Iraq, Intelligence and Security Agencies in

Iraq, Intelligence and Security Agencies in


Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, under the rule of Saddam Hussein, the intelligence and security agencies of Iraq, commonly referred to as the Mukhabarat , included the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), Amn al Amm, Special Security Service (SSS), Fedayeen Saddam (named after the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein), Murafaqin, and Al Hadi.

The GID was tasked to collect and analyze foreign and domestic intelligence. The GID operated under state security officers and utilized a staff of nearly 4,500 intelligence officers and operatives. Following the Persian Gulf War, until weapons inspectors were expelled by Iraq in 1998, GID personnel often acted as "minders" for United Nations weapons inspectors and were tasked with both developing intelligence regarding inspector activities and with carrying out disinformation events designed to thwart inspector's efforts to identify prohibited weapons.

In 1993, American forces launched an attack using Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed GID headquarters in retaliation for a failed Iraqi attempt to assassinate former United States president George H. W. Bush during his visit to liberated Kuwait.

The Amn al Amm (also known as the General Security Service) functioned as a secret police force under the control of the Iraqi Security Directorate. Amn al Amm personnel were tasked with spying on Iraqi citizens to ensure loyalty to Hussein's regime—and to prevent anti-government rebellions from organizing. Amn al Amm officers were integrated into local police units throughout Iraq. A good deal of Amn al Amm's operations were devoted to developing and maintaining extensive files on Iraqi citizens.

The Amn al Khas (also known as the Special Security Service or Presidential Affairs Service) was under the direct control of one of Hussein's sons, Qusay Hussein. Under the close and brutal control of Qusay, Amn al Khas contained highly motivated Ba'thist party members who were intensely loyal to the Hussein family and served as Hussein family bodyguards. Following the Persian Gulf War, Qusay directed Amn al Khas troops in the hiding of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. U.N. weapons inspectors were continually thwarted by Amn al Khas personnel to the extent that the U.N. weapons inspectors failed to find evidence of Iraq's extensive biological weapons program (e.g., anthrax production) until they received information following the 1995 defection of Hussein Kamil, Saddam's son-in-law. Kamil was later lured back to Iraq by promises of leniency, and, despite the pleas of Saddam's daughter, who was married to Kamil, he was tortured and executed.

Qusay Hussein reportedly directed Amn al Khas personnel in the vicious suppression of a rebellion by Shi'a groups in southern Iraq who led a failed rebellion against the Hussein regime following the Persian Gulf War. Qusay's troops also directly controlled Iraq's chemical weapons program and arsenal.

The Fedayeen Saddam (translated as Men of Sacrifice) was a group of zealous paramilitary thugs and criminals under the control of Saddam's son Uday Hussein. Qusay was also known to exercise control over the Fedayeen during some operations. Numbering nearly 40,000 troops, the irregular Fedayeen forces carried out harassment operations against U.S. led coalition forces and supply lines during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Murafaqin (Companions of Saddam) security personnel were composed of Hussein's al Bu Nasir tribal kinsmen. They acted as a protective secret service for the Hussein family—and often contributed guards assigned to physically protect Hussein family members.

The Al Hadi, also known and Department 858 or Project 858, functioned as Iraq's signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) service under Hussein's rule.

Qusay Hussein and his brother Uday were killed in a firefight with U.S forces on July 22, 2003.



Marashi Ibrahim al-. "Iraq's Security and Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis," Middle East Review of International Affairs 6, no. 3 (September, 2002).

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