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Civilian-based National
Secular Groups

National Islamist Groups

National Officers' Groups

Predominantly Kurdish
Groups

Other Groups Based
Around Ethnic Identity

Opposition Individuals of Note
Not Primarily Tied
to One Organisation


IRAQ'S MAJOR POLITICAL GROUPINGS

By Glen Rangwala

October 1, 2002

 

1. Civilian-based national secular groups

a. Iraqi National Congress (INC, al-Mu‘tamar al-Watani al-Iraqi):

Created in June 1992 to provide an umbrella for the disputing opposition factions, based on the Joint Action Committee created by Damascus in December 1990 (see INM entry below). Founding conference comprised of 160 delegates in Vienna, and (crucially) included KDP and PUK participation; SCIRI and al-Daw‘a al-Islamiyya were involved in the preparatory work & sent observers, but did not participate. This conference created a national assembly of 87 members, with 22 seats for the Kurds. This assembly was expanded to a meeting of 234 representatives of Iraqi opposition groups in Salahuddin, Iraqi Kurdistan on 27Oct92, which incorporated SCIRI for the first time, and which ratified the decisions made at Vienna. Initially received the affiliation of 19 opposition groups, and the support of the CIA, with the Rendon Group (a Washington-based public relations firm) coordinating its actions (& reportedly even choosing its name). Conceived and led by Ahmad Chalabi (a Shi‘a Muslim who left Iraq in 1958 and Amman in 1989: useful profiles from 1999, Feb02, Jul02, Aug02, Oct02, Nov02, Apr03, May03). The Salahuddin conference created a 3-man presidential council, of a Kurd (Mas'ud Barzani of the KDP), a Shi'a (Sayyid Muhammad Bahr al-'Ulum of Ahl al-Bayt centre, associated with al-Da'wa; originated from Najaf) and a Sunni (Hassan Mustafa al-Naqib, later of the INM), and a 26-member executive council, which was to manage the operation of the INC. Chalabi was the president of the executive council; vice-presidents were Hani al-Fekaiki (see RWP notes), Latif Rashid (from PUK), Humam Hamudi (from SCIRI); secretary of executive council was 'Abd al-Husayn Sha'ban (independent democrat). Full listing of initial executive council is here.

External base in London. Operationally based in Iraq at Salahuddin (north of Irbil) from Oct92, and brokered PUK-KDP truce after intra-Kurdish fighting began in May94. Coup attempt of 5Mar95, in league with Maj.-Gen. Wafiq al-Samarra‘i (see HCNS notes below) failed when the US pulled out at the last moment, and the anticipated uprising in south/central Iraq did not occur. A number of member groups, including al-Daw‘a al-Islamiyya, the Iraqi Democratic Union and the Arab Nationalist Party, pulled out of the INC in 1995; Sha'ban had also resigned in 1994; SCIRI suspended participation in the executive council; Bahr al-'Ulum (May95) & Naqib (Aug95) both resigned from the presidential council. Sharif Ali bin al-Husayn took the Sunni place on the presidential council. Salahuddin base was routed by Iraqi forces on Aug96 incursion, with approx.200 of its personnel killed, and it has not been able to reconstruct this presence in Iraq until Apr03. Was sidelined when an alternative umbrella organisation looked like it would take shape in Aug95, under Muhammad Bahr al-'Ulum; but this did not crystallise. A further attempt to revitalise the INC was the Mar99 meeting in Windsor which elected a new 7-member leadership council, made up of representatives from SCIRI, PUK, KDP, INA & 3 independents; the groupings all refused participation, and SCIRI, the ICP and the INA suspended their membership in the INC.

Funded by the US from its inception, reportedly receiving over $100 million in the first half of the 1990s; overtly funded after the US Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act 1998, which granted the opposition $97 million for military equipment, Pentagon training and facilities (and $2 million in broadcasting funds). Was funded for activities inside Iraq before Aug96, and again from Feb01. Is currently receiving an annual budget of $8 million. Retains support of the Pentagon and the US presidency (Dick Cheney is a long-time supporter), but distrusted by the State Department after financial irregularities, and by the CIA & British foreign office; due to lack of State funding, it had to shut down its TV station, Liberty TV (which began in Aug01), in May02. Held discussions in July 2002 with the INM about establishing a provisional government, but plans were postponed after internal disagreements. Reports from Aug02 that the Department of Defense has taken over the funding responsibility for the INC, though disagreements continue, eg over funds for intelligence-collection programme in Nov02. Was given a leading role in the 9Aug meeting of the opposition groups with US officials in Washington, effectively displacing the "Group of 4"; but disputes with them continued, especially over representation at the Brussels "unity" conference (scheduled to take place in Sept02, then 22Nov02, repeatedly postponed after no agreement over participants, with INC threats of a boycott); eventually taking place in London from 14-17Dec02. From Oct02, Chalabi has been increasingly assertive that the INC would establish a transitional government, with him as its head, after the Ba'th are ousted; reports (1,2) from Feb03 indicate that the US has tentatively agreed. Recruited a para-military force (the Iraq Liberation Army) in northern Iraq, under US sponsorship. Also presented a list of 4000 recruits to Pentagon officials, of whom 1000 were selected on 17Dec02 to be given military training in Hungary with the U.S. Army's European Command, to provide the basis of a new Iraqi national army. The number of those selected rose to 3000 in Jan03, when training began at Taszar air base, Hungary; however, only approx 100 were with US forces during the invasion of Iraq. 5 members of the INC leadership - including Chalabi - moved to northern Iraq, via Iran, in late Jan03, after a special Treasury Department exemption was granted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control to allow State Department funds to go through Iran. About 700 members of the INC para-military force, now named the "Free Iraqi Forces", accompanied Chalabi when US forces airlifted them to Nasiriya on 6Apr; they then moved to Baghdad where they set up temporary headquarters in the Iraqi Hunting Club in al-Mansur district. Claims to have 25 - 60 tonnes of intelligence documents captured from Special Security Organisation, mukhabarat and Ba'th party offices. Favours blacklisting 30,000 former senior Ba'th party members from holding office or civil appointment in the post-Ba'th Iraq.

Supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and his replacement by a democratic federal state. London office is headed by Faisal Qaragholi, a petroleum engineer who openly favours a constitutional monarchy. Washington director is Intifadh K. Qanbar, who has built up links with the Zionist lobby groups, eg speaking at an AIPAC gathering on 7Oct02. Other spokespersons include Nabil Musawi, Zaab Sethna (Baghdad spokesman), Nizar Haidar (Karbala representative).

b. Iraqi National Accord (INA, al-Wifaq):

Created in late 1990, on the initiative of Saudi Prince Turki ibn Faysal, with the support of the CIA, and Jordanian and British agencies. Largely made up of Ba‘thists and former military officers who oppose Saddam Hussein's leadership; main constituency is Sunni Arabs in central Iraq. Originally under Saudi sponsorship, who promoted the INA to participate in the first congress of the JAC (see INM below); and helped the INA to establish radio station, Voice of Free Iraq. Arranged bomb blasts in Iraq from 1994 to demonstrate its credibility: included the bombing of a Baghdad cinema, which killed civilians; and outside Ba‘th newspaper offices. Abu Amneh al-Khadami, who claims to have organised the bombings, stated in January 1996 that these bombings were carried out to impress the CIA. Also reportedly bombed INC headquarters in Salahuddin in October 1995; the CIA investigated, but did not release results. Counselled the US against supporting the INC / Samarra‘i coup attempt of Mar95, in favour of its own military scheme, which was scheduled to take place on 26Jun96. This had emerged out of a plan from Retd Gen. Muhammad Abdullah al-Shahwani, an ethnic Turkoman with 3 sons in the Revolutionary Guard, who had contacted the INA in Aug94. The INA in turn contacted MI6, and details were passed onto the CIA, whose operatives within UNSCOM helped coordinate the coup attempt: the Iraqi government became aware of the plot in advance, and 120 coup plotters were arrested (& mostly executed) by the Iraqi regime. This left the INA very weak inside Iraq. However, it kept up close links with the CIA, who reorganised it from 1996, and UK intelligence; it remains the preferred CIA group, and the only national organisation in the "Group of 4" (with KDP, PUK and SCIRI). Activities in Iraq declined after Aug96 hostilities; retains offices in Dahuk, Sulaymaniyya, Zakhu, Salahuddin and Irbil. Main base is in Amman (established in Feb96). Leaders are Dr Iyad Alawi (former president of the Iraqi Student Union in Europe, trained as a neurologist, and later a successful businessman, with good links to Iraqi Ba‘thists; a Shi'a); Gen. Adnan Nuri (formerly of the Republican Guard, who secured funding from the CIA in 1992); Salih Omar ‘Ali al-Tikriti (former Iraqi ambassador to the UN, from the 1970s until 1982; head of the London office of Iraqi Freight Services until 1990; despite co-founding the INA with Alawi, he has withdrawn from a leadership role after a dispute over the Saudi funding of the radio station, which was reportedly embezzled - he continued to produce al-Wifaq paper until about 1998), Dr Tahsin Mu‘ala (the medical practitioner who had tended Saddam's wounds after the failed assassination attempt on Qasim in 1959), Ibrahim Janabi (representative to Amman; former Ba'thist and intelligence officer in London); and Salal al-Shaykhly. Tawfiq al-Yasiri (see INCoalition below) was a leading INA member (aligned with Alawi) until he began participation in INC activities, and was expelled as a result.

The INA has a consistent role in the coordination of the opposition, taking positions in the follow-up committee established in Dec02; Alawi was also elected to the leadership council in Mar03, although he was prevented from reaching the meeting in Salahuddin itself due to Turkey not letting him cross the border. Sources are Hiro (2001 and articles in Middle East International); Cockburn and Cockburn (1998).

c. Iraqi Communist Party (ICP, al-Hizb al-Shuyu'i al-Iraqi):

Established on 31 March 1934, and came to significance in the early 1940s when it was tolerated to a greater extent due to the Soviet Union's joining with the Allies in WWII. Drew support mostly from urban Shi'a communities, especially rural migrants into the cities, and Kurds: it was the first national grouping to develop policy on the Kurdish question (its 1st newspaper, Kifah al-Sha'b, gave support to Kurdish rights). Its preeminent founder and First Secretary was Yusif Salman Yusif ("Fahad", Leopard). Gained prominence in the 1948 unrest, when it organised the famous strike for higher wages at Haditha petroleum pumping station in March 1948 that culminated in a march ("al-Masira al-Kubra") on Baghdad that was stopped at Faluja. Came to dominate trade unions and mass organisations during this period. In response, its leaders were persecuted: Yusuf Salman Yusuf, Husayn Muhammad al-Shabiba & Zaki Basim (politburo members) were hung in public on 14-15 Feb 1949, and became symbols for future activists. Result was increased prestige but diminished capacity: only began to recover under Baha' al-Din Nuri in 1952 demonstrations in Baghdad. Also created a front organisation, the Partisans of Peace, in 1950 which - under 'Ali Mahmud and the lawyer / poet Kamil Qazanchi - grew in strength. Its front organisations joined with the National Democratic Party (NDP) and Istiqlal into an opposition front for the Jun54 elections: it won 11 seats, but the Regent and Nuri al-Said prorogued parliament soon after. Started taking on pan-Arabist slogans from 1956; and, despite widespread intimidation, organised another opposition front with the NDP and Ba'th in Feb 1957.

