Iraq Officials Busted in Coup Plot

Generals, old regime members arrested in Ministry of Interior sweep
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2008 3:25 AM CST
Iraqi police march in formation at their gradation ceremony at the police academy in Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, last month.   (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)
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(Newser) – Iraq has arrested up to 35 Ministry of the Interior officials over the last three days for their part in a plot to revive Saddam Hussein's Baath party, the New York Times reports. Some being held were in the early stages of planning a coup, say officials. Four generals were among those arrested by an elite counter-terrorism force.

Iraq has been gripped by many rumors of coups ahead of next month's elections. But security officials say there is strong evidence tying those arrested to al-Awda—"The Return"—a descendant of the Baath party, which was outlawed after the American invasion. Al-Awda members paid bribes to be recruited into the ministry, and more arrests may follow, according to authorities.