Analysis: Deadly conflict inside Iraqi spy service goes unmentioned



Amidst the chaos of post-Ba’athist Iraqi politics, a deadly sectarian conflict is raging within Iraq’s powerful spy agency. Employees inside Iraq’s National Intelligence Service (INIS) are split along religious sectarian lines, with Sunni and Shiite officers battling for control of the organization. The warring factions are directly affiliated with opposing political parties, and represent various political interests. Shiite officers are seen as aligned with Tehran, whereas Sunnis are close to Washington and –ironically– to the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party. The conflict has resulted in the assassination of several INIS officers, mostly by their colleagues in the Service, according to two anonymous Iraqi security officials, who spoke to The National, an English-language newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates. One of them, a brigadier-general with recent experience in intelligence work in Baghdad, told the paper that Shiite INIS officers are beeing killed by professionally trained assassins using “plastic explosives, sticky bombs and silenced pistols”. These killings, said the brigadier-general, are conveniently reported as random terrorist attacks against Iraqi government employees. Another intelligence source told The National that the killings are targeted and involve the use of inside information, including pen-register data of cell phones belonging to spies targeted for assassination. He added that the assassins are former members of Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat (Iraqi Intelligence Service), who have been rehired and trained by American forces in recent years, in an effort to curtail Shiite influence inside Iraq. Iraqi government representatives refused to discuss the newspaper’s revelations. Meanwhile in Washington, a CIA representative described the allegations about a civil war within the INIS as “absolute rubbish”.

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

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