The ICP had no direct role in the Qasim coup of 1958 (although at one least one politburo member, Kamil 'Umar Nadhmi, was aware of the plans), and although it was initially supportive of the new government, it was not invited to participate in it. ICP was a radical reformist rather than a revolutionary party, focusing on working conditions and better service provision, and campaigning for democratic constitutional government; but it was strongly distrusted by the Iraqi political elite, and by Qasim himself. However, the ICP was the most extensive (and rapidly growing) political force in Iraq, building up support in Baghdad, S. Iraq and Kurdistan, and with control over the students', women's, youth & professional unions by 1959: Qasim needed to accommodate it. It opposed the UAR's formation (in opposition to Deputy PM 'Abd al-Salam 'Arif), holding a rally on 7 Aug 1958 for federalism rather than unity; and its support was drawn upon by Qasim in deposing 'Arif and vying with Nasir. Qasim appointed only 1 ICP minister in a minor role (Naziha al-Dulaimi as Minister of Municipalities, until Nov 1960; 2 other ICP sympathisers also given minor ministerial posts). The Mosul nationalist rebellion followed an ICP rally there on 6 March 1959 which had aimed to demonstrate its popularity in a known anti-Qasim town: the murder of Qazanchi led to large-scale ICP revenge attacks. The Ba'th and NDP decisively broke with ICP over this, and the Ba'th formed alliances with the military through which it persecuted ICP members. 500,000 demonstrated for stronger communist role in government on 1 May 1959, but ICP central committee made the decision not to attempt to seize power by force but to continue to press for free elections and the legalisation of the party. The Kirkuk riots of July 1959 were used by Qasim to discredit the ICP, blaming them publicly for the deaths: leading communists were arrested, ICP-supporting army officers were dismissed, & the party was persecuted (refused legalisation, and its press was shut down) thereafter, despite political liberalization in other spheres from Jan 1960. Lost majority control over many of the trade unions in early 1960.

After the Feb 1963 coup, ICP members were systematically targetted by the Ba'th - suspicion of extensive US involvement in this, with CIA thought to have provided the names & addresses of ICP members. Its First Secretary, Salam 'Adil, was among those killed. Although repression lessened after the Nov 1963 coup, the party finally split over the form that opposition to the 'Arifs' rule should take: 'Aziz al-Hajj led a rival Baghdad-based faction (which became known as the Central Command) from Sept67 that planned guerrilla attacks out of the southern marshes and began sabotage operations in Jan 1969 (its members were captured and al-Hajj publicly recanted). The ICP central committee, who retained majority support, did not actively pursue this line.

After the July 1968 coup, the Ba'th surprisingly offered 3 ministerial posts to the ICP; but ICP made participation conditional upon full democratisation. The Ba'th declined, but continued negotiations with ICP leaders (and allowed some of its publications) whilst harassing (and in some cases assassinating) its activists. As the Ba'th built stronger links with East European countries, and proclaimed a National Action Charter of Nov 1971 which spoke of the need for an alliance with "progressive forces", the ICP began negotiations and publicly accepted participation in a National Progressive Front (NPF) government in April 1972 when treaty with Soviet Union was signed: ICP leaders 'Amir Abdullah and Mukarram Talabani appointed to cabinet on 15 May 1972, the NPF comes into operation in July 1973, the ICP is legalised for the 1st time, and it ceases criticism of the Ba'th government. Ba'th used the NPF to extend its control over mass organisations that had previously been dominated by the ICP, eg by creating "common lists" of candidates for organisational posts in which the Ba'thists held priority. The ICP's new freedom had brought considerable benefits: its newspaper, Tariq al-Sha'b, sold 6.7m copies in 1975. But with the Kurdish revolt crushed in 1975, the Ba'th decided it could dispense with ICP support, and began its repression of it. The ICP began from its May 1976 conference to call for more extensive democratisation. With escalating tension, the ICP began to openly criticise Ba'th policies on the Kurds in March 1978; in reply, the Ba'th began to apply the death penalty for soldiers engaged in ICP activity (12 soldiers sentenced to death in May 1978). The NPF was formally dissolved in March 1979 when the ICP left the Front, and it was proscribed.

The ICP gave support to Iran in the 1980-88 war. Was instrumental in creating the National Democratic Front (NDF), together with the KDP & KSPI on 28Nov80 (after the Damascus-based Democratic National Patriotic Front, estd 12Nov80, stalled over participation of the KDP), which had little role in the war; it became the Islamic National Front in Iraq when Hasan Naqib (see INM notes) and al-Da'wa joined it. Helped Syria coordinate the creation of the JAC (see INM below) from Dec 1990. Joined the IKF (see KDP, below) in 1992 (?). Had bases in northern Iraq, and participated in the May 1992 elections (winning 2.2% of the vote, the 5th largest); its Kurdish branch renamed itself as the Kurdistan Communist Party in 1993 (led by Karim Ahmad; other politburo members include Subhi Mehdi Ahmed and Abdul Rahman Faris; its newspaper is Regai, edited by Shaphol Fathi Kareem; won 10% in Irbil municipal elections in 2002, and estimates that its membership is less than 5,000; based in Kalar). Many of its bases were routed in the August 1996 fighting; it retains offices in Shaqlawa and Sulaymaniyya. However, has good links with the main Kurdish groups; it has a front organisation, the Centre for Human Rights, based in the Kurdish Autonomous Region (releasing information largely on the mistreatment of prisoners). Member of the Coalition of Iraqi National Forces, launched on 23 June 2002 with a "National Action Charter", which commits the groups to the overthrow of Saddam Husayn without "foreign interference", the lifting of sanctions, the establishment of a democracy and the preservation of Iraq's unity; other major participants are the Da‘wa and the pro-Syrian Iraqi Ba‘th. Has stated its unwillingness to take part in the conference of opposition forces (to take place in Jan03) due to the "foreign interference" in Iraqi affairs. Was not invited to participate in the Apr03 US-convened meetings for the reconstruction of Iraq. Supports a strong UN role in reconstruction. Its headquarters in Baghdad is in a former mukhabarat building on shari' Abu Nuass.

Publications include the periodical Tariq al-Sha‘b, which was the first independent paper to be circulated in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Husayn. Leaders include Aziz Muhammad (the party's First Secretary), Hamid Majid Musa al-Bayati (Secretary-General of Central Committee), Subhi al-Jumayli (representative in the UK), Ra'id Fahim (representative in Berlin?), 'Abd al-Razzaq al-Safi (Central Committee member), Bushra Purt, Adil Khalid (Central Committee member in Baghdad). There have been break-away factions, including the Advanced Cadre (led by politburo member Baqir Ibrahim al-Musawi). Source for pre-1990 information is largely Sluglett & Sluglett (1990).

d. Constitutional Monarchy Movement:

Led by Sharif Ali bin al-Husayn (b.1956), the cousin of the deposed and killed King Faisal II, and London-based banker. Favours a constitutional monarchy with an elected government. Affiliated to INC, within which Sharif Ali is a member of the presidency council. Sa'd Saraf has a policy-making role within the CMM, and its spokesperson is Sadiq al-Musawi. Boycotted the follow-up committee's meeting in Salahuddin in Feb-Mar03, claiming that they had accepted a sectarian formula for the division of Iraqi opposition posts.

e. Democratic Centrist Tendency (DCT) / Independent Democrats Movement (IDM):

Led by Adnan Pachachi (Adnan Bajaji, b.14May23, a Sunni Muslim), former Iraqi foreign minister (1966-1967) and ambassador to the UN (1959-65, 1967-68). Pachachi is based in the UAE (Abu Dhabi), where he has acted as an advisor to Shaykh Zayyid. The DCT's official spokesman is Ghassan al-Atiyyah, upon whom a Baghdad special court passed a death sentence in absentia in Sept00, on the grounds that he met with Israelis in a Cairo conference in Aug00; has been "disowned" by his tribe, Al Humaydat from the Shamiyah district. Husayn al-Sha'lan also has a role, and attended a meeting of the Free Iraq Council in Apr01. Was supported by the US as an alternative to the INC from the early 1990s; reemergence of interest in the DCT in Feb03, when Zalmay Khalilzad, the White House envoy, attempted to enlist Pachachi for a future Iraqi government, to sound him out possibly for a leadership role. In conjunction, Pachachi set up the Independent Democrats Movement in Feb03. Is still favoured by the State Department, but opposed by the Pentagon. Pachachi has declared his opposition to working with a US military governor in Iraq; the follow-up committee voted him onto their leadership council in an attempt to coopt him (2Mar03), a position he rejects (see his article of 2Mar). He supports a UN-administered transitional period, and is considered a liberal secular Arab nationalist. He vocally opposed the process of awarding out contracts to US firms after the ousting of the Ba'th regime. Pachachi returned to Iraq in early May03.

f. Free Iraq Council:

London-based organisation, led by Sa‘d Salih Jabr (b.1932/3), son of Iraq's first Shi'a prime minister Salih Jabr (Mar47-Jan48). This was created when Saudi Arabia sought to gain influence among opposition groups after the invasion of Kuwait; on a Saudi initiative, Jabr dissolved the New Umma party, established 1982 (and which had coordinated with the Islamist groups from 1987), in order to create a more broadly based council in Feb 1991. Saudis promoted the FIC to participate in the first congress of the JAC (see INM below). Had attempted to coordinate anti-Saddam forces in Iraq from Feb92, but coup attempts were aborted when their plot was uncovered in Apr92 and 300 officers and civilians were arrested, with many executed. Jabr blamed the US for leaking his plans to the Iraqi regime; Sec State Christopher vigorously denied. Jabr is a Shi‘a Muslim with US citizenship, though lives in London; he had a letter on 23/12/98 in The Independent claiming himself to be most long serving Iraqi exile politician and chair of the most widely representative exile group, but that he was being ignored by the UK government. Has been critical of the INC's plans, eg of plans for a provisional government in Jul02; has built links with the INA, eg Iyad Alawi participated in their London meeting of Apr01.

g. Arab Socialist Bath Party - Iraq Command:

