DoD Report on Captured Iraqi Documents

A Defense Department-sponsored report that examined captured Iraqi documents for indications of links between Saddam Hussein and terrorist organizations is now available online.

The five-volume report affirmed that there was “no ‘smoking gun’ (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda.” But it also said there was “strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism.”

Although the report was publicly released on March 13, the Department of Defense declined to publish it online, offering instead to provide copies on disk. The full five-volume study has now been posted on the Federation of American Scientists web site. See “Iraqi Perspectives Project: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents,” Institute for Defense Analyses, November 2007, redacted and released March 2008.

The study was first reported prior to release by Warren P. Strobel of McClatchy Newspapers. The first of the five volumes was previously posted on the ABC News web site. The latter volumes include hundreds of pages of captured Iraqi documents, declassified and translated into English.

The Defense Intelligence Agency “made every effort to balance national security concerns, requirements of law, and the needs of an informed democracy and focused the redactions to the necessary minimum,” the report states.

The Iraqi documents themselves are an eclectic, uneven bunch.

One of them, a fifty-page Iraqi “intelligence” analysis, disparages the austerely conservative Wahhabi school of Islam by claiming that its eighteenth century founder, Ibn ‘Abd al Wahhab, had ancestors who were Jews.

In what must be the only laugh-out-loud line in the generally dismal five-volume report, the Iraqi analysis states that Ibn ‘Abd al Wahhab’s grandfather’s true name was not “Sulayman” but “Shulman.”

“Tawran confirms that Sulayman, the grandfather of the sheikh, is (Shulman); he is Jew from the merchants of the city of Burstah in Turkey, he had left it and settled in Damascus, grew his beard, and wore the Muslim turban, but was thrown out for being voodoo” (at page 20 of 56).

The analysis, produced by the Air Defense Security System of Iraq’s General Military Intelligence Directorate, is not a very reliable guide to Islamic or Jewish history, though it may explain something about Iraq’s air defenses.

“The Birth of Al-Wahabi Movement and Its Historic Roots” appears in volume 5 of the Defense Department report and is also directly available in this extract (large PDF).

No Responses to “DoD Report on Captured Iraqi Documents”

  1. Mark Eichenlaub March 20, 2008 at 11:42 AM #

    Steve,
    This is one of the most even handed analysis of the report I’ve seen and this is all I write about and read about.

    I am working on a big piece on this for http://www.regimeofterror.com if you are interested in my thoughts on it focusing on the portions that mention Saddam ordering his men and outside groups to attack Americans.

  2. Gregg Your March 20, 2008 at 1:50 PM #

    The report has been posted. You can access all five volumes of the study at http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2008/pa032008.html

  3. George Smith March 20, 2008 at 3:39 PM #

    They were too cool for Shul.

  4. Make It Stop March 21, 2008 at 8:15 PM #

    # Mark Eichenlaub Says:
    March 20th, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I am working on a big piece on this for http://www.regimeofterror.com if you are interested in my thoughts on it focusing on the portions that mention Saddam ordering his men and outside groups to attack Americans.

    Well Mark, I’m glad you cleared this up. Lots of us were beginning to think that the invasion was a foolish move.

    BTW, back in 2003 were you terrified (any more so than usual, that is) that Saddam was going to attack Americans? Do you know what an “imminent threat” is?

  5. Mark Eichenlaub March 22, 2008 at 11:19 AM #

    Make it stop,
    Well when this topic is only looked at through the blinders of being against or for the war than yes you will see only what you want to see. I think there are strong arguments to be made in both directions.

    Regardless of whether or not you support the war why is it an unworthy cause of analyzing a former threat to this country? Why are people opposed to the war so unnerved when Saddam’s support for terrorism is brought up and run for the hills and refuse to discuss the topic?

  6. Make It Stop March 22, 2008 at 3:58 PM #

    Mark,

    If there were any strong arguments to be made for the war — as opposed to the half-truths and fabrications that were actually used — why did everything they cite turn out to be false?

    Number two, in and of itself, analyzing former threats to this country is a fine academic exercise.

    But to do so — post hoc — as an attempt to palliate a disastrous war of choice, is pretty outrageous (not to mention an intellectually spurious endeavor).

    Anyone can dream up any number of lunatic “What if?” scenarios based on all sorts of unevaluated intelligence, but they cannot pass muster as a casus belli.

    That’s why the Europeans didn’t see Iraq as an imminent threat.

  7. Mark Eichenlaub March 22, 2008 at 4:36 PM #

    You can argue the case for war all you want. The report isn’t about that. By the way, have you read it?

  8. BurningFeet March 23, 2008 at 9:35 AM #

    Just got started with the Executive Summary, as it appears this is prime cherry picking territory for OIF apologists. (See Richard Perle’s appearance on Charlie Rose). What have we here?

    By creating historical narrative of the events surrounding OIF, interviewing captured prisoners, and reviewing translations of enemy documents and media archives…

    For this paper, the JAWP Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP) research team screened more than 600,000 original captured documents I and several thousand hours of audio and video footage archived in a US Department of Defense (DOD) database called Harmony. As of August 2006, only 15 percent of the captured documents have English translations.

    So, this is a study of 90,000 translations and 510,000 titles? The analysts were not fluent in Arabic? Groan.

    A deep sense of unease settles over the reader.

  9. art April 20, 2008 at 8:00 PM #

    After reading the report, there was enough smoke for a battery of long toms.

  10. Mark Eichelaub July 3, 2009 at 10:40 PM #

    Burning feet, you should probably not admit you haven’t even read the entire report and making assumptions about it before you start calling other people “cherry pickers.”