Fears of a Coup in Iraq; U.S. Advises Politicians To Be Cautious
Iraqi political and security sources in Baghdad and the mid-Euphrates provinces have warned of a real danger of a military coup or of an attempt by Shi'ite military militias, associated with Iran, of taking control of the regime in Iraq.
A political source told the daily al-Sharq al-Awsat that Iraqi leaders have resorted to fortifying their offices and homes and to limiting their movements in the capital. Some of these warnings were delivered by the Iraqi security forces or by the U.S. military command in Iraq.
The same source told al-Sharq al-Awsat, "We do not completely exclude a military coup, since Iraq's political history is replete with military coups."
Nouri al-Maliki, who serves as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has surrounded the capital with military units [said to be the size of six divisions] that are under his orders. However, in the case of a failure to form a government, military leaders might initiate a coup under the pretext of preserving the security and political situation in the country.
Other factors that could prompt a coup arise are anchored in the feelings of many "old guard" officers who have been marginalized with the promotion of sectarian-oriented officers with little military training or experience. There is a real conflict between the old guard with training in military academies and long service in the military and the young officers who carry senior ranks thanks to their political or sectarian affiliation.
The other source of danger for Iraq, although it is considered insignificant, may come from the Righteous Leagues ['asaa'ib ahl al-haq] that are armed and trained by Iran that would act in collaboration with Battalion of Hizbullah [kata'ib hizbullah] which is codified as a terrorist organization with links to Al-Qaeda.
In the meantime, the third shipment of 36 U.S. Abrams tanks has arrived at Um Qasr port in Basra.
[Given the history of Iraq, the availability of tanks that can be employed by a coup cannot be disregarded.]
Sources: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, October 8, 2010; http://www.alsumaria.tv October 7, 2010
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