Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Conspiratorial Mind of Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lived in exile for over twenty years, while Saddam Hussein was in power. As a member of the outlawed Islamic Dawa Party, he felt like his life was in danger, and ended up fleeing to Syria and Iran. During his years living abroad, he was in a world of intrigue facing internal divisions within Dawa, having to deal with government and intelligence officials from Tehran and Damascus, and the other exile opposition parties. Back in Iraq, Dawa was conducting an armed struggle against the regime, leading to constant round-ups and executions, meaning that Maliki was always under threat from Baghdad’s agents. Those long years away from home, shaped Maliki, and how he saw politics. After the U.S. invasion in 2003, Maliki returned to Iraq mistrustful of others, and with a conspiratorial mind, which has played a large role in how he has governed as premier.
PM Maliki saw the Americans organizing the Sons of Iraq during the Surge as a plot against his government (DVIDS)
An example of how Maliki’s history played a role in his leadership style was how he reacted to the formation of the Sons of Iraq (SOI) during the Surge. In early 2007, tribes, insurgents, and others began organizing in places like Diyala against Al Qaeda in Iraq. In June, General David Petraeus decided to support the formation of Sunni groups to fight the insurgency, as part of the Surge’s overall strategy of trying to separate those that were capable of reconciling from those who were not. While the prime minister agreed to set up a committee to deal with the SOI, he and his officials relentlessly attacked the program at the same time. They said the fighters would eventually turn against the government, because they were full of Al Qaeda members, insurgents, and Baathists. As a result, Baghdad refused to pay them as the U.S. continually asked them to do, and threatened to disband the SOI units as soon as the fighting was over. (1) Since many of the SOI were militants it was no surprise that the prime minister would refuse to accept them. In 2007, Iraq was still in the middle of a very bloody sectarian civil war, so it was understandable that a Shiite politician would be weary of a bunch of Sunni fighters put together by a foreign power. Where Maliki’s past came in to play was how he interpreted the SOI program. The Americans continually tried to convince the prime minister that the Sons of Iraq were a positive development since it was draining away support from militants, and helping to improve security. Instead, Maliki took the SOI as a plot by the Americans to overthrow his government. He continuously refuted the U.S.’s explanations, and instead thought in terms of conspiracies. To him, the only reason why the Coalition forces could be working with people who were formally fighting the government was to undermine it. That’s why even though Maliki agreed to integrate the SOI in December, he continued to deride them, and more than four years later there are still 30,000 fighters without public jobs as they were promised. To this day, Maliki still appears to be weary of the Sons of Iraq.
When Maliki found out that his State of Law list came in 2nd in the 2010 elections he claimed fraud (KPA/Zuma/Rex Features)
When Iraq held parliamentary elections in March 2010, the prime minister cried foul. As soon as the results were made public, and his rival Iraqi National Movement (INM) came out as the winner, Maliki claimed that it had cheated. He said that up to 750,000 votes were involved, which had cost his State of Law list 11 seats in parliament, enough to make it the winner. The premier said that the Election Commission was responsible, and was working for his opponents, and the United States, which was against his re-election. He ended up calling for a recount, but it did not change the results. Maliki then blamed that on the United Nations and the United States for not listening to his complaints, and trying to impose what he considered unfair election results upon him. It didn’t end there. The next year, State of Law accused the Election Commission of being pro-INM, and ran an unsuccessful no confidence vote against it in parliament in July 2011. Again, Maliki revealed the same set of thinking as he did with the Sons of Iraq. He was convinced that everyone was arrayed against him from the Iraqi National Movement to the Election Commission to the United Nations to the United States. He believed that all of them were working together to deny him a second term in office by fixing the 2010 vote, and forcing the results upon him in a grand plot.
Maliki has taken meetings like these between Saudi King Abdullah (r) and Iyad Allawi (l) as a sign that they are conspiring against him (Middle East Online)
That wasn’t the end of the drama surrounding the 2010 election. As the Iraqi National Movement continued to oppose Maliki and attempted to hold a no confidence vote against him, Maliki saw another group of players opposing him. Before and after the voting, INM leaders like Iyad Allawi and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi made a number of regional tours to countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others. All of those countries supported the National Movement during the vote. State of Law took those trips as a sign that all those powers were working with the National Movement to depose him. To Maliki, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the others were trying to bring back Sunni rule in Iraq, and that’s why he believed that they were behind the INM and the no confidence vote.

