Intelligence: Buying Your Way Out

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September17, 2008:  A Kuwaiti military intelligence lieutenant colonel was arrested for taking bribes from pro-Iranian Iraqis. The lieutenant colonel was paid $22,400 to change Kuwaiti security watch lists to enable pro-Iranian Iraqis, who would normally be stopped at the border and turned back, to enter Kuwait, and then travel on to other countries. The arrested lieutenant colonel was recruited by a retired Kuwaiti army officer who had long time contacts in Iraq. This retired officer was also arrested.

While few additional details were revealed, Kuwait knows it has a problem with pro-Iranian Iraqis. Many of these Iraqis have kin in Kuwait, as there has long been intermarriage between Shia Arabs in southern Iraq and Kuwait. Some of these connections go back generations, and it's hard to say no to kin, even if they are somewhat distant. But just having such connections in Kuwait enables Iraqis to seek out who might be bribed.

While this "family connections" problem is found everywhere, it is particularly troublesome in the Middle East, where many nations have cultures where tribe and clan loyalty is considered more important than national loyalty.

 


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