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http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH15Ak03.html Aug 15, 2003 Iraq: US running with the enemy By Nir Rosen BAGHDAD - The US Central Intelligence Agency used former members of Saddam Hussein's government to induce regime elements to defect in the prelude to Operation Iraqi Freedom. This has emerged from the admission of two key collaborators with the CIA. One of the men is Faris Sulayvani, who was the commander of the Fursan, the all-Kurdish militia numbering up to 200,000 that fought with Saddam against pro-independence Kurds and in the 1991 first Gulf War against the United States as well. Sulayvani, who is the leader of his 50,000-strong tribe of Kurds, is related to Saddam through marriage. He worked for Iraqi military intelligence and was also involved in business, securing contracts thanks to his close association with the regime. In 1994 he had a falling-out with the minister of defense, Ali Hassan Majid, commonly known as Chemical Ali, and he fled with his family to Turkey, then Ukraine and Germany, finally arriving in the United States in 1998, where he was immediately debriefed by the CIA in a series of 20 meetings. These meetings culminated in Sulayvani being dispatched to Syria, where he met with tribal, military and security officials from Iraq. Unbeknown to the Syrian government, the Iraqis Sulayvani met included Taleb Abdel Jabbar, who was head of security in northern Iraq, Liwa Yasin Saleh Jaheishi, who was head of security for Tikrit, and Muhamad Majid, a high-level General Security Department official. He also induced friend and ally Arshad Zebari to meet him in Damascus and return to Iraq, where Zebari persuaded the Kurdish Surchi tribe and the northern Sunni Arab Shammar tribe to defect. Additionally, in Germany and the Netherlands, Sulayvani met with other leaders of tribes, such as the Muzuris. The officials Sulayvani met in Syria without that government's awareness were cautious. "They said, 'We are afraid the US will betray us like they did in 1991,'" he said, referring to the US call for an Iraqi uprising and subsequent refusal to assist it, "'but we'll work with you.'" He added that the officials he induced to abandon Saddam "helped in the fall of Mosul and Kirkuk", the north's biggest cities. The other collaborator was Arshad Zebari, who had been a minister in Saddam's government for more than two decades. His roles included security positions and governorship of the northern city of Sulaimaniya. Most controversial, however, is his participation in the Anfal campaign of 1988. This military operation, in which Sulayvani's troops also took part, was led by Chemical Ali, and it was here that he earned his nickname for his use of chemical weapons to punish Kurds for rebelling against Saddam's government. Tens of thousands of Kurdish civilians died in what a United Nations report called genocide because of the systematic attempt to wipe out entire Kurdish villages and a way of life. Sulayvani established the Iraqi National Front in 2002, an exile political party that was recognized by President George W Bush in September of that year as eligible to receive US government funds. Late last year he volunteered for the Free Iraqi Forces (FIF), the exile Iraqi militia that the US army trained on a base in Hungary for three months. Sulayvani returned to Iraq with US troops and another controversial member of the FIF named Galub Baradosti, who had also been a member of the Fursan. Their presence angered many FIF members who had joined idealistically to battle the regime that Sulayvani and Baradosti had until recently supported. Zebari's name appears on an August 8 US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons just below the name of al-Qaeda's Ayman al Zawahiri. Zebari, who in 1987 destroyed the village of Barzan, home to the Barzani tribe that dominates the Kurdish Democratic Party, receives protection from the CIA, and carries a card identifying him as a "friend of the United States of America" who is entitled to free travel, as well as armed security. "We are against Barzani," he explained from his home in Mosul. Zebari admired Saddam's intelligence until 1990, "then the man changed", he said. "After 1991 he isolated himself from the people of Iraq. Saddam's advisers told him what he wanted to hear." Anonymous US security officials in Iraq justify the anomaly of Zebari being both listed and courted by the US by explaining that only former regime members had the knowledge and contacts that could be useful to the CIA in its attempt to seduce supporters of Saddam away from his regime. The CIA initially supported Ahmad Chalabi, but allegations of financial irregularities and Chalabi's 50-year absence from Iraq drove the US intelligence agency to find more recent exiles, such as Ayad Alawi, a former high-ranking Ba'athist and leader of the Iraqi National Accord, as well as former Iraqi chief of staff General Nizar Khazraji, who was exiled in Denmark and under investigation for war crimes thanks to his participation in the 1987 gassing of Halabja that cost more than 5,000 lives during the Anfal campaign. The risks of such association, however, are that it may drive the already anxious Kurdish leadership farther away from Iraq and the US effort, since the majority of Kurds still hope for independence and may resent the presence of those who fought against them on the list of US government friends. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk