Choosy IIS Agents Choose … CNN

Another document from the archives of the Iraqi Intelligence Service details the response plan from IIS headquarters in dealing with the discovery of a mass grave early in 2001. The burial site in the southern no-fly zone got the attention of the head of the IIS 5th Directorate, the Counterintelligence directorate, who sent a top-secret memo to the head of M4/1, Foreign Intelligence – Arab Nations. Document ISGQ-2004-00224003 lays out the Iraqi regime’s strategy for damage control (emphases mine):

Pages 3-5 contain a Secret memo signed on behalf of the Head of 5th Directorate (Translator Comment (TC): no name indicated) and sent from the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) to the 1st Department of the 4th Directorate regarding information about mass graves in the Southern Area of Iraq, and the rituals and ceremonies to be made for the dead people. The memo was dated 07 February 2001, and contained the following notes:
• The IIS has no information about the mass graves in the Southern Area.
• Graves have to be tested for the presence of nuclear radiation.
• Were they buried alive or did they die of suffocation?
• Were they military or civilian?
• Was there any identification of their names?
• Place signs and accurate details for the mass graves to be reached easily.
Use trusted news agencies to leak rumors and information that there is a misunderstanding and signs from some Coalition Forces members regarding the presence of the mass graves in Southern Iraq.
• Request assistance from some friendly countries that possess the technological capabilities to search for these graves.
• Give CNN the priority to cover this incident to make a bigger effect on the international community.
• Leak rumors to trusted media sources that the atrocities and mass graves found in the Southern Area were committed by the Coalition Forces. This is in order to make these actions noticeable as monstrous and inhuman to the whole world.
• After that, the remains are to be taken out of the graves; military procedures and arrangements will be made to pay the deceased their last respect. Also the building of memorial statues for the dead in every governorate.

Why would the mass graves need testing for nuclear radiation? Did Saddam use nuclear weapons in Iraq during or after the first Gulf War? The fact that this is one of the first tasks given by the head of the Counterintelligence directorate sounds rather unusual. Certainly by this time — ten years after the cessation of military operations against Iraq in that region — the Iraqis would have thought to test for radiation to ensure that we did not use our nukes against them.
The other points of interest show the deliberate manipulation of the media, including CNN. Why did the IIS trust CNN to deliver on their story line? Their confidence came from Eason Jordan’s capitulation to Saddam, complete with allowing the regime to dictate the copy that his reporters read into the cameras. Peter Arnett had swallowed the “baby formula” story hook, line, and sinker during the first Gulf War. Why wouldn’t they trust CNN to deliver their propaganda unfiltered to the West?

Saddam’s Shopping List (Updated)

The American translations of the captured IIS files sometimes contain summaries rather than direct translations of some of the douments. This usually happens when dealing with forms that contain more tables than text; the translators give the gist of the material, presumably allowing investigators to review the data and request specific translations where necessary.
This gives less specificity to the translations, and as a rule I avoid commenting on them. Many of these summaries contain general references to chemicals, but nothing specific enough to call out for review. Document ISGQ-2003-00000847 appears to be an exception. This summarizes a number of memos calling for purchases of chemicals in 2002 and 2003 that appear on their face to be prohibited (emphases mine):

