Saddam's Goons & Zarqawi's Terrorists
(Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, Zarqawi's failed suicide bomber and sister of a former Iraqi military officer.)
Now that Zarqawi is dead, it is useful to remember that his terror extended beyond Iraq's borders. Consider the story of Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, whose trial in Jordan was recently adjourned. For those not familiar with Rishawi, who is a native Iraqi from the town of Ramadi, she is the infamous suicide bomber who failed to carry out her attack. She and her husband, Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari, were supposed to simultaneously detonate their suicide bomb belts/vests at a wedding reception being held at the Radisson Hotel in Amman Jordan on November 9, 2005. But when Rishawi's belt malfunctioned, her husband reportedly ordered her to leave the reception hall.
Shamari then worked his way to the dining room table and detonated his belt/vest, killing roughly three dozen of the couple’s friends and family members. Among those killed was filmmaker Moustapha Akkad, who directed the Halloween horror films and his daughter as well as three prominent Palestinian intelligence officials.
The plot was part of a string of attacks against Jordanian hotels. And while Rishawi failed to carry out her mission, her fellow terrorists and husband were successful. In all, 60 people were killed.
After failing to blow herself up, Rishawi fled to the house of her family’s husband, “a Jordanian killed in clashes with U.S. forces in Iraq,” where she was arrested.
But Rishawi’s story is an interesting one. The 11/9 bombings (which is listed as 9/11 in the Middle East, with the day coming before the month) were orchestrated by Zarqawi’s minions. Four of Zarqawi’s goons, in fact, entered Jordan two months ahead of time to plant explosives. Prosecutors explained, “They managed to enter the kingdom after Zarqawi supplied them with the explosives to execute the terrorist suicide operation.” And according to the prosecutors’ charge sheet, “All the defendants belong to the al Qaeda organization in Iraq led by Zarqawi. This network has taken it upon itself to kill civilians and terrify innocents regardless of the consequences.”
What is more interesting is that Rishawi is the sister of Al-Hajji Thamer Mubarak, who was a “key aid” to Zarqawi. Mubarak, it turns out, was a former military officer in the Iraqi army under Saddam who, like so many others of Saddam’s goons, went on to ally with Zarqawi. Mubarak’s story is interesting itself. According to al Qaeda in Iraq’s propaganda (which should always be taken with a grain of salt), Mubarak is:
A former Iraqi military officer who abandoned the Baath Party and became one of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's top terrorist operatives, judged "directly responsible—serving as deputy commander—for carrying out two of the greatest operations that were launched in Iraq": "the killing of the enemy of Allah, servant of the Jews, and leader of the infidels, Mohammed Bakr al-Hakim, [and] the first attack against the United Nations headquarters that wiped out many infidel leaders, including their top leader Sergio de Mello."
The attack against the United Nations in August 2003 was al Qaeda in Iraq’s first large-scale successful attack. It is most interesting that a former Iraqi military officer is credited with orchestrating it. Yet another of Rishawi’s brothers, known by his nom de guerre Abu Ubaidah, also went on to serve Zarqawi.
Prior to the war, many in the U.S. intelligence community believed that Baathists and Saddam’s forces couldn’t sustain a cooperative relationship Islamists like Zarqawi.
No one, apparently, ever told Rishawi or her family.