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Identifying Kamal the tailor, musing on the 'other guy'


We may not be revealing the identity of Kamal the tailor here in the US, but Arab press - even what I would call Saudi state press - has done so. While both citations in this note are AFP sourced, five months apart, I submit that Arab News qualifies as Saudi state press given that its publisher, Saudi Research and Publishing Co., was established in 1972 and commenced the first Saudi English-language daily, Arab News in 1975. (Of SRPC's eighteen titles only this one "serving the interests of both the Saudis and a large expatriate community" is in English.) I think that it carries some solemnity for them to present Kamal's identity.

Arab News and Middle East News, respectively, identify Kamal as follows:

Kamal Al-Aswadi is "a fighter from Samarra [and] a businessman with ties to Saddam’s entourage, but wrapped himself in the cloak of radical Islam after the dictator’s regime collapsed. The military believes he relies on funding from Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi’s movement and built his armed wing around tribal connections."

Kamal Hamud al-Suwaidi "once had business ties with Saddam's entourage. Since the US-led invasion, Suwaidi declared himself a Wahabbist and has forged ties with Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi's Unity and Holy War faction, which funds him."

It is instructive to look back to Bureaucracy of Repression: The Iraqi Government in Its Own Words to gain a scale of the infrastructure, staff, and monies that the Iraqi regime had at its disposal and which many of its Sunni members inherited at the fall of Baghdad. The US military "has 20 million dollars to spend on Samarra, two million of it immediately available." I would surmise that senior insurgents could field the entire sum in an afternoon:

Samarra is still dominated by the fears of its Sunni Muslim community, deeply worried about its place of influence in Iraq that ended with the US invasion. "They're 95 percent indifferent or don't like what they perceive as the occupation. However, they are not going to do anything about it because they don't want their families hurt." [All this from an insurgency estimated] at five percent of Samarra's 250,000 people.

The insurgency has been atomized such that the "resistance is no longer cut along lines of Saddam's Baathist power structure. Rebels have countless motives, from Islam to nationalism to pure and simple crime." The 'other guy' may or may not be among the following, but the list offers a window into nationalist insurgent leaders, opportunists, and criminals wielding extremely well-financed power in the Sunni insurgency:

General Izzat Ibrahim Al-Durri was "Saddam's top deputy [and is] the man many believe is directly orchestrating much of the insurgency."

Mohammed Hadosh "was Saddam’s top bodyguard in Tikrit and the military believes he funds rebel activities in Baiji, home to Iraq’s largest refinery."

Rashi Taan Kazim is "a former governor in Al-Anbar [and] the point man for Baathist activity in Diyala. The military believes he funds groups, supplies weapons and "uses religious ideology to recruit extremists", in an example of the insurgency’s blurred lines."

Hussein Ali Muzebar "trained as a fighter in Afghanistan for three or four years before returning to Iraq around the time of the invasion. He is said to receive money from Al-Qaeda-linked groups, including Zarqawi, and to have plotted car bombings in Samarra."

Haiytham al-Saba "known as The Lion, is a young farmer who vowed to fight the Americans after his brother was killed in the aftermath of the invasion."

Taha Yassem al-Azoze "is a Salafist whose family opposed Saddam and had a brother killed by the jailed dictator and has plotted attacks against the Americans."

Abdul Rahman "is a criminal who decided to join insurgent activities."

Najam Abdul al-Takhi al-Nissani "is considered part of the insurgency's criminal element. He has published death lists of collaborators and reputedly receives funding from Fallujah and counts as many as 30 followers among his blood relatives."

Iraqi Rebels Grow Strong in Saddam’s Old Haunts
Arab News (Saudi Arabia)
Agence France Presse
11 January, 2005 (30, Dhul Qa`dah, 1425)

Bumpy road ahead to peaceful Samarra
Middle East News
October 05, 2004

Bureaucracy of Repression: The Iraqi Government in Its Own Words
Middle East Watch
Human Rights Watch
Feb, 1994

Gordon Housworth

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