Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Would-be Iraqi Intelligence Chief Evicted from State-Owned Properties

Sa’ad Assim ‘Abboud al-Janabi has lately been telling anyone who cares to listen that the 'Americans' are going to make him the next chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, according to several sources. That post is currently occupied by Gen. Muhammad Abdullah al-Shahwani; the Iraqi government has no control or access over the IIS’s output or budget. Shahwani works directly under the auspices of the CIA station in Baghdad.

But Mr. Sa'ad al-Janabi’s pull in the Iraqi government may not be all that influential these days: President Jalal Talabani’s office issued a statement today (Arabic) clarifying the circumstances behind the government’s move to evict al-Janabi from two state-owned properties that he’s been occupying for some time—a move decried by ex-PM, Ayad Allawi, as an attempt to harass al-Janabi who is an Allawi political and business ally.

The presidential statement made clear that the two properties are part of the Presidential Palace complex in the Zawiyya area and that they belong to the Ministry of Finance and have been earmarked for use by the President’s Office. The now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority under Jerry Bremer had authorized al-Janabi to use these two properties for a year’s time under the auspices of the ‘The General Janabi Council for Radio Service of Iraq’s Sunni Sect.’ The statement goes on to list all the notices that have been legally delivered to al-Janabi to vacate the premises that had gone unanswered and how it had to resort to asking the Iraqi police to intervene as a last measure.

The statement from Talabani’s office also chastised Allawi for denouncing this move while being far away in London and out of touch with the particulars of this case. The President’s Office is also warning that it holds the right to resort to legal proceedings against Mr. al-Janabi.

Sa’ad al-Janabi had been barred from running in the last election on Allawi’s slate by the De-Ba’athification commission due to his alleged past dealings with Saddam’s intelligence service and accusations of serving as a front-man for the former regime’s finances.

Al-Janabi has nevertheless landed many lucrative contacts by virtue of his close association with U.S. circles, and most of them have been funneled through his California-based partners Hard Hat Bid (HHB Inc.). Al-Janabi is also a resident of Riverside, California.

Their latest contract (September 2006), signed with Talabani-ally and Minister of Planning Ali Baban, aims to link-up all of Iraq’s ministries’ bidding processes electronically:

The implementation of the HHB DBS® Solution will provide an e-government platform linking all Government Ministries in Iraq through a solution for electronic bidding and procurement. The Community Development Centers (CDCs) will provide access, capacity building and training for contractors and vendors in all parts of Iraq. In addition, the CDCs will be a location for various Governmental and Non-Governmental (NGOs) to provide developmental, health and educational programs to the diverse communities.

Now that the President of Iraq is warning to sue al-Janabi for vagrancy and illegal squatting, I wonder if that will hurt the latter’s chances of becoming intelligence chief or fulfilling his current contracts?


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