Saddam Sends Crack Army Units To Fight Kurds, U.S. Special Forces In Northern Regions

by DEBKAfile

2 July 2002

"On June 11, Saddam Hussein signed Military Directive 531 ordering commando units from the Republican Guards and special military intelligence combat units to head into northern Iraq. He had just received intelligence reports indicating that the US special forces and CIA personnel he knew to have landed in the northern region were making impressive strides in recruiting and training Kurdish fighters for their anti-Saddam combat units.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly ’s military sources, the presidential decree directed the commandos “to wage a secret, tenacious and sustained war to destroy enemy forces that have invaded the Iraqi motherland”, employing the following tactics:
1. Ambushes and night raids to attack and destroy Kurdish and US camps, communications bases and arms depots and inflict heavy enemy casualties.
2 . Seek the element of surprise.
3. Each unit was on its own in the field and must fight as though no outside help was available.

The average Iraqi commando squad is composed of five or six well- trained fighters. Five or six larger units have between 15 and 25 combatants each. Each unit was issued its operational and attack missions. They included terror strikes against civilians in the Kurdish cities, towns and villages where the population appears willing to cooperate with the Americans.

Their commanders were to break open the secret emergency stores located in Klar, in the oil province of Kirkuk; the Dahuk region north of Mosul in central northern Iraq; Rawandiz, in the northeast near the Iranian border; Amadiyah, near the Turkish frontier; and Zakho, close to the meeting point of the borders of Iraq,Turkey and Syria. Those stores contain supplies of weapons, explosives, ammunition, food, drinking water and medical supplies.

Iraqi military intelligence had moreover established three forward command centers near Siniar in western Iraq, across from the border with Syria; outside Summel, northeast of the Ayn Zalah oil field; and in the Rost area, very close to the Iranian border.
Saddam set up the command centers and commando units back in February, when he found out that a vanguard of US special forces and CIA agents were about to land in northern Iraq. He held back from striking then in order to lull his enemies into a false sense of security and the belief they were in full control of a friendly region."