Overhauling Iraq’s Intelligence Services

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s security and armed forces suffer from a lack of intelligence-gathering capabilities that has affected their ability to draft plans and mechanisms for combating terrorism.

The parliament’s Security and Defense Committee on Aug. 14, 2014, linked deterioration in the security situation to the ineptitude of the security apparatuses and the state of their intelligence capabilities.

This reality stems from the bitter experience of authorities having failed to anticipate the ongoing attacks on Iraqi cities, particularly Baghdad. The Security and Defense Committee noted on May 11 that security breaches and criminal acts are escalating in the city and asserted that the breaches there are part of the Islamic State’s (IS) strategy to take its battle to the capital.

Iraqi authorities have also failed to thwart terrorist acts during direct confrontations with IS. On May 17, IS announced its full control over the city of Ramadi, after the Iraqi army fled the scene.

Iraq’s inability to establish an effective intelligence apparatus, despite security forces waging daily battles against terrorism and thousands giving their lives, has had a grave and detrimental effect in reducing the government’s political as well as security options. It has also had catastrophic repercussions on the ground through IS’ expansion and with security breaches costing the country dearly in material and human losses.

On June 10, Hashd, a nongovernmental organization examining crimes committed in Iraq for potential genocide, announced, “The losses incurred by the Iraqi security and popular mobilization forces since the fall of Mosul on June 10, 2014, followed by the security incidents and violent battles against terrorist groups, reached around 40,000 victims, 25,000 injured and 3,000 missing.”

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