Former Saddam Aide Directs Iraqi Insurgency from Syria

(Observer/Guardian-UK)Peter Beaumont - A senior Baath party organizer and Saddam Hussein aide, Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed, has been named by Western intelligence officials as one of the key figures directing the Sunni insurgency from his hiding-place in neighboring Syria. "The main organizational strength behind the insurgency is Baathist military intelligence types who enjoy safe refuge in Syria," said one official. "Although Syria has clamped down on the border, they have not done anything about the planners and organizers. We are talking about 20-50 people who have access to funds, who know how to organize and use existing networks, and are adept at reforming into cells." The naming of Ahmed seems designed to pressure the Syrian authorities to clamp down on the activities of ex-Iraqi regime officials operating there. Arab and Western diplomats also admit there is evidence of arms, money, and fighters coming into Iraq from Saudi Arabia. Officials believe Saudi money is helping to finance the jihadist groups in Iraq - like Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group.

2004-10-19 00:00:00

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