Intelligence officials say no one knows for certain who is behind the upsurge
in terrorist attacks in Iraq. But there are a number of theories, including the
possible involvement of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Just a glance at the headlines of major U.S. newspapers makes clear the uncertainty
about who is the mastermind behind the latest bomb, rocket and other attacks
The New York Times said some U.S. officials see Saddam Hussein's hand
in the bloody strikes, while the Los Angeles Times quotes intelligence
sources as saying they see a foreign hand, like al-Qaida's, in the blasts.
Still other reports in recent days have quoted officials as saying a former
top aide to Saddam, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, is to blame - and that he may be
coordinating attacks with foreigners.
But one defense intelligence official told VOA, "We don't really know for
sure." This official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirms a number
of sources have come forward to report this-or-that about who is responsible
for the attacks.
But the official said none of these sources have a great deal of credibility
and the reports are conflicting.
Still, the notion that Saddam Hussein could be involved has captured considerable
attention - particularly since the ousted Iraqi leader has not been captured.
In a speech late Thursday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged
that having Saddam at large is not conducive to restoring security in Iraq. "The
fact that he's alive is unhelpful. Let there be no doubt...So we do need to
catch him and I think we will. When, I don't know," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
Mr. Rumsfeld's comments came as some U.S. television organizations broadcast
highly-sanitized versions of what has been dubbed a "torture tape" - a captured
Iraqi videotape showing gruesome scenes of prisoners being tortured and executed
under the regime of the ousted president.
Mr. Rumsfeld said he has seen such a tape and it confirms why it was imperative
to topple Saddam's regime. "When you have people filming, in front of crowds
cheering and clapping, you have people cutting off people's tongues, and cutting
off people's heads, and chopping off their fingers and chopping off their hands,
throwing them off three-story buildings, you learn something about a group
of people and how they live their lives and how they treated their people.
And we are so fortunate they are gone and that those 23 million people are
liberated," he said.
U.S.-led coalition forces have tracked down and killed Saddam's sons, Uday
and Qusay. But so far the former Iraqi leader has managed to avoid the effort
that has been focused mainly on the area around his hometown, Tikrit, long
suspected as his most likely hideout.
Administration officials have up until now portrayed Saddam as a man on the
run. But the latest New York Times report quoted officials as saying
he now could be a leader in the armed opposition to the U.S.-led coalition