Iraqi Agencies

All information presented here is only relevant to the period before the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. All these agencies can now be considered inactive.

Political power in Iraq is concentrated in a repressive one-party apparatus dominated by Saddam Hussein. The provisional Constitution of 1968 stipulates that the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party (ABSP) governs Iraq through the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), which exercises both executive and legislative authority. The Revolution Command Council has the power to override the Provisional Constitution at any time and without judicial review. Parallel to the normal institutions of government the Baath Party enjoys special status pursuant to the Leading Party Act No. 142 of 1974. The Republic of Iraq is structured so as to concentrate enormous powers in extremely few hands, with all power ultimately situated in the person of the President of the Republic. President Saddam Hussein, who is also Prime Minister, Chairman of the RCC, and Secretary General of the Regional Command of the Baath Party wields decisive power. Iraq is a dictatorial, totalitarian State which allows no political dissent. Freedoms of opinion, expression, association and assembly do not exist in Iraq. Of vital importance to the maintenance of the present political regime in Iraq is the complex, vast and infamous security apparatus which the President controls directly, and through his youngest son Qusai Hussein. The position of power enjoyed by the President is subject to the most extreme abuse which continues to bear especially heavily upon any threat of opposition - real or perceived. The Government's security apparatus includes militias attached to the President, the Ba'ath Party, and the Interior Ministry. They play a central role in maintaining the environment of intimidation and fear on which government power rests. Security forces have committed widespread, serious, and systematic human rights abuses. The personal protection of Saddam Hussein is ensured by three mutually controlling units, called "protection units." The largest of these units is the Republican Guard led by Saddam Hussein’s son Qusai Hussein. The general office of the military intelligence service [the Istikhbarat] is directly responsible to the Office of the President of Iraq. The internal intelligence service is called the Mukhabarat. Both Saddam's younger son Qusai and elder son Uday are active in the management of these entities.

The elevated and protected status both of the security apparatus and of the Baath Party extends the scope and effects of abuse of power throughout the country. A substantial increase in official corruption (essentially government tolerated, if not encouraged, by the Government) and criminality has only exacerbated the situation, rendering the whole population subject to the arbitrary, widespread and self-centred interests of a privileged class of government officials and Baath Party leaders. Impunity even for serious assaults and extra judicial killings encourages the abuse of power. The regime has a long record of executing perceived opponents allegedly involved in plotting against President Hussein, including high-ranking civilian, military, and tribal leaders, as well as members of his family and clan. An attempted coup d’état in March 1995 was organized by Maj.-Gen. (retd) Wafiq al-Samaraii, the head of Iraqi military intelligence during the Gulf War, was followed by wide scale executions, arrests and collective punishment. After Saddam's daughters and his sons-in-law, Lieutenant-General Hussein Kamel [head of Iraq’s special weapons program] and Colonel Saddam Kamel al-Majid, defected to Jordan in August 1995, the Government reportedly arrested scores of midlevel military and civilian officials for their association with the defectors. The two sons-in-law of President Saddam Hussein, Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel, were brutally murdered on 23 February 1996, just three days after they had returned to Iraq apparently believing the President's promise of pardon for their defection to Jordan in August 1995. Shortly after entering Iraq, the two and over 40 relatives, including women and children, were killed in what the official Iraqi press described as the spontaneous administration of tribal justice. Other members of the al-Majid clan were also arrested or disappeared. A large number of military officers were arrested at the end of June 1996 on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the regime. Some 400 officers of various ranks were executed, including some senior Republican Guard officers, notably Brigadier General Ata Samaw'al who is said to have been the commander of the Special Communications Unit attached to the Office of the President. These executions were ordered directly by Saddam Hussein and supervised by his eldest son, Uday.