Pages 41-43 contain a correspondence dated on 29 October 2002 from Dhu-al-Faqqar Plant to the Planning and Tracking Directorate including lists of the plant needs [for] the chemical materials for the year 2003 such as:
– (SATTS NTRIK) Acid (Page 41)
– Sodium Cyanide (Page 41)
– Auto Passiuatiw (Page 41)
– Naocl (Page 41)
– Liquid grain refiner (Page 41)
– CADAMX Cadmium Salt (Page 41)
– NaOH (Page 41)
– PREPHOS 101, 201, 501, 503, 701 (Page 42)
– DSA (Page 42)
– HYLITE ZINC (Page 42)
– UNIZIN (Page 42)
– AUTO PASS SIT (Page 42)
Pages 59-66, 68, 97, 99, 101, 186-189, 254-255 contain lists of the needed chemical materials for the years 2001 and 2002.
– HTPB (Page 59)
– DOZ (Page 59)
– TDI (Page 59)
– MAPO (Page 59)
– HMDI IPDI (Page 59)
– (SATTS FWRMALIN) (Page 59)
– (SATTS FWSFWRIK) Acid (Page 59)
– (SATTS AICANWL) (Page 59)
– Sodium Cyanide (Page 62)
– (SATTS II;W SIANID) (MDI) (Page 62)
– 1-3 (SATTS BIWTADAIN) (Page 63)
– EPDM (Page 64)
– VAROX (Page 64)
– A.P (Page 64)
– (SATTS KRAFIT) Powder (Page 65)
– (SATTS ALMINIWM) Powder (Page 65)
– (SATTS D KLWRIN) (Page 65)
– EMPD caoutchouc (Page 66)
– IPPD (Page 189)
– PVI (Page 189)
– CBS (Page 189)
– (SATTS SRKABTW) (Page 189)

Sodium cyanide is an important precursor to WMD, especially the nerve gas tabun, which many suspect was the weapon used in Halabja. We have worked with France and Germany to stop North Korea from acquiring it in 2003 and 2004. The fact that it shows up on Saddam’s shopping list as late as for 2003 shows that the Iraqis still used it for some purpose — and the regime was not supposed to have any of it.
The list of chemicals may have more connection to weapons programs, but certainly the repeated inclusion of sodium cyanide has to point to nefarious intent.
UPDATE: Or it could be used for … electroplating, according to CQ reader Dutch. He says the list of chemicals is consistent with electroplating, an area of some expertise for Dutch. Good catch by him. However, if that’s the case — and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be — why do we keep sodium cyanide away from North Korea? It looks like one of the dual-use issues.

A Brief History Of Iraqi Missile Units

Another document from the archives of the IIS gives a brief history of the Iraqi short-range missile program. This takes up a small part of document ISGP-2003-00040084, but it does have a fairly revealing description and timeline:

Missile Units and their history in general
This is a brief general history of Iraqi missiles and missile unit formation with timeline development over the time.
1. 1st Unit of ground to ground missiles was established August 1, 1974 with missile called Al-Ra’ad and received later Scud missile. The units at the time were stationed at Al-Hamawil and Al-Taji Area in their early development.
2. The first significant Iraqi missile commander in 1988 was General Hazim Abdulrazak Shihab but Iran-Iraq war was the 1st time Iraq used missile against enemy target since then Iraq has used to Israel an Allied forces.
3. The year 1991 was the first Iraq formed ground to ground missile general command that lead many brigadiers, training and test facility until the establish of republican guard.
4. As per letter 932 in February 2001, Ministry of Defense and Chief of Staff adjustment was made to restructure the ground to ground missile forces. [S]erious small missile units: command, company and platoons, and branches
were formed to reflect the task required. The functions of these units were engineering, chemicals, intelligence, labs and security.
5. in August 22, 2002 general secretary of the Army forces nominates St. General Tha’er Abdulrahman Yassin Abdulrahman Al-Tikriti with consent of the president Saddam to lead the complete the restructuring of the missile forces. In fact chemical classification command, chemical company, finance and transport unit, health, environmental risk assessment unit and many admin security oriented procedures were made.

Note that the reclassifications that called specifically for chemical units and labs in conjunction with the surface-to-surface missile units came in 2001 and 2002. The nomenclature we have read in other documents did not even exist before 2001 — and yet we are supposed to believe that the Saddam regime had no chemical or biological weapons?

Training Accident Or Dry Run?