Finally, nothing seems to be beyond Maliki’s conspiratorial thinking. Iraq has had electricity problems since the 1991 Gulf War when most of its infrastructure was bombed. Maliki’s government has consistently said that it would fix the power grid, but supply has never met demand. There are constant black outs as a result, and protests have broken out in the last three years as well. Instead of blaming poor planning or other issues, State of Law instead pointed the finger at a regional plot. In August 2012, a State of Law politician claimed that foreign countries were working with officials within the Electricity Ministry to cut production, undermine its development programs all in an attempt to bring down the government. It would not be surprising if Maliki saw this as a continuation of the 2010 election as his rivals have failed to get rid of him politically, so now they are attempting to foster a public uprising against him. It seems like Maliki and his followers are incapable of analyzing any event without thinking of it as some sort of covert plan by their enemies to destroy them.

The years spent abroad gave Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a distorted view of politics. Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group has postulated that Maliki’s apprehensions and fears served him well as an exile since he survived those turbulent times, but that those are exactly the wrong characteristics to be a leader of a country. The prime minister is not just playing hardball tactics or trying to grab power for power’s sake. Instead, his time in exile has made him paranoid that his enemies are constantly working against him. At one time or another he has seen the Sons of Iraq, the United States, the United Nations, the Election Commission, the Iraqi National Movement, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar as all plotting against him. This is the reason why he has concentrated more and more authority in his hands. To him, and too many others of Iraq’s ruling elite, politics are a zero sum game. If Maliki didn’t assume control of the security forces for instance, his rivals would, and they would use it against him. He therefore believes he must take those types of actions to survive in post-Saddam Iraq. The fact that this has increased opposition to him only makes Maliki more paranoid that various forces are ganging up against him rather than attempting to compromise and defuse the situation. The prime minister’s mindset simply does not allow him to change, meaning that there will be future crises and continued deadlock, which Maliki will all see as plots and conspiracies against him.


1. Hadid, Diaa, “Iraq pledges to disband Sunni volunteer militias,” Associated Press, 12/23/07


Agence France Presse, “Former Iraq PM Allawi defends tour of Arab states,” 2/23/10

AIN, “Hal MP: “Hall Bloc rejects toppling Maliki,”” 6/8/12

AK News, “Egypt and Qatar within regional tour of Al-Iraqiya,” 4/1/10
- “No fraud in more than 2000 Baghdad polling stations,” 5/6/10

Associated Press, “Baghdad recount could change Iraq election results,” 4/19/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “Al-Hashemi meets Saudi king,” 4/15/10
- “Maliki’s coalition urges vote recount in 5 provinces,” 4/11/10

Burns, John and Rubin, Alissa, “U.S. Arming Sunnis in Iraq to Battle Old Qaeda Allies,” New York Times, 6/11/07

Chulov, Martin, “Iraqi elections hit with claims of fraud by opposing parties,” Guardian, 3/16/10

Dreazen, Yochi and Shishking, Philip and Jaffe, Greg, “U.S. Shifts Iraq Focus As Local Tactics Gain,” Wall Street Journal, 9/4/07

Gordon, Michael, “The Former-Insurgent-Counterinsurgency,” New York Times, 9/2/07

Hadid, Diaa, “Iraq pledges to disband Sunni volunteer militias,” Associated Press, 12/23/07

Hassoun, Nasir, “$28 Billion Allegedly Squandered on Electricity Projects in Iraq,” Al-Hayat, 8/2/12

Hopkins, Nick, “Inside Iraq: ‘we had to deal with people who had blood on their hands,’” Guardian, 7/16/12

Hussein, Adnan, “Will Barzani “Checkmate” Maliki?” Rudaw, 4/29/12

International Crisis Group, “Déjà vu All Over Again? Iraq’s Escalating Political Crisis,” 7/30/12
- “Iraq’s Secular Opposition: The Rise And Decline Of Al-Iraqiya,” 7/31/12

