Iyad Allawi's Mukhabarat

Allawi reveals plan for domestic spy agency
17 July 2004, Dean Yates, Reuters

BAGHDAD - Iyad Allawi, Iraq's interim Prime Minister, has announced the formation of a new spy agency that he said he hoped would infiltrate and expose those behind an insurgency that has raged since US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein last year.

"We are determined to bring down all the hurdles that stand in the way of our democracy," Dr Allawi told a news conference on Thursday, hours after a car bomb exploded near the main police station in the town of Haditha, 200 kilometres north-east of Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding 40.

Mr Allawi did not give specific details on what functions the new security body would have or how it would operate with the country's fledgling police force, but he said it would operate under the judicial system.

For many Iraqis a new spy agency may have overtones of the Mukhabarat, Saddam's feared domestic intelligence agency, which for decades kept tight tabs on the nation, but Dr Allawi said it is for the good of the country.

Many had expected Dr Allawi to announce an amnesty for insurgents who lay down their arms. He said the issue was being discussed, but that any offer would last only a short time.

Dr Allawi said the death penalty - used frequently under Saddam - was also under consideration.

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