CIA opens offices in northern Iraq
Iraq-USA, Politics, 10/25/2002
The CIA has enhanced its declared presence and activity in the Kurdish area which is outside the control of Baghdad's authority, while the US defense department is auditing any intelligence information that might find links between the Iraqi regime to al-Qaida organization.
Opposition sources said that the CIA has reinforced its presence in northern Iraq by opening two field offices in the Kurdish area, and as from Monday a station for the American intelligence in the area which falls under the control of the Kurdistani national federation and another one in the area under the control of the Kurdistani democratic party.
This is, however, the first time since 1996 in which the US intelligence have an official presence in northern Iraq after the Bill Clinton administration in that year gave up a plan to arrange a coupe in Iraq, according to former CIA officer Robert Bayer.
An official in one of the opposition groups said that the American intelligence are on the ground since Monday, while former officer at the US intelligence said that its members were visiting and leaving the area frequently but now they are living permanently.
The new offices for the American intelligence will be a reception stations for the fleeing military men who might choose to work with the American side before the military campaign the US threatens to launch against Iraq.
An advisor for the US national security affairs who works for the American government said that a "great part of the American policy is now directed towards making a change inside Iraq so that we do not have to launch a war." He added that in order to achieve this target, the US administration tries to show the senior Iraqi army officers that "they have nothing to lose but they will win much if they move," against Saddam Hussein.
However, the existence of an official office for the US intelligence in northern Iraq was the subject of intensive negotiations since August between the American government and the two Kurdish parties. Meantime, a team at the US defense department ( the Pentagon) is inspecting what had been said in intelligence information to find a link between Saddam Hussein regime and al-Qaida organization. The team which was formed after September 11, 2001 attacks and works from outside the CIA uses very sophisticated computer systems for analyzing information concerning Iraq, sent by the CIA, the defense intelligence agency and other intelligence departments, according to officials at the Pentagon.
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