Iraqi troops executed 96 members of an Iraqi opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress (INC), in the Koshtape suburb of Arbil after capturing them on 31 August 1996. Following the withdrawal of Iraqi military troops from Arbil on 2 September 1996, members of the Iraqi intelligence forces stayed behind in the city where they rounded up suspected Iraqi opposition activists. In retaliation, US forces attacked southern Iraq with cruise missiles and expanded the southern flight-exclusion zone in Iraq from the 32nd to the 33rd parallel. Mass arrests and many executions followed the attempted assassination of the President's eldest son, Uday Hussein, on 12 December 1996. Arrests and detentions without judicial orders numbered in the thousands cutting across all military forces and security services, the Baath Party, tribal leaders close to the President, and even extending to within the President's immediate family. The security apparatus is responsible for maintaining an all-pervasive order of repression and oppression which is sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror, including summary and arbitrary executions; the widespread routine practice of systematic torture; enforced or involuntary disappearances; suppression of freedom of thought, expression and association; and routinely practiced arbitrary arrests and detention. Arbitrary arrest and detention remain widespread throughout the country, with people still being taken directly from their homes. Upon arrest, gross mistreatment and cruel torture occur. Tens of thousands of political killings and disappearances remain unresolved from previous years. As socioeconomic conditions have deteriorated, the regime has punished persons accused of economic crimes, military desertion, and a variety of other charges with torture and cruel and inhuman penalties, including the extensive use of amputation. The foundation of power of Saddam Hussein's regime is a network of security and intelligence agencies which protect the president and the regime from internal and external enemies. The number and size of these agencies have multiplied over time, and by design the areas of responsibility of different agencies are duplicative, to ensure both competition among the services and to ensure that no agency emerges as a threat to the power of Saddam. Agency responsibilities can be broadly divided among foreign operations, internal security [including both against foreign intelligence agencies and domestic opponents], leadership protection [primarily physical security and counter-coup military rapid-reaction forces], as well as specialized agencies providing signals intelligence [SIGINT] and limited imagery intelligence [IMINT] technical collection capabilities. Nearly 70,000 troops are assigned to leadership protection tasks [not counting Republican Guard military formations], while the total staff level of agencies with other intelligence and security function is another 30,000 persons.

National Security Council

In addition to the regular armed forces, Iraq's state security system consists of a number organizations charged with a wide variety of security functions. Little is publicly known about many of these paramilitary and police organizations, but their importance is undisputed. They are coordinated through the National Security Council, chaired by Saddam Hussein and usually presided over by Qusai Hussein. Membership in the NSC includes; Iraqi Army; Special Security Service; General Intelligence Directorate; Military Intelligence; General Security Service; Office of the Presidential Palace. The NSC, headquartered at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad, meets on a weekly basis.

National Security Council's Joint Operations Room coordinates Iraqi security forces in Baghdad. Situated in the Presidential Palace, it is under the command of Saddam's second son Qusay, and staffed by officers from the Special Security Organisation (SSO). The deployment and movement of a number of units within the city of Baghdad is controlled by the JOR according to a daily schedule drafted by the National Security Council under the chairmanship of Saddam.

Rapid Intervention Brigade - Special Republican Guards.

Rapid Intervention Brigade - General Security Directorate.

Rapid Intervention Battalion - Department of Military Intelligence.

Security Battalion - Military Intelligence.

Technical Department - General Intelligence Directorate.

These units are connected to the JOR through a Wide Area Network of computers which were smuggled to Iraq from Jordan in the spring of 1996 in contravention of the UN sanctions on the regime.

Special Security Committee

Iraq's concealment efforts to thwart UN inspectors involve thousands of people from Mukhabarat; the Amn al-Khass, and the Special Republican Guards. Iraq routinely bars the U.N. from "presidential-residential" buildings. Qusai, the younger son of Iraqi President Saddam Husayn, is the deputy chairman of the Special Security Committee of the Iraqi National Security Council that was created in 1996 as part of the president's office. This special body also includes representatives of the Republican Guard. The Committee is supported by a staff of over 2,000 whose main task is preventing the United Nations monitoring activities from uncovering information, documents, and equipment connected with mass destruction weapons. The staff is drawn from the Republican Guard, or the Special Guard, and the intelligence services. They are recruited for this specific mission and chosen from the most efficient and loyal units. 