The pro-Syrian wing of the Ba‘th. Member of the Coalition of Iraqi National Forces (see ICP entry). Prominent members include Mahmud al-Shaykh Radhi and Dr Mahmud Shamsa. Unclear if this is a participant in the Iraqi National Alliance of ‘Abd al-Jabbar al-Qubaysi.

h. Revolutionary Workers Party (RWP):

A grouping made up of leftist Ba'thists, established in 1965 by Hani al-Fekaiki (b.1936, member of the ruling Revolutionary Command Council from 1963), Yasin al-Hafid, Hamdi 'Abd al-Majid. Role inside Iraq diminished from 1979, when Fekaiki left the country and moved to London. He later took a role in the founding of the INC, and was the deputy chairman of its executive council; died in Jan97. Fekaiki's autobiography is Dens of Defeat. Source: Middle East International 544 (21 Feb 1997), p.14.

i. Worker-Communist Party of Iraq (IWCP, al-Hizb al-Shuyu'i al-Ummali al-Iraqi):

Established in 1993 out of a merger between smaller communist groups. The IWCP is represented in KDP territory though it is, strictly speaking, an illegal party there as it is not officially registered and authorised to engage in political activities. The IWCP increasingly includes extreme left-wing Iranians. The party's supposed anti-nationalist and anti-religious leanings cause friction with the KDP and have of late also been giving rise to trouble with the PUK. The IWCP is nevertheless officially represented in PUK territory, having its head office and radio station in Sulaymaniyya. The party publishes the newspaper "Bopeshawa". Relations between the IWCP and the PUK could until a short while ago be described as reasonably good. The PUK used to assist the IWCP by means of monthly donations. Recently, however, some tension has arisen, partly as a result of an accusation of illegal fund-raising levelled at the IWCP by the PUK and an investigation into IWCP involvement in the death of two former IWCP members. There are also rumours abroad of an IWCP rapprochement with Baghdad. Fierce animosity is felt between the IWCP and the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan. The IWCP arouses irritation, not only on the part of the IMIK, by its extreme political views, which often run directly counter to Kurdish traditions (eg the playing of the Internationale at the funeral of the IWCP's founder, Farad Farraj). The IMIK was suspected of involvement in the murder of two IWCP members in Sulaymaniyya in October 1999. The IWCP earlier accused "Islamic groups in the city of Irbil" of the murder of two IWCP members on 18 April 1998. It opposes a US invasion of Iraq, and refused to attend the London conference of Dec02, protesting outside instead. Barham Surush is prominent in their UK branch.

j. Iraqi Homeland Party (Hizb al-Watan al-Iraqi):

Founded in Jordan in 1995, as a Sunni grouping with proclaimed liberal credentials. Led by Mish'an al-Jaburi (a relative of Hamid al-Jaburi, the former ambassador to Tunisia who defected to the UK in 1993); came to be based in Damascus with its newspaper (al-Ittijah al-Akhar) published from Holland. Has distanced itself from the groups seeking to coordinate with the US, aligning itself more with SCIRI. From 2001, has claimed that it is no longer in favour of toppling the Iraqi regime, in favour of peaceful change. However, it took part in the London conference of Dec02, with Jaburi taking a place on the Follow-Up Committee.

k. Iraqi National Alliance (al-Tahaluf al-Watani al-Iraqi):

A tolerated and reformist opposition grouping in Iraq, coming to prominence in Nov02, and with Ba‘thist and Nasirist participants. Claims that it was established in Sweden in June 1992, out of nationalist groups previously based in Syria, but who opposed Iran in the 1980-88 war and the US-led Coalition in the 1990-91 war. Campaigns for a constitution that would respect human rights and multi-party politics; opposed to sanctions, an invasion and US-funded opposition groups. Led by ‘Abd al-Jabbar al-Qubaysi, a former leader of the pro-Syrian Ba‘th (moved to Damascus in Aug76 to work for the party in exile; 2 brothers were executed in 1981; extensive interview from Dec02 is here). Other leaders include Awni al-Qalamji (a Nasirist officer who was accused of coup-plotting in the early 1970s), Fadhil al-Rubai'i, Labib Mansur ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, Muhammad Jawad Faris and Amr al-Zirb. Is associated with Iraqi writer ‘Abd al-Amir al-Rikabi (b.1947, left Iraq in the 1970s to Syria), who is a Paris-based leftist Shi'a who has held negotiations with the regime since 1992; Tariq Aziz referred to him as an example of the "national opposition", indicating legitimacy; claims he has been consulted by the regime over becoming Prime Minister of a reformist government (23Oct02). A delegation held meetings with senior Iraqi leaders in Nov02; claims to have had secret contacts with the regime since 1999.

 

2. National Islamist groups

a. al-Dawa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Call: Da‘wa means an invitation to believe in the true religion):

Established in early 1958, based on the Association of Najaf 'ulama, a political-religious organisation that had been established in late 1957 to combat "atheism" (ie communism). Although it is widely seen as a Twelver (Ithna 'Ashari) Shi'a organisation, it has always had Sunni members (around 10% in mid-1980s, according to its claims) and coordinated closely with Sunni Islamist groupings. A leading figure in the establishment of both organisations had been Muhammad Baqr al-Sadr (b.1931, Kazmiyya; cousin of Musa al-Sadr of Lebanon; trained in Najaf where he lived for the rest of his life), the highly influential author of 22 books including Falsafatuna (1958) and Iqtisaduna (1961), the latter being largely directed at communist theories. Sadr also outlined the system of Islamic government: an elected assembly is valid as in the absence of the Imam, man is khalifat Allah (vice-regent of God) = delegation of responsibility. The community must govern itself within the parameters of Islamic Law, as interpreted through the clergy: this is not rule by the 'ulama, but juristic supervision on the laws passed by the legislature (cf Khomeini, from his 1970 Najaf lectures, who portrayed the jurisprudent - faqih - as having higher authority, with the 'ulama exercising the political authority of the Vanished Imam: hence the wilayat al-faqih, the guardianship of the jurisprudent). Sadr also supported a mixed economy, with oil resources remaining under the control of the State. After the revolution of Jul58, it usually had the support of Muhsin al-Hakim (al-Tabataba'i) from Najaf, who went onto become the marja' mutlaq (the most senior Shi‘a ayatollah) on the death of Ayatollah Husayn Brujerdi of Qom in 1961 (with the implicit support of the shah of Iran, eager to displace the rising Iranian Islamic movement), & had issued a fatwa on 12Feb60 proscribing membership of the ICP. al-Da'wa was strongest in Najaf-Karbala region, and developed a strongly anti-secular revolutionary agenda through its study circles. Also, through the associated Society of Religious Scholars, Jama'at al-'Ulama', more openly aligned with Hakim, it established welfare institutions from 1958. Strongly opposed Qasim's land reform and his equalisation of female rights in inheritance law (1958-59); and 'Arif's nationalisation measures (1964). Hakim also was strongly critical of the ‘Arif rulers' alliance with Nasir, and refused to issue a fatwa permitted the war against the Kurds (1963; some claim he issued a fatwa in 1966 forbidding this participation, but this is unclear). Muhsin al-Hakim began a public critique of the government's oppression of Shi'a religious leaders and practices in 1969 (persecution, including the torture of Hakim's second son, Hujja Mahdi, after Muhsin refused to condemn the shah over Shatt al-Arab dispute; ‘Abd al-Aziz al-Badri, a Sunni ‘alim who spoke in favour of Mahdi, was killed under torture - a Sunni is thus seen as the first martyr) and forbade membership of the Ba'th party. Khomeini, urging stronger engagement, used this dispute as the backdrop to his Najaf lectures of 21Jan-8Feb advocating "Islamic government", wilayat al-faqih and criticising inactive 'ulama. Muhsin al-Hakim died on 2Jun70. Mahdi al-Hakim later fled to Pakistan and there onto London, where he founded the Ahl al-Bayt charitable society in 1980, with the help of Jama'at al-'Ulama'; assassinated in Khartum in Jan 1988. With Muhsin al-Hakim's death, Shi'a allegiance transferred to Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim (see SCIRI notes below) and Ayatollahs Abu al-Qasim Khu'i (a quietist) and Muhammad Baqr al-Sadr (now an Ayatollah, the only Arab of the 8 living Shi'a maraji'). 5 of al-Da'wa's leaders (including Shaykh 'Arif al-Basri, b.1937 in Basra, a founder of al-Da'wa who coordinated activities in Baghdad) were executed in December 1974.

Was the key organiser of the protests (the Safar intifada) in February 1977 among the Shi‘a of southern Iraq, esp Najaf, when police attacked the religious procession from Najaf to Karbala; Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim was subsequently arrested, and became a main Shi'a opposition leader on his release in 1979. Strongly supported the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and many of its leaders had strong personal ties with Ayatollah Khomeini (especially Sadr). Sadr was place under house arrested from 12Jun79, and denied contact with the outside world. Were intensely repressed through 1979, as Islamist leaders came to call openly for violent protest and revolutionary tactics (eg, the attempts by Da'wa members to assassinate Saddam Husayn: Dr Ghazi al-Hariri in Aug79, by bombing Karama hospital in Baghdad; airman Ghalib Ibrahim Tahrir on 6Jun80, by shelling an air force reviewing stand), forming a military wing (subsequently called Shahid al-Sadr force) in late79; membership of al-Da'wa was made punishable by death by Mar80 (96 members reportedly executed in that month). Claimed responsibility for the 1 April 1980 attempted assassination of Tariq Aziz, Iraq's deputy PM, in Baghdad, in revenge for the execution of its members. In reprisal, Sadr and his sister Bint al-Huda (Amina al-Sadr; a respected 'alima who organised study circles for young women) were executed on 9 April 1980 > Sadr has portrayed by his followers as the "Fourth Martyr" of Shi'ism. Was explicitly blamed by Iraqi leaders for actions which necessitated the attack on Iran. Da'wa members mostly either joined Iranian military units or refrained from political activity; Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim left for Iran shortly after the commencement of the war. However, took part in the Damascus-based National Democratic Front (see ICP notes), which became the Islamic National Front in Iraq on its accession to it. Its members staged a major assassination attempt on Saddam Husayn in Jul82 in Dujayl (approx.150 killed during fighting); bombed the Ministry of Planning on 1Aug82; and attacked Saddam Husayn's motorcade in Mosul on 9Apr87.