Al Jazeera, “Iraq demands extradition of ‘fugitive’ VP,” 4/2/12

Kami, Aseel, “Fugitive Iraq VP leaves Kurdish zone for Qatar,” Reuters, 4/1/12

Kilcullen, Dave, “Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt,” Small Wars Journal: SWJ Blog, 8/29/07

Matthews, Dylan and Klein, Ezra, “How Important Was the Surge?” American Prospects, 7/28/08

MEMRI Blog, “Iraq Votes – Part XI,” 3/29/10

Mohammed, Bryar, “Demo in support of PM Maliki in Khalis,” AK News, 6/4/12

Myers, Steven Lee, “In Recount, Iraqi Commission Finds Little Fraud,” New York Times, 5/14/10

Ottaway, Marina, Kaysi, Danial, “The Election Campaign,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 3/5/10
- “Testing Iraq’s Democratic Will,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 3/26/10

Peterson, Scott, “Amid Iraq violence, journalists struggle about government control,” Christian Science Monitor, 6/13/12

Ridolfo, Kathleen, “Iraq: Awakening Councils Face Political, Terrorist Pressure,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1/9/08

Roggio, Bill, “The Diyala Salvation Front,” Long War Journal, 5/10/07

Rubin, Alissa and Cave, Damien, “In a Force for Iraqi Calm, Seeds of Conflict,” New York Times, 12/23/07

Al-Saheil, Turki, “Allawi’s Visit to Saudi Arabia Aims to Return Iraq to Arab System-Sources,” Asharq Alawsat, 2/22/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Inside Iraqi Politics No. 39,” 5/29/12
- “Inside Iraqi Politics No. 40,” 6/20/12

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/12

Yates, Dean, “Iraq government wants to pay neighborhood police units: U.S.,” Reuters, 11/26/07


Anonymous said...

Also he refuse the handover from USAID of many projects finished. We should not forget his inner circle where his son Ahmed is responsible for security...in GZ...Any idea what is the professional background of Ahmed?
The key questions is why Biden/Obama still are supporting Maliki while is evident he is supporting Assad in Syria, Nasralla & Co in Lebanon and ayatollah Sharoudi masters as Iran. Why USA is not doing absolutely nothing remarkably to stop Maliki grip of power in a country with the capacity to be the second Saudi Arabia in oil production.

Anonymous said...

If yu eceuse me to correct some what you written here.
“and ended up fleeing to Syria and Iran”
He went to Iran first then Daa’wa mad changes then he travelled & stalled in Syria.
While he was in Iran he was military commander of what was called Badar militia, constructed from Iraqis with Iranian decedent also some Iraqi who fled Iraq to Iran, they fighting beside Iranian Army during Iraq –Iran war against Iraqi Army.
To take deep picture to Da’awa history please read this (Arabic Text)

Dawa was conducting an armed struggle against the regime, leading to constant round-ups and executions, meaning that Maliki was always under threat from Baghdad’s agents
Da’awa were doing very little inside Iraq , most of them have nothing to do with regime, its more that hurting innocent Iraqis, also let not forgot the hijacked Kuwaiti Airplane by Da’awa in 1980’s and how the through the dead bodies on the runway in Beirut airport,

"عماد مغنية" و"أبو مهدي المهندس" و"المالكي" عناصر مختلفة في منظمة واحدة!!:

يقول البعض أن "عماد مغنية" كان هو وراء عملية تفجير السفارة العراقية في بيروت,لكنا نعلم انه في ذلك الوقت كان عماد مغنية في بداية عمله المسلح , وكان ما يزال مبتدءا وحزب الله ما زال في طور التشكل , وفي ذلك الوقت لم يكن على ساحة الشيعة في الوطن العربي في العراق وخارجه من تنظيم مسلح سوى حزب الدعوة الذي يرأسه المالكي حاليا , وتفيد جميع التقارير والمعلومات أن جميع الأعمال التي قام بها مغنية كانت بإشراف أو معية "أبو مهدي المهندس", وإنها جميعا نفذت بأوامر وتمويل وتجهيز تنظيم حزب الدعوة الإسلامي الذي كان قد دمج أهدافهالعسكرية للتطابق مع أهداف خميني وإيران , وبالتالي فان جميع الأعمال "الإرهابية " التي اقترفتها ما تسمى "منظمة الجهاد الإسلامي", أو التي اقترفها "عماد مغنية",أو التي قام بها "أبو مهدي المهندس" هي في الحقيقة متبناة ومدعومة ومجهزة وبأوامر من تنظيم حزب الدعوة الإسلامية الحاكم في العراق حاليا والذي يدعي ليل نهار انه ضد الإرهاب ويقاتل "الإرهابيين" جنبا إلى جنب مع "الأمريكان"!!.

