Dr. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a Shia Muslim  who left Iraq in 1979 when Saddam Hussein came to power , is a member of the Iraqi National Assembly and national security advisor to Iraq's president Nouri al-Maliki.  In April 2003, writing from London, al-Rubaie identified himself as "a founder" of Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress and "coordinator of its human rights committee." 
Al-Rubaie, "one of the men from the Iraqi Governing Council who was brought to Saddam's jail cell right after he was captured" , stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Saddam just prior to his execution and witnessed the hanging in Baghdad on December 30, 2006. 
In February 2005, al-Rubaie was described by UPI as "a secular Shiite member of the winning United Iraqi Alliance".  According to an April 2005 American University article in American Weekly, al-Rubaie was "a rising star among Shiites with links to Al-Sistani and Grand Ayatollah Hussein Al-Sadr. Once tortured by Saddam Hussein, al-Rubaie became national security advisor under Iyad Allawi's provisional government."
As recently as January 2004, al-Rubaie was described as "a senior Dawa official in the 1980's who now professes to be relatively secular, [who] meets with the ayatollah [Sistani] once or twice a week," Edward Wong reported in the New York Times. In September 2004, al-Rubaie, identifed as "close" to Sistani, led negotiators representing Allawi in peace talks with Sistani in hopes of disarming rebel Shiites. 
According to his 2003 Iraqi Governing Council profile posted by the Coalition Provisional Authority, al-Rubaie was born in al-Shatra. He is a Member of the British Royal Doctors’ College and a consultant in internal medicine and neurology. Al-Rubaie, a human rights activist, authored the Declaration of the Shia of Iraq, and was a student of the martyr Imam Baaker al-Sadr, who was murdered by Saddam Hussein.
Note: Variations on al-Rubaie's name include Muafak al Rubai, Muwafak al-Rubai, Muaffaq al-Rubaei, Muwafaq Rubaiee, and Moaffaq al-Rubai.
- 1 Saddam Hussein: Execution and the Cell-Phone Camera Video
- 2 Iraq's new "intelligence establishment"
- 3 Civil War in Iraq: violence an "infectious disease"
- 4 Al-Rubaie was against a U.S. withdrawal before he was for it
- 5 Temporary Leave of Absence?
- 6 "Mr. Cellophane"
- 7 Related SourceWatch Resources
- 8 External Links
Saddam Hussein: Execution and the Cell-Phone Camera Video
On December 29, 2006, al-Rubaie "said that Saddam Hussein may not live to see the New Year" and "made it clear that he would like the former dictator's execution to take place as soon as possible," ITN News (UK) reported. 
"He also insisted there would be no doubt that the death sentence had been carried out as the execution will be filmed.
"He said: 'We will video everything. All documentation will be videoed, taking him from cell to the execution is going to be videoed and the actual execution will be documented and videoed'," ITN said.
Al-Rubaie, who was "an official observer" at the December 30, 2006, hanging of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, "said the execution was 'not a sectarian lynching' but that some of the behavior in the execution chamber was 'unacceptable.'" 
On January 1, 2007, al-Rubaie "condemned the leaking of the mobile phone video footage" of Saddam's execution which circulated on the internet and was broadcast on Al-Jazeera television "as 'extremely damaging on all fronts'," Rosemary Behan of the Times Online (UK) reported. "Well, of course it’s damaging," Behan remarked. "But why is Mr al-Rubaie concerned not about what happened, but that we have all seen a video of what happened? It was no coincidence that at the same time that the Iraqi Government announced its investigation into the taunts, it also launched a 'clampdown' on media coverage in Iraq of the execution."
The CBS Evening News reported January 3, 2007, that al-Rubaie "laid the blame for the cell phone video on ill-educated security guards. ... 'Their feeling was expressed in a wrong way, in an unacceptable way, in a disgusting way'," al-Rubaie reportedly said.
The New York Times reported January 3, 2007, that "Munqith al-Faroon, a prosecutor in [Saddam's] Dujail case, told the newspaper 'one of two men he had seen holding a cell phone camera aloft to make a video of Mr. Hussein's last moments up to and past the point where he fell through the trapdoor" was al-Rubaie, Maliki's national security adviser, the Associated Press's Qassim Abdul-Zahra wrote.
