The man of failed missions and the Ba'athism disappearance..What does Izzat Al-Douri's death mean?

The man of failed missions and the Ba'athism disappearance..What does Izzat Al-Douri's death mean?

Shafaq News/ Although he has been out of sight since 2003, Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri -whose death was declared by the dissolved Ba'ath Party and buried in an unknown location, remained of Iraqi and international attention, due to his proximity to Saddam Hussein and the suspicions that continued to revolve around the nature of his actions in the post-Ba'athist regime.

If his death was confirmed, his absence would effectively turn a new page of the party since the 1960s; a page of unprecedented unrest, violence, wars, and massacres, in which he played one of the most prominent roles as the "second man" in the Ba’athist rule. Questions about the dissolved party's fate, and whether their remnants can survive, sustain, and influence within Iraq will be asked.

It is known that Al-Douri has been suffering from leukemia for many years, so there have been many doubts regarding his health over the past years. CNN quoted an informed source as saying that al-Douri was buried in an "undisclosed" cemetery in Saladin governorate in the presence of a number of his relatives on Sunday morning.

There have been several incidents associated with Al-Douri and contributed to the emergence of his name in the circles of international attention outside Iraq. Most notably when he led the Iraqi delegation to negotiate with the Kuwaiti Crown Prince –at the time- Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah Al-Sabah on border disputes, which ended in an epic fail and then quickly paved the way for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

He also took on another failed mission when he was entrusted with the command of the Northern Front to counter the U.S. invasion in 2003, during which he failed to block U.S. military advances or to confront the Peshmerga fighters who moved toward Saddam Hussein's regime's military positions in Kurdistan.

These two examples are in terms of direct political and military action. As for showing responsibility as a prominent Iraqi leader in power inside Iraq, his behavior was no less arrogant than Saddam Hussein himself and it was embodied in what he said to the Kurds during the Gulf War –warning them not to act against the regime, "If you have forgotten Halabja, I remind you that we are ready to repeat it”.

In this sense, Izzat Al-Douri -who was then subjected to an assassination attempt during a visit to Karbala in 1998, was a true image of Saddam's regime, both in its repeated failures and in its transcendence in dealing with the various components of the Iraqi society; a behavior that appeared to be present in the performance of Izzat Al-Douri in the years when the Ba’athists were removed from power.

During the protests that emerged in Al-Anbar governorate in 2013 -in which weapons were lifted against the Iraqi state, Izzat Al-Douri completed his gradual transition from focusing on "the American occupation" to focusing on "the Iranian occupation". This repositioning was reflected in his video speech broadcast by Al-Arabiya TV at the beginning of 2013, in which he announced the bias of the dissolved Ba’ath Party to protesters against Iranian hegemony in the West of Iraq -protests that appeared later, paving the way for the emergence of ISIS and its occupation of a third of Iraqi territory a few months later.

There has been a lot of suspicion about the nature of Izzat Al-Douri's role in the "Sunni insurgency", and the extent to which he and the remnants of the Ba’ath party are connected to the emergence of the armed groups -from which ISIS gradually formed. Especially after it was found that many officers of the Saddam regime played prominent leadership roles in the birth of ISIS, training its militants, and guiding them ideologically -according to the Iraqi authorities.

These suspicions about Al-Douri were reinforced by his leadership of an organization known as the "Army of the Naqshbandi Way" which raised the banner of Islam -in the restoration of a prominent role played by Izzat Al-Douri himself in 1993 -the day after the liberation of Kuwait, and the start of the international embargo on Iraq, when he took over under the guidance of Saddam Hussein himself, what was known as the "campaign of faith" aimed at promoting Islamism within the Iraqi environment.

For all these reasons, and others, it is legitimate to ask about what will happen to the situation within the dissolved Ba’ath Party. The party received its biggest blow by arresting And executing Saddam himself, and then a major defection within the party when the Ba'athist military Mohammed Younis Al-Ahmad Al-Badrani separated from the leadership -represented by Izzat Al-Douri, nearly three years after the invasion of Iraq. Al-Badrani led a wing that decided to reunite with the Syrian Ba’ath Party.

Now with the death of Al-Douri, the question becomes even more urgent. Where will the Iraqi Ba’athists -or what is left of them, go? Could it be asked whether the dissolved party had ended?

"The announcement of the death of Izzat Al-Douri does not mean the end of the Ba’ath Party in Iraq. Ideological parties are not affected by one of their member’s death. the Ba’ath party is an electoral party with a Shura Council (Consultative Assembly), and there are many prominent figures from the founders of the Ba’ath Party who have been gone for years, but the party has not been affected by this", Fadhel Abu Ragheef, a security expert close to the Iraqi intelligence services, told Shafaq News Agency.

"The death of these figures could lead to divisions within the party, but the Ba'ath Party in Iraq has a consultative council that would determine which person is Izzat Al-Douri’s alternative. According to the information, Izzat Al-Douri's replacement will be Augla Saqar Al-Kubaisi -and we doubt it is his real name; he had a senior civilian position in Saddam Hussein's regime", Abu Ragheef added.

According to information, Augla Al-Kubaisi, born in 1944, was wanted by the Iraqi government and U.S. forces and was arrested in 2003 and released by an Iraqi court in 2012. Al-Kubaisi was a member of the Ba'ath Party's country leadership and a senior Ba'athist official in Maysan governorate (Amara).

According to a statement issued by the U.S. Central Command, Al-Kubaisi is the 2-Spade in the playing cards prepared by the Pentagon for all officials in Saddam's regime.

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