Your article about Malik by picturing his personality as due to his fear from last regime just like his propaganda in today Iraq.

Ten years past and each day we hearing no power, no public service, no during water it’s the tyrant regime distraction, ten years past today Iraq oil production 3million barrel /Day and hundreds of billions of dollar for the last ten years nothing substantial was developed and built a or done to improve the list for 20 million Iraqis.

So let be smart and talking the reality here he is a man that have nothing merits to run the country this the simple term.

Joel Wing said...

I only know that Maliki has been moving his son up the bureaucracy.

As for U.S. policy I believe the White House's position is that Maliki put together the ruling coalition after the 2010 vote and is therefore the legitimate leader of Iraq. His support for Assad is minimal, and even less so for Hezbollah and Shahroudi.

Joel Wing said...

You’ve got quite a few problems with your claims.

1st, the Badr Brigade was the armed wing of the Supreme Council created by Iran, not part of Dawa.

2nd Dawa was conducting a lot of terrorist attacks upon the Saddam regime as briefly outlined in my interview with Dr. Shanahan. Those included attempts on Tariq Aziz in 1980, against Saddam in 1982 and 1987, and against Uday in 1996.

3rd The Baath Party outlawed the Dawa Party and would frequently conduct mass arrests and execute them, especially after Dawa started attacking the regime. That’s the reason why Maliki fled the country. That’s not part of Maliki’s propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Abu Ahmed has been moving his son up the burocracy and he has powers granted for detain and interrogate people (even foreigners) out of judiciary umbrella.
I just heard Maliki is making friends regarding Arab countries at the Mecca Sumit. He called them terrorist...
Oh yeah...,he is the legitimate leader of Iraq and is backed by Iran, Hizbollah Lebanon, the group behind the killing of 5 Americans in Kerbala (ups! for Mr.Biden) and dozens of Iraqi open-minded people and Obama administration.

Anonymous said...

First thankس for you correction and Apologies for my mix in what I wrote above.

However let you heart big and be open minded please when we talking here. As you teacher you should have that patient to listen and correct us if there is something wrong.

Iraq society had those different sec. both lived in peace for long time, when i said peacefully its relatively peace but there is time was bloody. If you dig why those incident you will see its due external interferences inside Iraq.
As you mentioned that “conducting a lot of terrorist attacks" which you call it and it is "terrorist attacks" no country or institutions in the world will accepted these acts and leave them without punishment.

Let say if some in US lift weapon against local authorities he will face the consciences for this act.(let give examples of black in US and those refused or oppose Vietnam War)

So Da'awa and other parties done just while Iraq was picking up and start building its social and political system after 1968. That battle when rise to the level of threat to local government went ugly and aggressive. inside Iraq after 1979 with the rise of Khomeini in Iran "some Shiites" (Not all of them) support Khomeini that triggered and osculating things bad, that due to the rise of Iranian influence inside Iraq.

However today we had the apposite “The Dawa Party outlawed the Baath Party with frequently conduct mass arrests and execute them, on the ground of terrorists and Al-Qaeda claims”
So we got same behaviour by different people!!

Let read more about Malik

Anonymous said...

