Iraq's major political groupings
Please see the contact details at the end if you are able to add to or correct any of this information.
See also: the membership of the interim government of Iraq, as re-established in June 2004.
See also: the membership of the Governing Council of Iraq, inaugurated on 13 July 2003.
See also: the membership of the "Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council", acting within the Iraqi civil administration from April 2003.
See also: the membership of the "Follow-Up and Arrangement Committee", agreed at the London conference of 14-17 December 2002.
1. Civilian national secular groupings: Iraqi National Congress | Iraqi National Accord | Iraqi Communist Party | Constitutional Monarchy Movement | Democratic Centrist Tendency / Independent Democrats Movement | Free Iraq Council | Ba'th Party - Iraq Command | Revolutionary Workers Party | Iraqi Workers Communist Party | Iraqi Homeland Party | Iraqi National Alliance | National Democratic Party
2. National Islamist groupings: al-Da'wa al-Islamiyya | Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq | Islamic Task Organisation | Jund al-Imam | Iraqi Islamic Forces Union | Sadr II movement | Iraqi Islamic Party
3. National officers' groupings: Free Officers' Movement | Higher Council for National Salvation | Iraqi National Movement | Iraqi National Coalition | Iraqi Officers Movement
4. Predominantly Kurdish groups: Kurdistan Democratic Party | Patriotic Union of Kurdistan | Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party | Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan | Kurdistan Revolutionary Party | Kurdish Revolutionary Hizbullah | Conservative Party of Kurdistan | Kurdistan Islamic Union | Kurdistan National Democratic Union | Kurdistan Toilers' Party | Action Party for the Independence of Kurdistan | al-Ansar / Jund al-Islam | Islamic Group of Kurdistan
5. Other groups based around ethnic identity: Iraqi Turkmen Front | Iraqi Turkoman Democratic Party | Turkoman Islamic Union | Turkoman People's Party | Assyrian Democratic Movement | Assyrian National Congress | Assyrian Patriotic Party | Assyrian Progressive Nationalist Party
6. Civil and minority-rights groups - a listing
7. Political figures of note: Sa'ad Bazzaz | Mahdi al-Dulaimi | Sad'un al-Dulaimi | Munther al-Fadhal | Rend Rahim Francke | Nizar al-Khazraji | Laith Kubba | Kanan Makiya | Ahmad Qubaysi | Sinan al-Shabibi | Muhammad Bahr al-'Ulum | Ibrahim Muhammad Bahr al-'Ulum
1. Civilian-based national secular groups
Iraqi National Congress (INC, al-Muβtamar 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-Dawβa 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 (separate biography here). 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; field offices in Washington, Tehran and Damascus. Operationally based in Iraq at Salahuddin (north of Irbil) from Oct92, and brokered PUK-KDP truce after intra-Kurdish fighting began in May94. Supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and his replacement by a democratic federal state. Coup attempt of 5Mar95, in league with Maj.-Gen. Wafiq al-Samarraβi (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-Dawβa 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. Was receiving an annual budget of $8 million. Retained support of the Pentagon and the US presidency (Dick Cheney is a long-time supporter). The State Department distrusted it (as did the CIA & British foreign office), though it established the Iraqi National Congress Support Foundation (INCSF) in 1999, to provide an organisational structure for State Department funding, with the INC's 7-member leadership council serving as its board of directors; the INCSF provided almost $33m from Mar00-Sept03, largely for Radio Hurriyya (which had broadcast before 1996 from a US tower in Kuwait), a satellite TV station Liberty TV (began in Aug01, costing $10m; planned to broadcast round the clock, but never transmitted for more than 4hrs per day), its newspaper, and for information collection. These funding arrangements were repeatedly interrupted due to policy disputes and claims about INCSF's lack of accountability for funds. This led to the closure of Liberty TV in May02; and the announcement of a cessation of funding from the INCSF for the information collection in May02 (effective in Aug02).
Held discussions in July 2002 with the INM about establishing a provisional government (reports collected here), 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 paramilitary force (originally called the Iraq Liberation Army) to serve in northern Iraq, under the sponsorship of the US Dept of Defense. For this purpose, 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 4-week training began at Taszar air base, Hungary ("Camp Freedom"); however, only approx 100 were selected to be in what was now named the "Free Iraqi Forces" (FIF), with US forces during the invasion of Iraq, serving as "attachees" or "augmentees" to liaise with the population. 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. It is claimed that the FIF, who accompanied Chalabi, were augmented by personnel from the PUK, raising their numbers to approx 700. The FIF 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. The FIF were disbanded on the orders of the CPA, rather than integrated into the new army as originally planned: this was reportedly because of the integration of largely untrained PUK personnel into their ranks. The INC claims to have 25 - 60 tonnes of intelligence documents captured from Special Security Organisation, mukhabarat and Ba'th party offices. Favoured blacklisting 30,000 former senior Ba'th party members from holding office or civil appointment in the post-Ba'th Iraq, a plan seemingly adopted by the CPA. Chalabi was the INC's representative on the Governing Council, and a member of the 9-person rotating presidency.
