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Iraqi Intelligence Service - IIS [Mukhabarat]

The Iraqi Intelligence Service - IIS [Mukhabarat] was also known as the Department of General Intelligence or the General Directorate of Intelligence (Al-Mukhabarat Al-A'ma). It was the most notorious and possibly the most important arm of the state security system. It was the main state intelligence body and was primarily concerned with political and security problems. It consisted of two major departments covering internal and external activities respectively. It was the equivalent of the CIA and the FBI rolled into one (or MI5 and MI6).

At the top of the pyramid, the Mukhabarat was responsible for watching the other police networks and controlling the activities of state institutions, the army, government departments and "non-governmental" organisations (youth, women, labour, etc.). A special security section of the Mukhabarat commanded the party's paramilitary groups. Officially, the Mukhabarat was part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In practice, it did come under the ministry's jurisdiction but acted instead on the direct orders of the RCC. Mukhabarat agents operated in State structures, in the various organisations and associations, in the diplomatic corps and abroad.

Saddam Hussein participated in an unsuccessful attempt by the Baath Party to assassinate Iraq's ruler Abd al Karim Qasim in October 1959. Between 1964 and 1966 Saddam was put in charge of the Jihaz al Khas (Special Apparatus), codenamed Jihaz al-Haneen (Instrument of Yearning) which concentrated on intelligence and security work. After the Baath Party took power on 17 July 1968, Saddam' expanded the Jihaz al-Khas, and extended his span of control to the Amn (security) state internal security department. In 1973 the Jihaz was transformed into the Da'irat al Mukhabarat al Amah (General Intelligence Department or GID) after the failed coup attempt by Director of Internal Security Nazim Kazzar.

In 1982 the Department of General Intelligence underwent a personnel shake-up. At that time, it was headed by Saadun Shakir, who was an RCC member and, like Saddam Husayn, a Tikriti, and who was assisted by Saddam Husayn's younger half-brother, Barazan Husayn. Foreign observers believed that the president was dissatisfied because the agency had not anticipated the assassination attempt at Ad Dujayl. It was also believed that several separate intelligence networks were incorporated within the department, and that Iraqi intelligence agents operated both at home and abroad in their mission to seek out and eliminate opponents of the Baghdad regime.

With the Mukhabarat, in 1983, Barzan Al Tikriti organised the massacres of the villagers of Al Dujail and Jezan Al Chol, the disappearance of the Barzanis from the Qushtapa camp and the assassination of 90 members of Ayatollah Al Hakim's family. Barzan Al Tikriti and the Mukhabarat are believed to be responsible for the assassinations of opponents abroad (including Ayatollah Mehdi Al Hakim in Sudan in January 1988 and Dr Ayad Habashi in Rome on 16 October 1986), links with terrorist organisations, money laundering and arms purchases. Some secret service chiefs, including Nazim Kzar and Fadhil Barak, have also been murdered by the Mukhabarat on Saddam Hussein's orders

In recent years, and as a direct result of the Gulf War, the external department was reduced to less than half of its pre-1990 size, while the internal department was enlarged to deal with increasing anti-regime activities in Iraq.

In 1993, the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) directed and pursued an attempt to assassinate, through the use of a powerful car bomb, former U.S. President George Bush and the Emir of Kuwait. Kuwaiti authorities thwarted the terrorist plot and arrested 16 suspects, led by two Iraqi nationals.

In June 1995 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein dismissed his stepbrother Saba'wi Ibrahim al-Hasan who was head of the intelligence agency, based on his faliure maintain domestic security of Iraq. Barzan Al Tikriti, Saddam's ruthless half-brother, was then appointed permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Brigadier Majid Hasan al-Majid, an experienced Iraqi intelligence official, replaced Ibrahim al-Hasan.

In January 1998, after a meeting with Turkish officials in Ankara, representatives of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan met with Iraqi officials in Baghdad. The Chief of the Iraqi intelligence service Rafa Daham El-Tikriti met with the PUK leader Celal Talabani. The Baghdad authorities were said to be seeking to set up an alliance in accordance with the 1991 framework of autonomy, between the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the KDP. The Chief of the Iraqi Intelligence service Rafa Daham El-Tikriti met with members of the PUK politburo and Celal Talabani in the city of Suleymaniye.

One killing believed to be politically motivated included that of Intelligence Chief Rafa Daham Mujawwal Al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's second cousin and the former Iraqi ambassador to Turkey. Rafa died 11 October 1999, three days after he was removed from his post. Government explanations for his death included both that he had died in a car crash and that he had suffered a heart attack. Some opposition sources said Rafa was killed for failing to protect information about Iraq's military deals with Russia, although others asserted that Rafa's reputed rivalry with Uday Hussein was a factor that led to his death.

When the death of Iraqi security chief Rafa Daham Tikriti was announced in October 1999 by Baghdad, doubts immediately arose over the official explanation that his death was an accident. For one thing, there were Baghdad's conflicting accounts of how he died. First the state media reported he had died in a car crash. Then the cause of death changed to a heart attack. The discrepancy raised speculation Baghdad was seeking to cover up a third explanation for his demise -- execution. Since Rafa Takriti's death, the signs he was assassinated have steadily grown. His death follows his dismissal by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein -- his second cousin -- only a week earlier. The dismissal followed reports Saddam had ordered an investigation into who in the intelligence service was responsible for leaking details of an alleged secret Iraqi arms deal with Moscow. Rafa Takriti was killed as a matter of standard practice after being removed from office. He may in part have fallen victim to power struggles in Baghdad over who will succeed Saddam Hussein. According to some analysts, Rafa Takriti fell in a power struggle between one of his patrons, Barzan Takriti, and Saddam's older son Uday. Rafa Takriti had previously served as an aide to Barzan. And he had remained loyal to Barzan -- who is Saddam's half-brother -- as Barzan has pushed a claim to succeed Saddam against Uday and Saddam's younger son Qusay. Rafa Takriti may have fallen victim to Uday as a way for Saddam's oldest son to strike out at Barzan.

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