Along the Tracks

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Saddam Fedayeem

Regular readers know how closely, and how in depth, I have studied the situation in Iraq over the past year and a half, as it became clear a confrontation was inevitable. In all that time, and after all that research, I do not ever recall seeing the term “Saddam Fedayeem,” a militia which appears to be the main resistance allied forces in Iraq have seen so far. How can this be?

A few thoughts. First, I’m not sure people fully understood the role these fedayeem play in Iraq. We’ve learned about the Ba’ath party and its fascist tendencies. The fedayeem are the “brown shirts.” They are internal terrorists, meant to maintain party control of the population through fear. When you hear about the families of dissidents being tortured, these are the guys who do the torturing. We’ve been calling them “Ba’ath loyalists” and internal security forces, but media reports haven’t generally given them consideration as a unified, trained militia.

It should also be obvious that the fedayeem are the ones most likely to be working with terrorists - they are the other side of the same coin. Their tactics so far seem pretty familiar: like Hezbollah in Lebanon, like al Qaeda and the “technicals” in Somalia, like Abu Sayeff in the Philipines, like the Palestinian militias in Israel, like al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. They won’t stop us, but they can hurt us. And there is a real danger they will slip out of the country under the auspices of al Qaeda or other terrorist groups - and that they’ll be carrying WMDs on the way.

These thugs will need to be destroyed, both on the battlefield and afterward through a determined hunt.

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