Reports of arrests of purported ‘coup plotters’ in Iraq

The New York Times is reporting that dozens of officials in Iraq’s Interior Ministry have been arrested while “in the early stages of planning a coup”. The arrestees, four of whom have the rank of General, have been detained during the past three days by “an elite counterterrorism force” controlled directly by the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The paper cites “senior security officials in Baghdad” in claiming that many of those arrested were affiliated with Al Awda (The Return) an underground secular paramilitary group composed mostly of former Ba’ath members. This might explain why the arrested officials were “a mix of Sunnis and Shiites”, according to several sources, who also claimed that “huge amounts of money” had been confiscated during the raids. [IA]