Iraqi intelligence agency culls 'Iran investigations' department

Iraqi intelligence agency culls 'Iran investigations' department
Iraq's new intelligence chief, Mustafa al-Kazmi, has moved hundreds of intelligence staff responsible for investigating Iranian elements and closed the department - a possible sign of changing priorities.
2 min read
02 March, 2017
Iran's influence on Baghdad's security forces has been steadily growing for years [AFP]

The Iraqi intelligence agency’s ‘Iran Division’, reportedly formed under American supervision in 2004, has been steadily abolished over the past two months - in a clear sign of Baghdad’s increasing ties with Iran.

Around 300 Iraqi intelligence agents responsible for investigating Iranian elements in Iraq have been either fired or shunted to a new department, a government official close to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told The New Arab.

"The Iran Division existed to issue periodic reports on Iranian activity and to monitor Iranian consular staff in Baghdad and Najaf," an informed source inside the intelligence service told The New Arab.

The department’s closure was reportedly ordered by the new head of Iraq’s intelligence services, Mustafa Abdel Latif, often referred to in the media as Mustafa al-Kazmi.

Kazmi replaced Major General Zuhair Gharbaoui in June last year, as part of a massive cull to expel pro-American directors and senior managers from influential positions by previous Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Kazmi is a high-ranking official in Maliki’s al-Daawa party and the son-in-law of Mehdi al-Alaq, Maliki’s office manager and the General Secretary of the Council of Ministers.

The Iraqi intelligence agency was formed in 2003 under the auspices of the American CIA. It reportedly cost a total of $3 billion to set up and currently employs at least 10,000 people.

Since the US’ gradual withdrawal from Iraq, Iranian influence over the Shia-majority Iraqi government has increased steadily.