Foreign Policy Blogs

Spy Game in Baghdad

I meant to write about this right after the news came out but I got sidetracked with the election drama. 

In his newest book, “The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008,” Bob Woodward confirms the rumor that the US is spying on Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi Prime Minister, as well as other top Iraqi officials and possibly every person spending time in the Green Zone in Baghdad.  The Newsweek article that discusses the book, and this very interesting development, claims that 'the Green Zone is probably among the most thoroughly spied-upon pieces of turf on the planet.’  Adding to this, US government employees are also monitored through their phone calls, being reprimanded if they mention details about top US officials.  The article hints that al-Maliki, upon hearing the news of the spying, was upset, however one Iraqi official interviewed did not seem put off by this lack of privacy, stating that the issue would be raised with their American counterparts. 

Another problem for US troops and Iraqi security forces is the penetration of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army into the safety of the Green Zone.  One Sadr follower was arrested while working at a police station.  The worry here is that the radicals who make it into this secure part of Baghdad are sending coordinates out to rocket launchers, who are then able to target specific sites and people. 

Further, Iraqi officials have not responded to allegations of counter-spying.  Government spokesman, Ali Dabbagh, acknowledges that Iraqis often joke about who is listening to their cell phone discussions, especially after the US handed out mobile phones with an American country code and a 914 area code.  Dabbagh claimed that it is the right of the Iraqi government to spy as long as they don't break international laws, but that the US should not be spying in Iraq. 

As usual, Woodward has found a niche in the literary world, uncovering the secrets of the Bush Administration.  Not only does he consistently write about interesting topics, but he does so in a captivating way.  The book came out September 8th, and I’m definitely looking forward to picking it up very soon. 

 

Author

Jennifer Bushaw

Jennifer Bushaw holds an MA from the University of Chicago in Middle Eastern Studies with an emphasis on policy. She focused her research, including her Thesis, on modern Iraq and the Iraq war. She also has a Bachelor's in History from the University of Michigan. Jennifer is currently working as an Investigative Research Associate for a security advisory and management firm in Chicago, Illinois.

Areas of Focus:
Iraq-US Policy; Security; Coalition Operations;

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