The Los Angeles Times's Solomon Moore reported January 4, 2007, that "Several Iraqi politicians said that at least two high-level government officials were seen recording the execution, and that the guard [who was arrested] was a scapegoat. Two Shiite politicians, one a member of Maliki's administration, said that Rubaie, the national security advisor, had filmed the hanging."
Stephen R. Hurst reported January 4, 2007, that al-Faroon, "one of 14 official witnesses to the execution, told The Associated Press that he saw two government officials using camera phones at the hanging but did not know their names."
On January 4, 2007, the New York Times printed a retraction of its previous story, stating: 
- "A front-page article yesterday about an Iraqi government investigation of the abusive behavior at the execution of Saddam Hussein, including the unauthorized cellphone camera recording of it, misstated the account of a witness who said he saw two others there holding cellphone cameras aloft to record Mr. Hussein’s final moments. While the witness, Munkith al-Faroun, a prosecutor at Mr. Hussein’s trial, said both of the others were officials, he did not identify one of them as Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser. Mr. Rubaie, who could not be reached for comment in the article, said yesterday that he had handed his cellphone to security officials an hour before the hanging and had not recorded it."
Iraq's new "intelligence establishment"
Max Fuller wrote November 10, 2005, for Global Research (Canada) that Iraq's "entire intelligence establishment is a creation of the Anglo-American secret services , which began building at least as early as the beginning of the occupation [dead link], although it may be suspected that the process was conceived long before. The new Iraqi establishment was staffed by long-term CIA assets, such as General Mohammad Shahwani, who had been nurtured by the CIA since the late 1980s  and became director of the new National Intelligence Service (the Mukhabarat). Like [Sunni military intelligence officer and CIA coup-plotter General Adnan] Thabit and [Major General Rashid] Flayyih, other old CIA hands, Shahwani had participated in attempted coups against the government of Iraq. Further agents (presumably existing intelligence assets for the most part) were recruited from Iraq’s main political groups, consisting of SCIRI, the Dawa Party, the two main Kurdish parties, the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi National Accord. These agents became the Collection, Management and Analysis Directorate (CMAD), whose principal job was to 'turn raw intelligence into targets that could be used in operations' [dead link]. Initially, 'operations' were carried out by a paramilitary unit composed of militia from the five main parties, who, under the supervision of US commanders, worked with US special forces to track down 'insurgents' . As the new Iraqi state apparatus developed, CMAD was split between the ministries of Defence and Interior, with an 'elite corps' creamed off to form the National Intelligence Service [dead link]. To oversee all three bodies, the National Intelligence Coordination Committee was established, headed, as National Security Advisor (appointed in April 2004), by Mowaffak Rubaie. This 'leading Shiite moderate' had been a spokesman for the Dawa Party in the 1980s when it was a serious terrorist organisation targeting Iraq, before moving on to help coordinate the Iraqi opposition from London . In London he worked with the Al-Khoei Foundation (web), a pro-US charitable organisation that has distributed money for the CIA and is linked with the National Endowment for Democracy through Prime minister [Ibrahim al-]Jaafari's advisor Laith Kuba, another long-term CIA asset ."
- For more on this subject, see related articles.
Civil War in Iraq: violence an "infectious disease"
Al-Jazeera reported December 14, 2006, al-Rubaie said "that he approved of some of the recommendations in the Iraq Study Group report, but he said that it was focused on solving US problems rather than Iraqi problems.
"He said: 'The change in nature of the mission from combat to training, equipping and giving logistical support to Iraq forces is welcomed.'
"He said that Iraq was already engaging with regional countries as suggested in the report, and that it was important to 'clean the interior ministry' where militias are believed to be 'using facilities to kill people'" and that "a comprehensive plan exists to rehabilitate the militias."
