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. Read more of this post

Secret meetings reported between CIA and Saddam loyalists



The CIA is reportedly participating in a series of secret meetings with the two main leaders of the Ba’athist insurgency in Iraq. According to Intelligence Online and United Press International, CIA agents have entered truce negotiations with Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (photo) and Mohammed Yunis al-Ahmad, who head most of the armed Sunni groups in Iraq. Until the 2003 US invasion, Al-Ahmad was an army general during the latter part of Saddam’s reign, while al-Douri was vice-president and deputy chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council. The US has put out a reward of $1 million for Al-Ahmad, who is reportedly operating out of Syria. Al-Douri, who is said to be in Syria as well, is also wanted by the US in exchange for a $10 million reward. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0017

  • Spain’s chief spy resigns in financial scandal. Alberto Saiz, who headed Spain’s National Intelligence Center, was accused by the daily newspaper El Mundo of using public money for diving and hunting trips in Mexico, Senegal, Mali and Morocco. He denied the accusations, but on July 2, he resigned “to prevent further damage to the reputation of the intelligence agency and the government”. 
  • FBI declassifies reports on agents’ interviews with Saddam. Just-declassified FBI reports reveal that FBI special agents carried out 20 formal interviews and at least 5 “casual conversations” with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after his capture by US troops in December 2003. Interestingly, the declassified reports include nothing about “Iraq’s complicated relationship with the US”, especially the alleged role of the CIA in facilitating the Ba’ath party’s rise to power in the 1960s. 
  • Release of CIA report on detention, interrogation, delayed (again). Like many others, we at intelNews were eagerly expecting this previously classified CIA report on detention and interrogation under the Bush administration to be released last Wednesday. It was initially going to be released in mid-June, but was then delayed until July 1. Now the CIA says it won’t be able to release the report until the end of August. The ACLU says it will wait for as long as it has to.

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”. Read more of this post

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]

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