SADDAM'S ULTRA-LOYAL Fedayeen martyrs were ordered to carry out bombings and assassinations in London, Iran, and "self ruled areas" of Iraq in May 1999, according to a newly released Iraqi intelligence document. One such operation, codenamed "Tamooz Mubarak" or "Blessed July," was apparently intended to hunt down Iraqi dissidents and bomb other unspecified locations.
Although a copy of the original document was not released, an English translation was published on the Foreign Military Studies Office's Joint Reserve Intelligence Center website yesterday. The site cautions, "the US Government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity or factual accuracy of the information contained therein, or the quality of any translations, when available." But, the document appears to be the same as one discussed by a team of military and defense analysts in Foreign Affairs magazine earlier this month.
The Fedayeen Saddam was established in the mid-1990s and its ranks were filled with recruits fanatically loyal to Saddam and his sons. Uday, Saddam's eldest son, was the group's commander throughout much of its existence. And according to the Foreign Affairs piece, it was Uday who issued the order for the "Blessed July" operations.
The document divides the "Blessed July" operations into two "branches," bombings and assassinations, and lays out specific steps for selecting and training 50 Fedayeen martyrs for these duties. The martyrs were to be admitted to a "seminar at the Intelligence School to prepare them for the required duties." Then, "after passing the final test," the martyrs were to be divided into three teams of ten (it is not clear what happens to the other 20). The first ten recruits "will work in the European field (London)," while the "second ten will be working in the Iranian field" and "the third ten will be working in the Self ruled area." Martyrs are even reminded to use "death capsules" if "captured at the European fields"--an apparent order to commit suicide if caught.
What targets did the martyrs plan on bombing? Did the Fedayeen Saddam carry out any of these operations? If so, when and where?
The document does not say. But, interestingly, the "Blessed July" operation appears to have been conceived within a broader mandate for future attacks. The translated document refers to "your Excellency's orders" (probably a reference to Uday) in May 1999 "to start planning from now on to perform special operations (assassinations/bombings) for the centers and the traitor symbols in the fields of (London/Iran/Self ruled areas)."
The Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) was ordered to provide logistical support for these missions, including selecting targets to attack. After completing the regime's training program, the document reads, "the fedayeens will be sent as undercover passengers, each one according to his work site, for the purpose of preparations and to acquire from and coordinate with the Intelligence Apparatus." Fedayeen Saddam was also ordered to coordinate "with the Intelligence service to secure deliveries, accommodations, and target guidance."
While the document does not say what came of Uday's order, it does raise a number of additional questions concerning the IIS's and Fedayeen Saddam's activities.
What were Saddam's henchmen doing prior to the war, exactly?
With each additional release of the Iraqi intelligence documents we learn more.
Thomas Joscelyn is an economist and writer living in New York.