The responsibilities of this body are divided between two elements, each of which has a staff of about 1,000: The task of the first component is the daily work of the UN monitoring commission, including proposing sites to visit and inspect, escorting UN inspectors, preventing them from carrying out their mission. The task of the second component is to conceal documents, equipment, and materials and move them about from one location to another. Several locations have been built for collecting and hiding such selected material. This elements is responsible for material that is imported through "special channels" as part of the program of rebuilding the strategic military arsenal, including chemical and biological weapons and as well as missiles and associated technology.

Special Security Service - SSS [Al Amn al-Khas]

The Special Security Service, also known as the Presidential Affairs Department, or Special Security Organisation, is the least known but most feared Ba'thist organ of repression. During the mid-1980s the Republican Guard expanded from a small presidential guard force into a large military organisation. Consequently, the Amn al Khas (Special Security Service) was formed to act as a leadership guard unit. The SSS was established at the end of the Iran-Iraq War under the leadership of Hussein Kamil, Saddam's son-in-law and Minister for Military Industrialisation. Iraq established an extensive arms and technology procurement network in the 1980s to acquire technology, hardware and personnel for Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and missile programmes. The effort was directed by Hussein Kamil, who used Amn al Khas to coordinate the implementation of a covert network of front companies to acquire equipment, technologies, supplies and material. Kamil defected to Jordan in August 1995, and was assassinated on 23 February 1996 when he subsequently re-defected to Iraq. In January 1997 Qusai Saddam Hussein appointed Major Nawfal Mahjoom Al-Tikriti to head the Special Security Office. Currently the organization's primary task is to protect the Baath leadership in Iraq. Their ranks are filled with the most loyal troops serving in the Iraqi armed forces, whose dedication to Baathism and to Saddam Hussein personally had been tested on numerous occasions. These troops face considerable danger because the frequent assassination attempts on the president and on his close associates usually meant loss of life among bodyguards. Survivors are generously rewarded, however. Among its various responsibilities the Special Security Service is charged with surveillance of those holding sensitive positions in Intelligence, Military Intelligence, the Military Engineering Drawing Bureau, and the distribution branches of the military security agencies. Initially agency had a staff of about 1,000, but over the years the strength of the SSS grew to about 5,000 officers and soldiers who operate in plain clothes.

The Office of the Director General is located in the Hai Al Tashriya district of Baghdad. The Director General is Qusay Saddam Hussein. The Manager of the Director General's Office is Suleiman Hajim Al Nasiri, the Secretary to the Director General is Moyed Sami Ahmad Al Douri, and the Secretary to the Manager is Abbas Ayash Al Nasiri.

Special Branch elements include the Security Office that monitors SSS personnel to ensure their loyalty to the regime. The Security Office is also responsible for conducting operations against suspect members of al-Khas. Located in Hai Al Tashriya district next to the Director General's Office, this office also includes the Identification Department which produces all credentials for the SSS, the SSS prison and the security department. The Director of the Security Office is Ahmed Wahab Nasser Al Douri. The SSS Prison is in Hai Al Tashriya. The officer in charge of the SSO prison is Hassan Khalid Al Tikriti, and the deputy head of the prison is Abbas Mohammed Hamed Al Dulaimi. The security department is in Hai Al Tashriya. Located across the street from the Director General's Office. The officer in charge of the security department is Haji Zuheir Hameed Al Tikriti, and the deputy head is Muklif Sabah Ali Al Dulaimi.

The Brigade of Amn Al-Khass is a rapid-response intervention force, which if the need arose would be assisted in military operations by the Special Republican Guard. Located near Baghdad Clock, the Director is Haji Yahya Zakaria Naji Al Tikriti. The deputy director and commander of the HQ Platoon is Haji Dhari Hamid Abbas Al Nuaimi. Director of the Baghdad Platoon is Hamad Abdel Karim Al Douri. Director of the Quick Reaction Platoon is Sa'ad Nofan Al Janabi. Director of the Traffic Platoon is Captain Saber Al Jishi.

