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October 20, 2005
Zarqawi's Moneyman Gets Pinched In Baghdad (Updated!)

Fox News reports this morning that Iraqi security forces have arrested a nephew of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Yasir Sabawi Ibrahim, after the Syrians kicked him out of their country earlier this month. The Iraqis say that Ibrahim ran the money end of the Iraqi insurgency as well as contributed to the Zarqawi network's funding, and served as a chief liaison between the two organizations:

Yasir Sabhawi Ibrahim (search), son of Saddam's half brother Sabhawi Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, was arrested in a Baghdad apartment, several days after Syrian authorities forced him to return to Iraq, the officials told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Cairo. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to deal with the media.

One of the officials, who works as a coordinator between Iraqi authorities and U.S. military intelligence, described the purported financier as the most dangerous man in the urgency. The other official, who is a senior member of the Iraqi Defense Ministry, said the arrest was a serious blow to terrorist networks.

Syria did not bother to deport Ibrahim to any specific authority; the Americans say that Syria "pushed" him across the border. However, it appears that the Syrians kept tabs on him afterwards and then tipped off Coalition officials on his location. That's how the Iraqis made what they called a "fast, easy" capture of Ibrahim.

Let's think about that for a moment. The Syrians rarely do anything outside of their self-interest, which usually relates to the self-interest of the Assad on the throne at the time. With the US threatening sanctions at the UN and the Iraqi democracy presenting such a threat to their stability and their entire eastern border, why make things easier on both? Appeasement? Possible but doubtful.

With Ibrahim controlling Ba'ath funding in Syria, Yemen, and Jordan, he represented a possible threat to the leadership of Bashar Assad as well as that of the Iraqis. I think in Assad's weakening political position and diplomatic isolation, he may want to get rid of people that could stage a coup. Ibrahim had the funding and the contacts to do so, and could have either led such a putsch or funded one he liked to do it for him.

We may see an exodus of the more important terrorist enablers from Syria over the next few weeks as Assad cleans house and checks his six. For those "insurgents" who have based their efforts across the Syrian frontier to keep the US off their back, they will shortly find themselves cut off from their power base and probably most of their funding. (via Power Line)

UPDATE AND BUMP: Ibrahim wasn't the only insurgent leader to get neutralized this week. Al-Qaeda lost another field commander during the recent operations to clear out terrorist nests before the constitutional plebescite:

U.S. forces killed 12 militants in western Iraq including an al Qaeda leader responsible for attacks around Ramadi, a focus of the Sunni Arab insurgency, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

A statement said Sa'ad Ali Firas Muntar al-Dulaimi, also known as Abu Abdullah, was among 12 people killed in a series of October 15 raids on suspected insurgents in Ramadi, about 68 miles west of Baghdad.

The statement said Dulaimi was "highly regarded" by top al Qaeda leaders in Iraq including the group's chief, Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"(Dulaimi) was chiefly responsible for planning and executing all terrorist attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces in the Ramadi and Falluja areas," the statement said.

Sounds like more good news to me, although some in the comments section might disagree.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 20, 2005 9:17 PM

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Tracked on October 20, 2005 8:46 PM

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