Predominantly based in Tehran until the ousting of the Ba'th regime, and supporting the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq. Unlike SCIRI, and in line with Sadr's teachings, it has never collectively endorsed the notion of wilayat al-faqih for the future government of Iraq (a prominent leader, Murtada al-'Askari, has criticised the notion; other Da'wa members accept it), indicating their greater independence from the Iranian line. Took a leading role in the JIC meetings (see INM below), and it provided the chair for the Beirut assembly in Mar91, Jawad al-Maliki. Did not participate in Vienna INC founding, and criticised the Kurdish position at the conference for being secessionist. Took part in the Oct92 INC opposition assembly at Salahuddin, and expressed reservations about the decision that the future Iraqi government would be federal in form; pulled out of the INC in 1995. Some analyses claim that its London, Iraq and Iran branches have worked relatively independently, with the Iraqi Da'wa looking primarily to Husayn Fadlallah for leadership. Its London branch signed the organisation up as a member of the Coalition of Iraqi National Forces (see ICP entry). Did not take part in the Dec02 London meetings, though a leader of Ahl al-Bayt took a place on the follow-up committee. Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, the London spokesman of al-Da'wa, also held a meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad, President Bush's special envoy for the Iraqi opposition, in early Jan03; Khalilzad has reportedly offered al-Da'wa five seats on the opposition follow-up and arrangement committee. However, al-Da'wa has continued to refuse participation, including in the Nasiriya meeting of 15 April to plan a post-Saddam Iraq. Da'wa seems to have had a significant role in organising the demonstrations there against Jay Garner on that day. Its formerly exiled leaders, including Muhammad Bakr al-Nasri (a prominent cleric, possibly the main religious leader in the party), now seem to be returning to Iraq, especially to Nasiriya which it largely controls. Set up headquarters in Baghdad in the Sindbad youth centre.

London spokesperson of al-Da'wa is Ibrahim al-Ja‘fari; other prominent members include Abu-Bilal al-Adib, member of the Political Bureau, 'Abd al-Razzaq al-Kadhami, Dr Haydar al-Abadi, Dr Haydar Abbas (London representative), Muhammad Bakr al-Nasri.

Other sources include Wiley, Islamic Movement of Iraqi Shi'as (1992).

b. Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI, al-Majlis al-Al‘a lil-Thawra al-Islamiyya fi al-‘Iraq):

The most prominent Shi‘a political grouping, with its main constituency in Southern Iraq and its base in Tehran. Was established on 17 November 1982 with the support of Iran (and during intense persecution of al-Da'wa), and was led by Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim (b.1939 in Najaf, the 6th son of Muhsin al-Hakim; leading role in the 1977 Safar intifada; imprisoned in 1972, 1977 and 1979, fleeing to Iran on his release in 1980; biography from SCIRI here; interviews here from Dec01 and Oct02: 1,2) until 1985, thereafter by a collective leadership (though Hakim remains dominant as the chairman of the organisation); a 16-man central committee has always been the chief body, which incorporates representatives from Kurdish Hizbullah (Muhammad Khalid Barzan) and the Islamic Task Organisation (Muhammad Taqi al-Mudarrisi). Hakim was named by Ayatollah Khomeini as the head of an Islamic Republic of Iraq. From its inception, it has purported to represent all the Muslims of Iraq (including the Sunnis), and has portrayed Iran as the foundation of the World Islamic Revolution; it has been the only major Iraqi Islamist group to support the notion of the wilayat al-faqih (guardianship of the jurisprudent) in the future Iraqi system of government, with the same faqih as Iran (but with a separate legislature). They had also taken on Khomeini's rhetoric of anti-imperialism, with Hakim presenting the struggle in 1982 as between Islam and imperialism, with imperialism represented by the (US/SU-supported) Ba'th regime.

SCIRI was created to act as a provisional government for Basra in the event of its capture. Its initial military force of approx.200 was established in 1983 at Hajj Umran; recruited largely from Iraqi Shi'a prisoners captured by Iran during the 1980-8 war (Hakim had been given the role of coordinating family visits to Iraqi POWs, and SCIRI was part of the special committee created in 1987 on Iraqi POWs in Iran). SCIRI members also conducted attacks on Kuwait, due to its support for Iraq: attacked the US embassy in Dec83 and attempted to assassinate the amir of Kuwait in Apr85. SCIRI's executive director, Abu Thar al-Hasan, died in Jan88 of the chemical wounds he received from an Iraqi attack on Hajj Umran in Nov87. Opposed the US-led war in 1991, claiming the invasion of Kuwait was a pretext for aggression against the Iraqi people; called on Iraqis to confront foreign aggression. Remains close to the conservative establishment in Iran, especially Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i; Iran's head of judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmud Shahrudi (who is of Iraqi origin), was a leading member of SCIRI in its early years. Reportedly declined participation in the INC's 3-man presidential council from Oct92, claiming that Shi'a representation should be more than 1 in 3. Took seats in the executive council however, although participation was severely limited from 1994; suspended participation in the INC from 1999.

Estimates of SCIRI's present strength vary: it probably has approx.10,000 guerrillas in total. It had made claims to having 8000 operating inside south/central Iraq prior to the ousting of the Ba'th (including the Badr corps, operating out of Iran; later reports from Jan03 put the strength of the Badr Brigades at 10-12,000, with a leader claiming it has three sectors) and once claimed to have 70,000 fighters in 2 training camps in Sulaymaniyya. Was selected by the US for funding through the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, an offer which it refused. In Dec01, seemed to welcome outside military intervention to topple Saddam, and supported a 1-year transitional government followed by elections; however, from early 2002 (and Bush's inclusion of Iran within the "axis of evil"), voiced opposition (Feb, Mar, Jun) to a US invasion of Iraq, arguing that this would cause unnecessary suffering & lead to a US occupation of the country. However, with Iranian permission, continues contacts with US, with a delegation headed by 'Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim (head of SCIRI's military wing and deputy leader; Muhammad Baqr's younger brother) attending the Washington meeting on 9Aug02; continued to oppose US military action after the meeting, but agreed to cooperation militarily with the KDP in Sept02 (see KDP notes); from late Oct02, was indicating that US assistance might be welcome in overthrowing Saddam, as long as the US does not have a role in establishing a post-Saddam government (1,2,3): possibly could be interpreted as requesting US protection (esp from fear of Iraq's readiness to use non-conventional weapons on insurgents) rather than US intervention. Has been ambiguous in its support for a federal Iraq, giving the concept formal support whilst speaking of popular acceptance as a necessary precondition. Participated in "Group of 4" meetings (with INA, PUK & KDP) to coordinate opposition outside the framework of the INC; and established its dominance at the London conference of December 2002, reflected in the scale of its representation on the follow-up committee. Seemed to have come to coordinate more closely with the INC, with Bakim holding a meeting with Chalabi in Tehran on 9Dec02. However, problems arose in Jan03, when the US made it clear that it envisaged a longer term military occupation of Iraq; this was denounced by SCIRI. Reportedly moved a large number of its troops (up to 5000) into northern Iraq in mid-Feb03, to prepare for a US assault on Iraq, despite US warnings.

During the US invasion, SCIRI urged its followers not to oppose the US forces, but to remain neutral, and for the UN to take over the administration of Iraq; however, as the plans to install a new administration in Iraq became clear, it has become more vocal in opposing US measures: it boycotted the Nasiriya meeting of 15 April to plan a post-Saddam Iraq, and the Badr brigade has taken control of towns near the Iranian border (eg Baqubah); it sent a low-level delegation to the Baghdad meeting of 28Apr. Its main base is now Kut, where 'Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim has been based since 16Apr; SCIRI has installed Sayyid Abbas (b.1951?) as mayor, despite US opposition and attempts to evict him from the mayor's mansion. SCIRI now strongly supports the end to the US military presence in Iraq immediately, and argues that an Islamic republic will be installed through the majority support of the people after an intermediate stage. In early May, Iranian newspapers reported that Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim was considering relinquishing the leadership to 'Abd al-Aziz, in order to become the spiritual figurehead. On 10May, Muhammad Baqr crossed over to Basra, where he rallied huge crowds there, in al-Nasiriya and Samawa, before returning to Najaf, calling for a withdrawal of US forces and the establishment of an Islamist state, but disavowing the use of force to achieve this. Other SCIRI spokespersons describe the goal not as a theocracy but as a state in which religion plays a significant role (eg Bayan Jabr, May03; Hamid al-Bayati, May03).

Other leaders of SCIRI include Hamid al-Bayati (spokesperson, based in London, rep to the UK since 1992; interview of May03), Muhammad al-Haydari (head of the Political Bureau), Ibrahim Hammudi (Hakim's political advisor), Bayan Jabr (Damascus rep, and head of Arab & international affairs; has coordinated with US since 1993), Adil 'Abd al-Mahdi (president), Ali Ha'iri (president of the general assembly), Muhammad Ali Rahmani (commander of exile mobilization), Muhammad Mahdi al-Asafi, 'Abd al-Rahim al-Shawki, Muhammad Hariri (representative in Lebanon), Hajj Abu Zaid, Abu Islam al-Saqir (spokesman), Warith Al-Kindi (information officer). It has offices in northern Iraq, Syria, the UK (West Kensington), France, Austria and Germany as well as Iran. It opened an office in Washington in late 2002.

c. Islamic Task Organisation (Munazzamat al-'Amal al-Islami; often referred to as the Islamic Action Organisation):

Group formed by the 'ulama of Karbala in 1961, largely aligned with al-Da'wa. The "task" of the group's name is the formation of Islamic government. Like al-Da'wa radicalised in favour of military measures in 1979. Its most famous action was the attempt by a member, Samir Nur 'Ali, to assassinate Deputy PM Tariq Aziz, on 1Apr80. Founded by Muhsin al-Husayni and two nephews of Ayatollah Hasan Shirazi (b.Najaf, but grew up in Karbala; exiled in 1970 and assassinated in Beirut in 1980). One of these nephews, Muhammad Taqi al-Mudarrisi (b.1945, Karbala), became its leader and was coopted onto the central committee of SCIRI from its inception in Nov82. The ITO continued independent actions, eg attack on Baghdad nightclub and hotel in Jan89; based in Iran. Has managed to find recruits in Arab Gulf States (was blamed by Bahrain for Aug79 demonstrations), but its base remains Karbala. It coordinates closely with Iran and Syria, and had an active role in the 1991 uprising. Operational leadership seems to rest with Ridha Jawad Taqi and Ibrahim al-Mutairi. Leadership returned to Karbala on 22Apr03; and many (inc Muhammad Taqi al-Mudarrisi) were briefly detained by US forces.

d. Jund al-Imam (Soldiers of the [Twelfth] Imam):

Shi'a grouping established in 1969. Reconstituted in 1979, and now led by Sa'd Jawad. Seems to have taken a role within SCIRI.

e. Iraqi Islamic Forces Union:

Faction split from SCIRI in 2002 (?). Opposed to coordination with the US in overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Members of the provisional leadership include Abu-Haydar al-Asadi.

