Published January 06, 2003
The following are some of the Iraqi intelligence and paramilitary organizations at Saddam Hussein's disposal:
Special Security Service (SSS)
• Also known as the Amn al Khas, Hijaz Amn al Khas or the Presidential Affairs Department
• Its commander in chief is Qusay Hussein — Saddam's son
• Its ranks are filled with the most loyal troops serving in the Iraqi armed forces.
• The SSS played a key role in coordinating to drive out and frustrate UNSCOM.
• Hussein Kamil, Saddam's son-in-law, set up the SSS at the end of the Iran-Iraq War. It is the least known but most feared Ba'thist organ of repression. Kamil defected to Jordan in August 1995. However, he unwisely returned home believing guarantees that he would be unharmed and was later killed.
• The SSS played an important role in the suppression of the Shi'a rebellion that followed the Gulf War. Iraqi opposition sources have claimed that up to 10,000 Shi'as were executed at a large prison complex built and maintained by the SSS near Saddam's farm and palace at Al Ranighwania, about 26 km south of Baghdad, and not far from Saddam International Airport.
• The organization's primary task at the moment is to protect the Ba'th leadership in Iraq.
• The SSS has the power to investigate even members of other security/intelligence agencies.
• The SSS recruits members for the Republican Guard and performing extensive background checks on the recruits.
• It controls the special weapons handling of the Chemical Corps. This unit is responsible for Iraq's chemical weapons arsenal, which are not under the control of the regular army.
• The vast majority of the members are based in Baghdad, with just two small offices in other cities: one in Basra and the other in Mosul.
• The SSS provides teams that guard Saddam.
General Intelligence Directorate (GID)
• The role of the GID is to collect domestic and foreign intelligence on matters relating to state security, and to carry out operations at home and abroad against those considered a threat to state security.
• Its strength is about 4,000.
• GID headquarters in the Mansour district of Baghdad were attacked by Tomahawk missiles fired by American warships on June 27, 1993, in retaliation for a GID plot to assassinate former President Bush while on a visit to Kuwait.
• GID was one of the agencies that took part in the concealment effort spearheaded by the Special Security Service to defeat the efforts of UNSCOM to detect and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The GID has also allegedly been used to oversee the detention of prisoners of war. In November 2001 two members of the Mukhabarat who defected claimed that the service operated a secret underground detection center at Salman Pak, about 30 km south of Baghdad, where about 80 Kuwaiti prisoners of war continued to be held following the 1991 Gulf War.
General Security Service (GSS)
• Also known as Amn al Amm
• The General Security Service (GSS), which is the Secret Police or the General Security Directorate, monitors the daily lives of Iraqi citizens for signs of dissent.
• There is a GSS unit in every police station in Iraq.
• They function essentially as a political police force and also have separate buildings and offices. Apart from an internal security role and the mission of suppressing insurrection, the GSS also deals with crimes such as smuggling and banditry.
• Many detectives from the anti-crime section of the civilian police were transferred to the GSS in the late 1980s.
• Details of the GSS' work that emerged in the late 1990s indicated that in some respects it operates in a similar fashion to the Stasi, the former East German secret police. The GSS has built up a huge archive of files on private citizens through a vast network of informants, and also through other forms of covert surveillance. Indications are that files on citizens are extremely detailed, with no piece of information considered too insignificant to include.
Al Hadi Project/ Project 858
• A little-known Iraqi agency responsible for gathering signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic intelligence (ELINT).
• The organization's headquarters are at Al Rashedia, about 20 km north of Baghdad, and it also maintains five other stations, or listening posts, around Iraq
• The total number of personnel assigned to this duty is estimated at about 800.
Fedayeen Saddam (Saddam's 'Men of Sacrifice')
• This paramilitary force with a strength of about 40,000 was founded by Saddam's son Uday in 1995, with many members in their teens and recruited in areas noted for loyalty to Saddam.
• The force carries out patrols and anti-smuggling duties and is separate from the army command, reporting directly to the presidential palace.
• Though not an elite force, the group does deal with unrest during an emergency. When in action, it is commanded by Saddam's son Qusay with Staff Lieutenant General Mezahem Saab al Hassan al Tikriti as second in command.
• Only Saddam loyalists are enrolled in Fedayeen Saddam, the members of which receive a salary.
Murafaqin (Companions of Saddam)
• This is a group of Saddam's most trusted tribal kinsmen who guard Saddam at close quarters and are among the limited few who are allowed to approach him unescorted and carrying arms when he is alone.
• They are all, without exception, members of various sub-clans of Saddam's tribe, the al-Bu Nasir, and carry small arms. One of them, carrying a sidearm, normally stands behind Saddam, guarding his back, even when he is meeting trusted aides.
• The Murafaqin can be broken into three groups. The Special Location Group is responsible for Saddam's security in the various premises used by him and his family. The Salih, or Mobile Group, stays by Saddam's side. The third group, the Kulyab, consists of Saddam's domestic household, including his personal cook and butcher.
• A leading Murafaqin figure is Rokan Abd al-Ghafur Suleiman al-Majid, Saddam's personal bodyguard, who also oversees Saddam's relationship with the powerful Al-Majid clan.
Sources: Global Security.org and Jane's Information Group