Ex-Saddam Baathists Unite in Ninevah Campaign

ISIS is committing massacres against the residents of Ninevah. Reports are emerging that women have committed suicide after being raped by militants.

The Baath party, which ruled Iraq from 1968 until 2003, was divided into several factions. The two most prominent — that of Izzat al-Douri, the second strongman after Saddam and the deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, and the faction of Brig. Gen. Mohammad Younes al-Ahmad, who assumed many positions in Saddam's government — had fallen into a fierce dispute in 2006.

The dispute became of paramount importance after Ahmad split from Douri and called for a review of Saddam’s era. The Baath Party member, however, affirms that both factions found their chance with ISIS entering Ninevah after they hit rock bottom.

The Syrian regime sponsored both factions in the years following the invasion of Iraq. It was also suspected of sheltering Ahmad. The party member, however, ruled out the possibility that Syria was involved in sponsoring the Baathist entry into Mosul. Yet he affirmed, “Both factions have made up under vague circumstances, or else they would not have agreed on this operation.”

The source, whose relative was a minister in Saddam's government, said, “The arrogance of [Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki and his circle has prevented the reconciliation with the Baath,” adding, “As long as [Baath members] are marginalized with no decent livelihood, they will remain an easy catch for ISIS and even worse organizations.”

The member split from Ahmad's faction in 2009 and founded a new party that negotiated with Izzat Shabandar, a parliamentarian who was close to Maliki, to enter the political process. He told Al-Monitor, “The army is taking back Mosul.”

The same source said, “The army was weak due to the corruption of the military instruction, which Maliki has made part of the sectarian quotas.”

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