f. Jamaat al-Sadr al-Thani (the Sadr II Movement):

Emerged in April 2003, following the ousting of the Ba'th regime from Baghdad, to take effective control of large urban areas of Iraq, including the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf. It is led by Muqtada al-Sadr (b.1973? holds the rank of Hojatoleslam; interviews: 7May03), the son of Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who was prayer leader at the Imam Ali Mosque, and recognised as a Grand Ayatollah in 1992 (and a relative of Muhammad Baqr al-Sadr). Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr was assassinated (together with 2 of his sons) on 19 Feb 1999 soon after publicly criticising the regime's restrictions on Shi'a worship (allegedly on Uday's orders). After the killings, Muqtada stayed in the country and attempted to mobilise the Shi'a community on the basis of his father's teachings; he is highly critical of those who either were outside the country (eg SCIRI's leadership, INC) or were quiescent (eg Sistani). Strongly opposed to a continued US presence in Iraq. The Sadr Movement has renamed Saddam City as Sadr City, and it now largely controls that suburb; it is also strong in Najaf and Kufa. On 13Apr03 it temporarily surrounded the homes of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani (from Mashhad, Iran; head of Hawza al-Ilmiya, the highest seat of learning in Najaf, and a marja') and Ayatollah Sa'id al-Hakim (nephew of Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim), ordering them to leave Najaf; it may also have had a role in the murder of 'Abd al-Majid al-Khu'i on 10Apr03. Promotes Ayatollah Kazim Husayni Ha'iri, from Najaf but exiled in Qom, to be the head of the Hawza instead; Ha'iri supports the wilayat al-faqih (guardianship of the jurisprudent), and has good relations with al-Da'wa and SCIRI too. Shaykh Muhammad al-Fartusi, from Najaf, says he was sent by Ha'iri to east Baghdad, and seems to be aligned with Sadr. Sadr's relations with al-Da'wa and Jafar al-Sadr (son of Muhammad Baqr al-Sadr) are unclear. Spokesman is Shaykh Adnan al-Shahmani. Sadr visited Iran c.7Jun03 to improve relations (he had been initially critical of Iranian attempts to control Shi'a religious offices).

 

3. National officers' groups

a. Free Officers' Movement:

Established in 1996 and led by Brigadier-General Najib al-Salihi. Claims it can raise 30,000 fighters. Biography of Salihi: b.1951/52. A Sunni Muslim who appears to have support among the Shi'a (he comes from a large tribe - the Bani Salih - which embraces Sunni and Shi'a Muslims and some Turkmen). Claims to have worked with underground opposition movements in Iraq since 1979. Commander of an armoured division of the Republican Guard in the Gulf War (and wrote a book on the 1991 uprising, al-Zilzal, The Earthquake, 1998); and against INC lines in Mar95. Defected in 1995. His subsequent publications include: Human Rights in Iraq, The Social and Political Problem in Iraq, The Problem of Administration in the Parts of the Iraqi State, The Future of the Military in Iraq, and The Army and National Unity. Favours a three-pronged infantry assault on Baghdad from Kurdish Iraq, Kuwait and, if possible, Jordan, without the use of US ground troops. In talks with US State Dept officials from Dec02, he has argued that the US should not target the Iraqi army. He has avoided giving the impression of power-hungriness, and at conferences in the US has argued that the military should not be directly engaged in politics. He emerged as front-runner in an internet poll conducted by Iraq.net to find who Iraqis would most like to lead a transitional government. The poll was abandoned after a few days, allegedly because of suspicious voting activity, but possibly because it showed little popular support for other prominent figures. The FOM seems to have been a contributor to the INC-dominated Free Iraqi Forces, and Salihi set up headquarters in Baghdad in Apr03, to register supporters: seems to have taken the new name of the Free Officers and Civilians Movement.

b. Higher Council for National Salvation (HCNS):

Denmark-based grouping established by Wafiq Hamud al-Samarra'i (Wafiq Jassim al-Samarra'i?): former head of Iraqi Military Intelligence until 1991, with the rank of Major-General; director-general of the presidential office until he defected in Nov/Dec94. Supports covert operations to assassinate Saddam Husayn (arguing that a full army revolt is unlikely); instigated the plans for the Mar95 coup attempt in league with the INC. Came into direct opposition to the KDP, with Samarra'i alleging that Barzani was coordinating with Baghdad to foil the coup. Based in Syria initially, before moving to London in 1998, with an office in Sutton. The HCNS was established on 1 August 2002: its first statement, calls for Saddam Husayn's exile to another Arab country and his continued personal security; it claims to have the support of "170 military men and 150 civilians, including former politicians, tribes clans, former ambassadors and business men".

c. Iraqi National Movement (INM):

Established in 2001, as a Sunni-dominated split from INC. Made up of between 40 and 100 former Sunni Muslim military officers and political leaders. Sec-Gen. is Maj-Gen Hasan Mustafa al-Naqib, a former army deputy chief-of-staff who defected in 1978, and led a revolt at the start of the Iran-Iraq war; a Sunni with good relations with the Kurds. Had a key role in the Damascus-based National Democratic Front (see ICP, above). Promoted as a leader by the Joint Action Committee, a Damascus-based coordinating forum for the opposition groups incorporating the pro-Iranian groups (SCIRI, al-Da'wa), the main Kurdish groups, the ICP and Ba'thi dissidents; established in Sept90, with the Dec90 conference in Beirut agreeing a unity charter that set up a 5-man steering committee (2 Islamists, 1 Kurd, 1 ICP, 1 Ba'thist), 17-man secretariat & 48-person consultative assembly. The JAC held the first national Iraqi opposition conference in Beirut in March 1991; despite failing to make substantive agreements, this provided the origins of what became the INC in 1992. The JAC saw Naqib as a future figurehead leader of Iraq, esp given his close links with Damascus; he met UK and US leaders through 1993 on this basis. Went on to run the Independent Iraqi Alliance, based in Syria, until he suffered a stroke and the group was disbanded. Other co-founders and leaders of the INM include Mudhar Shawkat, Hatim Mukhlis (deputy Sec-Gen, a surgeon from Binghamton, New York, whose father Jasim was executed in 1993; wrote on democratic principles for the Future of Iraq Project, stressing federalism and the need to give prestige back to the army), Maj-Gen Mahdi Abdallah, Maj-Gen Sa'ib Hilmi, Baha Shabib, Maj-Gen Bara'a al-Rubay'i (former vice-director of the Iraqi infantry), Brig-Gen Ahmad al-Samarra'i, Col Adl al-Juburi, Maj-Gen Khalid al-Ubaydi, and Brig-Gen Imad al-Ansari. Washington representative is Thair Nakib. One report suggests that it is a merger of the Iraqi Officers Movement and the Iraqi National Liberals. Held a meeting with Wayne A. Downing, US deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel in Washington in late Feb02. After that, the State Department requested the provision of $315,000 to the INM, to be used to maintain offices in Damascus & build links between the Arab States and the opposition groups. Argues that a small US invading force would lead to extensive Iraqi army defections. Has been ambiguous on support for federalism based on sectarianism in a post-Saddam Iraq.

d. Iraqi National Coalition (often referred to as the Iraqi National Council; al-I'tilaf al-Watani al-Iraqi):

An umbrella group of former officers, established in March 2000 (? some reports place earlier; but its site claims this date) by former Brigadier Tawfiq al-Yasiri (b.1944/5, a Shi'ite), head of Iraq's military academy and naval officer; participated, and was wounded, in the uprising at Babylon in 1991; taken to Saudi Arabia & then to London; joined up with INA, but after participation in an INC delegation to the US, was expelled by them. Claims he was the target of assassination attempt in 1998. Also includes former General Saad Ubeidi, the former head of psychological operations in the Iraqi army. Was scheduled to hold a conference in Washington in Apr02, but postponed; 3-day conference of 70 former officers held in Kensington Town Hall, London in Jul02. Yasiri says that he envisions an army uprising, triggered by US air support; but is opposed to a full US invasion; has also spoken of his preference for a Sunni-led coup attempt, and the difficulty the US will have in invading Iraq. Has good relations with Wafiq al-Samarra‘i (see HCNS notes) and Najib al-Salihi (see FOM notes); and includes Salihi in the 15-man "military council" established on 14Jul02, and whose spokesman is Yasiri; the "Covenant of Honour" of the military council, committing itself to returning power to civilian rule on the overthrow of the present regime. Opened 11 "volunteer centres" around the world on 23Aug02, to recruit and train Iraqi exiles to fight Iraqi forces, alongside American troops. In Dec02, claimed it was made up of 318 former officers. On 24Jan03, it leaked a purported Iraqi military document to Radio 4, which they claimed showed that Iraqi soldiers had been supplied with defences against chemical attack. The Coalition's website contains an extensive "definition" of the Coalition. Albert Yelda, chair of the Assyrian Cultural Centre in London and the only Assyrian member of the INCongress' executive since 1992, acts as their spokesperson in London; seems to have close links with Munther al-Fadhal.

e. Iraqi Officers Movement:

Founded & led by General Fawzi al-Shamari: b.1945/46. Studied at the Iraqi Military Academy and Iraqi National Defence College, and in the Soviet Union 1975-76. Commanded 9 divisions in the Iraq-Iraq war; admits that he used chemical weapons against Iran. Defected in 1986, and has since run a restaurant in Virginia. Based in Washington. The IOM favours guerrilla war inside Iraq. One report suggests that it is now amalgamated into the INM.

 

4. Predominantly Kurdish groups

a. Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP):

Historically, the main Kurdish party in Northern Iraq; led at present by Mas'ud Barzani. Established by Mullah Mustafa Barzani in Tehran in December 1945, as the Kurdish Democratic Party, after Ahmad Barzani (Mustafa's brother) launched a Kurdish insurgency for independence from Iraq in 1931, which was finally crushed by a joint Iraqi-Turkish campaign in 1935. Its first congress in Baghdad on 16Aug46 elected Hamza Abdallah as its Sec-Gen, Barzani as its President in exile, Sheikh Latif (son of Mahmud Berzendji) & Ziyad Agah as vice presidents. Drew its main support from the Barzani, Baradusti and Surchi tribes, although came to win support from all areas of Iraqi Kurdistan. Returned to Iraq in the wake of Qasim's coup of 1958 (when it changed its name to its current form), began negotiations with the new government, and was legalised in Jan60. Relations deteriorated from 1960, and intense conflict with Iraqi troops from 1961-66 (except for ceasefire from 1964 to Apr65). Accepted the Jun66 agreement (which quickly broke down); and relaunched armed rebellion with the Mar69 attack on Kirkuk oil refinery. This led to negotiations between Mustafa Barzani and Saddam Husayn, which culminated in the 11Mar70 agreement; the KDP secured a general amnesty for its members, received official funding and administered northern Iraq as the local government from 1970. It rejected the March 1974 Autonomy Law, due to the dispute on the area of the Autonomous Region; the rebellion restarted in Apr74. Supported by Iran (when 2 Iranian regiments entered KDP controlling regions of Iraq in Jan75 on KDP invitation, full-scale war was narrowly averted through Turkish, then Algerian, mediation) until the Algiers accord of Mar75, which resulted in the withdrawal of Iranian & US support for the KDP's rebellion, which subsequently collapsed. In the aftermath of the 1975 collapse, Barzani went into exile in Iran and then the US; the PUK split off. Mustafa's sons, Mas'ud (b.16Aug46) and Idris Barzani, took command of the KDP ("KDP - Provisional Command"), with Mas'ud as official leader from 1979, when Mustafa died. Formed weak alliance with Syria from late79., and took part in the Damascus-based National Democratic Front.

