Lord of the Shadows
April 18, 2015 6:33 PM   Subscribe

An Iraqi (intelligence) officer planned Islamic State's takeover in Syria and SPIEGEL has been given exclusive access to his papers. (by Christoph Reuter)
The story of this collection of documents begins at a time when few had yet heard of the "Islamic State." When Iraqi national Haji Bakr traveled to Syria as part of a tiny advance party in late 2012, he had a seemingly absurd plan: IS would capture as much territory as possible in Syria. Then, using Syria as a beachhead, it would invade Iraq. ... The former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein's air defense force had been secretly pulling the strings at IS for years. Former members of the group had repeatedly mentioned him as one of its leading figures. Still, it was never clear what exactly his role was. ... What Bakr put on paper, page by page, with carefully outlined boxes for individual responsibilities, was nothing less than a blueprint for a takeover. It was not a manifesto of faith, but a technically precise plan for an "Islamic Intelligence State" -- a caliphate run by an organization that resembled East Germany's notorious Stasi domestic intelligence agency. ... there is a constantly recurring, core theme, which is meticulously addressed in organizational charts and lists of responsibilities and reporting requirements: surveillance, espionage, murder and kidnapping.
Related: The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s.
posted by Golden Eternity (16 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
The hidden hand behind the hidden hand? Dick Cheney.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:00 PM on April 18, 2015 [16 favorites]

Michael Weiss presentation on his book ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror which also covers ISIS' Baathist roots.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:01 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

This goes on the USG's score card. The USG shits and goes home leaving the mess on others.
posted by SteveLaudig at 7:27 PM on April 18, 2015

Related: The Master Plan.
posted by clavdivs at 8:01 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

And thusly, the War on Iraq gets to be retroactively justified AND massive pressure is placed on Obama to make More War against IS "to finish the job". Sigh.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:19 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

And thusly, the War on Iraq gets to be retroactively justified

On the bright side, it can also be retroactively condemned:

Bakr was "a nationalist, not an Islamist," says Iraqi journalist Hisham al-Hashimi, as he recalls the former career officer, who was stationed with Hashimi's cousin at the Habbaniya Air Base. "Colonel Samir," as Hashimi calls him, "was highly intelligent, firm and an excellent logistician." But when Paul Bremer, then head of the US occupational authority in Baghdad, "dissolved the army by decree in May 2003, he was bitter and unemployed."

Thousands of well-trained Sunni officers were robbed of their livelihood with the stroke of a pen. In doing so, America created its most bitter and intelligent enemies. Bakr went underground and met Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Anbar Province in western Iraq. ...

posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:29 PM on April 18, 2015

Here is the trailer for Charles Ferguson No End in Sight. God he roasts Bremer.

You don't run an empire with the lackeys you want. You have to run an empire with the lackeys that you have.
posted by bukvich at 7:09 AM on April 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

the entirety of no end in sight is on youtube as well
posted by p3on at 9:07 AM on April 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Charlie Rose had an exclusive very good interview with Iraq's PM Abadi on Friday night. The full interview isn't available until Mon or Tues. I saw a clip on youtube but it doesn't give the full scope of the feelings in the room. I will post the full interview when it becomes available.
posted by Emor at 10:57 AM on April 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

And thusly, the War on Iraq gets to be retroactively justified

Im not following. How does this justify anything?
posted by Hoopo at 12:41 PM on April 19, 2015

The whole ISIS situation is one of those things that causes me despair; I don't completely understand what's behind it, much less what could really be done about it.

The Spiegel article was an eye-opener for me... the central involvement of ex-Saddam-era military officers is an aspect I wasn't aware of. It certainly counters the idea that ISIS is just Islam run amuck, or that Islam is to blame.

Not doing a whole lot, though, about my despair that we (the west, outsiders) can't fix this.
posted by Artful Codger at 1:20 PM on April 19, 2015

This is the in-depth interview I mentioned above:
Charlie Rose interviews Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
posted by Emor at 1:31 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Doesn't "Der Spiegel" have form in being sucked in by forged texts "illuminating" history ?
posted by Crustybob at 3:19 AM on April 21, 2015

A Free Life in Iraq
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:38 AM on May 5, 2015

Bashar al-Assad's spy chief arrested over Syria coup plot
Iranian operatives in Syria are believed to have taken command of large areas of government, from the central bank to the battle strategy.

"Most of the advisers at the presidential palace are now Iranian," said a source close to the palace. "Mamlouk hated that Syria was giving her sovereignty up to Iran. He thought there needed to be a change.”
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:46 AM on May 11, 2015

@joshua_landis: "Ali Mamlouk, Syrian spy chief, has been working as normal this week, trusted source confirms. Nothing to coup and house arrest conjecture."
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2015

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