Iraq issues ‘most wanted’ terror list

An Iraqi man looks at a list of names published for the first time by the Iraqi security services of the country's sixty most wanted people including members from Daesh, Al-Qaeda and the former Baath party. (AFP)
Updated 04 February 2018

Iraq issues ‘most wanted’ terror list

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security authorities have revealed a “most wanted” list of people involved in terrorism in the country over the the past 14 years.
The list seen by Arab News on Sunday includes about 60 names, mostly of senior aides of the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, his family members and top Daesh and Al-Qaeda leaders.
Among the most prominent names are Saddam’s daughter, Raghad Saddam Hussien, and his nephews, Omar and Ayman Saba’awi, and Ahmed Wattban Ibrahim Al-Hassan. Saddam’s cousin, Rafei’a Abdulatief Telfah, is also included.
While some of the names are already on a US wanted list for 55 Saddam-era officials, the Iraqi list provides allegations that show how far leaders from the banned Ba’ath Party have been involved with militant groups operating in Iraq since the 2003 downfall of Saddam’s regime.
The Iraqi list links the Ba’ath officials to the Army of Muhammad, the Naqshbandi Army, the Army of Mujahideen, Al-AUssra Army, Al-Qaeda and Daesh.
The lists also included the names of many Ba’athist leaders who managed to maintain and run the party’s work after the fall of Saddam in 2003 from outside Iraq. The leaders set up fixed and mobile cells in Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar, while others have been commanding armed groups fighting inside Iraq.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official told Arab News that the names on the list are the “leaders of the terrorism organizations” and “all who run terrorism in Iraq.”
“We sent copies of these lists to Interpol and the UN.”
Iraq has faced serious security problems since 2003 when a the US-led an international military coalition invasion of Iraq and toppled Saddam.
Dozens of radical armed groups were raised specifically in the Sunni areas in the north and western parts of the country in addition to Baghdad.
Daesh, which seized almost a third of Iraqi territory in the summer of 2014, had its roots in these groups.
The wanted list details accusations against senior Ba’athists and Saddam family members over their involvement in the militant groups. They include incitement, mobilization, financing and leadership.
Accusations against a second level of Ba’athists said they were involved directly in terrorist activities, such as planting IEDs, launching rockets, running armed cells and providing facilities for armed groups to operate.
There has been previous evidence that the Ba’ath party had been deeply involved in aiding militant extremist groups in Iraq since 2003.
Ezzat Al-Douri, Saddam’s top aide, who replaced him as Ba’ath party leader, formed the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order, which fought alongside Daesh in Mosul in 2014.
An eight month investigation by the Parliamentary Committee of Security and Defense in 2015 found that Daesh could not have succeeded in taking Iraq’s second most populous city, without the help of local officials — mainly former Ba’athists and former army officers loyal to Saddam.


Pan-Arab poll: Biden better for region, but must shun Obama policies

Updated 26 October 2020

Pan-Arab poll: Biden better for region, but must shun Obama policies

  • Majority of respondents to Arab News/YouGov survey consider neither candidate good for region
  • Findings show strong Arab support for Trump on Iran but not on Jerusalem embassy move

RIYADH: Nearly half the respondents in an Arab News/YouGov poll conducted in 18 Middle East and Africa (MENA) countries believe neither candidate in the upcoming US elections will necessarily be good for the region.
Of the rest, 40 percent said Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden would be better for the region while 12 percent said the same thing about incumbent President Donald Trump. But a key takeaway of the poll is that if Biden, who served as vice president to Barack Obama until 2017, wins the White House race, he would be well advised to shed the Obama administration baggage.
When asked about policies implemented in the Middle East under the Obama administration, the most popular response (53 percent) was that the Democratic president left the region worse off, with another 58 percent saying Biden should distance himself from Obama-era policies.
The study surveyed a sample of 3,097 respondents online to find out how people in the MENA region feel about the Nov. 3 US elections.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Containing Iran was found to be one of the top four issues that respondents wanted the next US president to focus on. Strong support for Trump both maintaining a war posture against Iran and imposing strict sanctions against the Tehran regime was noticed in Iraq (53 percent), Lebanon (38 percent) and Yemen (54 percent), three countries that have had intimate regional dealings with Iran.
President Trump’s 2017 decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem proved overwhelmingly unpopular, with 89 percent of Arabs opposing it. Surprisingly, in contrast to most other Arabs, Palestinian respondents inside the Palestinian Territories indicated a greater desire for the US to play a bigger role in mediation with Israel.
Arab opinion was largely split on the elimination this year of Iran’s regional “satrap” Gen. Qassem Soleimani, with the single largest proportion of respondents from Iraq (57 percent) and Lebanon (41 percent) seeing it as a positive move, as opposed to those in Syria and Qatar, where most respondents — respectively 57 percent and 62 percent — saw it as negative for the region.

Iran also figured in the list of perceived threats to US interests, although well behind white nationalism (32 percent) and China (22 percent). The other critical challenges for the US as viewed by Arabs were cybercrime, radical Islamic terrorism and climate change.
For a country that touts itself as an ally of the US, public attitudes in Qatar were found to be surprisingly out of sync with US objectives in the Middle East. The perception of radical Islamic terrorism, Iran and Islamist parties as the “three biggest threats facing the region” was much softer in Qatar compared with the region as a whole.
It came as little surprise that three quarters of respondents want the next US administration to make it easier for people from Arab countries to travel to the US. The figure for Lebanon, for instance, was even higher, 79 percent, underscoring concerns that many young Arabs are actively trying to leave the region.
Among other findings, Arabs remain overwhelmingly concerned about such challenges as failed government (66 percent) and the economic slowdown (43 percent).
Close to half of the respondents (44 percent) would like to see the next US president focus on empowering young people in the Arab region and solving the Arab-Israeli conflict (44 percent), followed by containing COVID-19 (37 percent), reining in Iran and Hezbollah (24 percent), quashing radical Islamic terrorism (24 percent) and tackling climate change (17 percent).