime and named its districts and their governors. He seems to be left with enough cards to play with even after US forces nabbed most of the 55 men and women they designated his insiders.
Covers all of northern Iraq, including Kurdistan and its main cities: Kirkuk, Mosul, Baiji, Sulaimaniya, Haditha and the al-Qaim region.
Governor: General Nameq Mohammed.
Our military sources report the 45-year-old Mohammed served as deputy chief of security for the Special Republican Guard and was particularly close to Saddam’s son Qusay, whom US forces killed with his brother Uday in Mosul in July.
Includes the Sunni Triangle cities of Tikrit, Samara, Baquba and Balaad.
Governor: General Ibrahim Abdel Satar.
A Tikrit native, Satar was chief of staff of the Special Republican Guard and is regarded as one of Saddam’s most loyal aides.
Includes the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.
Governor: Zohair Rahamim.
This appointment is particularly interesting because Rahamim was always perceived as the great mystery figure of Saddam’s inner circle.
Today, he is thought to command the Iraqi resistance army. In this capacity, he is in charge of integrating the foreign reinforcements infiltrating the country from Syria – chiefly, Hizballah, Palestinian, Yemeni, Saudi and Al Qaeda fighters – and attaching them to the various Iraqi guerrilla cells and networks confronting the US military.
His appointment as governor of Ramadi and Fallujah indicates that most of those fighters are now clustered in or around those cities.
Encompasses the capital, the large Habaniya airbase to the west and Baghdad international airport. It also covers the Salman Pak site about 15 miles (25 km) southeast of the city, where a large US military base has been established and several members of the interim government council installed in former presidential palaces and villas.
Governor: Colonel Nofal Saad Mohammed.
Commander of Saddam’s Praetorian Guard.
Includes the Shiite regions of Iraq and the cities of Najef, Karbala, Sura, al-Hilal and Diwaniyah.
Governor: Mohammed Ali Abdel Jalil.
A pro-Saddam Shiite and former deputy governor of the Najef district, he is well acquainted with the local Shiite leadership and population.
By appointing Jalil, Saddam is signaling the Shiites that, despite the intense American drive to install pro-US leaders in the area, he still has enough clout to restore his man, the Shiite mainstay of the Baath provincial government, to power. The ex-president is also cautioning the Shiite population not to rush to cooperate with the Americans.
Includes the cities of Basra, Nassariya, al-Amra and al-Qut.
Governor: Daghar Mohammed Fadal.
He was deputy director of the Iraqi military industries and the man in charge of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons development program. David Kay, the CIA official leading the search for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, would like nothing better than to lay hands on him.
To give his “appointments” bite, the deposed Iraqi ruler ordered two steps:
1. Local Baath activists must spread word of the new governorships across Iraq. At the local level, Iraqis are permitted to approach local party representatives with problems or grievances and promised they will be put before the new district governor.
2. Saddam’s Interim Command for Armed Activities against US and Zionist Forces attached an assassination squad of Iraqi loyalists and allied combatants to each governor to mark down Iraqis or foreigners cooperating with the Americans or the provisional Governing Council.
One or more of those squads may be presumed to have carried out the strikes against the two most sensitive targets – the al Rashid Hotel from which Wolfowitz had a lucky escape and International Red Cross headquarters.

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