Located at the Agricultural Circle near the Council of Ministers building, the Protection Office provides bodyguards for senior SSO personnel. The Director is Habib Nahi Semiyan Al Hadithi.

The Office of Presidential Facilities provides protection and security to the Presidential Offices, Council of Ministers, National Council, and the Regional and National Command of the Baath Party. The Director is Nasser Sa'ad Waheeb Al Nasiri.

The Political Branch collects and analyses intelligence on and prepares responses to enemies of the state. Headed by Major Nawfal Mahjoom Al-Tikriti, the branch maintains extensive computer files on all Iraqis who have been identified as possible dissidents or subversives. The Political Branch includes an operations unit, headed by Haji Zuhair Al-Tikriti, responsible for operations against enemies of the state.

The Public Opinion Office is responsible for collecting and disseminating rumours. It is located at the Agricultural Circle. The Director is Samir Abdel Aziz Al Ajili.

The Administration Branch is responsible for general administration, food supplies, salaries, buildings, and other support activities. Located inside Al Hayat building, the Director of Administration is Mahmoud Shaban Abbas Al Tikriti.

The Security Institute provides training, and is located in the Hai Al Amil of the Officers' District. The Director is Mahmoud Sohail Al Tikriti, and the Deputy Director is Ghassan Zakaria Najim Al Tikriti.

Iraqi Intelligence Service - IIS [Mukhabarat] / Department of General Intelligence

The Iraqi Intelligence Service - IIS [Mukhabarat, also known as the Department of General Intelligence] is the most notorious and possibly the most important arm of the state security system. Saddam Hussien participated in an unsuccessful attempt by the Baath Party to assassinate Iraq's ruler Abd al Karim Qasim in October 1959. Between 1964 and 1966 Saddam was put in charge of the Jihaz al Khas (Special Apparatus), codenamed Jihaz al-Haneen (Instrument of Yearning) which concentrated on intelligence and security work. After the Baath Party took power on 17 July 1968, Saddam' expanded the Jihaz al-Khas, and extended his span of control to the Amn (security) state internal security department. In 1973 the Jihaz was transformed into the Da'irat al Mukhabarat al Amah (General Intelligence Department or GID) after the failed coup attempt by Director of Internal Security Nazim Kazzar. In 1982 the Department of General Intelligence underwent a personnel shake-up. At that time, it was headed by Saadun Shakir, who was an RCC member and, like Saddam Husayn, a Tikriti, and who was assisted by Saddam Husayn's younger half-brother, Barazan Husayn. Foreign observers believed that the president was dissatisfied because the agency had not anticipated the assassination attempt at Ad Dujayl. It was also believed that several separate intelligence networks were incorporated within the department, and that Iraqi intelligence agents operated both at home and abroad in their mission to seek out and eliminate opponents of the Baghdad regime. In June 1995 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein dismissed his stepbrother Saba'wi Ibrahim al-Hasan who was head of the intelligence agency, based on his failure maintain domestic security of Iraq. Brigadier Majid Hasan al-Majid, an experienced Iraqi intelligence official, replaced Ibrahim al-Hasan.

The office of the director of the Mukhabarat is situated in its own building at the main entrance of the Mukhabarat complex in the Mansour district of Baghdad. All instructions and directives flow from this office, and the director's meetings with his senior staff take place here. The current Director of the Mukhabarat is Rafi' Dahham Al Tikriti, former director of the Fourth Directorate of the Mukhabarat and former Iraqi Ambassador in Turkey. He assumed his present position on July 1, 1997. The Director up to June 30, 1997 was Mani' Abd Rashid Al Tikriti. The Manager of the Director's Office is Col. `Aayed Al Douri (Abu Tayseer), from Dour, and the Director's secretary is Capt. Muthana Al Tikriti (nephew of Mani' Abd Rashid). Subdivisions of D1: The Secretariat, Audit, Security, Salaries, Electronic equipment, Reception and appointments, Internal and external co-ordination.

The Political Bureau is probably the most important branch of the Mukhabarat. It includes a number of Directorates.