Was aligned with Iran from the start of the 1980-88 war, reaching peak with the joint attack on the garrison town of Hajj Umran in Jul83; weaker ties with Syria, who favoured the PUK (eg exclusion from Syrian-based coordinating meetings; see ICP entry). Was strongest in Irbil and Dohuk governorates. Rapprochement with the PUK in 1987, forming the Iraqi Kurdistan Front (IKF) in Jul87 (formally established in May88?); though difficulties arose when in May88 the PUK aligned itself with the PKK, and the KDP subsequently made an agreement with the Turkish govt: allowed KDP transit through Turkey in return for permitting Turkish forces a free rein against the PUK/PKK inside Iraq. In a position of weakness after the end of the 1980-88 war, recognised the Kurds as part of the Iraqi people at its 10th national congress in Rajan (Nov89). Tried to maintain a position of neutrality in the Gulf War, and did not endorse Syrian plans to create an opposition base on the border during the invasion. The IKF led the uprising in north Iraq after the Gulf War, and negotiated ceasefire terms with the Iraqi government. Won 45.3% in the May 1992 elections in Northern Iraq, and ceded one of its seats to the PUK (so that both held 50 seats). Participated in the Vienna establishment of the INC, and became a main player within it. Absorbed three smaller Kurdish parties in Aug93: the Kurdistan Popular Democratic Party (KPDP, led by Sami 'Abd al-Rahman, which had won 1.0% of the vote in May 1992, the 6th largest); the Kurdistan Socialist Party of Iraq (KSPI; strongest in Diyala as well as Irbil and Sulaymaniyya, led by Rasul Mamand until he left to join the PUK in Dec92; formed joint list with PASOK for 1992 elections); and the Popular Alliance of Socialist Kurdistan (PASOK, which had won 2.6% of the vote in May 1992, the 4th largest, led by Abdallah Agrin), which had previously been part of the "Unity Party of Kurdistan" coalition (formed Aug92) - all been part of the IKF from 1987/88. Defected from Mar95 INC coup attempt on CIA advice, at the last moment. Invited Iraqi forces into Kurdish areas, to recapture Irbil from the PUK (and so destroy INC / US facilities), on 31Aug96. Reached 8Sept98 agreement with PUK to share administration of the Kurdish Autonomous Region, with KDP in control of Irbil and Dahuk governorates (and headquartered in Irbil). Was also engaged through much of the 1990s in combating the PKK, in alliance with the Turkish armed forces. Since 15Feb02, has come into conflict with Turkey, with Turkey limiting trade (especially in diesel) through KDP crossings, and low-level military clashes; the origin of the dispute seems to be over Turkish demands that the KDP drop its claim to Kirkuk, out of concern that this will strengthen Kurdish nationalism; Turkey did not allow Barzani to leave for the Washington conference of 9Aug (though some apparent mending of relations in Jan03). The KDP has drawn up a draft constitution for a "Federal Republic of Iraq" consisting of an Arab and a Kurdish region, in Jul02 (which, in Art.78, would force Arabs who took up residence in the Kurdish region after 1957 to leave); but remains suspicious of US attempts to use Kurdish-controlled areas of Iraq from which to plan or launch an attack, with Barzani stating his continued opposition in Jan03. Has sought to build better relations with Iran, most clearly with 10-day visit of high-ranking KDP delegation to Iran in Sept02, in which an agreement was made with SCIRI to coordinate on military and political matters (MEI684, p.14) = has promoted SCIRI's role to Washington.

Other leaders include Nachirvan Barzani (PM of KDP-controlled territory), Hoshyar Zibari (head of the KDP International Relations Bureau), Safeen M. Dizayee (Ankara representative, central committee member), Fawzi Hariri (spokesman), Ali Abdullah (party vice-president), Sami 'Abd al-Rahman (b.1932, member of political bureau, with leading role in foreign relations; former KPDP leader; deputy PM of KDP region), Jawhar Namiq Salim (president of the Kurdish National Assembly, secretary of the political bureau; head of organising committee of the Iraqi opposition conference for Feb03), Dana Ahmad Majid, Khasro Jaaf (head of Baghdad office from Apr03; trained as an architect), Dilshad Miran (head of London office).

b. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK):

Formed in March 1975 as a Leninist opposition grouping to the Barzani clan; led by Jalal Talabani (b.1933, former central committee member of the KDP; official biography here; interviews of 2000 and Dec 2001), and incorporating non-KDP groupings, the Komala of Nawshirwan Mustafa and Socialist Movement of Kurdistan of ‘Ali Askari. Was based in Damascus, and aligned itself closely with the Syrian government (who trained & armed them), who sought to combat Iraq's regional dominance after the Algiers agreement; initially avoided siding overtly with Iran, with Libya (who also gave training) acting as the main intermediary. Was critical of the KDP's joint operation with the Iranian government in Jul83 at Hajj Umran, and opened talks with the Iraqi government on autonomy. These collapsed in January 1985, in dispute over the area of the autonomous region, and the PUK launched its major insurrection against the Ba'th government, drawing on Iranian support. It signed a cooperation agreement with Iran in October 1986, vowing to fight together until the overthrow of the Ba'th government. This resulted in the PUK being designated as Zumrat Umala' Iran (Band of Iranian Agents). Main internal base was in Sulaymaniyya. Had taken control of Halabja in Mar88 when Iraq's chemical bombardment began. Signed an agreement with the PKK in May88, and drew Turkish anger as a result. Was a founder member of the IKF. Reports that its leadership decided in late 1990 that it should side with Baghdad rather than the US-led coalition; changed position from 1991, and supported Syrian plans to supply an opposition base on the border; also took a role in the founding of the INC. Won 43.8% in the May 1992 elections in Northern Iraq; and took 50/100 seats. Alliance with Iran during the intra-Kurdish conflict of the early 1990s, particularly when the PUK invited the 72-hour incursion by Iranian forces into Kurdish areas, focused on the KDP camp at Koi Sanjaq, which began on 28July96.

Controls the Sulaymaniyya governorate (and is headquartered in Sulaymaniyya town) as well as parts of Ta'mim, Salah al-Din and Diyala governorates ("New Kirkuk"); its prime minister of this region has been Barham Salih (PUK representative in Washington from early 1990s, and a long-standing supporter of close relations with the US; previously an engineering consultant in the UK, and PUK spokesman in London) since Feb01; was previously Kosret Rasul Ali (Apr93-Jan01, resigned possibly due to his disagreement over PUK's attacks on the PKK) and Fouad Masoum (prime minister of the PUK region from Jul92-Apr93). Has drawn away from Iranian sponsorship and towards Saudi Arabian and Turkish support; Salih held talks with Syria's leaders in Oct02. Talabani has also been more supportive of US plans to invade Iraq, and called for US cooperation with PUK forces to liberate Iraq in Aug02, an offer he subsequently denied making; subsequently offered to raise a force of 100,000 men to help the US overthrow Saddam Husayn (Nov02). The PUK has also been engaged in conflict with the PKK, with heavy fighting in the Qandil range in Oct 2000; and with Ansar al-Islam (see below). From May03, it has begun work on 3 oil development projects, in collaboration with the US and Turkish companies, in NE Iraq.

Other leaders include Muhammad Sabir Ismail (founder member; a nuclear physicist by training; rep in France from 1993-01), who has been the PUK's representative to the US from 2001; Qubad (Bafil?) Talabani who is the deputy representative to the US; Latif Rashid (representative in London).

c. Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party (KSDP):

Splinter group from the KDP, led by Muhammad Haji Mahmud, emerging out of some of the KSPI who turned against their incorporation into the KDP in Oct93, and who took on the KSDP name at 2nd conference in Nov94. Receives support of PUK and Iran, and has bad relations with the KDP. Its executive is based in Sulaymaniyya, where they participate in the PUK-led government. Takes a role in the drafting proposals for a post-Saddam federation (Oct02).

d. Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan (IMIK):

Founded in 1986 or 1987 (one source claims by Islamist leaders who fled Halabja during persecution in May87) by Shaykh ‘Uthman ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and several other Sunni mullahs who were all part of the non-political "Union of Religious Scholars" (Yaketi Mamostayani Ayni Islami, Ittihad Ulama al-Din). Participated in military forays with Iranian troops, including the Val-Fajr 10 operation of 1988. Initially worked from mobile offices, and most support came from Sulaymaniyya. The IMIK operated from Halabja; it won 5.1% in the May 1992 elections in Northern Iraq, the 3rd largest total. The PUK ceded control of territory around Halabja, Tawella, and Panjwin to it after heavy fighting from Dec93. IMIK suffered extensively in intra-Kurdish fighting from May94 (and it intermittently sided with the KDP), pulling its personnel back to the Iranian border. Iran brokered an agreement between it & the PUK in May97 (the Tehran agreement). The foundation was officially ratified in 1998. Controlled Halabja from 1998 to 2000. In the region controlled by the IMIK, the party has set up its own infrastructure, but does not apply Shari'a law (leading to splinter groups forming, including Hamas and Tawhid). ‘Uthman ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was appointed as a mufri (religious judge) by the IMIK in 1998, and moved to Irbil with a number of followers. After ‘Uthman's death (1999), the leadership of the party passed to his brother Mullah ‘Ali ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Halabji, who has his office in Halabja. Receives aid from Iran and (reportedly) from Saudi Arabia, which may have financed the spread of Wahhabism; it also was selected by the US for funding from 1998. IMIK holds two ministerial posts in the PUK-dominated government from Sulaymaniyya, the Ministry of Waqf and the Ministry of Justice (until the resignation of the minister in Feb02). Has good relations with the INC, which protected Shaykh ‘Uthman from the PUK in Feb94. It has offices in various towns in Northern Iraq, including Sulaymaniyya and Irbil. From late 2000, has splintered, with the major faction first merging with Sadiq 'Abd al-'Aziz's Harakat al-Nahda to form the Islamic Unity Movement; and then reverting to its name as the IMIK in May01 after further splinter groups left.

