This issue has long been a major bone of contention. The de-Baathification process was started by the Supreme National Commission for de-Baathification, formed by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority headed by US administrator Paul Bremer in 2003. Then, the Supreme National Commission was replaced by the Supreme National Commission for Accountability and Justice in 2008.
The Supreme National Commission for de-Baathification successfully dismissed many senior Baathists from state institutions, while the Supreme National Commission for Accountability and Justice made gains in the opposite direction, allowing many Baathists to resume their jobs, according to a former member of the Baath Party who declined to give his name.
He told Al-Monitor that the reason behind the prosecution of Baathists and de-Baathification was that “some ruling parties fear the return of the Baath Party to the [political] arena, as they have failed to lead the country since 2003,” the year the Baath Party was overthrown following the US invasion of the country.
“The timing of the de-Baathification law reflects fears of the future in the post-Islamic State phase, as the Baath Party has wide popularity in the Sunni-majority areas of northern and western Iraq. This frightens Sunni politicians in those areas, prompting them to forge alliances with Shiite parties to approve the law,” the Baathist source said.