The Secret Service Directorate is located inside the headquarters complex of the Mukhabarat. Its activities take place both in Iraq and abroad, with agents of D4 infiltrated into Iraqi Government departments, the Baath Party, associations, unions and organisations, Iraqi embassies and the opposition. In addition, the Secret Service receives intelligence from the Al Hadj Project, responsible for SIGINT. The Directorate includes a number of offices specialising in the collection against a specific country or region, including offices for Southern Asia, Turkey, Iran, America (North and South), Europe, Arab states, Africa and the former Soviet Union. D4 works in co-ordination with D3, D5, D9, D12, D14, D18. The current Director of D4 is Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Al Qurtan, and the Assistant Director of D4 is Brig. Mohammed Yasin Al Shammari, from Mosul.

Located in the headquarters complex of the Mukhabarat, the Eight Directorate [Technical Affairs / Forensics] is responsible for development of materials needed for covert offensive operations. It contains advanced laboratories for testing and production of weapons, poisons, and explosives, as well as facilities for finger printing all Mukhabarat members. It also assembles cameras, radio communications equipment, and employs many engineers and scientists with advanced degrees. The current Director of D8 is Dr Mohammed Al Masri, who is of Egyptian origin).

The Ninth [Secret Operations] Directorate is one of the most important directorates in the Mukhabarat. Most of its work is outside Iraq in co-ordination with other Directorates [D5, D12, D14, and D18], focusing on operations of sabotage and assassination. The Director of D9 is currently Major General Abdul Hameed Khalaf Al Bayati, and the Assistant Director of D9 is Brig Hussain Abdul Khaliq Al Douri, from Dour.

This directorate is charged with planting video and audio bugging devices in the directorates of the Mukhabarat. Its duties also include analysing the tapes collected. It also is involved with forging currency.

Located in Jihad district [possibly at Abughreib in the western suburbs of Baghdad], the National Security Institute is responsible for training Mukhabarat officers. It also contains their supermarket. High school graduates take a three-year study course and college graduates take an 18-month course prior to entering the intelligence service as junior officers.

The Planning Office collects and analyses information from around the world, including open sources such as radio, satellite TV and newspapers.

The Propaganda Office conducts psychological warfare, including the dissemination of false stories to improve the reputation of the regime and to paint the enemies of the regime (such as the Kurds, Iran or King Hussein of Jordan) in an unfavourable light.

The Special Bureau [possibly known as Office One] conducts sensitive and highly confidential operations, including interrogation of suspects, training, and security.

Counter-Intelligence Directorate responsibilities involve detecting and countering foreign agents, with a particular focus Syrian intelligence. D5 works in co-ordination with D3, D4, D14, D18. The Director of D5 is Brig Sadoon Ali Al Tikriti, from Auja, and the Assistant Director of D5: Lt. Col. Ahmed Lahij Al Dulaimi, from Falahat village.

Located inside the Mukhabarat complex, the Sixth Directorate [possibly Office Five] is responsible for the conduct of officers and other ranks within the Mukhabarat. Its members work within all departments of the Mukhabarat, with D6 responsible for issuing ID papers, passports and marriage sanctions for all Mukhabarat personnel. The Director of D6 is Maj. Gen. Abdul Hameed Yasin Al Ghurairi, from Haditha, and the Assistant Director of D6 is Col. Ibrahim Al `Aani.

While Mukhabarat conducts interrogations in a variety of houses and buildings, main interrogation centre is located on 52nd Street opposite the Passport Office. The Al Haakimiya prison of the Seventh Directorate [Office Seven] is a large prison building of ten floors, five of which are below ground [other sources state that the building has three floors below ground level and two above].

Directorate 19 Personnel Supervision is responsible for surveillance of Mukhabarat employees.

Directorate 22 is responsible for personal protection of senior Mukhabarat officials and visiting dignitaries.

The Office [of uncertain designation] conducts training of agents for clandestine operations abroad. Agents attend a special school near Baghdad which provide language courses and orientation concerning the country to which they will be assigned. The Office also provides training for the operation itself. Special six-week courses in the use of terror techniques are provided at a camp in Radwaniyah.

