Reports of Al-Douri's switch may be premature

Yesterday, AT relayed a report  from AdnKronos International that Saddam's former deputy and current leader of the banned Baath Party, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has decided to quit Al-Qaeda and to join forces with Iraqi forces and the Coalition.  A former top Baath official, Abu Wisam al-Jashaami, told pan-Arab daily Al Hayat that al-Douri wanted to deal directly with US forces in Iraq.

This would certainly be a major breakthrough in bringing peace and stability to the country.  In fact, it would be such a huge deal that one would think press releases would immediately issued on the MNF-I , CENTCOM, or DoD websites; but there are no news items even hinting at this possibility.  Also, this isn't the first time we've seen conflicting reports about al-Douri's whereabouts and his possible death.  A $10 million reward will do that to people.  For example, in September of 2004, a man was arrested in Tikrit who Iraqis said was al-Douri, but DNA testing showed they captured the wrong guy.

The real problem with this report is that the US would even consider talking with this killer.  We have in the past violated our own policy of not negotiating with Sunni Baathists who had "blood on their hands," but cutting a deal with al-Douri is a real stretch.  Here is a good rundown  on Saddam's number two man.  And keep in mind that he is currently wanted for crimes against humanity including:
  • As Vice-Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, complicit in launching two wars of aggression against Iran and Kuwait; invading Saudi Arabia and attacking the town of Khafji in January 1991.
  • Complicit in gross violations of Geneva Convention IV Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time Of War and Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, committed by Iraqi forces during the war with Iran and the occupation of Kuwait between August 1990 - March 1991.
  • Involved in the brutal repression of the Uprising which followed the Gulf War in 1991 including mass executions, torture and wanton destruction.
  • Complicit in the use of excessive military force against the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq as part of an ongoing campaign against the Shi'as, including the deliberate destruction of the Marsh Arabs' way of life.
  • As a member of the Revolutionary Command Council, complicit in the genocidal Anfal campaigns waged against the Kurds, including chemical weapons attacks, destruction of rural villages and the rural infrastructure and mass executions [emphasis added].
His role in the invasion of Kuwait and the Iraqi counter-attack into Khafji, Saudi Arabia is problematic to say the least when it comes to guaranteeing his and his forces safety.  I can think of a lot of Kuwaitis, Saudis, and Qataris who would love to get their hands on this guy, and I don't think the Coalition could realistically fend off Arab calls for justice.

In light al-Douri's war crimes, I am viewing these preliminary reports with skepticism.

Douglas Hanson is national security correspondent of American Thinker.
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