Izzat al-Douri speaks
Nicola Nasser, Al-Ahram Weekly
The resistance speaks Nicola Nasser reviews the recent words of the
highest commander of the Iraqi resistance, confident in the defeat of
the US occupation
June 20, 2008
'The resistance depended on the rules and principles of people's wars
and guerrilla war, after developing its fighting methods and tactics,
and was innovative in its logistic and special operations. More
important, it adapted the Iraqi environment to serve the people's
Through practice, it has developed the rules [of people's war] very
much, 'to move quickly' so as to ensure 'all the land is ours and all
the time is ours,' and to be up to date to what is new from the enemy
in order to confront it with innovative new [tactics] of our own'
Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri, deputy of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's late
president executed by the US occupation in Iraq in 2006, has surfaced
despite a $10 million bounty on his head. In a lengthy interview
published last month with Abdel-Azim Manaf, editor-in-chief of the
Egyptian newspaper Al-Mawqif Al-Arabi, Al-Douri laid out the strategy
and tactics of the Iraqi resistance led by the former ruling Baath
Party. Al-Douri's reappearance and the patriotic Iraqi resistance
constitute a direct challenge to the US-led occupation.
Manaf told the Associated Press (AP) that he interviewed Al-Douri "on
the battlefield". The "dialogue" was conducted "with a commander in
his lion's den and among his soldiers", and on the "combat field
while weapons were talking", Manaf said in his introduction. Al-Douri
spoke in his capacity as "the supreme commander of the Jihad and
Liberation Front, the pan-Arab secretary-general of the Baath Arab
Socialist Party and secretary of the Iraq region," the Egyptian
The AP reported that, "Al-Douri is believed to play an important role
in financing" the resistance, "though little is known about how
directly he leads fighters on the ground". The United States as
occupying power, as well as Iran and the Iranian- allied regime
Washington installed in Baghdad after occupation, have been keen to
downplay the role played by Al-Douri and the Baath Party in the
national resistance, instead highlighting the marginal role played by
Al-Qaeda, which was brought into Iraq thanks to the United States.
If history illuminates current events, what Al-Douri refers to as a
"blackout" media policy is echoed in the precedent of US-British
planning for the coup that brought down Iranian leader Mohamed
Musaddiq's government in August 1953 and which installed the shah in
From Mark Curtis's Web of Deceit : "One key aspect of the plot was to
portray the demonstrating mobs [against Musaddiq, which was 'a
mercenary mob. It had no ideology. The mob was paid for by American
dollars'] as supporters of the Iranian Communist Party -- Tudeh... As
in every other British and US military intervention until the
collapse of the USSR, the 'communist threat' scenario was deployed as
the official story... The real threat of nationalism [and dirtier
aims like protecting oil profits] were downplayed or removed from the
picture presented to the public."
In Iraq, the US propaganda machine has replaced the "communist
threat" with that of Al-Qaeda.
Manaf, in his introduction, noted how much Al-Douri was a dedicated
religious man, very well versed in Islamic theology and Arab history,
and familiar with Sufism. His Arab and Islamic culture was reflected
extensively in his answers, which were full of quotations from the
Holy Quran and the sayings of historic Arab and Muslim leaders, a
fact that makes the translation of his interview into English an
impossible mission at times.
Al-Douri identified the Baath Party as a "revolutionary organisation,
a brave and innovative leadership, an armed revolutionary jihadist
organisation; it represents a fearless army and glorious armed
Denying media reports about his ill health (Al-Douri was born 1 July
1942), the resistance commander confirmed, "I am in good health and
at the height of the jihad spirit," adding that he is "garrisoned for
God and for His Sake" until "either victory or martyrdom".
THREE CHAPTERS OF RESISTANCE: "Our resistance and battle with the
[US] occupier is not new," Al-Douri said. "It started during the
early years of the Baath Party's formation to expanded and deepen
after the glorious Tammuz [July] revolution of 1968... Prior to 2003,
the imperialist enemy used local forces from Iraq, and the [Arab]
nation sometimes; other times it used regional powers to fight us on
its behalf. When its local and regional instruments failed to stop
the pan-Arab renaissance march of Iraq, the US enemy directly entered
the field of struggle and combat, amassed great powers, and led the
invasion and occupation by itself."
Al-Douri identified three stages of the Iraqi resistance to the
US-led invasion and occupation. "The first chapter was the official
showdown, when the regular formations of the brave armed forces stood
up to the US invasion; then the launch of the popular confrontation
against the invasion, which intertwined with this chapter. The
popular, official and military integration occurred immediately and
the people's war of liberation started during the first week of the
invasion, as was planned by the leadership and according to its
During this second chapter of the resistance, formations from the
civil organisations of the party, the Fedayeen Saddam and volunteers,
took part in carrying out "martyrdom operations". The "glorious women
of Iraq participated in the first formations of the popular
resistance". Some of those women carried out martyrdom operations,
"the first of which was the heroic operation carried out by two women
in Baghdad on the third day of the occupation; another operation was
carried out by a glorious Iraqi woman in Al-Nassiriyah south of
The third chapter of the Iraqi resistance "is sustaining the
resistance and continuing the battle until the liberation of Iraq".
