March 14, 2005

Interesting Capture in Iraq

Iraqi forces arrested two members of a prominent Tikrit family on March 8 - 'Abdullah Mahir 'Abd Al-Rashid and his cousin Marwan Tahir 'Abd Al-Rashid. The two are accused of planning and financing insurgency operations in Iraq. Marwan was a former bodyguard for Saddam Husayn and is suspected of leading insurgent operations.

Who are the 'Abd Al-Rashids?

The 'Abd Al-Rashid cousins are members of the An-Nasiri clan, members of the larger tribe associated with that of Saddam Husayn. The generation before 'Abdullah and Marwan were famous in their own right. The three brothers - Hatim, Tahir and Mahir - were all involved in senior Iraqi government positions. Hatim was in charge of light industry in the country prior to it being subsumed into the military industries organization of Saddam's son-in-law
Husayn Kamil.

Tahir and Mahir were generals in the Iraqi army. Mahir achieved particular distinction and was extremely popular among the troops. As commander of Iraq's III Corps in 1984, he was responsible for Iraq's first attempt at the use of the never agent Tabun (GA) against Iranian forces in the Majnun Islands battle. Later, in 1988, as commander of the VII Corps, he presided over Iraq's devastating use of Sarin (GB) nerve gas against Iranian forces in the Blessed Ramadan operation that liberated the Al-Faw peninsula from Iranian occupation.

General Mahir 'Abd Al-Rashid attempted to cement his relationship to Saddam Husayn by arranging the marriage of his daughter to Saddam's second son Qusay. Qusay was killed by American forces in July 2003. In 1989, fearing the rise of Mahir's popularity, Saddam forces him into retirement.