Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Penumbra of Saddam's Republic of Fear

With all the Leftist blather that President Bush "created" ISIL by invading Iraq in 2003, let's ponder who runs the terrorist state.

One, it's a funny thing to claim that Bush is responsible for ISIL when you recall that even last year President Obama dismissed the group as a "junior varsity" squad pretending to be professionals.

But when you get down to it, Saddam Hussein had a big role in this terror group:

Under its leader, Iraqi jihadi Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State group's top command is dominated by former officers from Saddam's military and intelligence agencies, according to senior Iraqi officers on the front lines of the fight against the group, as well as top intelligence officials, including the chief of a key counterterrorism intelligence unit. ...

Estimates of the number of Saddam-era veterans in IS ranks vary from 100 to 160 in mostly mid- and senior-level positions, according to the officials. Typically, they hail from Sunni-dominated areas, with intelligence officers mostly from western Anbar province, the majority of army officers from the northern city of Mosul and members of security services exclusively from Saddam's clan around his hometown of Tikrit, said Big. Gen. Abdul-Wahhab al-Saadi, a veteran of battles against IS north and west of Baghdad.

I know, I know. It's ridiculous to think "secular" Baathists could cooperate with jihadis. The Left has always been big on that farcical claim, too.

Of course, Saddam's Iraq wasn't as "secular" as the anti-war people claimed:

One initiative that eventually fed Saddam veterans into IS came in the mid-1990s when Saddam departed from the stringent secular principles of his ruling Baath party and launched the "Faith Campaign," a state-sponsored drive to Islamize Iraqi society. Saddam's feared security agencies began to tolerate religious piety or even radical views among military personnel, although they kept a close watch on them and saw to it they did not assume command positions. ...

In the run-up to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Saddam publicly invited foreign mujahedeen to come to Iraq to resist the invaders. Thousands came and Iraqi officials showed them off to the media as they were trained by Iraqi instructors. Many stayed, eventually joining the insurgency against American troops and their Iraqi allies.

The article also blames the "disbanding" of the Saddam's army as a reason for this evolution from Saddam loyalists to Islamic State leaders.

But that is kind of silly when you consider that if we wanted to reassure the Kurds and Shias who had experienced Saddam's brutality, we couldn't just continue the old military (which really self-disbanded, anyway, with the "disbanding" a legal step when it was taken against a non-existent army).

And since the officers who joined the insurgency were products of the "Faith Campaign" there is little reason to believe they would have been loyal to the new Iraqi government even if we had carried out a mass hiring of Saddam's officers.

Anyway, I've mentioned this news before. But it bears repeating. And you must admit that it is kind of funny that President Obama claims it was a mistake to destroy Saddam's Baathist regime and yet he has committed troops to defeat the shadow of Saddam.