Documents Found at IS Mastermind’s House Detail Plot for Seizing Power
Detail links to Saddam Hussein regime. When the mastermind behind the creation of the Islamic State was shot dead last year, his house produced a collection of documents spelling out a detailed plot for seizing power and manipulating religious passions
Detail links to Saddam Hussein regime
When the mastermind behind the creation of the Islamic State was shot dead last year, his house produced a collection of documents spelling out a detailed plot for seizing power and manipulating religious passions.
The story of the sudden blossoming of IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) as a regional, perhaps global, menace was spelled out by German weekly Der Spiegel. The journal says it obtained many of these documents from rebel sources in Syria.
The man described as the organization's architect, who went by Haji Bakr, was identified as a former senior intelligence officer under Saddam Hussein. Working with a group of former colleagues, Bakr drew up a detailed plan to create an intelligence network that would extend its tentacles into every crevice of society. It would also make use of religious fervor to power a Sunni structure that was intended to undo what the United States and its allies did when they invaded Iraq and overthrew Hussein.
Bakr's takeover blueprint began three years ago with the creation of Islamic missionary centers, or dahwas, in villages throughout northern Syria, where the conspiracy began after the uprising against Bashar al-Assad. They hoped to use Syria and the opportunities its chaos afforded as a springboard into Iraq, according to the report.
From those attending the lectures and courses in the dahwa centers, the conspirators chose agents to spy on their villages and on rebel groups operating in their areas. They were asked to identify the powerful families in their communities and their sources of income to obtain material for blackmail. Some were even asked to marry into the prominent families.
The blueprint, Der Spiegel reported,
Working amid the chaos of civil war and feuding rebel groups, the veteran conspirators were clear in their vision. They preferred to work with foreign volunteers who were more dependent on them and willing to be moved from place to place.
Organizational charts drawn up in Bakr's hand outline mundane civil structures dealing with schools, transportation, and media that IS would establish in parallel with a militant chain of command dealing with murder, kidnappings, and armed conflict.
Influential people standing in their way were "disappeared." It was the input of veteran intelligence officers from Hussein's secular regime that provided the organizational framework that explains IS's success, at least in its early stages, in conquering territory and setting up bureaucracies capable of dealing with a civilian population.
According to Der Spiegel, Bakr and his colleagues chose Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2010 as the leader of the Islamic State because they reasoned that Baghdadi, "an educated cleric, would give the group a religious face." It is not clear to what extent al-Baghdadi is a figurehead or a wielder of true power.
The journal noted that when an emissary from al Qaeda contacted IS, he did not turn to al-Baghdadi but to Haji Bakr and his colleagues. He afterwards described them as "phony snakes who are betraying the real jihad."
The Iraqi army was dissolved in 2003 by the American proconsul in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, leaving Bakr and his colleagues "bitter and unemployed." Saddam's deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who was reported to have been killed last week in Baghdad, is also believed to have had a key role in the Sunni uprising, perhaps as part of Bakr's organization.
Saddam's Baath Party was secular, the report notes, but shared with Jihadi insurgents a belief that power must rest in the hands of a small elite.
"The secret of ISIS's success lies in the combination of the fanatical beliefs of one group and the strategic calculations of the other."