من هو نوري كامل المالكي؟
• من هو نوري كامل محمد المالكي المعروف بجواد المالكي
رئيس الوزراء العراقي؟!
نوري كامل المالكي المعروف بجواد المالكي «أبو أسرى» من مواليد عام 1950 في مدينة الحلة بمحافظة بابل العراقية وهو متزوج وأب لأربعة أولاد وهو يحمل شهادة المجستير في اللغة العربية.
• كان نوري المالكي في أواخر سبعينات القرن الماضي موظفًا في وزارة التعليم والتربية في مدينة الحلة وفي عام 1979 غادر العراق متوجهًا بالمباشرة إلى إيران.
• وكان إلى عام 1987 (أي لمدة 8 سنوات) مقيمًا في إيران.
• وخلال هذه المدة كان المالكي يتولى مسؤولية الذراع العسكري لحزب الدعوة.
• وآنذاك كانت الأفواج العسكرية لحزب الدعوة والمعروفة بأفواج «الشهيد صدر لحزب الدعوة» متمركزة في معسكر «غيور» الرئيسي التابع لمقر «رمضان» من مقرات القوة البرية لفيلق حرس النظام الإيراني في مدينة الأهواز (جنود غربي إيران) وكانت تنفذ عمليات داخل الأراضي العراقية إبان الحرب الإيرانية العراقية وكان المالكي يتولى مباشرة قيادة هذه القوات لتنفيذ العمليات تحت إشراف فيلق حرس النظام الإيراني.
وآنذاك كان ما يتراوح بين 500 و1000 من عناصر حزب الدعوة متواجدين في معسكر «غيور» ويطلق عليهم اسم «جنوب الإمام الخميني» وكان نوري المالكي ومع قادة حزب الدعوة متواجدين في معسكر «غيور» الرئيسي.

http://hallawa.blogspot.co.nz/2010/01/blog-post_2267.html 2009

Joel Wing said...

Anon a problem I have with your comments is that you seem to be okay with Baath rule in Iraq. Hence your comment that Iraq was trying to put its society together after the 1968 Baathist coup, and your idea that attacking Saddam was illegitimate.

Joel Wing said...

That website in Arabic is the only source I've ever seen connecting Maliki to the military wing of Dawa. I'd like to see where it got its information from to see whether it can be confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Do not put your world in mouth. This is not the way of blogging for discussion.

This normal way really shows easy escape and run off from the core of the subject.

Writing about my problem would therefore not be on topic. It’s more obvious your side having problem dude.

Anonymous said...


Joel Wing said...

Im sorry if I misinterpreted your points. You did say that Iraq was trying to put its society together in 1968. That was the year the Baathists permanently came to power. You also said that any government would reject terrorism, and that's true. However you didn't say that the Dawa were attacking the Saddam dictatorship. Saddam's response to the Dawa attacks was to carry out mass arrests and executions that killed hundreds. The whole city of Dujail was raised to the ground after one such attempt on Saddam's life. So perhaps you could clarify what you meant.

anan said...

Joel, the Iraqi Army/IMOD and IMoI wanted complete monopoly on the use of force inside Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

This is the reason they didn't like the SoI and Sahwa. They didn't completely control them.

When Maliki publicly expressed disquiet about Sahwa and SoI we was expressing 7th and 1st IAD sentiments.

Maliki, however, in reality allowed the SoI to become part of the MoI and for the MoI to pay them. This way Maliki gained complete control over the SoI through the MoI as well as complete data on all the SoI and their electronic data including finger prints and electronic records.

As soon as the ISF won the war in 2008, Maliki no longer needed the SoI and got rid of them.

This said, unless Maliki had allowed the SoIs in 2006 and 2007, there is no way MNF-I could have created them. Maliki deserves credit for allowing the SoIs.

To give you an illustration why this is the case, some in 1st and 7th IADs in Al Anbar wanted to arrest SoI members. They had fought with them after all. Maliki didn't let 7th and 1st IAD arrest them. This was his decision.

Maliki had to criticize the SoIs and Sawha a little in public to reassure Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis; which is why looking at what he did versus what he said is important.

Several top SoIs and Sawha members publicly pledged their fealty to Maliki.

You don't give Maliki enough credit for the Sawha and SoI, and the ISF victory in Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

Joel Wing said...

Anand, according to Emma Sky who was one of the officials involved in convincing Maliki to accept the SOI, Maliki told her repatedly that the program was a plot by the U.S. to overthrow his government. He was also getting constant negative intelligence reports about the SOIs activities that he used to argue his point. Based on that, I think his opposition was more than just being weary of former insurgents or expressing the ideas of some army units.

Anonymous said...

It’s ok Joel.