One of the fascinating aspects of a dictatorship’s fall is the documentation it often leaves behind. Because of the strict discipline required by a tyrant, such regimes often obsessively document every action in order to ensure that people can have ready support to show that they have followed orders. The documentation can leave behind evidence of the regime’s crimes, which is why a thorough review is necessary when such documentation can be salvaged.
This appears to be the case with document IZSP-2003-00000592, which contains a report from one of Saddam Hussein’s “chemical platoons”:

Chemical and Radiation Investigation Report
TIME/DATE; FEB/04/2002
To Base operation‘s room Map/ Base’ map Grid ( )

This report concerns the actions of a particular chemical-weapons unit in February 2002, in the Ur region. One of the most ancient homes of civilization, Ur also has a nearby air base (Talil). Apparently, a dispersed-gas chemical weapon got discharged in the area, and the platoon filed a report on their actions. It is not clear whether they dispersed the gas themselves or investigated its dispersal, but the report makes clear that someone fired off enough gas to require this report.
Documentation such as these banal and mundane reports keep demonstrating the Iraqi involvement in WMD, this time less than 14 months before our invasion.
ADDENDUM: In document IZSP-2003-00001787 (page 3), we find records of at least one other training session for the Chemical Units, this one involving everyone at the Talib Air Base in April 2001. The record comes from a traning register for the base, which has numerous lectures listed regarding chemical-weapons topics through at least May 2002. Most of these could be construed as defensive tactics, but this particular session was noteworthy:

Exercise: Demonstration of the effect of poisonous chemical agents on living things through the use of the agent CAS [or SAS, but more probably the former]
1 Time of the exercise: 0830
2 Date of the exercise: 4/15/2001
3 Purpose: To acquaint the members of the base with knowledge of the effect of poisonous chemical agents on living things through the use of the agent SAS
4 Participants: All base members
5 Supervision: Lieutenant Colonel `Abdu al-Razzaq Hamad Nayif
6 Positive points: The exercise was carried out successfully.
7 Negative points: None.
Chemical Officer
Lieutenant Colonel
`Abdu al-Razzaq Hamad Nayif

It looks like Iraq had enough chemical weapons material left at Talib to do some serious training — and one has to wonder why they would do so much training, unless they intended on deploying WMD during an attack.

The Secret House Of The IIS

Among the new materials released from the captured archives of the IIS comes a memorandum that circulated among the highest levels of Iraq’s spy agency. The director of the IIS had a series of communications regarding the purchase of a secret house in Iraq with which to house activities that the IIS wanted out of sight of UN inspectors. While the activity itself does not get described, the requirement of absolute secrecy for the project gets explicitly referenced in document CMPC-2003-015065 (emphases mine):

Sir: Honorable Director of the Intelligence Service
Subject: Allocation of a secret house
In view of the forthcoming completion of the new computer project that is expected to be contracted out, and due to the fact that the said computer is considered among developed high-tech devices and import-banned materials and equipment according to the United Nations decisions, and for fear that the International Inspection Commission pays a visit to the headquarter and searches the present computer building and finds out about the new computer which is supposed to be the future of the data storehouse of the Service’s directorates, and in view of the significance of what was mentioned above, we hereby suggest:
To allocate a secret house near the Service’s headquarter (Al-Mansur or Al-Harithiyyah), for the location of the new computer, in order to simplify the fulfillment of the installation works’ requirements including the establishment of a big telephone cable between the Service’s headquarter and the new computer’s location, knowing that the secret house used by M3 and situated in the pool has been designated as a permanent location for the homicide directorate. Moreover, the new location to be allocated shall also be used to store video film chips (microfilms) holding most of the Service directorates’ documents, and to empty other important documents and devices.
Hoping you would examine and agree upon the allocation of the required secret house.
With appreciation
Director of M3
Top Secret
13 January 1999

According to the CIA, M3 was the Directorate of Data Processing and Information Security. A good portion of the file’s 36 pages has scans of handwritten notes on cryptology and secure message transmission. It does not sound as though it could easily be described as a “homicide directorate.” That sounds much more like M21, also known as the Al-Ghafiqi Project:

The Al Ghafiqi Project existed to make explosive devices for the IIS to be used in assassination and demolition operations. The Explosives Section of M9/J was extracted from the M9 Directorate in 1990 and assigned as its own directorate, M21; at the same time, the remainder of M9/J was also extracted and designated as M16. The name Al Ghafiqi, referring to a geographic area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, was most likely attached to the project in 1990 as it was designated as an independent directorate.

