Sunday, June 8, 2003

KUWAIT CITY — A document from the Iraqi intelligence service in Basra — which was captured in April as coalition forces gained control — orders agents to start campaigns of sabotage, looting and murder should Iraq lose the war.

The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, also orders intelligence agents to infiltrate political parties and religious institutions, should the Saddam Hussein regime be toppled.

The document, stamped “Extremely Confidential,” described itself as an “Emergency Secret Plan” and is signed, unintelligibly, by “The Head of General Intelligence”.

It comprises just one page on official letterhead and uses the terse style typical of other captured security documents.

The Arabic-language document is noteworthy because it tracks closely with the chaos that has since descended on Iraq, with daily ambushes of U.S. soldiers and mass anti-American demonstrations by Muslim groups.

In the past two weeks, at least seven American soldiers have been killed and dozens wounded in ambushes by Saddam loyalists.

Security on the streets of Baghdad is described as nonexistent, with people cowering in their homes, armed with AK-47 rifles, fearing marauding bands of thugs and looters.

The document first fell into the hands of a leading Iraqi religious movement after its members, along with other Iraqis, ransacked Basra’s intelligence headquarters.

Although British troops expelled forces loyal to Saddam early in April, the document was given to coalition forces only a few days ago, a British-based aid worker said.

The document begins: “Please take the following measures in case of the fall of the Iraqi Leadership by the American-British-Zionist coalition, God forbid.”

It then lists 11 measures. At the top is “looting and setting alight of all government offices.”

It urges the destruction “in particular” of intelligence and military security buildings.

It also urges that its operatives “cause damage” to electrical power facilities and water plants, and “cut internal and international communications.”

In addition, it orders its agents to “assassinate religious scholars and preachers from the mosques and places of prayer.”

The document makes clear a desire by Saddam’s security apparatus to regain influence and control in postwar Iraq.

It urges its operatives to “buy stolen weapons from the citizens” and to “make contact and become close” to returning exiles.

Its operatives should “employ all elements you can depend on and send them to the mosques and places of worship.”

Operatives should enroll themselves in the religious schools of the Shi’ite Muslim leadership in the holy city of Najaf, it says.

The document, Order 549, is dated Jan. 23, 2003, and is described as a continuation of a previous “secret letter 3870” issued on Jan. 19.

It is typed under the symbols of the government — an eagle — and of its intelligence service — an eye.

The document’s disclosure comes amid mounting evidence that elements of the old regime are behind the current wave of unrest in the country.

A Shi’ite Muslim religious party, Al Dawa, announced this weekend that it had snatched a senior Ba’ath Party activist outside its party office in Basra, the country’s second-largest city.

The detained man, identified as Haidar Yassin Daoud al-Tamimi, told interrogators he was part of a five-member cell of Saddam’s fedayeen fighters, and that the party and fedayeen possessed a large network of activists and a cache of arms, including heavy weapons, stashed in a village near Basra.

Secret Ba’ath Party meetings in the area were being organized, he told interrogators before they handed him over to coalition forces.

Meanwhile, attacks on American forces continue to occur almost daily, especially in some neighborhoods of Baghdad and in strongholds of Saddam loyalists north and west of the capital city.

In an ambush Saturday night in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, an Iraqi civilian was killed by U.S. troops during an ambush along with a gunman who attacked a U.S. patrol with automatic weapons and a rocket-propelled grenade, the coalition’s Central Command said yesterday. None of the U.S. soldiers was injured.

Also, six persons have been detained in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on suspicion of planning attacks on U.S. troops.

Those captured in the raid Saturday night included the former leader of Saddam’s Ba’ath Party in the northwestern town of Sinjar, close to the Syrian border, Central Command said.

The coalition has warned that all automatic or heavy weapons must be handed over within the next seven days with the aim of reducing the “force protection threat” to coalition forces and to Iraq’s new leadership .

A jail sentence of up to one year is threatened for possessing or trading in unauthorized weapons, but the coalition has backed away from seizing semiautomatic rifles — which many claim they need to fend off looters.

The response to the handover demand so far has been “light,” coalition officials say.

There is no buy-back program or reward offered, says a coalition statement, because “it is not an economical issue. … The safety and security of the country is of utmost importance.”

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