Reporting from Baghdad — The Iraqi commission charged with removing former members of the outlawed Baath Party from office announced Thursday a sweeping purge of Iraq's security forces, in a move likely to heighten political tensions before national elections next month.
Ali Lami, executive director of the Accountability and Justice Commission, said he had sent the names of 580 members of the security forces to the Ministries of Defense, Interior and National Intelligence. He said the individuals should be removed from their posts because of alleged ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.
Some on the list are senior officers credited with helping restore security to Iraq over the last few years, including the highly respected Gen. Aboud Qanbar, who oversaw Baghdad during the U.S. troop buildup in 2007-08. Qanbar now is second in command of the army.
"Whether he is a success or not, he is still a Baathist," Lami said, adding that any minister that refused to carry out the commission's instructions would face court action.