Raid yields clues on insurgents
BAGHDAD -- A document discovered during the capture of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has enabled US military authorities to assemble detailed knowledge for the first time of what they regard as a key network behind as many as 14 clandestine insurgent cells, a senior US military officer said yesterday.
"I think this network that sits over the cells was clearly responsible for financing of the cells, and we think we're into that network," said Brigadier General Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division.
Acting quickly after realizing the significance of the document, which Dempsey likened to minutes of a meeting, troops of the 1st Armored Division conducted raids Sunday and Monday that netted three former Iraqi generals suspected of financing and guiding insurgent operations in the Baghdad area.
Dempsey declined to name the three officers who were arrested. He said none was on the Pentagon's list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis but that their family names were familiar to US authorities, suggesting that relatives of the men had come under suspicion.
Dempsey said other documents found with Hussein could expose other enemy networks. Though he cautioned that much analysis remained to be done, he said the picture that was emerging of Hussein's relationship with the insurgency showed him playing an inspirational but largely passive role, receiving reports about guerrilla operations but not guiding attacks. "I doubt very much that he was directing daily operations. It's just not feasible," Dempsey said. "But he was clearly the symbolic figure, and these networks reported to him in a way that might" be characterized as "a son reporting to his parents."
The view of Hussein as removed from the operational planning of insurgent attacks was endorsed by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of US and allied forces in Iraq. "As I've always stated, repeatedly, our expectation was that Saddam was probably involved in intent and in financing, and so far that is still my belief," Sanchez told reporters yesterday.
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