e. Kurdistan Revolutionary Party (KRP):

The Kurdistan Revolutionary Party was set up in 1972 after a conflict with Mustafa Barzani by a group of former members of the KDP. Two years later the KRP jointed the government-inclined National Progressive Front (NPF), the only organisation in Iraq to which parties other than the Ba‘th Party are admitted. The Secretary-General of the party was ‘Abd al-Sattar Tahir Sharif. He fled Iraq in 1999 (?). The party supports Baghdad and plays practically no active role in the part of Northern Iraq.

f. Kurdish Revolutionary Hizbullah (KRH):

The KRH was set up in 1988 and is a splinter group of the Kurdish Hizbullah, which had joined SCIRI. The KRH is under the leadership of Adham Barzani, a cousin of Mas'ud Barzani. The KRH is a small military organisation, which has a few offices in the vicinity of Diyana and Hajj Umran near the Iranian border. This organisation receives both military and financial support from Iran, but has little influence on Kurdish society.

g. Conservative Party of Kurdistan (CPK/al-Muhafinin):

The CPK was set up in late 1991/early 1992. The party is mainly clan-based and not very ideological. It has links with the Surchi tribe. At first it maintained normal contacts with the KDP and the PUK. Since 1995/1996, however, relations with the KDP have deteriorated considerably, with the KDP suspecting al-Muhafizin of ties with the PUK. The KDP raid on a Surchi village in 1996, in which the Surchi tribal chief at the time was killed, provides one explanation for deep-felt CPK grievances against the KDP. The CPK has since then in practice no longer been tolerated in KDP territory. The party has ceased to operate there, although the CPK has never officially been banned. The party does operate in PUK territory, though, and until recently had a minister in the PUK government.

h. Kurdistan Islamic Union:

The KIU is part of the Muslim Brotherhood. The branch in Kurdistan is in principle independent and is directly responsible for policy matters. The KIU receives a lot of support from various countries around the Arabian Gulf. The KIU is under the leadership of Salah al-Din Muhammad Baha' al-Din. Other leaders include ‘Ali Muhammad Ahmad, Dendaar Najmen al-Doski, Burhan al-Din Sharwani and Umar ‘Abd al-Aziz. The party is striving to set up an Islamic state in Iraq in which the rights of the Kurds are recognised. It is chiefly active among students (reportedly winning nearly 40% of the vote in Dahuk University student elections), but also has an adult political base, particularly in Irbil and enjoys good relations with both the PUK and the KDP. It professes non-violence, and supports the Islamic Kurdish League, which provides services to the poor.

i. Kurdistan National Democratic Union (YNDK):

Set up in March 1996 in the province of Irbil where it also has its headquarters. The YNDK was in the first instance an extension of the PKK, but the founders of the former party quickly turned against the PKK. During the conflict between the KDP and the PUK the party split into two groups. One group was under the PUK and the PKK, the other under the KDP. The first group has meanwhile almost disappeared and some of its leaders have been murdered. There are thought to be fewer than 100 armed fighters linked to the YNDK. The party publishes a party newspaper under the name "Media". The aim of the party is the independence of Kurdistan.

j. Kurdistan Toilers' Party (KTP, Zahmatkeshan, Parti Zametkeshani Kurdistan):

Founded according to the party on 12 December 1985, a member of the IKF. Led by Khalid Zangana and now by Qadir Aziz. Publishes the newspaper "Alay Azadi" (Banner of Freedom) in Sulaymaniyya. A few cultural and ideological periodicals ("Pesh Kawtin" and "Nojan") are also reportedly published and television and radio programmes put out on its own broadcasting stations. The relatively small KTP is included in the PUK-dominated government. The KTP does not enjoy good relations with the KDP and has no offices in KDP territory. There has, however, never been any serious confrontation between the two parties.

k. Action Party for the Independence of Kurdistan (PKSK of PSKI):

A splinter organisation of the ICP and was originally affiliated with both the PKK and the PUK. The party was initially under the leadership of Muhammad (Husayn) Halleq. However, he was murdered on 2 November 1995. After his murder, relations between the PKSK and the PUK became difficult because the PKSK accused the PUK of the murder. The PKSK is now trying to restore its relationship with the PUK. Contacts with the PKK have also deteriorated because the PKSK has taken the side of the KDP and opposes the presence of armed PKK fighters in North Iraq. The present leader of the party is thought to be Yusif Hanna Yusif, who is better known as Abu Hikmat. He is also a minister in the cabinet of the KDP in Irbil. At the moment there is some confusion about the question of where the offices of the PKSK are located. There are reports that the party also has offices in Sulaymaniyya and Rania. According to some reports, the office in Sulaymaniyya is said to be run by a so-called "carbon-copy party". Other sources state that these offices represent the actual PKSK, while on the contrary the office in Irbil is said to no longer belong to the "real" PKSK but to be controlled by a "carbon-copy party". The fairly small PKSK, led by Yusif Hanna Yusif ("Abu Hikmet"), is represented in the KDP government in Irbil, where the PKSK also has a party office. The party is on good terms with the KDP.

l. al-Ansar / Ansar al-Islam / Jund al-Islam / Hamas:

A grouping originally part of the IMIK based around Khurmal, which split off from it during a conference in early 1998, after the IMIK's decision to join the PUK government. It has been led by Najm al-Din Faraj Ahmad (Najmuddin Faraj), better known as Mullah Krekar, who lived in Pakistan in the 1980s and studied Islamic jurisprudence under the Abdullah al-Zam (Usama bin Ladin's mentor); holds a Norwegian residence permit (but not citizenship) after earlier asylum claim in 1991, and served as a IMIK commander. Other leaders include Umar 'Abd al-Karim 'Abd 'al-'Aziz (Umar Barziani, from Irbil), Makuwan Qazi Ramazan (Makuwan Muryasi), Abdullah al-Shafi'i (Mullah Wuria Hawleri) and Arsalan Ahmad Marif. Initially took the name Hamas (led by Umar Barziani) and was an orthodox military grouping which became increasingly active in the PUK region but with no official responsibility. Several bomb attacks and murders which took place in Sulaymaniyya and Irbil in the first half of 1998 were attributed to Hamas. Over the subsequent years, Hamas first merged with another grouping, Tawhid (led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Bazazi in Irbil, later by Mullah Abu Bakr Hawleri from Irbil; another splinter group from IMIK, which is thought to have assassinated the pro-KDP Assyrian governor of Irbil, Franso Hariri, in Feb01; based in Balek and in the Qandil mountains), to form the Tawhid Islamic Front, which then merged on 1 Sept 2001 with the the Second Soran Unit (led by Asad Muhammad Hasan = Aso Hawleri, largely made up of those who had fought in Afghanistan) to form Jund al-Islam (under Abdullah al-Shaf'i). Reportedly killed 42-43 captured PUK fighters in the village of Khela Hama, nr Halabja, on 23 Sept 2001. Clashes continued until late November, when an agreement between those involved and the Iranian Government dissolved the Jund al-Islam and imposed a cease-fire. From Dec01, when Mullah Krekar took full charge of the organisation, the group has come to be called al-Ansar (Ansar al-Islam), reportedly taking funds, arms and personnel from al-Qa'ida (though unclear if this is put about by the PUK and the US for self-serving reasons); also rumours of Iraqi intelligence support (though the Iraqi government has claimed that it provided arms to the PUK to fight Ansar al-Islam; and Mullah Krekar speaks of Saddam Husayn as an enemy) and Iranian help. The PUK claims that Qais Ibrahim Khadir, who attempted to assassinate Barham Salih in Apr02, was an agent of al-Ansar. Controls villages in the Surren mountains, an area between Halabja and the Iranian border, with its base in Biyare; one report claims it has a force of 700, including 100 foreigners; another claims it had expanded to 2000 by Jan03, and has chemical weapons capabilities. Mullah Krekar was not allowed entry into Iran on 13Sept02, and was sent to Sweden, where he was arrested and then sent to Amsterdam, where he was imprisoned for 4 months, before being deported back to Norway in Jan03 despite a Jordanian extradition request; he was first subject to legal proceedings to remove refugee status; then arrested on 20Mar03, and charged with transferring $135,000 to Ansar guerillas; released due to lack of evidence on 2Apr03. Leadership passed to Muhammad Hasan. Attacked PUK positions near Halabja from 3-4Dec02, with the PUK retaking them on 5Dec, with reportedly over 50 fatalities overall; clashes continued in lateDec. Assassinated a leading PUK commander, Shawkat Haji Mushir, on 8Feb03. Their base at Biyare was overrun, with about 70 personnel killed, by a joint PUK-US special forces operation on 28Mar03; reports that Iran prevented them from crossing the border, and that the KSDP organised for the surrender of 300 of its personnel. Sources: Sources on Jund al-Islam and al-Ansar are BBC report, Guardian article and MEIB article. Detailed reports about al-Ansar are from: the International Crisis Group (7Feb03) and Human Rights Watch (5Feb03).

m. Islamic Group of Kurdistan (Komaleh Islami):

A breakaway faction of the IMIK, formed by Mullah Ali Bapir in May01. It is largely made up of former members of Harakat al-Nahda who were disgruntled with their merger with the IMIK in Aug98. Although it does not oppose cooperation with secular groups in principle, and is partly funded by the PUK (to the tune of $200,000-$300,000 every month, according to the New York Times), it has not taken a role in the PUK administration. It is based in Khurmal.

