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______________________________________ Stratfor's FREE Kosovo Crisis Center - http://www.stratfor.com/kosovo/crisis/ The most comprehensive coverage of the Kosovo Crisis anywhere on the Internet ______________________________________ STRATFOR's Global Intelligence Update June 4, 1999 Dissent in the Ranks of Iraq's Republican Guard Summary: On June 2, the London-based newspaper Al-Zaman reported that a fatal clash erupted on May 24 between two Iraqi Republican Guard units in the Suwayrah camp, 60 kilometers south of Baghdad. The clash was quickly quelled, with a number of surviving officers being arrested for questioning. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has shown considerable skill over the years, fending off as many plots against him from within his country as from outside. However, with an increasing number of apparent threats emerging ever closer to his inner circle, time may be running out for the Iraqi leader. Analysis: Citing anonymous witnesses who had recently arrived in London from Baghdad, the London-based newspaper Al-Zaman reported that a military force comprised of the "Adnan" Republican Guard Tank Battalion and a company from Iraq's 33rd Special Forces Brigade attempted to leave the Suwayrah camp at 0300 hours local time on May 24. This camp is strategically located 60 kilometers south of Baghdad along the two main routes from southern Iraq to the capital city. The paper claimed that clashes erupted when an intelligence officer, on guard at the time, informed the camp commander that the units were attempting to leave the camp without the required permit from the intelligence department, which is headed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's son and named successor -- Qusay Hussein. When the camp commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Muhammad Ulwan al- Dulaymi, asked the tank battalion commander, Colonel Sabir Aziz al Shati, why the units were leaving the camp, Sabir reportedly aimed his tank's gun at Ulwan's residence. Ulwan then ordered two Republican Guard infantry battalions to confront the armored battalion and the Special Forces company. It was not reported which side started shooting first, but in the end a number of officers and troops from both sides were reportedly killed, including both Sabir and Ulwan. Qusay Hussein immediately arrived at the camp with other high ranking military officials to question the guards who were on duty at the time. A number of officers were then arrested and taken away for questioning. The upshot of these events was that security was tightened in some military districts of Baghdad and at the checkpoints located between Baghdad and the camp, suggesting that the incident was deemed to be part of a larger threat to the regime. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has shown considerable skill over the years, fending off as many plots against him from within his country as from outside. At the height of last December's Operation Desert Fox air strikes, Hussein launched a purge of Iraq's Third Army Corps in Basra, while skirmishes reportedly broke out at camps inside Baghdad. Since then, reports of armed incidents within the Iraqi military and purges in the officer corps have continued to emerge, particularly in units stationed around Basra in the south and Mosul in the north -- both places plagued by opposition activity. At the same time, there have been several assassinations and attempted assassinations of military officers and Baath Party officials loyal to the regime, and Iraq has charged Iran with infiltrating agents into southern Iraq to foment unrest. Over the past month, Hussein has been marshaling and redeploying his forces, though it is unclear whether this is in preparation for offensive action, defensive action against Kurdish or Shiite forces, or defensive action against other military units. The reported clash in Suwayrah, though still unconfirmed, is potentially extremely significant, as it involved Republican Guard forces. Last December, Hussein interposed Republican Guard forces between regular army units and Baghdad, an indication of his trust in the Guard and distrust of the army. If dissent has now permeated the Republican Guard, Hussein has very few assets left to rely on to defend his regime. And whether in response to real or only imagined threats, the ongoing purges are certain to have a tremendous impact on the morale and the effectiveness of the Iraqi military. While Hussein has displayed an uncanny ability to thwart attempted coups, with an increasing number of apparent threats emerging ever closer to his inner circle, time may be running out for the Iraqi leader. And as Hussein is not one to go down without a fight, he may attempt one last dramatic maneuver to salvage his regime. ___________________________________________________ To receive free daily Global Intelligence Updates, sign up on the web at: http://www.stratfor.com/services/giu/subscribe.asp or send your name, organization, position, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address to email@example.com ___________________________________________________ STRATFOR, Inc. 504 Lavaca, Suite 1100 Austin, TX 78701 Phone: 512-583-5000 Fax: 512-583-5025 Internet: http://www.stratfor.com/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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