On 18May04, the Pentagon announced that it would stop its monthly payment of $335,000 to the INC for intelligence information on 30Jun. On 20May, after allegations that the INC had passed sensitive information to Iran, and claims over corruption, US and Iraqi forces raided the INC's offices and Chalabi's house in Baghdad.
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). Mudhar Shawkat (see INM below) joined prior to the 2003 invasion, becoming the head of the military wing, and deputy party leader. Website here; its weekly newspaper is al-Mu'tamar. Overview of US support is provided in CRS Report.
Iraqi National Accord (INA, al-Wifaq): created in December 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 Baβthists and former military officers who oppose Saddam Hussein's leadership; main constituency is Sunni Arabs in central Iraq. Leader is Dr Iyad Allawi, who serves as the Sec-Gen of the INA: separate biography is here. Also, Gen. Adnan Nuri (formerly of the Republican Guard, who secured funding from the CIA in 1992); Salih Omar βAli 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 Allawi, 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 Muβala (the medical practitioner who had tended Saddam's wounds after the failed assassination attempt on Qasim in 1959), Ibrahim Janabi (former representative to Amman; former Ba'thist and intelligence officer in London; interview here); Salah al-Shaykhly (deputy planning minister in the 1970s; director of the Central Statistics Board, chancellor of the Central Bank; UN assistant secretary-general, then regional director of Arab section in the UNDP; took British citizenship, and lived in the UK in the 1990s; appointed as Iraq's ambassador to the UK on 19Jul04); and Nuri al-Badran (b. Basra, 1943, a former academic and diplomat who left Iraq in the early 1990s to join the INA; is the brother-in-law of Iyad Allawi; served as the INA's spokesman until his appointment as interior minister). Tawfiq al-Yasiri (see INCoalition below) was a leading INA member (aligned with Allawi) until he began participation in INC activities, and was expelled as a result. Spokesmen in Baghdad include 'Ali 'Abd al-Amir.
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 Baβth 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 / Samarraβi 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, including all 3 of Shahwani's sons) 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). It seems to have had a significant role in coopting members of the Iraqi military, including during the invasion: Allawi, Shahwani and Sa'd al-Janabi (an Iraqi-American businessman who left Iraq in 1995, reportedly working for the US government and leading the "Iraqi Republican Group"), had leading roles.
The INA had a consistent role in the coordination of the opposition, taking positions in the follow-up committee established in Dec02; Allawi 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. Nuri al-Badran said prior to the war that "the army, the Baath Party, civil servants and tribes" would play a major role in running post-Saddam Iraq. Allawi represented the INA on the Governing Council, and was one of its 9 rotating presidents; he also chaired the committee on internal security (the Supreme Security Committee). Badran was minister for the interior until he resigned on 8Apr04. Ibrahim Janabi was a senior member of the Security Committee. Both Allawi and Badran were closely involved with the creation of a new Iraqi intelligence apparatus, which is likely to include former members of Mukhabarat, and which was thought likely to be headed by Janabi. Instead, Muhammad al-Shahwani (see above, also close to the INA) was given the position of director of intelligence on 4Apr04. Allawi was appointed prime minister on 31May04. The INA's website is here; extracts from its Charter are here. Its weekly newspaper is Baghdad.
Main sources are Hiro (2001 and articles in Middle East International); Cockburn and Cockburn (1998).
