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Iraq: former interior minister warns of coup involving Saddam-era official

Iraq’s former Interior Minister, Baqir Jabr Al-Zubeidi, has warned of a conspiracy aiming for a military coup led by Baathist Izzat Al-Douri, who was the Vice President under Saddam Hussein

Iraq's former Interior Minister, Baqir Jabr Al-Zubeidi, has warned of a conspiracy aiming for a military coup led by Baathist Izzat Al-Douri, who was the Vice President under Saddam Hussein.

In an article published yesterday on his Facebook page entitled "The Next Military Coup in Iraq", Al-Zubeidi said, "The conferences held by the dissolved Baath Party in America and other Western countries are the nucleus of what is happening now in terms of movement led by the party's military wing."

Al-Zubeidi served under Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. "These conferences were mobilised by some personalities who are affiliated with the political process after the American invasion of the country in 2003 and fled Iraq, and from Baathists residing in Iraqi Kurdistan and Western countries," he said, noting that they ended with the decision to delegate the military wing to the Baath after the party's project failed.

READ: Iraq: PMF denies involvement in Erbil rocket attack

The former minister, who is also a leader in the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq, said that "intensive training" was carried out by the Baath's military wing in the northern Diyala province, east of the capital Baghdad and in what is known as the "Triangle of Death" (Makhoul, Khanouka and the Hamrin Mountains). The purpose of this training was to support the alleged plot which would see officers from the pre-2003 US invasion government of Iraq and fighters affiliated with the Naqshbandi order, under the auspices of Al-Douri trying to overthrow the current government.

Al-Douri is currently on the run, although there have been several reports over the years claiming that he was killed, but these turned out to be false. During the Iraq War, he launched his own insurgency against the occupation, led by a movement called the Naqshbandi Army. The movement is described as a blend of pan-Arab nationalism and fundamental Islamic beliefs. In 2014 it was reported that the Naqshbandi Army was in an alliance with Daesh as it swept across Mosul before it fell out and clashed with the jihadist group.

READ: Iraq arrests 2 Daesh militants in Baghdad

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