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 range from 4,000 to 6,000.
This Branch is responsible for all administrative affairs for Military Intelligence.
The Political Branch is responsible for the collection of from defence attaches in Iraqi
diplomatic missions. Intelligence is also collected through other agents, such as the extensive networks of informants in Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt. Informants are 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 is primarily responsible for investigations and clandestine operations.
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 retains a security unit to monitor its own personnel.
This "deep penetration" unit, responsible for domestic and international clandestine operations, is headquartered at the army base at Salman Pak southeast of Baghdad. Unit 999 activities have 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 more recently 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.
- 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
The Military Brigade includes a rapid intervention battalion to respond to security threats in the Baghdad region.
Sources and Methods
- "Inside Iraq's security network - Parts One and Two" Sean Boyne JANE'S INTELLIGENCE REVIEW Volume 9, numbers 7 & 8, July and August 1997
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