Iraq Interior Ministry ‘coup plotters’ ordered released

On December 18, The New York Times reported that dozens of pro-Ba’ath officials in Iraq’s Interior Ministry had been arrested while “in the early stages of planning a coup”. The arrestees, four of whom have the rank of General, had been detained by “an elite counterterrorism force” controlled directly by the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. A day later, however, Iraq’s Minister of the Interior, Jawad al-Bolani, told the Associated Press that a judge had ordered the arrestees to be released, reportedly “after determining there was no evidence that they conspired to bring back Saddam Hussein’s banned Baath party”. Al-Bolani went on to suggest that the arrests were “politically motivated by those trying to undermine the interior ministry”. Even if the arrested officials were not involved in a coup plot, as The New York Times reported, their arrest highlights the increasing rift between elements of the Iraqi government controlled by the Prime Minster’s office, and the intelligence and security forces, who report to the Ministry of the Interior. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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