Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Iraq: Sacking of Security Leaders Raises Suspicions of ‘Political Purge’

Iraq: Sacking of Security Leaders Raises Suspicions of ‘Political Purge’

Saturday, 3 December, 2022 - 08:30
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani and Fatah Alliance leader Hadi Al-Amiri (INA)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani, in record timing, has imposed unprecedented administrative changes by sacking hundreds of security officials and replacing them with individuals loyal to the Coordination Framework.

The Coordination Framework is an umbrella bloc of Iraqi Shiite parties united mostly by their opposition to the Sadrist movement.

Ahmed Taha Hashim, popularly known as Abu Ragheef, who occupied the post of the head of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior's intelligence wing, was among those fired.

Hashim was dismissed alongside the commander of the border guards and the police and anti-narcotics agency undersecretaries. Moreover, dozens of high-ranking federal police officers were fired.

According to local media, the total changes that took place in the first month of Al-Sudani’s government included more than 900 positions. These positions mainly belonged to the interior ministry and the national security and intelligence agencies.

Al-Sudani pledged, since he took office early November, that “his government’s decisions would be under the umbrella of the law and the constitution.” But recent changes, because they were many at once, stirred doubt among Iraqis that they could be politically motivated.

Clearly, recently dismissed security officials are affiliated with the former prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

While reliable sources expect “memos to be issued against a number of those sacked,” they talked about a “deliberate purge within the government in favor of influential partisan bodies within the Coordination Framework.”

It is known that Coordination Framework representatives often accuse prominent officials that worked under Al-Kadhimi’s administration of misconduct. They, however, only do so in the media, without referring to investigative bodies.

The fact is that the personalities appointed by Al-Sudani’s government, as replacements for those dismissed, were active in the governments of Nuri Al-Maliki, Haider Al-Abadi and Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

They had lost their positions under Al-Kadhimi.

Editor Picks