Thursday, July 15, Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi unveiled plans for a new intelligence unit, the General Security Directorate, which he said was needed to “annihilate terrorist groups.” He did not reveal who would be called up for the new unit. DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources in Baghdad reveal that Allawi is acting on an Iraqi version of the old adage, it takes a thief to catch a thief, by recruiting entire militias of terrorists and insurgents “to annihilate terrorist groups,” alongside the New Iraqi Army bequeathed by the Americans. In particular, he is calling up Baathist insurgent units wholesale.
His recruitment campaign is in full flight under the direction of deputy minister for security Barham Salih, former deputy prime minister of Kurdistan.
Salih has done quite well in a short time. Our sources say he has mustered numbers of Shiite fighters from the pro-Iranian Badr Brigades and the Dawa militia. He has also persuaded Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani to contribute 15,000 militiamen to the national counter-terror effort.
Next week, prime minister Allawi takes off for a fund-raising tour of Middle East capitals in the hope of persuading Arab rulers to cough up for a crash training programs for the New Iraqi Army. Allawi attaches great importance to his visit to Amman. He hopes Jordan will accept many thousands of new Iraqi recruits for training as officers and NCOs under Jordanian instructors. This officer corps will be the backbone of the new force. Baghdad is already in negotiation with Amman on this ambitious training program. So far, Jordan says it lacks the facilities for training thousands of Iraqis but will consider setting up a special school to run mass training courses.
Both Iraq and Jordan are short of money to finance the project. Allawi has offered the Hashemite kingdom a generous supply of free oil, treading in the footsteps of his predecessor, Saddam Hussein who gave Abdullah’s father King Hussein all the oil Jordan needed in return for his support in Gulf War One.
The Jordanians are less than enthusiastic about cooperating with the interim Iraqi government in this grand military training enterprise, for pressing reasons of security. Rapid recruitment of insurgents and militiamen does not allow for the proper screening of the new intake to separate out al Qaeda adherents. Allawi faces the same problem. There is no time to systematically weed the al Qaeda terrorists and foreigners out from among the Baathist guerrillas and other Sunni militias.
Abdullah is especially concerned after foiling yet another al Qaeda plot emanating from Syria.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly reveals that Jordan recently stopped a large convoy of some half dozen trucks packed with explosives and chemicals on its way from Syria to carry out terrorist operations in Saudi Arabia and Amman. This week, Jordan relayed to Washington photos of the trucks and evidence gathered from interrogations of captured al Qaeda crews. Our sources report King Abdullah was heard grumbling angrily that Syrian president Bashar Assad had better stop feigning ignorance of al Qaeda activity based in Syria, or else face a major crisis in Jordanian-Syrian relations including closure of their border. He was overhead on Sunday, July 11, at the wedding of Turkish prime minister Teyyep Erdogan‘s daughter in Ankara, declaring that enough is enough; Assad must stop letting al Qaeda use Syria as a springboard for terrorist attacks all over the Middle East or face the music.