Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- At the same time that the Baghdad Operations Command confirmed that it had formed plans to thwart any attempts of a coup in Iraq following the US withdrawal, Kamal al-Saadi, a leader in the Islamic Dawa party and a member of the United Iraqi Alliance did not rule out the possibility that some parties in Iraq would attempt to stage a coup.
Al-Saadi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that a number of forces wish to stage a coup in Iraq “including the Baathists, as well as various militant [groups], former army officers and former members of the security services. In addition to this, there is the presence of certain political figures that outwardly belong to the new political system but inwardly have relations with the afore-mentioned forces.”
Al-Saadi added “There is also a desire [to stage a coup] from some of the regional countries, and this is an old desire to effect regime change in Iraq.” Al-Saadi gave the example that “between 2005 – 2006 there were calls to establish a so-called National Salvation government [in Iraq].”
Al-Saadi went on to say that “these regional powers dream of a National Salvation government and still have this desire, this can be seen in their provision of support…whether with regards to the staging of a military coup, the creation of a National Salvation government, or even to changing the political balance [in Iraq], and if all of the above attempts fail, to [at least] produce a government at the next election that is subject to some form of regional influence and which will [therefore] implement their agenda.”
Al-Saadi revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “these forces are ready to spend billions of dollars to implement this agenda” but emphasized that “all of the above are wishes, and are difficult to implement as those who wish to stage a coup are not thinking of doing this until thy have US approval.”
Al-Saadi added “the situation in Iraq and its political and constitutional structure prevents military involvement in attempted coups due to the existence of the constitution, the parliament, and various political parties. The Iraqi street has also become strongly involved in the political system. We must also not forget the role played by the religious authorities and the media that have contributed to creating social and political forces that differ from those seen previously [in Iraq].”
Al-Saadi also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “ideological discourse has declined in Iraq, and no longer has the influence that it once did in Iraqi society. Therefore those attempting a coup at the present time will be unable to easily convince the Iraqi street [of this], especially as the Iraqi street has already experienced coups and dictatorship and will therefore absolutely reject any new risks in Iraq, especially following the Baathist experience.”
For his part, Hamid al-Moala, a leader in the Islamic Supreme Council, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the security services had not ruled out the potential for a coup “but we are not seriously considering this theory, however the security services take precautions for all possibilities, even if their prospects of taking place are low.”
Al-Moala added “The security forces have played a significant role in stabilizing the situation in Iraq, but there are soft areas in these forces that have been infiltrated, and this is an issue that must be resolved as soon as possible, especially as these forces have begun to assume direct responsibility [following the withdrawal of US forces.]
Ahmed Anwar, an MP of the Kurdistan Alliance revealed that some political parties fear that members of the current security services who previously belonged to the now dissolved Baathist party will attempt to stage a military coup.
In a statement to the press, Anwar said that “There are fears that there are breaches in the security services, particularly the army, especially after many were restored [to their former positions] following Debathification…but in spite of this I believe that the question of a coup taking place I Iraq is something that is unlikely to happen.”