January 12, 2005


Ayatollah alarms Sunnis with pledge of security force purge: Election favourite says that he will root out former Saddam acolytes (James Hider, 1/12/05, Times of London)

AN IRANIAN-BACKED Ayatollah tipped to become Iraq’s first elected leader in decades said yesterday that he would carry out a purge of Iraq’s intelligence and security structures if his party wins power.

Ayatollah Abdelaziz al-Hakim told The Times that under US occupation and the interim administration the security forces had become infested with former officers of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led regime and needed to be shaken up. His comments are likely to worry Sunnis, who already fear that their grip on government is slipping.

“There are major infiltrations, varying in degree from the Mukhabarat (secret intelligence service) to Interior Ministry and to a lesser degree the Ministry of Defence. Some of them are semi-infiltrated,” he said. “Sometimes we come across their secret reports, where they use similar idioms and expression to those used in Saddam’s time, as if Saddam’s times were still here. This is sometimes painful, but sometimes it makes you laugh.”

One of his aides told The Times that intelligence officers were still asking Shia detainees who was behind the 1996 assassination attempt on Saddam’s son Uday, while others were asked who they had fought with in the Shia uprising of 1991.

This was one of the most urgent reasons to turn over sovereignty in 2003, because the Shi'a can better identify who needs dealing with and have less restraints on them in doing so.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 12, 2005 8:43 AM

--His comments are likely to worry Sunnis, who already fear that their grip on government is slipping.--

It's 2005 and they've just recently realized this????

Posted by: Sandy P at January 12, 2005 10:19 AM

As some commentators have mentioned, the Sunnis cannot possibly win a civil war at this point on their own. That's one thing that above all else the US has guaranteed. (If we leave then possibly with, say, Saudi help they could. But I would expect Iran to get involved at that point.) They can learn this the easy way, or the hard way. Too many of them seem to be opting for the hard way, but in the end, they will be the biggest losers.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 12, 2005 10:43 AM

This also explains why those who say we should not have disbanded the army and police forces after Bagdad fell were terribly wrong.

Posted by: jd watson at January 12, 2005 1:21 PM

Is there anyplace where I can make a donation to Iraq for rope?

Posted by: ray at January 12, 2005 10:09 PM