Maliki and the Story of the White Coup

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Former members of the Baath Party and supporters of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein have reportedly conspired to launch a bloodless coupe against the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

According to a report published by the Iraqi daily al-Bayyna al-Jadidah, "the White Coup" against al-Maliki that had the endorsement of the United States, was masterminded by Baathist figures, including Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri and Yunis Ahmad-- both close aides to Saddam.

Based on reports, the coup plotters-- including some new leaders of the Baath Party-gathered in the Baghdad neighborhood of Yarmouk three weeks ago to discuss the plot.

The scheme covered many areas of activities to weaken and finally overthrow the democratically- elected government of al-Maliki. The coup plotters were planning to infiltrate their elements into Iraq's ministries, spread propaganda against al-Maliki's government, stage anti-government protests and crate chaos in the war-torn country. They wanted to infiltrate members of some Sunni groups with pro-Saddam sympathy into key ministries such as the Ministry of Defense, the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Economy. The zero hour of the coup codenamed "the Liberation of Baghdad" is believed to be two weeks ago.

In a seemingly reaction to the recent developments, Iraq's Vice President, Adel Abdel Mahdi had earlier raised the alarm about the possibility of coup in the already crisis-hit country and warned against the Army's interference in politics. He called for defining the framework of the armed forces' activities and tasks.

There is no doubt that the Iraqi Army and security agencies critically need reorganization. Some reports based on reliable documents have suggested that US spy agencies and the Baath Party have managed to embed their agents in the country's military and security institutions.

Based on reports circulated by the media last year, some 22 terrorist cells with connections to the Saddam regime joined forces in an umbrella group under the common leadership of al-Duri.

Former members of the Baath Party have undoubtedly been involved in many cases of insecurity and violence in the country which has turned into a focal point of terrorist activities since the US invasion of the country in 2003.

The Iraqi government launched a security crackdown in the country a few months ago and several terrorist cells have since been disbanded in the flashpoints of insurgency. A majority of the arrested members of these cells have links to the Baath regime and Baathist elements whose connections could be traced back to US intelligence circles.

The question here is why "a plot for coup" should be surfaced at a time when the Iraqi security forces have managed to restore relative calm to many parts of the country, after months of struggle.

There is no doubt that the government of Maliki which came to power through a democratic election has been facing many conspiracies hatched by extremists and Baathist elements at home and Hawkish US politicians who see the government-- which is seeking the religious authorities endorsement in key decision makings-as an obstacle to achieve their goals. The Maliki government has distanced itself from the puppet regime the US was seeking to bring to power after the occupation of the country.

The stance adopted by Maliki regarding many sensitive issues has outraged the White House in many instances to the extent that Washington has reportedly had to send strong messages to Maliki warning that he might face dire consequences.

Some observers believe resurfacing reports about a coup plot against Maliki are part of a propaganda war aimed at casting doubt on the competence of the Iraqi government and its security forces.

One should keep in mind that the White House has been pushing the Maliki government into integrating the former members of the Baath Party who have blood of the innocent on their hands, into the country's political system. It was the White House that tried to convince the Iraqi government to revise the Debaathification Law under which ex-Baath members are banned from assuming sensitive jobs in the country.

Hence, rumors about the possibility of a coup-which seems a threadbare story- may be considered as a new effort by Washington to intimidate the Iraqi government and end the political isolation of ex-Baath members.


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