The Irad-terrorist connection

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by CSM, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. CSM

    CSM Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2004
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    New York Times
    July 22, 2005

    U.S. Ties Funds For Insurgents To 4 Nephews Of Hussein

    By Douglas Jehl

    WASHINGTON, July 21 - The Treasury Department identified four nephews of Saddam Hussein on Thursday who it said had operated from Syria and played significant roles in providing money, weapons, explosives and other support to the anti-American insurgency in Iraq.

    The four are sons of Mr. Hussein's half-brother and former adviser, Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, American officials said. Mr. Hassan himself was captured in February in Syria and handed over to Iraqi forces. His sons are thought to have fled Syria for Lebanon and Yemen, the American officials said, and the youngest one is in custody.

    The American officials described the eldest of the sons, Yasser al-Sabawi, as the most significant in the group. The Treasury Department said Mr. Sabawi had transferred "a large sum of money" on Mr. Hussein's behalf to one of his former wives, Sajida Khayrallah Tilfah.

    It said "information available to the U.S. government" showed that the second son, Omar, had provided financial support and direction to anti-American activities, including several attacks on Mosul, the northern Iraqi city.

    The third son, Bashar, worked with his older brothers in directing anti-American activities in Iraq and "maintained communication with several insurgent groups throughout northern and central Iraqi," the Treasury Department said.

    The announcement said the fourth brother, Ayman, had helped to finance attacks in central Iraq carried out by the Fedayeen Saddam, the paramilitary organization formerly led by Mr. Hussein's son Uday. Ayman is in custody, though it was not clear where.

    The assertions provided a new indication of the degree to which the government believes that relatives and former lieutenants of the Iraqi leader who have not yet been captured have been playing instrumental roles in the insurgency.

    The Treasury announcement described only past activities, and did not say whether the United States believes that the nephews still play active roles. A senior American official said the three men were thought to be playing only a very small role now.

    The department made the details public as it announced action to freeze any bank accounts or other assets in the United States linked to the four men and to two younger brothers, Ibrahim, who is in custody, and Saad.

    Stuart Levey, an under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the move was part of a broader effort that "targets the money flows of former regime elements actively supporting attacks against coalition forces and the Iraqi people."

    The four older men are all in their 30's, according to the announcement. The addresses provided for them include some in Damascus, the Syrian capital, and in a Syrian mountain resort town, Bludan, near the Lebanese border.

    Their father, Mr. Hassan, was once the widely feared head of Iraq's two most powerful security agencies. He was one of a group of former officials from Iraq who were arrested in Syria and delivered to Iraqi custody in February. Iraqi officials said at the time that there 30 men in the group.

    The action is the latest taken by the Treasury Department under Executive Order 13315, which was imposed soon after the American invasion in 2003.

    The department has previously frozen bank accounts connected to dozens of other Iraqis and companies linked to them, but the latest announcement was unusual for the detail with which it described reported actions on the part of the men in support of the insurgency.

    Yasser al-Sabawi was also cited last year by Iraqi security officials as being among those wanted for the kidnapping and beheading of Nicholas Berg, a 26-year-old American. But the Treasury announcement made no mention of such a link.

    Among the 55 individuals on the "most wanted" list of former Iraqi officials that the Pentagon issued in 2003, fewer than 10 remain at large.

    The most eagerly hunted among them, with a $10 million bounty, is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a vice president under Mr. Hussein, who was reported in April 2003 to have moved back and forth across the Syrian border.

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