[Marxism] Fwd: Captives held by Islamic State were waterboarded - The Washington Post

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 28 16:52:05 MDT 2014

On 8/28/14 6:19 PM, Vladimiro Giacche' wrote:
> they are learning a lot from their (former?) sponsors

I assume that Vladimiro is saying that the USA sponsored ISIS. In fact, 
as the NYT reported today, the group is one part the reactivated 
al-Qaeda in Iraq, the jihadist group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and 
one part remnants of Saddam Hussein's officer corps. In other words, the 
people who were either blowing up Shiite mosques or setting off IED's. 
It is only in the weird world of the "anti-imperialist" left that such 
people can be regarded as having been cooked up by the USA.

NY Times, August 28 2014
Military Skill and Terrorist Technique Fuel Success of ISIS

BAGHDAD — As fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue 
to seize territory, the group has quietly built an effective management 
structure of mostly middle-aged Iraqis overseeing departments of 
finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment.

At the top the organization is the self-declared leader of all Muslims, 
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a radical chief executive officer of sorts, who 
handpicked many of his deputies from among the men he met while a 
prisoner in American custody at the Camp Bucca detention center a decade 

He had a preference for military men, and so his leadership team 
includes many officers from Saddam Hussein’s long-disbanded army.

They include former Iraqi officers like Fadel al-Hayali, the top deputy 
for Iraq, who once served Mr. Hussein as a lieutenant colonel, and Adnan 
al-Sweidawi, a former lieutenant colonel who now heads the group’s 
military council.

The pedigree of its leadership, outlined by an Iraqi who has seen 
documents seized by the Iraqi military, as well as by American 
intelligence officials, helps explain its battlefield successes: Its 
leaders augmented traditional military skill with terrorist techniques 
refined through years of fighting American troops, while also having 
deep local knowledge and contacts. ISIS is in effect a hybrid of 
terrorists and an army.

“These are the academies that these men graduated from to become what 
they are today,” said the Iraqi, a researcher named Hisham Alhashimi.

ISIS, which calls itself Islamic State, burst into global consciousness 
in June when its fighters seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, 
after moving into Iraq from their base in Syria.

The Iraqi Army melted away, and Mr. Baghdadi declared a caliphate, or 
Islamic state, that erased borders and imposed Taliban-like rule over a 
large territory. Not everyone was surprised by the group’s success. 
“These guys know the terrorism business inside and out, and they are the 
ones who survived aggressive counterterrorism campaigns during the 
surge,” said one American intelligence official, referring to the 
increase in American troops in Iraq in 2007. “They didn’t survive by 
being incompetent.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because 
he was discussing intelligence reports.

After ISIS stormed into Mosul, one official recalled a startling phone 
call from a former major general in one of Mr. Hussein’s elite forces. 
The former general had appealed months earlier to rejoin the Iraqi Army, 
but the official had refused. Now the general was fighting for ISIS and 
threatened revenge.

“We will reach you soon, and I will chop you into pieces,” he said, 
according to the official, Bikhtiyar al-Qadi, of the commission that 
bars some former members of Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party from government posts.

ISIS’s success has alarmed American and regional security officials, who 
say it fights more like an army than most insurgent groups, holding 
territory and coordinating operations across large areas.

The group has also received support from other armed Sunni groups and 
former members of the Baath Party — which was founded as a secular 
movement — angry over their loss of status.

“In the terrorism game, these guys are at the center of a near perfect 
storm of factors,” the American official said.

Mr. Baghdadi’s deputies include 12 walis, or local rulers; a three-man 
war cabinet; and eight others who manage portfolios like finance, 
prisoners and recruitment.

Background on ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Video Credit By 
Christian Roman on Publish Date June 30, 2014. Image CreditReuters
Its operations are carried out by a network of regional commanders who 
have their own subordinates and a degree of autonomy, but they have set 
“drop times” when they open a shared network to coordinate.

For example, ISIS responded to American airstrikes on its positions in 
Iraq by distributing a professionally produced video last week of the 
beheading of the American journalist James Foley more than 200 miles away.

ISIS is the current incarnation of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the insurgent group 
that battled American forces under the leadership of Abu Musab 
Al-Zarqawi before his death from an American airstrike in 2006.

According to a map of the group developed by Mr. Alhashimi, the Iraqi 
expert, Mr. Baghdadi has 25 deputies across Iraq and Syria. About 
one-third were military officers during Mr. Hussein’s rule, and nearly 
all were imprisoned by American forces.

The last two leaders of ISIS’s military council were former Iraqi 
military officers: a colonel and a captain. Both have been killed — and 
have been followed by a former lieutenant colonel, Adnan al-Sweidawi, 
who is about 50 years old.

Ahmed al-Dulaimi, the governor of Anbar Province, which is now largely 
controlled by ISIS, said that all three men graduated from the same 
military academy.

Mr. Dulaimi said he had taught one of them, Adnan Nijim, who graduated 
in 1993 to become an infantry officer.

“It was never clear that he would turn out like that,” Mr. Dulaimi said. 
“He was from a simple family, with high morals, but all his brothers 
went in that direction,” becoming jihadists.

After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Mr. Nijim joined Al Qaeda 
in Iraq and was detained by American forces in 2005, Mr. Dulaimi said.

“All of these guys got religious after 2003,” Mr. Dulaimi said. “Surely, 
ISIS benefits from their experience.”

Other former military brass have also fought for ISIS.

Mr. Baghdadi’s top deputy in Syria, Samir al-Khlifawi, was a colonel. He 
was killed in Syria by other insurgents.

Derek Harvey, a former Army intelligence officer and specialist on Iraq 
who now directs the University of South Florida’s Global Initiative for 
Civil Society and Conflict, said that former officers also had 
professional, personal and tribal relationships that had strengthened 
ISIS’s coalition.

The group’s campaign to free hundreds of militants from Iraqi prisons 
was executed with former Baath Party loyalists. These included 
intelligence officers and soldiers in Mr. Hussein’s Republican Guard.

Hassan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian expert on Islamist groups, said that 
while Mr. Baghdadi had relied mostly on Iraqis, he had left areas like 
religious guidance, recruitment and media production to foreigners.

Many of them, like the head of ISIS’s media department, are Saudis. This 
is at least partly to make ISIS appear “globalized,” Mr. Abu Hanieh 
said. “They want to appeal to international jihadists so that they come 
and join the battle.”

Some non-Iraqis have risen to prominence. Mr. Baghdadi’s chief spokesman 
is Syrian. And one group of foreign fighters is led by an ethnic Chechen 
who goes by the name Omar al-Shishani.

Michael Knights, an Iraq analyst at the Washington Institute for Near 
East Policy, said it was no surprise that so many officers from Mr. 
Hussein’s era had joined ISIS. Discontent in the military was widespread 
near the end of his rule, and underground Islamist movements were 
gaining strength, even inside the military, he said.

Political changes after the American invasion accelerated their rise. 
Members of Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party were barred from government 
positions, and the political dominance of Iraq’s Shiite majority made 
many Sunnis feel disenfranchised.

“After 2003, what did these guys have to do but get more radical?” Mr. 
Knights said.

For those who had served in Mr. Hussein’s staunchly secular army, that 
transformation was complete by the time they joined ISIS. “There is no 
one in Baghdadi’s state who is not a believer,” Mr. Alhashimi said.

Ben Hubbard reported from Baghdad, and Eric Schmitt from Washington. 
Reporting was contributed by Omar al-Jawoshy from Baghdad, Karam 
Shoumali from Istanbul, and Hwaida Saad and Mohammed Ghannam from 
Beirut, Lebanon.

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