 

5. Other groups based around ethnic identity

a. Turkomans People's Party:

Spokesman is Turhan Ketene.

b. Iraqi Turkman Front:

Established in April 1995. A coalition of 26 Turkmen groups (including the Turkoman Shura Council of Jalal al-Khatib, the Iraqi Turkoman National Party of Jamal Shan, the Turkomaneli Party of Riyad Sari Kihyah and the Independent Turkomans' Movement of Kan'an Shakir Aghali) backed by the Turkish government, reportedly receiving $300,000 per month from it. Its leader since Nov00 is San'an Ahmad Agha. Ankara representative is Mustafa Ziya (b.1957/8, a former earthquake engineer at Baghdad Uni); Washington Representative is Orhan Ketene; other leaders include Aydin Beyatli, Qadir Aziz. Based in Irbil. Its headquarters there were attacked by the KDP in July 2000, with 2 fatalities. Strongly supports having a major role in the future governance of Kirkuk (which it portrays as the Tukoman capital) and Irbil, which it identifies at Turkmen territory, and thus a player in the 2002 conflict between the KDP and the Turkish government (Jan 2002 statement). Its 2nd conference was held in Irbil in Nov00, at which its current leadership was elected. Has voiced concerns over a US invasion over the "chaos" that would be caused in northern Iraq (17Sept02), but was subsequently invited to participate in US-coordinated opposition group meetings (18Sept). Also has said that it has no objections to Turkish military action in northern Iraq (Feb03); perhaps in response, its security chief, Abdul Amer Izzat Abdulla, was arrested by the KDP on 11Feb03. The KDP has tried to evict the ITF from Kirkuk from Apr03; unconfirmed reports of Turkish special forces were supplying weapons to the ITF since then. Its newspaper is Turkomaneli. Is believed to have approx.500 fighters.

c. Iraqi Turkoman Democratic Party:

Launched in London in late July 2002; led by Ahmet Gunes. Founding statement was highly critical of both the Iraqi regime and economic sanctions on Iraq; and supported federalism in Iraq, but with northern Iraq not as a specifically Kurdish enclave. Seems to be a member of the Coalition of Iraqi National Forces (see ICP notes, above).

d. Assyrian Democratic Movement:

Opposition movement. Took up armed struggle against the Iraqi regime from 1982 under the leadership of Gewargis Khoshaba (Abu Venus; Khoshaba Jaba), and joined the IKF in late 1990 / 1992 (?). Has four of the five seats reserved for Assyrians in the Kurdish parliament, where it is led by Younadim Yusuf Kana (who served as minister for housing and labour from the first independent KRG from 1992).

e. Assyrian National Congress:

An umbrella group, based in California. Incorporates the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party and the Assyrian American Leadership Council. Signed a confederation agreement with Najib al-Salihi's Free Officers Movement on 15Jun02.

f. Assyrian Patriotic Party:

Website states that it was established on 14Jul73, acting through the Assyrian Cultural Club in Baghdad. Came into alliance with the ADM until 1991, but has since acted independently in northern Iraq. Leaders include Albert Yelda (see INCoalition notes above), Nimrud Baito.

g. Assyrian Progressive Nationalist Party:

Based in Baghdad and pro-regime.

 

6. Civil and minority-rights groups

Iraq Liberation Action Committee: US lobbying organisation.

The Iraqi Democratic Union: Established in 1980, working among the Iraqi community in the US.

Iraq Institute for Democracy: Led by Hussain Sinjari, a liberal democratic forum based in Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Iraqi Jurists' Association: State Department announced its intention to all $410,000 to them from Jun02. Chaired by Dr Tariq Ali Salih, a former civilian and military judge in Iraq.

The Iraqi Human Rights Division al-Khoei Foundation: Established to support the teachings of Ayatullah Sayyid Abul-Qasim Musawi al-Khu'i, the leading Shi'a scholar and Grand Ayatullah of Najaf. A charitable organisation, but coordinates with the opposition to the Iraqi regime.

The Iraq Foundation: US non-profit NGO working among Iraqi expatriates "for democracy and human rights in Iraq".

Kurdish Information Network Kurdistan Regional Government: The coalition authority presently running Northern Iraq.

Kurdistan National Assembly: The quasi-legislative body in Northern Kurdistan, deriving from the June 1992 elections.

Washington Kurdish Institute: A research and educational organization, rather than a lobby group, that also maintains a searchable archive of news postings since June 1997.

Indict: Campaigns for the creation of an ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal to try leading members of the Iraqi regime.

 

7. Opposition individuals of note, not primarily tied to one organisation

General Mahdi al-Dulaimi: commanded the Third Corps in Basra during the Iran-Iraq war. Has promoted a model of overthrowing Saddam Husayn using the Kurdish groups in the role of the Afghan Northern Alliance, acting in concert with US air power. Claims to have won support for this in Washington. Based in Wuppertal, Germany.

General Sad'un al-Dulaimi: former head of the Center of Socio-psychological and Security Studies in Iraq, trained in sociology and social psychology at Baghdad Uni. Served as a security officer and police instructor before defecting in 1991. Now works as a researcher in Iraqi security studies. Claims that Iraqi special armed forces will vigorously oppose an invasion of Iraq.

Munther al-Fadhal: a visiting associate professor of Middle Eastern law at the International College of Law in London, and a legal adviser in Stockholm. b.1950, al-Najaf. From 1979 to 1981, he served in the Iraqi Justice Ministry. He also taught civil law at the University of Baghdad (1986-91, 1993); and also at the University of al-Zaytuna in Amman (1994-97), and the University of Annaba in Algeria (1982-85). He serves as a member of the US State Department working group on the future of Iraq for which he has drafted a replacement Iraqi constitution. He is published in Arabic, Swedish, English and Kurdish. He seems to be close to the Iraqi National Coalition. Has his own website at: home.bip.net/alfadhal

Rend Rahim Francke: a founding member and the executive director of the Iraq Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes democracy and human rights in Iraq, working with the Iraqi communities in northern Iraq and in the US, and editing Iraqi Issues, the Foundation's periodical from 1992-1998. Among her publications are "The Iraqi Opposition" in Iraq After the Gulf War (ZED Books, 1994); "Iraq: Race for the Finish Line" in Middle East Insight; and "The Iraqi Opposition and the Sanctions Issue" in Middle East Report. Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Boston Globe. She is the coauthor of a book entitled The Arab Shi'a, published by St. Martin's Press in February 2000. Spoke at the Senate hearings on Iraq on 1 August 2002, arguing that Iraqis would see invading US troops as liberators.

General Nizar al-Khazraji: b.1937/38, from a prominent Sunni family in Mosul, the highest-ranking military defector from Iraq. Son of a brigadier and nephew of an army chief of staff; studied at the Iraqi military college, and was military attache in Moscow in 1971 (where he met Saddam Husayn, who agreed to commute a death sentence on his uncle). Served as commander of the First Corps in northern Iraq from 1980 to 1987; then as chief of staff from July87 until 1991, leading the army through the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Claims that he was temporarily dismissed for opposing the invasion of Kuwait; and, after participating in the crushing of the 1991 intifada (based at Nasiriyya, during which time he was injured by shots to his stomach), he claims to have been under house arrest in Baghdad until mid-1990s. Fled to Jordan in 1995/1996, initially linking up with the INA. There are claims that he was reluctant to leave Iraq, but that the CIA induced him to do so with promises of a major political role. First moved to Spain; then transferred to, and applied for political asylum in, Denmark (Jul99); application was refused, but granted leave to remain in the country; based in Soroe, 45 miles SW of Copenhagen. He was in contact with Frank Ricciardone, State Department coordinator for an Iraqi transition, around this time; and was promoted by CIA and State Department officials as a future leader. In a newspaper interview, Khazraji appeared eager to take over from Saddam, describing it as an honour and "a sacred duty". This may have damaged his leadership prospects because some in the Iraqi opposition now suspect his motives. Although the main Kurdish parties appear to support him, an alliance of smaller Kurdish groups has sought to have him prosecuted for war crimes. This relates to his alleged role in the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988: the accusation was made public by Politiken in Sept01. Khazraji says the allegations have been invented by Iraqi intelligence services; Human Rights Watch have produced memos that indicate Khazraji ordered the attacks. A witness has claimed that he saw Khazraji kicking a child to death on 4May88. He believes the Iraqi military will rise up against Saddam if they are supported by targeted American firepower. Unclear if he is associated with Wafiq al-Samarra'i's Higher Council for National Salvation, also based in Denmark. He applied to travel to Saudi Arabia, which offered to host him; in anticipation of this move, he was placed under house arrest on 19Nov02, with the Danish magistrate declaring there to be "justifiable suspicions" that Khazraji was implicated in war crimes. He disappeared on 17 March03, with al-Sharq al-Awsat reporting that he was in Kuwait with US intelligence; Denmark has asked the US to supply information on his whereabouts.

Laith Kubba: Senior Program Officer, Middle East and North Africa, National Endowment for Democracy. Born and educated in Baghdad, he graduated from Baghdad University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Wales; trained as a geotechnical engineer; a Shi'a Muslim. A member of the Joint Action Committee and a founding member of the INC, serving on its executive committee. Also a founding member of the Iraq Foundation. He served as director of public relations for the al-Khoei Foundation from 1991. He has also served as director of al-'Aalam, an Arabic language weekly, and Africa Events, an English language monthly; has also served on the executive committee of the Arab Organization of Human Rights in London and as the Executive Director of the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue since 1994. The author of Common Ground on Iraq-Kuwait Reconciliation. Had a significant role with the State Department's Future of Iraq Project.

Kanan Makiya: scholar-in-residence at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, previously professor of Middle East studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. A past convenor of the Human Rights Committee of the Iraqi National Congress. b. Baghdad, trained as an architect at M.I.T. from 1968, where he participated in the activities of the PDFLP. Worked for his father's firm, Makiya Associates, in Iraq until 1981. His first book, Republic of Fear (1989) was published under the pseudonym Samir al-Khalil; it became a bestseller after the invasion of Kuwait. He has also published The Monument (1991), and Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising and the Arab World (1993), which was awarded the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on international relations. His most recent book, The Rock: A Tale of Seventh-Century Jerusalem (Pantheon Books, 2001) consists of historical, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim narratives on the Rock of Jerusalem; he identifies himself as an atheist. Director of the Iraq Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, cataloguing the policy documents captured in 1991. A central player in the "Future of Iraq Project", sponsored by the State Department; presented his federalist "model for post-Saddam Iraq" (3Oct02) to the London conference of the opposition groups in Dec02, despite his opposition to the ethnic and sectarian dominance of the conference; took a place on the follow-up committee. Has also been highly critical of US plans to leave the Ba'thist bureaucracy and officer corps intact. Biography drawn from 1, 2, 3 and 4. Articles: 7Oct01, from NYRB.

Sinan al-Shabibi: a consultant on trade, debt, and finance. A senior economist at the UNCTAD until October 2001, researching financial flows, the economics of disarmament, balance of payments, external debt, globalization, and the Iraqi economy. Still serves as a consultant for UNCTAD. Head of the importation and marketing section for the Ministry of Oil in Iraq from 1975 to 1977; and served in the Iraqi Ministry of Planning from 1977 to 1980. Also taught at Baghdad University and Mustansiryah University in Iraq. His publications include Globalisation of Finance: Implications for Macroeconomic Policies and Debt Management (2001), Prospects for the Iraqi Economy: Facing the New Reality (1997), The Arab Share in OPEC Aid: Some Related Facts (1988), and OPEC Aid: Issues and Performance (1987). Spoke at the Senate hearings on Iraq on 1 August 2002, on the disappearance of the Iraqi middle class under sanctions, and the reconstruction of Iraq; and at the AEI conference of Oct'02 on a post-Saddam Iraq. Is a member of the follow-up committee established in Dec02.

 

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