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Interesting piece from the Jerusalem Post on-line (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&ci d=1070512329363). ********************************* Iraqis plan to revive Mukhabarat ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- by Matthew Gutman Jersusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2003 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- 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 learned. 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 consideration. 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 from Iraqis. 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 opposition parties. 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. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk