Special Republican Guard (SRG)
[Special Forces Brigade of the Presidential Palace]
The praetorian Special Republican Guard (SRG) was responsible for protecting the president and providing a military response to any attempt at a rebellion or coup. The SRG was the only significant military unit allowed in central Baghdad, apart from the intelligence services' military branches. This elite para-military unit was founded in early 1992 [some accounts say March 1995] by Saddam Hussein. Although sometimes confused with the elite military forces of the Republican Guard, it was an entirely separate entity with quite different functions and capabilities.
Key regime protection assets, such as the Special Security Organization and the Special Republican Guard, largely recruited from Saddam's al-Bu Nasir tribe and other nearby tribes that had good relations with the al-Bu Nasir. The SRG was filled with recruits drawn from Tikrit, Baiji, al-Sharqat and small towns south and west of Mosul and around Baghdad -- areas and clans noted for their loyalty Saddam's person and regime.
The Special Republican Guard, also known as the "Golden Division," was paid higher salaries and accorded priority in getting food and prescription drugs. The Special Republican Guard bridged the capabilities gap between the regular Army and the security apparatus. The primary mission of the Special Republican Guard was to work with the Special Security to protect Saddam, and the two units together became known as the Organization of Special Security (OSS).
The Special Republican Guard was responsible for, among other things, the security of the capital, Baghdad, as well as Saddam's family palaces and other vital facilities of the regime. It was at the center of disputes between Saddam and the UN weapons inspectors, UNSCOM, notably when Saddam refused access to Special Republican Guard facilities where illegal weapons of mass destruction were hidden. The most important player in this role was a sector of Iraq's Special Republican Guard known as the National Monitoring Directorate.
The Government of Iraq crossed a new threshold of noncompliance with its cease-fire obligations in early June 1996 when it repeatedly blocked attempts by U.N. weapons inspectors to enter certain Iraqi government facilities. The investigators from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) were attempting to enter Special Republican Guard sites where they believe Iraq may be hiding information on its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. in the late summer of 1996 UNSCOM, guided by its electronic intelligence, targeted a cluster of Hussein's Special Republican Guard facilities believed to be hiding weapons related materials.
In June 1997, UNSCOM inspectors tried to inspect the 4th battalion headquarters of the Special Republican Guard at the complex in Jabal Mokhul. UNSCOM reported that it had information that Iraq's Special Republican Guard, 2nd Battalion had shuttled BW agents between a military training center and al-Bakr University. Trucks shuttled weapons contraband from storage sites, which were changed every 90 days in the early years and every 30 days after 1997, to a network of temporary hide sites when UN inspectors approached. Physical security for the hiding places fell to the 2nd and 4th Brigades of the Special Republican Guard, while other units performed related functions.
Initially, the unit consisted of some 15,000 young troops, composing thirteen battalions of 1,300-1,500 men each. Subsequently this force grew to upwards of 26,000 troops in thirteen battalions. Units were deployed to guard Saddam's palaces, to escort Saddam on his travels, and others as `emergency response' forces. As of 1998 the SRG was estimated to include about 15,000 troops. As of 2002 the SRG was estimated to include about 12,000 troops, reportedly with armor, air defence and artillery units. These were variously reported to consist of as many as 14 battalions, apparently organized into four Special Republican Guard brigades of up to 2,500 troops each.
This new unit, responsible to Qusai Saddam Hussein, was reportedly under the immediate command of Major Safa' Mustapha Magtoof, one of Qusai's personal guards, who was previously the manager of a Special Security office in Nidhal Street in Baghdad. Staff Major General Namiq Mohammad was also reported as the immediate commander of this unit.
In August 1997 Saddam Hussein reportedly appointed Major General Kamal Mustafa Al Tikriti [Major Jamal Mustapha Abdullah Al-Tikriti], in place of his second son, Qusay, as commander of the Special Republican Guard. However, as of June 1998 General Kamal Mustafa was reportedly the Director of the SRG Information Desk. General Kamal Mustafa was the most prominent professional officer amongst Saddam's immediate family. Jamal Mustafa, his brother, is married to Saddam's youngest daughter, Hala. General Mustafa is married to the sister of Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law who was murdered on the dictator's orders when he returned to Iraq in 1996.
Among the targets in the December 1998 Operation Desert Fox were the security forces most loyal to Saddam Hussein. Unconfirmed reports after the bombing indicated that 600 Special Republican Guard members and up to another 800 regular Republican Guard troops were killed.
Field Artillery Command
The Field Artillery Command was headquartered at Ridhwaniyeh at the Makasib intersection where many veterans of the 1991 uprising were detained. These prisoners were shunted back and forth to elude UN inspections. The Command consisted of two batteries located at the entrance of Al-Rasheed military hospital.
Mortars Command was headquartered at Abu-Ghraib near the former site of the first inspection point.
The Communications Command was located in the Zawra' Gardens near the Zawra' Tower. It consisted of several platoons and used several models of wireless instruments as well as civilian and military phone lines.
The Chemical Platoon was an independent platoon located near the First Regiment (Anti-Aircraft), on the airport runway near the former ceremonial reception hall.
The Transport Platoon had, as of June 1998, recently been established. Its primary mission was to take care of all the vehicles of the central command. It was also responsible for furnishing the top officers with vehicles for personal use. It was located at the former site of the Revolutionary Court at the Abu-Ghraib camp.
Supplies and Transport Command
The Supplies and Transport Command had, as of June 1998, recently been established. Its primary mission was to take care of all the vehicles of the central command. It was also responsible for furnishing the top officers with vehicles for personal use. It was located at the former site of the Revolutionary Court at the Abu-Ghraib camp.
Repair and Towing Workshop
The Repair and Towing Workshop was tasked with repairing vehicles belonging to the Special Republican Guard. It was located at the site of the old Revolutionary Court at the Abu-Ghraib camp.
Military Police Platoon
The Military Police Platoon was located at the command headquarters and at the inspection points on the periphery of Baghdad city and at the main transportation depots at Al-'Alawi and at Al-Nahdha.
The Accounting Directorate was headquartered at Hayy 'Amil, behind the Central Markets at the head of the Airport Highway near the Umm Al-Tubool Mosque. The building formerly belonged to the Finance Ministry and it also housed a special communications room called "One-One", which was the central communications desk between the Special Intelligence, Amin Al-Khass, and the Special Republican Guard. This desk covered the road from the Palace to the airport and links the patrols and officers stationed along that road.
The unit consisted of several departments:
- Accounting department;
- Verification department; and
- Expenditure department.
The ammunitions silo lay at Hayy Al-Furat near the seventh battalion and near the "ASKWA" residential complex that housed the members and officers of the Special Republican Guard (between the seventh and second battalions).
Quality Control was headquartered at Abu-Ghraib near the Supplies and Transport Command. Its back-up Regiment was headquartered at Abu-Ghraib while its Self-propelled Artillery Regiment was headquartered at Ridhwaniyeh.
- Tank Platoon stationed at Ridhwaniyeh.
- Intelligence Platoon stationed at the Republican Palace. It consisted of the Abu Nawwas Squad, of a patrol squad, traffic squad, and police squad. The patrol squad is distributed at the Republican Palace, Hayy 'Amil and 'Amiriyah. The inspection squad's duties were to supervise surveillance cameras and equipment at Hayy 'Amil and the ministries of Defense and Oil, as well the "special" road.
- Broadcasting Station Defense Platoon was headquartered at As-Salihiyeh. It was numerically equivalent to a battalion.
- The Elite Mobile Platoon was headquartered at the Republican Palace.
- The "Special Squad" which was numerically equal to a platoon.
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