RealNews

Saddam's alleged go-between with Muslim militants a longtime Islamizer

Former Iraqi number two Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, accused by Washington of masterminding an unholy alliance between Saddam Hussein loyalists and Islamic militants, was the prime mover behind the ousted regime’s adoption of Islamist rhetoric through the 1990s. A religious conservative regularly filmed worshipping at Baghdad’s main mosques during his years in power, Ibrahim oversaw the Baath party’s abandonment of its secular principles in the years after the 1991 Gulf war in favour of the language of anti-US fundamentalism. Special prayer rooms were kept for him at two of the capital’s largest Sunni mosques — the Abdel Kader Gilani and Abu Hanifa — and Ibrahim oversaw large state subsidies for Islamic causes. Public funds were poured into a new Saddam University for Islamic Studies, and religious schools across the Sunni belt of western and north-central Iraq. It is that region that now lies at the centre of the deadly unrest dogging the US-led occupation which coalition commanders suspect him of orchestrating though an alliance with Islamic militants from abroad. Full Story

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