Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- Baghdad security official Rhiadh al-Abdullah, has said that the number one issue for Iraq’s new Prime Minister will be to develop the Iraqi government’s intelligence orginazations.
In a statement to Asharq al-Awsat, he said that it is a priority issue for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki specifically because it was not clear who was in charge of intelligence. He added that the intelligence service has had no serious role to play in dealing with developments, especially those that fall under its area of responsibility.
Al-Abdullah said, “I think the prime minister’s recommendation on this issue will be serious. This is a new service and it is meant to be closely linked to the Council of Ministers. In this manner, it can facilitate the implementation of government tasks in a more centralized manner. Also, it will coordinate with other security departments in order to control the situation,” which he described as tragic.
He also pointed out that it was possible for security forces, particularly the Defense Ministry, to control the situation, “if they really want to do so. For example, the phenomenon of forcing people to leave their areas on sectarian grounds could have been prevented in some areas if there had been coordination between the Defense Ministry and the security forces working in those areas. The present government, therefore, should work on reforming the situation at this ministry. Many senior officers in the Defense Ministry do not deal with the situation seriously, particularly in hot areas. They hold back either for sectarian reasons or for fear of reprisal. Moreover, some of them are biased in favor of the residents of these areas, especially those who commit serious crimes such as displacing people or murder and so on. This should change, and the change should be through other forces that are far removed from this kind of bias. I think this is possible. Men with qualifications exist, and they are ready to serve their country honestly.”
Commenting on a statement by the Baghdad police chief, Brigadier Khalid al-Ubaydi, who said that many killings in Baghdad are motivated by tribal revenge, Al-Abdullah said, “This is not true.” He said, “Some incidents might be due to this motive, but the majority of cases are terrorist acts. Their motive is to incite sectarian strife and to spread fear among the citizens.” He expected that the security situation would improve in the next few weeks. This will reduce the problem of displacement, “because the prime minister’s plan concentrates on returning the displaced people to their areas and protecting those areas.”
Al-Abdullah also referred to the problem of the militias and said that the Council of Ministers will prioritize it. He said, “The people in charge should study this issue and solve it as soon as possible. If weapons continue to remain in the hands of people other than state forces, as Al-Maliki has pointed out, there will be no security in the country. Therefore, this issue should be dealt with in a practical way. There should be a distinction made between the communal militias and the real and major militias. To deal with the latter, appropriate job opportunities should be provided for the members of these militias and they should be merged into other institutions. However, their cases should be dealt with on an individual basis and not collectively.”