Brigade of Mukhabarat is the rapid intervention force military unit of the agency, armed with light and semi-heavy weapons.

The Special Operations [14th] Directorate, located in Salman Pak 20 km south-east of Baghdad, is one of the most important and largest in Mukhabarat. This directorate undertakes the most secret and sensitive special operations outside the country. They were responsible for the attempted assassination against President Bush, and the assassination of Talib Al Suheil. It conducts joint operations with the Mujahideen Khalq Organisation, and undertakes training of specially selected officers for this type of operation. The current Director is Brig Nouri Al Douri (Abu Ibrahim).

Directorate 23 is responsible for Mukhabarat positions and operations in the south of Iraq. It is located in Basra. It is charged with following political events and infiltrating countries neighbouring southern Iraq.

Directorate 24 is responsible for Mukhabarat positions and operations in northern Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Based in Mosul, with an office in Kirkuk, it is responsible for infiltrating the opposition in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Directorate 25 is charged with operations and recruitment of agents in Syria and Jordan. It also co-ordinates smuggling and gun-running across these borders and co-operates with tribes on both sides of the border. The Director of D25 is Brig Jamal Amr Al Rawi.

Directorate 26 is responsible for operations in Karbala Governorate.

Directorate 28 is charged with the security of all Military Industrialisation Organisation facilities. It was established after the defection of Hussein Kamil in August 1995. The Director of D28 is Col Abdel Hamid Khalifa Al Dulaimi.

Military Intelligence / Al-Istikhbarat al-Askariyya

The primary functions of Military Intelligence are ensuring the loyalty of the military and gathering military intelligence, but it is also involved in foreign operations. The responsibility of Military Intelligence for detecting enemy infiltration in the armed forces allows the agency to target all domestic opponents, since military service is compulsory for all male adults, and Al-Istikhbarat has virtually unlimited authority in Iraqi Kurdistan. Major General Wafiq Jassim al Samarra'i, who defected to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), was replaced in January 1995 by Brigadier General Abdel Qadar Salman Khamis, who is believed to be a relative of Saddam Hussein. 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.

Unit 999

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. 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. 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.

Al Hadi Project (Project 858)

The Al Hadi Project (Project 858) is the organization responsible for collecting, processing, exploiting and disseminating signals, communications and electronic intelligence. Al Hadi is estimated to have a staff of about 800. Though it reports directly to the Office of the Presidential Palace, Al Hadi is not represented on the National Security Council, and the intelligence it collects is passed on to other agencies for their utilization. Al-Hadi facilities include a headquarters at Al Rashedia, about 20 km north of Baghdad, which operates in three shifts around-the-clock. Five other ground collection stations are located elsewhere around Iraq. Although these facilities were damaged by Coalition attacks during Desert Storm the war they have been restored to fully operational status. Beginning in late 1995 Iraq banned direct-dial international telephone service from Iraq, with all calls instead being routed through an operator-assisted telephone exchange at Al Rashedia. Operator recordings of the calls are evaluated by a committee that includes Mukhabarat, Estikhabarat and Amn Al-Khass personnel. Direct-link satellite telephone traffic is monitored by the Al Hadi Project. The organisation's sophisticated computer equipment includes systems acquired from Japan in 1983-84 to intercept and exploit both domestic and international communications traffic. Al Hadi monitoring stations are able to locate clandestine radio transmitters within 30 seconds after transmissions commence. Monitoring the military communications of other countries in the region is also a priority, including communications between Operation Provide Comfort facilities at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and the Provide Comfort Military Co-ordination Centre in Zakho, northern Iraq. Al Hadi also monitored communications of the Iraqi National Congress [INC], and communications between the two main Kurdish groups in northern Iraq, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP).

