On April 30, 2009 Iraq’s cabinet announced that it was introducing a law in parliament to disband the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC is supposed to be replaced by a Committee for National Security, which will be part of the cabinet. The current National Security Advisor is Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a longtime former exile Shiite politician.
The Americans set up the NSC when the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) was running the country. CPA Order 68 created the body, and Paul Bremer appointed Mowaffak al-Rubaie its head in April 2004. Previously he was a member of the Iraqi Governing Council that was also put together by the CPA. He was known for his ties to the Shiite clerical elite such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, and Abdul Majid al-Khoei.
Rubaie continued to be National Security Advisor under the interim government of Iyad Allawi until September 2004 when the Prime Minister replaced him over disputes on how to deal with Moqtada al-Sadr. Rubaie later regained his position as part of the United Iraqi Alliance after the 2005 elections, and has held that post ever since.
As part of his duties Rubaie oversees Iraq’s intelligence services. Those include the National Intelligence Service, and the Collection, Management and Analysis Directorate, which are supervised by the National Intelligence Coordination Committee.
Before the U.S. invasion Rubaie was an Iraqi exile, doctor, and author, who fled the country in 1979. During that period he first worked for the Dawa Party, then al-Khoei’s foundation in England, before finally joining the Iraqi National Congress. He returned after the overthrow of Saddam, and worked his way into the Shiite establishment and government.
Rubaie’s duties could be taken up by Shirwan al-Waili, the Minister of State for National Security, who is a Dawa member and ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. A government spokesman said this move was being made as part of a restructuring of the security apparatus. It could very well be another move by the Prime Minister to centralize power. Maliki already appoints commanders, created a separate intelligence service, and has direct control of an anti-terrorism unit and the Baghdad Brigade that protects the Green Zone in the capital. Replacing Rubaie and his office, which were appointed by the Americans, could be another way for Maliki to put his stamp on the government and assert his authority.
Abdul-Ahad, Gaith, “Six years after Saddam Hussein, Nouri al-Maliki tightens his grip on Iraq,” Guardian, 4/30/09
Agence France Presse, “Iraq moves to dissolves National Security Council,” 4/29/09
Alsumaria, “Iraq cancels National Security Advisor post” 4/30/09
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Biedermann, Ferry, “IRAQ: Mostly Outsiders Appointed Ministers,” IPS, 9/4/03
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