This memo and others that follow in the file show that M3 needed a safe house for data storage of material regarding this “homicide directorare”, archiving its paperwork and research as necessary for the group. The project of housing this data was important enough that the director of M3, Sa’d ‘Abd-al-Razzaq Al Majid Al Tikriti, found it necessary to keep the director of the IIS, Tahir Jalil Habbush, informed of the details and to request his personal permission to proceed.
It also demonstrates that the IIS remained cognizant of the need to evade UNSCOM inspectors on the purchase of banned materials and the pursuit of banned programs even in 1999, after Saddam Hussein had kicked the inspectors out of the country. The memo proves that the Iraqis remained defiant and out of compliance with UN resolutions and had no intention of seriously complying with them at all.

Operation Blessed July

Another document released by the FMSO from the captured files of the Iraqi Intelligence Services shows that Uday Hussein, in 1999, ordered a series of bombings and assassinations in London, Iran, and in the autonomous areas of Iraq. Document ISGZ-2004-018948 shows a response from a Saddam Fedayeen operative to Uday himself outlining the plan, known as Operation Blessed July:

In the name of God the most merciful, the most compassionate
Respectful Mr. in charge of Fedayeen Saddam
My respects and regards, Sir:
Referral to your Excellency’s orders on the days of 20-25/05/1999, to start planning from now on to perform special operations (assassinations/ bombings) for the centers and the traitor symbols in the fields of (London/ Iran/ Self ruled areas) and for coordination with the Intelligence service to secure deliveries, accommodations, and target guidance. Also, I would like to indicate here (according to the first directed operational plan) the explanations of all the orders and directives that have been issued to us by you during the first and the second meetings with your Excellency which lay the groundwork towards our achieving the goal .
1- Code name of the special operations (Tamooz Mubarak) [Blessed July].
2- The duties will be divided into two branches which are:
A- Bombings
B- Assassinations …
5- Execution steps
A- Select (50) fedayeen martyrs according to required specifications.
B- Admit them in a seminar at the Intelligence School to prepare them for the required duties.
C- After passing the tests they will be selected for the targets as follows:
First: The first ten will work in the European field (London).
Second: The second ten will be working in the Iranian field.
Third: The third ten will be working in the Self ruled area.
D- After passing the final test the fedayeens will be sent as undercover passengers, each one according to his work site, for the purpose of preparations and to acquire from and coordinate with the Intelligence Apparatus and Mr.’Aiath
6- After completion of what was indicated in (5) above the major and general steps should be prepared for execution and are to be supervised by the respectful Mr. Supervisor [Commander] to determine his remarks.
7- Revisions of the plan, according to the [Supervisor’s] remarks, coordination, and description of the plans will be presented to Intelligence Apparatus Director as follows. …
9- The study (execution plan) submitted to the respectful Mr. Commander to determine his final comments.
10- Reforming the plan after noticing any revisions or additions that need to be re-written.
11- The final plans, with timing, and the necessary fundamentals for execution, should be written in two copies. One copy for the higher authorities and the other copy to be kept with the working team until the orders are issued.
12- General subjects
A- The ex – order in the Jordanian field is cancelled.
B- The traitors must be followed (movements, residences, activities) at all fields at this time.
C- Discussion of the work possibilities at the Lebanese field.
D- Reminders of the usage of the death capsules (Penephedine) when members are captured at the European fields.
E- Any limitations that will arise… [Incomplete]
[At the bottom left is a hand-written note] The morning is a blessed verse, by the name of merciful God, their appointment is in the morning, and indeed the morning is near.

This clearly shows that the Iraqis intended to use its commandos as terrorists, primarily to attack former regime officials who defected to the West and ex-patriates working towards the overthrow of Saddam’s dictatorship. Saddam had a long history of assassination attempts against his political foes; former PM Ayad Allawi almost lost a leg to Saddam’s assassins in 1980.
Enough evidence shows that Saddam had plenty of connections to Islamist terrorism. Now we know that Saddam had every intention of using his fanatical commandos to commit terrorist acts abroad, under the direct control of his son Uday.
UPDATE: Thomas Joscelyn wrote about this at the Weekly Standard last March:

What targets did the martyrs plan on bombing? Did the Fedayeen Saddam carry out any of these operations? If so, when and where?
The document does not say. But, interestingly, the “Blessed July” operation appears to have been conceived within a broader mandate for future attacks. The translated document refers to “your Excellency’s orders” (probably a reference to Uday) in May 1999 “to start planning from now on to perform special operations (assassinations/bombings) for the centers and the traitor symbols in the fields of (London/Iran/Self ruled areas).” …
What were Saddam’s henchmen doing prior to the war, exactly?

