Jalabi claimed that “the leadership of Jabhat al-Nusra in Iraq includes officers in the former Iraqi army, and late President Saddam Hussein’s intelligence and security services, who currently oversee the coordination between the fighters in Iraq and Syria.”
Jalabi added that “the Iraqi army is conducting security operations to cut off communications between gunmen on both sides.”
Yet, Jalabi, head of the Nineveh support council — a security formation affiliated with Maliki — confirmed that the infiltration of gunmen does not take place through official border crossings, but through large swaths of land that make up the long border between Iraq and Syria.
On the other hand, Saadoun Shaalan, a member of the Anbar Provincial Council, told Al-Monitor that “the armed clashes between Iraqi forces and gunmen on the Syrian side are increasing along the border.”
Shaalan expressed his belief that the Iraqi army cannot confront gunmen in the desert because it does not have experience in such a harsh environment.
Ali Abel Sadah is a Baghdad-based writer for both Iraqi and Arab media. He has been managing editor for local newspapers as well as a political and cultural reporter for more than 10 years.