Air Force

by 1990 the Iraqi air force consisted of 40,000 men, of whom about 10,000 were attached to its subordinate Air Defence Command. The Air Defence Command piloted the five MiG-25s which were Iraq's sole source of operational imagery intelligence, MiG-21, and various Mirage interceptors and manned Iraq's considerable inventory of surface to -air missiles (SAMs). The air force was headquartered in Baghdad, and major bases were located at Basra, H-3 (site of a pump station on the oil pipeline in western Iraq), Kirkuk, Mosul, Rashid, and Ash Shuaybah. Iraq's more than 500 combat aircraft were formed into two bomber squadrons, eleven fighter-ground attack squadrons, five interceptor squadrons, and one counterinsurgency squadron of 10 to 30 aircraft each. Support aircraft included two transport squadrons. The equipment of the air force, like that of the other services, was primarily of Soviet manufacture. After 1980, however, in an effort to diversify its sources of advanced armaments, Iraq turned to France for Mirage fighters and for attack helicopters. Between 1982 and 1987, Iraq received or ordered a variety of equipment from France, including more than 100 Mirage F-1s, about 100 Gazelle, Super-Frelon, and Alouette helicopters, and a variety of air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, including Exocets.

Military Security Service [Al Amn al-Askariyya]

The Military Security Service (MSS, or Amn Al-Askariyya) is responsible for detecting and countering with dissent in the armed forces. Initially constituted as part of the Special Bureau of the Estikhabarat, in 1992 it was established as an independent entity reporting directly to the Presidential Palace. Commanded by Staff Major General Thabet Khalil al Tikriti, the MSS is headquartered in the Aladhamia district of Baghdad near the Military Intelligence Service headquarters. The 5,000 staff of the Askariyya monitor every formation and echelon in the armed forces, and investigate corruption and embezzlement within the armed services. Units within the MSS also include the military brigade of the MSS and the Security Unit which monitors the MSS itself.

General Security Service [Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Amma]

The Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Amma (General Security Service) Secret Police was an element of the Ministry of the Interior civilian police force until the late 1970s, when it was established as an independent agency reporting directly to the Presidential Palace. And in the late 1980s a number of detectives were transferred to Amn from the anti-crime section of the civilian police. The total Amn personnel is currently estimated at about 8,000, The Amn internal security mission includes wide authority to concerning political and economic activities defined as "crimes", including smuggling and manifestations of disloyalty or opposition to Saddam's regime. The agency operates an extensive network of informers, under the auspices of the 1970 Law no. 83 "The Law of Securing the Trustworthy [al-Mu'taman] in Defending the Revolution." The agency's responsibilities have diminished with time, as other organizations have assumed many of its former responsibilities. But with its pervasive local presence Amn remains an important local element of the Iraq intelligence apparatus. The Amn was initially headquartered in the Bataween district of Baghdad. In 1990 Amn moved to a new headquarters in the Al Baladiat area of the city, with the Bataween building becoming the agency's main prison. The Secret Police also has a number of additional facilities and office buildings. Amn maintains a presence in every town and village, with personnel stationed in civilian police stations across Iraq normally the "ordinary" police are on the ground floor and the Secret Police on the second floor. The Security branch is responsible for monitoring and countering dissent within Amn, and the Military Brigade provides rapid intervention para-military capabilities [the Brigade commander was executed in August 1996 for alleged involvement in coup attempt]. Amn is currently headed by Staff Major General Taha al Ahbabi, who previously headed the Military Security Service and served as the head of the secret service section of the Mukhabarat. As with many other senior Iraqi leaders, he is a native of Saddam's home town of Tikrit.

Special Republican Guard (SRG) [Special Forces Brigade of the Presidential Palace]

The Special Republican Guard (SRG) is responsible for protecting the president and providing a military response to any attempt at a rebellion or coup. This elite para-military unit was founded in March 1995 by Saddam Hussein, 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. 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 are deployed to guard Saddam's palaces, to escort Saddam on his travels, and others as `emergency response' forces. This new unit, responsible to Qusai Saddam Hussein, is reportedly under the immediate command of Major Safa' Mustapha Magtoof who is 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 has also been reported as the immediate commander of this unit.

