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Saddam Hussein's Faithful Friend, the King of Clubs, Might Be the Key to Saving Iraq

Michael Knights

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New Republic

June 24, 2014

Failing a unified response by Iraq’s political factions, a rival insurgent group may represent the best chance of stopping ISIS from forming an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

Over the weekend, in what the Telegraph described as "a potential sign of the fraying of the Sunni insurgent alliance that has overrun vast stretches of territory north of Baghdad in less than two weeks," a deadly firefight broke out west of Kirkuk, Iraq, between members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham and a rival insurgent group called Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshbandi, or the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi. JRTN now represents the main obstacle to ISIS's creation of an Islamic caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria, and is most likely being led by Saddam Hussein's old friend Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the King of Clubs from the infamous deck of cards of most-wanted Iraqis -- that is, if he's not dead...

Read the full version of this article on the New Republic website.