Al-Douri said that during the occupation more than 1.3 million Iraqis
fell as martyrs, and "so far the number of Al-Baath martyrs in this
battle amounts to 120,000." He sees "this historic decisive
showdown", which he described as "the holy battle", as the "fate and
the responsibility of Al-Baath as much as it is the responsibility of
the great people of Iraq and its jihadist national, pan- Arab and
Islamic powers, and the free people of our [Arab] nation and humanity
as a whole," all who were "targeted by the invasion".
DEFEATED OCCUPATION: Al-Douri is confident of victory and reiterated
that the US-led occupation is already defeated and "in despair is
looking for an exit". The Iraqi resistance "has destroyed the
alliance of evil, the parties of which are escaping one after
another. Only [US President George W] Bush remains blundering in his
debacle," he said.
Replying to questions about the truth of media reports that there
were "contacts between you and the Americans", whether Al-Douri made
any "direct or indirect contact with official US authorities",
whether Al-Douri is "willing to negotiate with the Americans", and if
the answer is affirmative what the "negotiating terms" would be;
"would you lead the negotiations personally" or authorise others to
negotiate; would such negotiations be bilateral (between the Baath
Party and the US) or in the name of the "resistance front", and
whether Al-Douri was sure that the yield of negotiations would
correspond to the real weight of the resistance on the ground,
Al-Douri responded, "As the saying goes, you cannot reach at the
negotiating table farther than your artillery can reach."
Al-Douri added: "Friends and foes are very well aware of our strategy
[programme of resistance and liberation], which was made public via
the media. The Baath Party doesn't negotiate with anybody at all if
they don't recognise this strategy beforehand, and will negotiate
neither with America nor with intermediaries or friends except on
this basis. If the enemy recognises this strategy we will sit with
them directly, negotiate with them, and help them exit our country
without losing face and will facilitate their exit. Prior to this
recognition, there are no negotiations with the occupying enemy."
"The Baath Party will meet with whoever it decides to meet, except
with the Zionist entity [Israel] and the government of collaborators
in the Green Zone... We will be happy when the enemy is convinced of
its defeat, accepts our strategy, sits with us to negotiate a
programme for its implementation," he added. Al-Douri detailed this
strategy, indicating, "any negotiations with the invaders without it
represents a desertion and treason and is refused by all national,
pan-Arab and Islamic factions of the resistance."
According to the strategy and programme of the Iraqi resistance, the
following is demanded of the US-led occupation:
- Official and pronounced recognition of the armed and unarmed
national resistance -- including all its factions and (political)
parties -- as the sole legitimate representative of the people of
- An official declaration of unconditional withdrawal from Iraq by
the US leadership.
- Declaring null and void all the political and legislative
institutions, as well as all the laws and legislation issued by them,
since the onset of occupation, with the de-Baathification law at the
forefront, and compensating all who were adversely affected by them.
- A stop to raids, prosecutions, arrests, killings and displacement.
- Release of all prisoners of war (POWs) and detainees without
exception, and compensating all for their physical and psychological
- Reinstating the army and the national security forces in accordance
with pre-occupation laws and regulations, and compensating all who
were adversely affected by dissolving them.
- A pledge to compensate Iraq for all material and moral losses
incurred because of the invasion and occupation.
GUERRILLA WAR, PEOPLE'S WAR: Al-Douri detailed his concept of "the
people's war of liberation and guerrilla war" and advised resistance
fighters to "adhere to the principles and rules" of this kind of war,
listing the 15 "most effective" tactics to hurt the enemy. First, he
said, "appear quickly behind, in front and on the sides of the enemy
as dictated by the nature of the place, time, climate of the
operation, and the type and nature of the target, then hit quickly
and disappear quickly before the enemy has time to react."
Second, "In planning, implementing and selecting the target, take
care to secure a kill in the enemy."
Third, "Your weapon is your life, so take care to keep it always
ready and away from the eyes of the enemy and its spies."
Fourth, "Protect the security of information... as a red line or a
holy matter" and trust nobody "because trust is endless in society".
Fifth, "The enemy is blind without spies, so exert all efforts to
disclose and liquidate them."
Sixth, "Don't be carried away by your successive victories" or drawn
to "showing off", or lose your self-control by praising your heroic
acts, boasting of your success, "noting that the enemy is hunting you
at all times, so keep discreet, disguised and vigilant".
Seventh, "Inflict the biggest losses in the ranks of the enemy and
decrease to the minimum your own losses."
Eighth, "Make your hands heavy on the enemy during their rest hours"
and make "no place safe" for them and give them "no time to recover".
Ninth, "the supply lines are the enemy's lifeline," so "concentrate
on and cut" these lines.
Tenth, "concentrate on the enemy's bases, camps and headquarters day
and night" to "break its morale".
Eleventh, "take your time to deal with extreme accuracy with traitors
and spies to avoid hurting innocents."
Twelfth, "expand the circle of monitoring, following up and hunting
the enemy... so it doesn't surprise us."
Thirteenth, "sustain your traditional ties with your relatives,
neighbours, neighbourhood and friends and make these ties deeper and
more intimate, but don't make any of them feel you have a mission
they don't understand" and "help them to overcome the details of
daily life hardships, which are so many nowadays" so they will
protect you when in trouble; they are "your safe armour and honest
Fourteenth, "let belief in God... be our strong starting point."
Fifteenth, "fight for the sake of God the enemies of God... until the
tyrant... invaders are defeated, until the clear-cut victory, the
liberation of the homeland, and raising the flag of 'There Is No God
but The God' and bringing back the 'Flag of God Is the Greatest' to
fly in Iraq skies".