other forms of coercion against his enemies, real or suspected. His targets are
not only those who have offended him, but also their families, friends or
The Iraqi Ba'ath Party
The Ba'ath Party is the only legal political party in Iraq. It pervades all
aspects of Iraqi life. Membership, around 700,000, is necessary for self
advancement and confers benefits from the regime.
4. Saddam acts to ensure that there are no other centres of power in Iraq. He has
crushed parties and ethnic groups, such as the communists and the Kurds, which
might try to assert themselves. Members of the opposition abroad have been the
targets of assassination attempts conducted by Iraqi security services.
Saddam Hussein's security apparatus
Saddam relies on a long list of security organisations with overlapping
responsibilities. The main ones are:
The Special Security Organisation oversees Saddam's security and
monitors the loyalty of other security services. Its recruits are
predominantly from Tikrit.
The Special Republican Guard is equipped with the best available
military equipment. Its members are selected on the basis of loyalty to
The Directorate of General Security is primarily responsible for
countering threats from the civilian population.
The Directorate of General Intelligence monitors and suppresses
dissident activities at home and abroad.
The Directorate of Military Intelligence's role includes the
investigation of military personnel.
The Saddam Fidayeen, under the control of Saddam's son Udayy, has
been used to deal with civil disturbances.
5. Army officers are an important part of the Iraqi government's network of
informers. Suspicion that officers have ambitions other than the service of the
President leads to immediate execution. It is routine for Saddam to take pre
emptive action against those who he believes might conspire against him.
Internal Repression the Kurds and the Shias
6. Saddam has pursued a long term programme of persecution of the Iraqi Kurds,
including through the use of chemical weapons. During the Iran Iraq war,
Saddam appointed his cousin, Ali Hasan al Majid, as his deputy in the north. In