To view my infographic, please click on the following PDF link (the website I used wouldn’t let me download my infographic without buying a membership, so I had to screen-shot it and convert it into PDF format): Mukhabarat
In creating this infographic, I learned much about Mukhabarat, and how it was used in Iraq under Saddam Hussein in order to safeguard his complete and total authoritarian control of the state. To be clear, many of the agencies of Mukhabarat still exist today, but al-Marashi’s article focuses specifically on Saddam’s rule (as it was written in 2002). Mukhabarat was Iraq’s security apparatus under Saddam, and it consisted of five main agencies: General Security, Military Intelligence, Special Security, Military Security, and General Intelligence. These separate yet overlapping agencies, as well as the Ba’ath party and select units of the military, all worked to ensure the safety of Saddam. In addition, they ensured that “every aspect of Iraqi life” was under Saddam’s complete control (al-Marashi, 2002). General Security monitored the Iraqi people day-to-day, making sure to keep everyone constantly under their watch (and in a very public way). Military Intelligence worked to gather information on the military and to ensure that the members of the military remained loyal to Saddam. Military Security also focused on the loyalty of the armed forces. Special Security suppressed all domestic opposition to the regime. Finally, General Intelligence infiltrated anti-regime organizations. One example of such an anti-regime organization is the Iraqi National Accord, based in Jordan (al-Marashi, 2002). Although these agencies had largely overlapping jurisdictions, they rarely shared information or worked together. This tactic promoted competition between the different agencies. It also prevented any one agency from gaining enough power to revolt against Saddam. Within each agency itself was an additional security unit which monitored the members of that agency to ensure their complete loyalty to the regime. All of this information was reported directly to the Presidential Palace, with no middle man in the agency passing it along. Collectively, these agencies collected and analyzed extensive data on countless “enemies of the state”, many of whom were Iraqi citizens (al-Marashi, 2002). All of these agencies, the Ba’ath party and the select units of the military worked to keep tabs on everyone (including themselves), to keep fear running rampant, and to keep Saddam completely safe and in absolute control of Iraq at all times.
Unfortunately, I most definitely think that this form of authoritarian control applies beyond Iraq. Syria is a prime example. In the 1950s, Syria had 5,000 non-military security forces, including a “National Gendarmérie of 2,800, a Desert Patrol of 400 and 1800 police” officers (Pike). Thus, this Mukhabarat style of authoritarianism is most certainly not confined to Iraq.
al-Mashari, Ibrahim. “Iraq’s Security and Intelligence Network; A Guide and Analysis.” Rubin Center, 1 Sept. 2002, www.rubincenter.org. http://www.rubincenter.org/2002/09/al-marashi-2002-09-01/.
Pike, John. “Intelligence.” Syria Intelligence and Security Agencies, http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/world/syria/intro.htm.