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Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri
عزة إبراهيم الدوري
Portrait of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri
Portrait of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri
Secretary General of the National Command of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
In office
30 December 2006 – 25 October 2020
Preceded by Saddam Hussein
Succeeded by Salah Al-Mukhtar
Regional Secretary of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party
In office
3 January 2007 – 25 October 2020
Preceded by Saddam Hussein
Succeeded by Unknown (most likely Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed)
Deputy Secretary of the Regional Command of the Iraqi Regional Branch
In office
September 1991 – 3 January 2007
Preceded by Taha Yassin Ramadan
Succeeded by Unknown
Vice President of Iraq
In office
16 July 1979 – 9 April 2003
Serving with Taha Yassin Ramadan (after 1991)
President Saddam Hussein
Preceded by Taha Muhie-eldin Marouf and Saddam Hussein
Succeeded by Taha Yassin Ramadan
Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council
In office
16 July 1979 – 9 April 2003
President Saddam Hussein
Preceded by Saddam Hussein
Succeeded by Post abolished
Member of the Regional Command of the Iraqi Regional Branch
In office
October 1966 – 9 April 2003
Personal details
Born (1942-07-01)1 July 1942
Ad-Dawr, Saladin, Iraq
Died 25 October 2020(2020-10-25) (aged 78)
Political party Iraqi Ba'ath
Spouses Jawhar Majid Khalil and four other wives
  • Ahmed
  • Ibrahim
  • Ali
  • Suleiman
  • Hamd
  • Yusef
  • Khaled
  • Mustafa
  • Abbas
  • Omar
  • Hawazin
  • Abla
  • Amra
Nickname Ghost
Military service
Allegiance  Iraq
Naqshbandi Army
Branch/service Iraqi Army
Years of service 1962–2003
Rank Iraqi field marshal Field marshal
Unit Political Guidance Directorate
Commands 2nd Infantry Division
Battles/wars Iran–Iraq War
  • Al-Anfal Campaign

1991 Persian Gulf War

  • Battle of Khafji
  • 1991 uprisings in Iraq

2003 invasion of Iraq
2013–2017 War in Iraq

  • Northern Iraq offensive
  • Salahuddin campaign
    • Battle of Tikrit
    • Second Battle of Tikrit
  • Battle of Mosul

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (Arabic: عزة إبراهيم الدوري, romanized: Izzat Ibrāhīm ad-Dūrī; 1 July 1942 – 25 October 2020) was an Iraqi politician and Army Field Marshal. He served as Vice Chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council until the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and was regarded as the closest advisor and deputy under President Saddam Hussein. He led the Iraqi insurgent Naqshbandi Army.

Al-Douri was the most high-profile Ba'athist official to successfully evade capture after the invasion of Iraq, and was the king of clubs in the infamous most-wanted Iraqi playing cards. Al-Douri continued to lead elements of the Iraqi insurgency such as the Naqshbandi Army against the then-occupation forces and waged an insurgency against the current regime in Baghdad. Following the execution of Saddam Hussein on 30 December 2006, al-Douri was confirmed as the new leader of the banned Iraqi Ba'ath Party on 3 January 2007.

Early life

Born in 1942, al-Douri was born in Al-Dour, near the Iraqi town of Tikrit, to Ibrahim Khalil al-Douri, a farmer, and Hamdah Saloum al-Douri. His family belonged to the Al-Shuwaikhat clan of the Jabour tribe. Nicknamed "the Iceman" for his humble origins selling blocks of ice, he became involved in revolutionary politics in his late teenage years, despite having had only a primary school education. He befriended Saddam Hussein in 1963, then they both served in the early intelligence apparatus of the Ba'ath Party and participated in what would be known as the 17 July Revolution in 1968.

