|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Saddam's kin aiding insurgents
July 05, 2004 18:00 IST
A network of Saddam Hussein's extended family, operating in part from Syria and Jordan, is actively involved in the smuggling of guns, people and money into Iraq to support the anti-US insurgency.
The operation involves at least three cousins from the Majid family who now live in Syria and in Europe, the New York Times reported, quoting US government officials and a prominent Iraqi.
A leading figure among them is Fatiq Suleiman al-Majdi, a cousin of Hussein, and a former officer in Iraq's Special Security Organisation who fled from Iraq to Syria last spring and may still be living there. When Saddam was in power, members of the Majid family, from his hometown of Tikrit, performed key roles in Iraq's state security.
US officials said that Saddam's cousins can tap into tens of millions of dollars, much of it profits from smuggling oil, military equipment and other goods during Saddam's regime.
The view that the cousins are helping finance the insurgency developed fairly recently and is described in intelligence reports, they said.
The conclusion has been based in part on suspicious recent movement of money and goods, including the transfer of cash into Syria, that were detected by American intelligence.
However, the military and intelligence officials have acknowledged that a significant component of the resistance, including some of its foot soldiers, comes from Iraqis without ties to Hussein's government.