Al-Rubaie was against a U.S. withdrawal before he was for it
U.S. Withdrawal Would Give a Moral Boost to Terrorists
Following a debate between presidential candidates George W. Bush and John F. Kerry, on October 30, 2004, Wall Street Journal journalist Lawrence W. Kaplan wrote that al-Rubaie said in a telephone interview that "[l]eading Iraqis stayed up late into the night to watch ... 'Sophisticated Iraqis are listening closely'," al-Rubaie said, "'Any discussion of withdrawal worries them.'" A U.S. withdrawal would culminate in what al-Rubaie "describe[d] as 'a huge moral boost to the terrorists'."
The makeup of the Iraqi Governing Council, "[i]nstead of reflecting how Iraqis saw themselves, ...mirrored and reinforced the U.S. sectarian view of the population -- 13 Shia, five Sunnis, five Kurds, one Christian and one Turkoman," Eric Leaver and Raed Jarrar wrote in AlterNet, August 10, 2006.
"Instead of bringing political unity, this reflection of Iraq's diversity, when thrust into the political playing field, became the basis of sectarian division in Iraq. The U.S. plan to allocate seats at the political table by ethnic and religious identity turned this political conflict into a more complicated sectarian one," Leaver and Jarrar wrote.
"The splits in Iraq were exacerbated by the timing of Iraqi political events according to domestic U.S. politics," they wrote, with the "final straw fueling the ethnic and religious splits [being] the open-ended occupation."
"Seeking a point of commonality, most of Iraq's leaders have asked the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal. When President George W. Bush last visited Iraq, Iraq's vice president asked him to set a timetable for withdrawal. Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security advisor, requested a similar 'road map' for complete withdrawal. These leaders aren't alone. The vast majority of Iraq's parliament, religious leaders and political leaders want to know when the U.S.-led coalition troops will leave," Leaver and Jarrar wrote.
In April 2006, al-Rubaie said that "the majority of American and British troops would have left by the end of next year. 'By the middle of 2008 there will be no foreign soldiers in the country,' he predicted." 
Temporary Leave of Absence?
On September 14, 2004, Dexter Filkins reported in the New York Times that, on the previous Monday, "the office of Ayad Allawi, the interim prime minister, said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, had been relieved of his duties and replaced with a close ally of Dr. Allawi, Qassim Daoud.
"The precise reasons for Dr. Rubaie's dismissal were unclear, but he and Dr. Allawi disagreed sharply over how to quell the insurgency and, in particular, how to deal with Moktada al-Sadr, the rebel Shiite cleric. While Dr. Rubaie favors coaxing Mr. Sadr into the political mainstream, Dr. Allawi is demanding Mr. Sadr's surrender first."
"He was there, one of only four Iraqi dignitaries present, when President George W. Bush dropped in at Baghdad airport for Thanksgiving turkey with the troops. He was there again, a few weeks later, when Saddam Hussein, freshly dragged from a 'spider hole' near Tikrit, was forced to confront a few men who'd fought against him for decades. If you look closely, in fact, he seems to be just about everywhere in the New Iraq. Yet Mowaffak al-Rubaie is often overlooked, like a Mr. Cellophane, on press rosters of Iraq's rising stars," Christian Caryl and Christopher Dickey wrote in the January 5, 2004, issue of Newsweek.
During the 1980s, al-Rubaie—"[s]oft-spoken, bearded, bespectacled and courtly"—was the international spokesman for the Iraqi Dawa Party, "one of the most feared terrorist organizations in the Middle East," Caryl and Dickey wrote. "But he's also a prosperous British-educated physician. He practiced medicine in London for the better part of three decades. (His British patients, for the most part, knew him by his Anglicized name, Mow Baker.) While pious, he is also perfectly comfortable in secular Western society. 'Shall we dine and not wine?' he used to joke with guests when inviting them to dinner at his house. And while Western policies toward Iraq went through many changes, al-Rubaie's goal was always consistent: the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Abu Musab al Zarqawi
- civil war in Iraq
- Exit Strategy from Iraq
- Iraqi insurgency
- McCain doctrine
- post-war Iraq
- stay the course
- Trial of Saddam Hussein
- violence in the Middle East
See External Links for biographical profiles, articles by and interviews with al-Rubaie, and articles and commentary about him.