We will never know if we stop asking, and if the US does not continue to release these documents.

The Saddam-Osama Connection

One of the documents released by the FMSO project contains the records of the Iraqi regime’s early connections to Osama bin Laden, starting in 1994 and continuing at least through 1997. It comes in the middle of document ISGZ-2004-009247, a review of Iraqi Intelligence Service contacts in the region and summaries of the combined efforts that they produced.
The review of their work with Saddam comes in section 2, discussing “The Reform And Advice Committee”:

2. The Reform and Advice Committee:
Headed by the Saudi Usamah Bin Ladin [UBL], who is a member of a wealthy Saudi family with his roots going back to Hadhramut [TC: An area now part of Yemen]. This family has a strong ties with the ruling family in Saudi. He is one of the leaders of the Afghan-Arabs, who volunteered for jihad in Afghanistan. After the expulsion of the Russians, he moved to live in Sudan in 1992 subsequent to the Islamists arrival to power in Sudan.
[A]s a result of his antagonistic positions against the ruling Saudi family in opposition to the foreign presence in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi authorities issued a decree to withdrawing his Saudi Citizenship. We approached the committee by doing the following:
A. During the visit of the Sudanese Dr. Ibrahim Al-Sunusi to Iraq and his meeting with Mr. `Uday Saddam Hussein, on December 13th 1994, with the presence of the respectable, Mr. Director of the Intelligence Services, he [Dr. Al-Sunusi] pointed out that the opposing Usamah Bin Ladin, residing in Sudan, who expressed reservations and fear that he may be depicted by his enemies as an agent for Iraq; is ready to meet with us in Sudan (The Honorable Presidency was informed of the results of the meeting in our letter 782 on December 17th 1994).
B. An approval to meet with opposer Usama Bin Ladin by the Intelligence Services was given by the Honorable Presidency in its letter 138, dated January 11th 1995 (attachment 6). He [UBL] was met by the previous general director of M ’I M 4 [QCC: possible the previous General Director of Intelligence] in Sudan, with the presence of the Sudanese, Ibrahim Al-Sannusi, on February 19th 1995. A discussion ensued with him about his organization, he [UBL] requested the broadcasting of the speeches of Sheikh Sulayman Al-`Udah (who has an influence within Saudi Arabia and outside, due to his religious and influential personality), to designate a program for them through the radio broadcast directed inside Iraq, and to perform joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz. (The Honorable Presidency was informed of the details of the meeting in our letter 370 on March 4th 1995, attachment 7)
C. The approval was received from the Leader, Mr. President, may God keep him, to designate a program for them {QCC: UBL and the Sheikh] through the directed radio broadcast. We were left to develop the relationship and the cooperation between the two sides to find out what other avenues of cooperation and agreement would open up. The Sudanese were informed of the Honorable Presidency’s approval of the above through the representative of the Respectable Director of Intelligence Services our Ambassador in Khartoum.
D. Due to the recent situation in Sudan, and being accused of supporting and embracing terrorism, an agreement with the opposer Saudi Usamah Bin Laden was reached, to depart Sudan to another region; whereas, he left Khartoum in July of 1996. The information indicates that he is currently in Afghanistan.
The relationship with him is ongoing through the Sudanese side. Currently, we are working to revitalize this relationship through a new channel in light of his present location. [emphasis mine — CE]

This shows that the connections to the Saddam regime went much higher than previously thought. Uday himself made the arrangements with the Sudanese government in December 1994. Osama met directly with the General Director of the IIS. Even after he left the Sudan, the Sudanese continued to act as a conduit between Osama and Iraq, at the behest of Saddam Hussein — and the IIS states that they were actively working to connect to Osama again after he landed in Afghanistan.
During this period of 1996, al-Qaeda bombed the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. In 1998, Osama issued his fatwa against the US. The embassy attacks in Africa followed, and then the bombing of the USS Cole — and finally, 9/11.
One has to wonder how successful the IIS was in its project to “revitalize” their relationship.
UPDATE: This document provides the prologue to the Feith memo. Remember how many people discounted that intelligence assessment?
UPDATE II: Laurie Mylroie had this translated herself from the original Arabic-only release in March.

