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Iraqi Shia militias protest against removal of officers from intelligence service

March 17, 2021 at 2:14 pm

An Iraqi fighter of the Hashed al-Shaabi monitors during a campaign gathering for the Fateh Alliance, a coalition of Iranian-supported militia groups, in Baghdad on 7 May 2018, ahead of Iraq’s parliamentary elections to be held on 12 May [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images]

Iraqi Shia militias have protested against the government’s expulsion of about 300 officers, most of whom are Shia, from the country’s intelligence service, Anadolu has reported. The militias accused the United Arab Emirates of manipulating the security establishment and controlling its positions.

According to a member of the Parliamentary Security and Defence Committee, Kata’ Al-Rikab, the committee intends to question the deputy head of the intelligence service about the claims that a UAE intelligence team now controls the service.

Iraqi security and strategic expert Ahmed Al-Sharifi told Arabi 21 that the intelligence apparatus has been subject to political hegemony and was not established according to a state based upon institutions, but rather on quotas. Whenever a party took power, he explained, it brought in its own people.

“Every institution based on this is far from impartial and does not perform its role” said Al-Sharifi. “In order to correct the performance of this institution and link it to the state and not to the parties, radical and comprehensive reform is necessary. Every process that purges institutions of partisanship and partisan quotas is in the right direction, even if it affects a specific sect, because a particular sect should not take over institutions. Iraq is a multi-sect society.”

The analyst pointed out that regional and international forces continue to influence Iraq’s political affairs, including its institutions. He did not rule out the possibility that the intelligence officers had been removed in order to change the management’s loyalty to a certain party.

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