Let forgot tyrant regime, Saddam gone 10 years ago, 25 Iraqis were waiting thing to be better after the fall of the regime also inhuman, mistreatment killing, mass arrests and executions that killed hundreds all those should be gone…

After 10 years later, Iraqi found themself they still have same attitude and behaviour from those who flee their country years ago cam and start follow same past tyrant’s path.

I don’t know why you accusing That website in Arabic, do you have doubt?

How many website in English full of untrue information about Iraq and running to war with Iraq?

I don’t know when your interest start in Iraq or ME region, I am guessing may be after 9/11, if beyond that date then my guess will be your interest with Israel in the region.

Could you tell us when you become knowing Da’awa Party? What this party past and how started?

Anyway to read more about Da’awa and its creation and midwifed by Iran read here & here

Btw, Adnan Hussein he is an Iraqi exile, he is Shiites from I believe Dewanya, or Nasiriya (south). He is better informed than a teacher from US from Oakland Technical High School teaching Social Science…….

Anonymous said...

40% من العراقيين لا يجدون ما ينفقونه في العيد

اقرأ المزيد : 40% من العراقيين لا يجدون ما ينفقونه في العيد - جريدة الاتحاد http://www.alittihad.ae/details.php?id=79778&y=2012#ixzz23heB35KN

Joel Wing said...

Its because that is the only source I've ever seen connecting Maliki to the armed wing of Dawa. I've never seen that anywhere else nor heard it from people who work in Iraq, so I'd like to know the source of its information. Given the nature of Iraqi politics, you'd expect people to talk about something like that in Maliki's history.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said...


Interesting post. I have long thought Maliki to have a paranoid mindset and his years in exile definitely contributed to that.

However, I believe paranoia and a widespread mistrust are problems that affect wider Iraqi society (Kurds, Arabs, whatever).

You yourself have been exposed to this with the silly accusations that you hate Kurds. Similarly when I wrote an article for the Daily Star on Kurdistan (in which I quoted you), I remember someone said I was a member of the Baath party branch in Mosul that had been stirring up protests.

I can give other examples. According to my father, a number of Iraqi Christians were circulating this piece about me from a pro-Assad propaganda site. It claims that I am an Israeli spy operating in Kurdistan, and was written when I challenged the site's propagation of claims of mass ethnic cleansing of Christians in Homs, Syria- an issue of intense interest to many Iraqi Christians:


Speaking more generally, one can look at why thousands of innocent Iraqis ended up in U.S. prisons during the war. It's not that the Americans were out looking for Iraqis to round up, but the fact is that bonds of trust had broken down and so many were eager to inform on each other for reasons of financial gain and paranoia.

Joel Wing said...

Aymenn, yes conspiracy theories seem to abound in Iraq amongst all different groups. Like you I've run into them lots of times.

Anonymous said...

well looks you hiding my comments like you hide yourself as a photoless teacher......

Good luck SS, who pay you dude to write?

Joel Wing said...

And speaking of conspiracy theories...

Joel Wing said...

And let me remind you that not only have you taken the time to look up where I work but you're also posting under "anonymous"

Anonymous said...

About conspiracy theories we could talk about the role of Talabani supporting Maliki as he has been ordered by his Iranian masters. Or what the hell is doing Talabani since 17 June in Germany nas what else we can say about how he back Maliki after avoid the non confidence vote?

Joel Wing said...

Talabani is in Germany for medical treatment. He goes there quit often.

Talabani's opposition to the no confidence vote was more about internal Kurdish politics with Pres. Barzani than Iran.

Anonymous said...

Sir Iran supported PUK/Talabani and still that support is ongoing. Talabani is gratefull following medical checks when the political situation in Iraq is critical.
Also is amazing see how still the IP and IA are using that fake bombs detectors in Baghdad. Maliki should be reponsible and accountable of the security failure since he is still allowing those magic wands...anyway thank you for your posts, much needed.

Joel Wing said...

Iran has connections to all kinds of political parties and politicians in Iraq whether that be Shiite, Sunni or Kurd. Talabani definitely is a more friendly politician to Tehran.

Buying the bomb detectors was part of a corrupt deal within the Interior Minister to scam off money from the contract. Why Iraq continues to use them is a mystery. Then again seeing how the govt fails at so many things it's not surprising.

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