Although initially subordinated to the Ministry of Defense, in the early 1980s it was re-subordinated to report directly to the Presidential Palace. Estimates of the size Istikhabarat staff ranged from 4,000 to 6,000.
This Branch was responsible for all administrative affairs for Military Intelligence.
The Political Branch was responsible for the collection of info from defence attaches in Iraqi diplomatic missions. Intelligence was also collected through other agents, such as the extensive networks of informants in Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt. Informants were equiped with sophisticated clandestine communications systems. During the Iran-Iraq War agent reports from Iran on the results of Iraqi air raid supplemented aerial imagery from the Iraqi Air Force.
The Special Branch was primarily responsible for investigations and clandestine operations.
- 1st "Persian" Battalion [Iran]
- 2nd "Saudi Arabia" Battalion
- 3rd "Palestine" Battalion [Israel]
- 4th "Turkish" Battalion;
- 5th "Marine" Battalion [sea-borne operations, mine warfare, etc]
- "Opposition" battalion
Although the Istikhabarat security unit responsible for countering dissent throughout the military was established as a separate agency [the Military Security Service, or Al Amn Al-Askariyya] in 1992, Istikhabarat retained a security unit to monitor its own personnel.
This "deep penetration" unit, responsible for domestic and international clandestine operations, was headquartered at the army base at Salman Pak, southeast of Baghdad. Unit 999 activities included infiltratration of opposition militias in the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq, a planned effort by the unit to kidnap the US commander General Schwarzkopf from Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, and sabotage attacks on Iranian oil installations in the 1990s.
Initially Unit 999 had five battalions of 300 men apiece, and later another battalion was formed to counter Iraqi opposition groups.
In 1994, following the founding of the Iraqi National Congress [INC] opposition group, the Istikhabarat was assigned the role in monitoring and countering the opposition to the Saddam regime. The "Opposition" includes comprises sections dealing with Kurds in the north and Shias in the marshes of the south.
The Military Brigade included a rapid intervention battalion to respond to security threats in the Baghdad region.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|