During the Ba'athist government

Al-Douri was a senior member of the Ba'athist government under Saddam Hussein. This was due to the fact that both al-Douri and Saddam came from the same Tikriti tribal background. When the Ba'athists seized power in 1968, he was made interior minister where he oversaw efforts to sideline political rivals to the Ba'ath Party, mainly the Iraqi Communist Party. Al-Douri became the vice chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council prior to 2003, giving him unprecedented amounts of power and influence within the Iraqi political sphere.

As vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, al-Douri was involved in the wars against Iran and Kuwait. During the 1988–1989 Al-Anfal Campaign, al-Douri was said to have ordered Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka 'Chemical Ali') to use Mustard and Sarin nerve gas on Kurdish fighters in Halabja. He was complicit in the invasion of Saudi Arabia and the attack on the town of Khafji in January 1991. During the 1991 uprisings in Iraq, he was involved in the suppression of the revolt led by the Iraqi marsh Arabs.

In 1993, al-Douri was involved in the state-sponsored Return to Faith Campaign (al-Hamlah al-Imaniyyah), which sought to encourage devotion to Islam in Iraqi social life. This saw aspects of Islam fused into the Iraqi media, education system and judicial system.

Al-Douri, a member of the Naqshbandi Order, was able to use his position in the regime to leverage support to the Naqshbandi community within Iraq. This form of patronage would eventfully culminate in the rise of the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order during the Iraqi insurgency, of which al-Douri would play a leading role.

Fall of the Ba'ath regime and Iraqi insurgency

Cig in Al Doree's Face
A Shia Iraqi in western Iraq putting his cigarette out on a wanted poster of al-Douri on the side of a US Humvee.

On 20 March 2003, U.S.-led coalition forces invaded Iraq, leading to the toppling of the regime of President Saddam Hussein on 9 April 2003. Following the fall of Baghdad, al-Douri went into hiding. U.S. officials claimed that he was involved in the subsequent Iraqi insurgency against U.S. forces, directing and funding attacks, as well as brokering an alliance between Ba'athist insurgents and militant Islamists.

Al-Douri played a role in the Northern Offensive as commander of the Naqshbandi Army. Reports soon surfaced that he had links with the jihadist group ISIL, helping them take the city of Tikrit and coordinating attacks against Iraqi security forces. His connections with Islamist elements in Iraq is said to have emerged as far back as during Saddam's regime.

Al-Douri has been pointed out as one of the main commanders responsible for successful takeover by rebel groups of North Iraq and the city of Mosul in June 2014.

On 7 April 2016, he released a video in which he sits at a desk in military uniform, flanked by two bodyguards and reads a statement. He calls on 'mujahideen' in Iraq to fight the Shia militias and combat Iranian influence in Iraq under the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism created by Saudi Arabia on 15 December 2015. He said: "We consider everything that is happening in Iraq from Iran, its agents, militias, and its security apparatus, is the responsibility of the United States". He added: "If it [U.S.] did not move to save Iraq and its people from Iran's hegemony, control and occupation, and to stop bloodshed, destruction, burning and the changing demographic, then Iraqi people should resist [the occupation]." He stated that one of the ways to deal with the issue in Yemen was to make Iran and its allies adhere to the Security Council decision on ceasefire.

In April 2018, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri released a new video commemorating the 71st anniversary of the Baath party and vowing that U.S. President Donald Trump "will never attack Iran until the Resurrection Day."

Al-Douri was reportedly killed in action—along with his nine bodyguards—on 17 April 2015 in a large-scale military operation by Shiite militias and Iraqi forces near the Al-Alaas oil fields in Hemreen east of Tikrit. However, the Iraqi Baath party denied his death. Al-Douri appeared in videos talking about events that took place after his alleged death. He died on 25 October 2020.

In an article published by NRT News, reports an Iraqi politician, Hassan Alawi, meeting Al-Douri in the Kurdistan region of Iraq multiple times, the latest at 17 August 2021, implying that he is alive.

Personal life

Al-Douri was married five times and had 24 children: 13 daughters and 11 sons.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Izat Ibrahim al Duri para niños

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