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Iraqi Intelligence Officer Under Saddam Hussein Was Mastermind Behind ISIS In Syria

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Erica Wenig Contributor

An Iraqi intelligence official under ex-dictator Saddam Hussein created a blueprint for Islamic State expansion in Syria, according to documents discovered by Germany’s Der Spiegel.

The elusive Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, killed by rebels in 2014, left behind handwritten, detailed information, showing how the Islamic State could overtake neighboring Syria amid the country’s civil war.

“It is a folder full of handwritten organizational charts, lists and schedules, which describe how a country can be gradually subjugated,” reports Spiegel’s Christoph Reuter.

Khlifawi was “bitter and unemployed” after the U.S. dissolved the Iraqi army. “Thousands of well-trained Sunni officers were robbed of their livelihood with the stroke of a pen. In doing so, America created its most bitter and intelligent enemies,” writes Reuter.

In 2010, Khlifawi and other ex-Saddam officials met with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, choosing him to lead the Islamic State and give the organization a religious front.

Initial ranks were made up of foreign fighters, reports Reuter:

In fall 2013, IS books listed 2,650 foreign fighters in the Province of Aleppo alone. Tunisians represented a third of the total, followed by Saudi Arabians, Turks, Egyptians and, in smaller numbers, Chechens, Europeans and Indonesians.

Documents show how leadership exploited Syria’s instability and systematically planned to overtake the country. Khlifawi, also known as Haji Bakr, reportedly planned to use Syria as a “beachhead” in order to conquer Iraq, according to Der Spiegel.

Khlifawi outlined how the Islamic State would establish an intelligence service, mainly based on the expansive security apparatus from Hussein’s regime. Under the guise of setting up Islamic missionary centers, militants would choose some attendees to spy on their villages.

The blueprints were reportedly discovered in a house in northern Syria after Khlifawi’s death and made available to Der Spiegel after negotiations with rebels.

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