I am the Walrus

Iraq officials arrested for reviving Baath party

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Twenty-three officers from Iraq's Interior Ministry have been arrested on suspicion of trying to rebuild former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's Baath party, a ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

Major-General Abdul Karim Khalaf said the officers were arrested under suspicion of being part of the al-Awda ("Return") party, seen as a new incarnation of the once omnipotent Baath party that was outlawed following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

"They are now being interrogated under the supervision of the Iraqi judiciary," Khalaf told Reuters. He said being a member of al-Awda was equivalent to being a Baath member.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that an elite counterterrorism force, reporting directly to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, arrested up to 35 officials, some of whom were accused of plotting a coup against the government.

Asked whether those arrested were suspected of plotting a coup, Khalaf repeated they were suspected of being members of the al-Awda party.

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Coup coup ka joo.

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