A Strange Sense Of Urgency

In December 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered missile strikes on specific targets in Iraq after Saddam Hussein reneged on a promise to cooperate with UNSCOM inspections. The missiles targeted sites known or thought to have connections to Saddam’s hidden efforts to continue his WMD development programs, including chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. These strikes, the second in as many months, put an end to UN inspections until the US threatened an invasion almost exactly four years later.
Clinton told the press on December 18th that the Pentagon had selected the targets carefully, especially the presidential sites. After the invasion toppled Saddam in 2003, however, conventional wisdom has it that Saddam had shelved all his WMD programs, and therefore these strikes must not have hit any R&D assets, but rather just constituted a headache for the dictator. However, at the same time that Clinton held his press conference, Saddam issued orders that seem to indicate a high-level panic about the effects of the strikes (document ISGP-2003-00300134-X):

Republic of Iraq
Administrative office of the Presidency
In the name of God, Most Gracious Most Merciful
Number:M.Kh. 1/4/5373
Top Secret and Immediate ORDER
The President had ordered,
To form committees from the Health Ministry, Military Industrialization Commission, the Atomic Energy Organization, and the IIS, whose duties will be:
To inspect all sites bombarded by the enemy. To assure that no contamination or radioactivity are present (TN: in the areas that were hit), in particular and with utmost urgency the presidential sites. To collect all debris present, and to coordinate with Dr. Muna Al -Jubori, School of Science instructor at the University of Baghdad.
Ahmed Hussein Khudayr
The Chief of the Administrative Office of the Presidency
Copy to:
The Presidency of the Republic, IIS, Office of the IIS Director, with regards and for the same purpose. These committees will have permission to visit those sites.
The Health Ministry/Office of the Minister, The Military Industrialization Commission, Office of the MIC Director, Atomic Energy Agency, Office of the Agency Director,for the same purpose, with regards.
Also copy to Dr.Muna Al-Jubori , Science instructor at the University of Baghdad, for the same purpose, with regards.

Two possible explanations exist for this memo. One could be that Saddam was afraid we had hit him with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons in this strike. It seems a bit farfetched, however, since we had no tactical need to do so; if we wanted to really do damage, we simply could have sent a wave of bombers across Baghdad and hit a lot more targets with conventional weapons. He also had to know that any use of those kinds of weapons by the US would have resulted in a firestorm of criticism and could have caused the fall of the Clinton administration, already hanging by a thread at that point.
The only other explanation was that the missiles really did hit WMD facilities and that our intelligence had selected good targets for the limited missile strikes. The emphasis on the urgency of checking the presidential sites seems to confirm this. Saddam had attempted to exclude a number of facilities on the premise that they were his personal palaces and not subject to UNSCOM inspections. That, in fact, was what caused Saddam to bar inspectors in late 1998, and what prompted the missile attacks.
Someone very high up worried about nuclear and at least chemical contamination at these presidential sites. That anxiety seems to have come from the knowledge of what those sites actually held.
UPDATE: This isn’t the only reference to chemical operations in 1998, either. Document ISGP-2003-00300159-X has a summary of several documents regarding Iraqi Air Force capabilities and training from February 1998, and chemicals come up frequently. Here’s a good representative sample:

Page 3:
A hand written report about a visit on Ali Air Base, dated February 3rd 1998. This report is signed by: Brigadier Haytham Natehk Saleem Imperative Air Force Chemical Detachment.
1. The locations for the base units: …
• Chemical warehouses:
1. The assigned for incoming is good but needs to be organized and maintained.
2. The supply percentage for the protective masks; is higher than the set percentage of 65%, comparing to the number of individuals in the base.
3. The records are available but needs to be maintained, and regularly recorded.
2. The chemical detachment:
• Training side:
1. Training memorandum: A special memorandum has been designed for the chemical detachment; which needs to be classified according to the memorandum of the imperative Air Force Chemical Detachment.
2. Training approaches: Training approaches has been designed for the chemical detachment, and non-chemical units in base.
3. Training area: Well organized.