Republican Guard

During the late 1970s and the mid-1980s, the Iraqi armed forces underwent many changes in size, structure, arms supplies, hierarchy, deployment, and political character. Headquartered in Baghdad, the army of an estimated 1.7 million or more Iraqis, including reserves (actual numbers not available) and paramilitary--in 1987 had seven corps, five armoured divisions (each with one armoured brigade and one mechanized brigade), and three mechanized divisions (each with one armoured brigade and two or more mechanized brigades). And by the close of the Iran-lraq war the Iraqi Army General Headquarters supervised up to ten corps headquarters, which performed administrative and logistical tasks and directed operations. Each corps commanded as many as ten armoured, mechanized, or infantry divisions, depending on the tactical situation. The brigade was normally the smallest unit to operate independently. Also subordinate to the General Headquarters but separate from the regulars was the corps size Republican Guard Forces Command, which constitutes the shock troops of Iraq's military. Originally created to protect the government, its tanks, mechanized infantry, infantry, and special forces had done well in the Iran-lraq war as a theatre reserve for counterattacking Iranian breakthroughs. By 1987 this Force had grown to three armoured divisions, one infantry division, and one commando division. Saddam Hussein's August 1990 offensive into Kuwait with Republican Guard, mechanized, and special forces caused concern in Washington and Riyadh over whether the Iraqis would continue their drive south into Saudi Arabia. In September 1990 the Iraqis repositioned their troops, with infantry units taking the place of mechanized formations along the border, mechanized troops moving into immediate reserve, and the Republican Guard five full divisions and a separate regiment redeploying into theatre reserve, just north of the Iraq-Kuwait border.

The envelopment and destruction of Republican Guard units was a high priority of Coalition planners. During the Desert Storm ground campaign the American 24th Infantry Division encountered the heaviest resistance of the war. The Iraqi 47th and 49th Infantry Divisions, the Nebuchadnezzar Division of the Republican Guard, and the 26th Commando Brigade took heavy fire but stood and fought, but the 24th Division trapped most of the Republican Guard divisions. The 1st Armoured Division hit the Tawakalna Division of the Republican Guard, and the 3d Armoured Division fought its toughest battles in defeating elements of the Tawakalna Division. These Armoured Divisions subsequently engaged remnants of the Tawalzalaa, Madina, and Adnan Divisions of the Republican Guard. 

A typical Republican Guard armoured division would include the following elements: 

Divisional Headquarters

2 Tank Brigades
3 Tank Battalions
1 Mechanized Infantry Battalions
1 Motorized Special Forces Company
1 Engineering Company
1 Reconnaissance Platoon
1 Medium Rocket Launcher Battery
1 Mechanized Infantry Brigade
3 Mechanized Infantry Battalions
1 Tank Battalion
1 Antitank Company
1 Motorized Special Forces Company
1 Engineering Company
1 Reconnaissance Platoon
1 Medium Rocket Launcher Battery

Divisional Artillery Brigade
3 Self-Propelled Artillery Battalions (155mm SP)
2 Self-Propelled Artillery Battalions (152mm SP)
2 Self-Propelled Artillery Battalions (122mm SP)

Separate Units:
3 Motorized Special Forces Battalions
1 Reconnaissance Battalion
1 Antitank Battalion
1 Engineer Battalion

Saddam's Martyrs ["Men of Sacrifice"] Fedayeen Saddam

The paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam (Saddam's `Men of Sacrifice') was founded by Saddam's son Uday in 1995. In September 1996 Uday was removed from command of the Fedayeen. Uday's removal may have stemmed from an incident in March 1996 when Uday transferred sophisticated weapons from Republican Guards to the Saddam Fedayeen without Saddam's knowledge. Control passed to Qusay, further consolidating his responsibility for the Iraqi security apparatus. The deputy commander is Staff Lieutenant General Mezahem Saab Al Hassan Al-Tikriti. The Fedayeen, with a total strength reportedly between 30,000 and 40,000 troops, is composed of young soldiers recruited from regions loyal to Saddam. The unit reports directly to the Presidential Palace, rather than through the army command, and is responsible for patrol and anti-smuggling duties. Though at times improperly termed an "elite" unit, the Fedayeen is a politically reliable force that can be counted on to support Saddam against domestic opponents


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