Iraqis plan to revive Mukhabarat (JERUSALEM POST) By MATTHEW GUTMAN BAGHDAD BAGHDAD, IRAQ 12/05/03)
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BAGHDAD – Several of the most powerful parties in the Iraqi Governing
Council plan to resurrect the Mukhabarat intelligence service, Saddam
Hussein´s most brutal instrument of state terrorism, in a push to
rout the Ba´athist-led terrorist network, The Jerusalem Post has
Saddam´s Mukhabarat is largely held responsible for the disappearance
and execution of about 780,000 Iraqis.
The initiative exposes both the failure of the coalition forces to
gather intelligence on the insurgency and an Iraqi populace
increasingly desperate for security.
"We will use their own dogs to hunt them down," Nabil al-Musawi,
deputy president of the Iraqi National Congress and the party´s chief
of security, said Thursday. Musawi, who lost five members of his
family to Mukhabarat execution squads, noted that many of the 27,000
Mukhabarat members will be used as agents to rout out Saddam and
crush the debilitating insurgency.
"To think that I am supporting this idea surprises even me. But we
have to be realistic... If I have to deal with the devil for short-
term gain for the sake of my people, then I will," Musawi said.
His organization, he said, has used Saddam´s informants for months,
yielding dozens of arrests and preventing several attacks.
However, the reactivation, even if partial, could ignite a firestorm
of outrage among most Iraqis, for whom the name Mukhabarat conjures
up the image of the purest manifestation of evil in Saddam´s regime.
Musawi said that of the thousands of Mukhabarat agents, only about
4,000 were directly involved in the orgies of rape, torture,
extortion, and the planning of mass executions. They will be hunted
down and tried, he said.
The INC, the Iraqi National Accord (INA), the Supreme Council for
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and the Kurdistan Democratic
Party have already enlisted a "large number" of Mukhabarat
officers "who can work to find Saddam even in areas loyal to him,"
said Ali Abdel Amir, the editor of INA´s daily, Baghdad Today.
According to Iraqi intelligence data, much of the insurgency is run
by former members of the Mukhabarat, who dispatch foreign suicide
bombers, most of them from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
The INA had maintained contacts with top officers in the Mukhabarat
and the Ba´ath Party during Saddam´s rule and had apparently
orchestrated at least one failed coup. Those links, even with those
among the insurgents, still exist, said Amir.
These agents, said Musawi and Amir, already deliver a constant stream
of data to their operators. Centralizing the information
and "bringing in as many as possible with knowledge" could help the
coalition turn the corner against the insurgency, Musawi said.
"Remember," he added, "someone who is very bad led us to Uday and
Qusay [Saddam´s two sons killed in Mosul in July] and received $30
million for it.
But the benefit for society was worth it."
The INC and INA indicated that they intend to codify the level of the
Mukhabarat´s power into the constitution.
The level of American involvement in the initiative remains unclear.
Amir claimed that the US supports the initiative, and that Special
Forces officers and the CIA had met with former Mukhabarat officials.
But Musawi would only say that the initiative is still under
A spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority said that he
had "heard nothing of the initiative."
At the start of the occupation, the US stated that it would not use
Ba´athist officials in any capacity, but has increasingly relied on
them as bureaucrats and informants.
The local parties here charge the US with failing to heed the advice
of Iraqi intelligence sources and banning the army and the
intelligence branches, then failing to heed intelligence warnings
Reaction to Iraqi intelligence tips was until excruciatingly slow
very recently. Information from documents to human intelligence was
sent from the field to Washington for analysis before being sent back
to soldiers or agents on the ground. The process was both time-
consuming and frustrating for Iraqis, who chaffed at American
condescension and at their failure to "implement the necessary tools
to capture Saddam."
However, the coalition forces seem to be correcting their mistakes,
giving an increasingly free hand to the Iraqi parties to gather
intelligence and defend themselves against the terrorists. On
Wednesday, IGC President Said Abdel Aziz al-Hakim unveiled plans for
an Iraqi military unit composed of militiamen from five former
The US easing of restrictions on those allowed to carry arms has
enabled a cottage industry of private security firms to spring up in
Baghdad in recent weeks and months.
(© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 12/05/03)
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