For a military that had no chemical weapons, they had a lot of activity going on in these “Chemical Detachments”.

Saddam’s Subsidies To Terrorists

The newly-released translations of files captured in the invasion of Iraq reveal more about connections between Saddam Hussein and terrorism. The one file reviewed here yesterday that produced Saddam’s “Ode To My Moustache Hairs”, ISGP-2003-00014647, also contains more substantive information about his role in promoting terrrorism. On page 4 of the file, Iraq planned the announcement of direct payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers:

Republic of Iraq
The Presidency
The Press Secretary
Number: SS/4/58
Date: 3/4/2002
Mr. the Esteemed Chief of the Presidential Bureau
Re: Order
AT the meeting that took place on Monday 3/4/2002 with Mr. Faruq Qaddumi, the Foreign Minister of Palestine, the President ordered that $25,000 are to be given to the family of any person who takes part in a suicide mission in Palestine.
H.E. also ordered that the Intifada martyrs are to be included in all salaries and benefits granted to the Umm-al-Ma`arik martyrs (TC: Umm-al-Ma`arik is the First Gulf War), as we view them as one and the same.
`Ali `Abdallah Salman
Press Secretary

Saddam’s subsidy to suicide bombings has been reported in detail, and the fact that this went through his press secretary shows that he wanted to get the word out. Saddam wanted to provide incentives for terrorist recruitment in the Palestinian areas, and so decided to offer a strange sort of death insurance for suicidal jihadis. Not only would they get seventy-two virgins for their own martyrdom, their families would get the equivalent of ten years’ revenue for a family of four. The money for this enterprise came from the West, in the helpful Oil-For-Food program that put billions of dollars in hard currency into the pockets of Saddam Hussein and his sons.
However, the file also contains another memo, one that Saddam wanted hidden, that also shows his connections to terrorists in Afghanistan. On page 7, Saddam’s office shows that Iraq bankrolled an Islamic group and its leader, and that the Iraqi Intelligence Service had its leadership as their proxies:

Republic of Iraq
The Presidency
The Press Secretary
Date: Wednesday, March 6th, 2001
Mr. H.E. the Secretary
Re: Telegram
Please find enclosed a telegram congratulating H.E. the President on `Id al-Adha from Mr. Sayyid Ahmad al-Gilani, Chief of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan. We inquired from the Intelligence Service about Mr. al-Gilani and his National Islamic Front, and we received the following in response:
Mr. al-Gilani was born in 1928, bears a Saudi Arabian passport, and is the leader of the National Islamic Front and one of the leaders of the Jihad factions in Afghanistan. He is a member of the Iraqi al-Gilani family. He immigrated with his father in the 1940s. He has religious influence among several Afghani tribes. Politically moderate, he has relations with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Britain, and the US. He supports the king.
He has cooperated with the Intelligence Service since 1980, and had received aid from the Intelligence Service at the rate of half a million dollars per month. The aid stopped at the beginning of the first Gulf War. His son, Hamid, cooperates with the Intelligence Service and is the Vice President of the Islamic Front.
We do not support publicizing the telegram at the current time.
Please review and order as you see fit.
`Ali `Abdallah Salman
Press Secretary

Far from disdaining contacts with Islamist groups, Saddam cultivated them, paying al-Gilani a fortune in order to keep up Iraqi influence in Afghanistan. This memo comes before the events of 9/11 and the fall of the Taliban. Now a member of the Afghan political environment, they helped pull down the Russian-supported government and install the Taliban in the first place.
These files show how dangerous Saddam was in the region, and how he exploited connections to terrorism in order to stir up as much trouble as possible.
UPDATE: Er, Iraqi influence in Afghanistan, not Iraq. Just noticed the mistake, but I’m sure CQ commenters have already noted it …
UPDATE II: CQ reader Donald M offers more on Gilani and cautions that the Gilani family had more complexity than this:

