Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Alleged coup-plot: Saudi-American anti-Syrian scheme, or something else?

Further to the first item in the previous post about the reported arrest of 34 alleged neo-Baath officers in the Interior Ministry:

An Iraqi newspaper called AlQawat alThalitha (the third power) says today that the wave of arrests has not stopped, and has now included Sunni, Shiite and independent Arabist officers not only in the Interior Ministry, but also in the Ministry of Defence and police forces, the arrests now numbering a total of 66. The paper cites what it calls very highly-placed officials in the government and in the Green Zone, who say there is a ongoing investigation that is top-secret, based on the idea of a planned coup relating to the Awda party, which is a Baath offshoot.

The paper says it knows of two specific people arrested in this, and they are [military title] Jaafar, who is general director of the police directorate, and with him the person who is director of policing for the Rusafa district in Baghdad. Then starting a new paragraph:
And the Minister [of the Interior] Jawad Bolani..and from Dubai where he is looking after his holdings and his real estate, said "Maliki is a victim of a scheme launched by Mowaffaq al-Rubaie and Shirwan al-Waili", and he refuses to participate in these investigations, demanding instead a clean and neutral council, and otherwise he will resign and disclose all of the files and matters that have been covered up.

[Meanwhile] the investigation is expanding to include charges against these officers respecting their connections with certain Arab organizations, and certain Sunni groups that are participants in the government, with the aim of organizing a coup against the current government.
The paper reminds readers of remarks made to it by a professor Samir Ubeid, an expert in Iraqi affairs, on Monday, when the arrest-total was still only 32, to the effect that this appears to be based on a scheme hatched by the Saudi authorities with Mowaffaq alRubaie, to heat up animosity toward Syria and damage Iraq-Syrian relations, considering that the Awda Party connection has to do mainly with ex-Baathists residing in Syria whom Rubaie accused, starting in the last few days, of being instigated by the Syrian authorities. On this theory, they are trying to draw Maliki into this scheme, but fundamentally it is Saudi inspired and directed against the Iraq-Syria relationship. Ubeid is skeptical about the coup-plot idea, noting that the number (32 at that time) seems highly exaggerated and not at all a number that the alleged Baathists would be able to mobilize within the Interior Ministry. He adds: "And it appears that these [aims of hurting Iraq Syrian relations via this wave of arrests] are American aims..." but he doesn't elaborate on that point.

(With the inevitable h/t to LB of RoadstoIraq).


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