Pir Gilani, titular head of the NIFA was considered at the time of the Soviet War one of the most western-leaning of the major “muj” groups in the war. His family were fairly prosperous business leaders in pre-war Afghanistan. He had strong ties to the King, Zahir Shah. He had some “cachet” in that his bloodlines supposedly ran back to the Prophet. I knew his group at the time. They were “disdained” by the more radical groups who were in fact, Islamists. One of his sons had the nickname, “Gucci Gilani” because he favored Western, and expensive, accouterment. His top General was Rahim Wardak, part of the Royal Afghan Army (before the Soviet invasion), trained partially in the U.S. Rahim retired to Columbia, Md, not long after the Soviets left Afghanistan. Rahim was not welcome in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over.
I don’t know what’s happened to that group or family (i’ve been out of this stuff for 16 years) but I would hesitate before branding this family or group, Islamists.
This document reads to me, possibly, that the “Service” in question could actually be the ISI, whom the U.S used, unfortunately, as the conduit for cash and supplies during the war to those groups fighting the Soviets If that were true, it would be a “whole other can of worms” showing an almost intimacy with Iraq and the ISI. The role of the USG/ISI connection during the Soviet war is worthy of a book entitled.. “the tail wags the dog”.. Similar to the failures, due to complacency and incompetence, of the U.S relationship with Iran’s SAVAK in the ’70s. But that’s another story.
The Gilani family could have and could be playing several roles at once. Quite common in that volatile “vale of tears’. Certainly though, at the time (80’s) they were, by no means, considered by anyone in that AO to be “Islamists”. Those of us that were there, at the time, knew who the Islamists were and our warnings at the time were ignored.

So noted! It also looks like the US got caught up with a Saddam asset.

Me And My Moustache

More translated documents have been posted from the captured files of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, and one in particular contains a revealing look at the dictator himself. A speech handwritten by Saddam Hussein, apparently for the dedication of the Mother Of All Battles Mosque in May 2002, paints the picture of a man who wants to almost deify himself in the eyes of his people. For the occasion, he penned a paean to … his moustache. No, I’m not kidding; here it is in its entirety (ellipsis in the original):

Arabs, including you, across their long history, have made their mustaches a symbol of their commitment and a mark of their willingness to bear the responsibility of their sex; as the uniqueness of the mustache was a duty of men alone, in all that glorifies family, people, and nation…
God has blessed us, and in us, he has blessed our mustaches, as well as any mustache jealous for his nation, his homeland, and his people, in the many and various duels that have become such that many of them seem a fantasy, rather than real actions against Iraq, which emerged proud and hale, with God’s will. The enemy has failed, as was God’s will also, to twist the courage of the people of Iraq, and the mustaches of Iraq’s good men,
including my mustache, the leader in hard times of strife, as in the times of building and virtue, and glory… from my mustache come these hairs.
Today, as I bequeath these hairs of my mustache to you, at the Umm-al-Ma`arik (TC: the Mother of All Battles) Mosque, I want you to remember the values that I have bequeathed to you. My history is part of your virtuous deeds, and your greatest of labors. I bequeath them to you to follow their example, and to retain the meanings that they hold, after putting your faith in the one almighty God, the able, the eternal, whenever a foreigner tries to force his way against your protection and values, or deviates from the path of honor, dignity, faith, and glory; the path of the people, and of the nation. Protect the hairs of this mustache with your protection of Iraq. Aid it with honor, and with the dignity of your nation and faith. God is Great… God is Great…God is Great.

This should prove that these documents are authentic. No one could make this up. This comes from document ISGP-2003-00014647, page 48 and 49.
Please note that I am placing all of the posts regarding these document translations into a new category, Saddam’s Documents. I’ll be reviewing more as the weekend progresses.