Iraqi Communist Party (ICP, al-Hizb al-Shuyu'i al-Iraqi): Established at a meeting of 8Mar35 in Baghdad (though some have claimed an earlier founding of the ICP on 31Mar34), which established the Association Against Imperialism: was initially made up of Baghdadi communists, largely from the Bab al-Shaykh mahallah (city quarter), but drew in existing communist groups from Basra and Nasiriyya. It published a journal, Kifah al-Sha'b, from Jul35 in the name of the ICP Central Committee; led by Asim Flayyeh until his arrest in Oct35. It gave early support to the Bakr Sidqi coup, and led demonstrations in favour of it, but relations deteriorated sharply when Sidqi aligned with the Iraqi nationalists; subsequent pan-Arab nationalist governments imprisoned or exiled its members. The central committee was reestablished when Yusuf Salman Yusuf (known later as "Fahd", Leopard; b.Baghdad, 1901, but grew up in Basra, moving to Nasiriya in 1919; of Chaldean Christian origin), and the founder of the Nasiriya group, returned from study in Moscow in Jan38: it published a journal, al-Sharara, from Dec40 (from Feb43, the main organ was al-Qa'ida, after al-Sharara was taken over by a rival and short-lived party wing), and Fahd was appointed first secretary of the party on 29Oct41. It supported the neutrality of the Rashid 'Ali government in Apr-May41 (as the Soviet Union was still neutral; the ICP later voiced its regret for this stance); in response, communist prisoners were released. It was tolerated to some extent when the monarchy was reestablished now that the Soviet Union had joined with the Allies in WWII, and with the ICP acting as popular challengers to the pan-Arabists, who were seen as susceptible to fascism; ICP gave formal support for the monarchy from Feb42 until 1945.The ICP grew markedly in popular support from 1941. Drew support mostly from urban Shi'a communities, especially rural migrants into the cities, and Kurds (from 1945, when Kurdish-dominated factions joined ICP, especially as Kurdish cells were harder for the state to penetrate): it was the first national grouping to develop policy on the Kurdish question (Kifah al-Sha'b gave support to Kurdish rights, including independence, in its Aug35 edition). Its activist base was strongest with students, and railway & port workers; it began to penetrate villages by the mid1940s. Organised demonstrations for independence & against Zionism from 1946. Gained prominence when it organised the oil workers' strike near Kirkuk in Jun-Jul46 which led to the collapse of the Arshad al-'Umari government after 10 demonstrators were killed by police; and more so in the Wathbah of 1948, when it led the later protests against the Portsmouth treaty from 16Jan; against Salih Jabr's government on 27Jan; and when it organised a strike for higher wages at Haditha petroleum pumping station in Apr-May48 that culminated in a march ("al-Masira al-Kubra") on Baghdad that was stopped at Falluja. 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 arrested in Jan47, sentenced to death on 23Jun47; commuted on 13Jul47 but eventually hung in public on 14-15Feb49. Result was increased prestige (although when the Soviet Union supported the partition of Palestine, and the ICP did not distance itself from that position, this was under strain) but diminished capacity (with weak leaders: Yahuda Siddiq and Malik Saif). Only began to recover under Baha' al-Din Nuri (b.1927, Daluja, a Kurd; led party from 1949-Apr53), with a significant role in the 22-24Nov52 anti-imperialist 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; it was ostensibly for neutralism in the Cold War, though its main focus was ending the alliance with the British, the reason for its popularity. The Peace Partisans worked with the the National Democratic Party (NDP), Istiqlal and Taha al-Hashimi's United Popular Front in the intifada of Nov-Dec52: demonstrations and Nuri al-Sa'id's lack of support forced the resignation of Mustafa al-'Umari as PM. Its front organisations formed a "national front" for the 9Jun54 elections: it won 11-14 seats out of 135 (inc 4/10 in Baghdad, 4/9 in Mosul), but the Regent and Nuri only allowed the parliament to sit once (26Jul54), and prorogued it on 3Aug54; they began repressing the ICP more vigorously after. The ICP incorporated smaller groups over 1955-56, and issued a new organ, Ittihad al-Sha'b (Union of the People). Its main leaders in this era were Husayn Ahmad al-Radi (from Najaf, an Arab Shi'i schoolteacher, served as S-G from 1955-63); 'Amr 'Abdallah (an Arab Sunni from 'Anah; leading figure until the final break with al-Radi in 1961 led to him emigrating to Eastern Europe); Jamal al-Haidari (a Kurd from Irbil, killed in 1963). Started taking on pan-Arabist slogans from Nov55, with its opposition to the Baghdad Pact and the increasing Soviet alliance with Nasir's Egypt; and, despite widespread intimidation, organised widespread anti-imperialist protests in Najaf (Nov56) and Hayy (Dec56), and was part of the opposition "united national front" with the NDP and Ba'th in Feb57, which called for withdrawal from the Baghdad Pact.
The ICP had no direct role in the Qasim coup of 1958 (although at one least one politburo member, Kamil 'Umar Nadhmi, was given advance notice by Qasim on 11Jul58), and although it was initially supportive of the new government, it was not invited to participate in it (although its prisoners were released in Aug). ICP was now a radical reformist rather than a revolutionary party, focusing under the leadership of Husayn al-Radi 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, with a membership of 25,000, and quickly gaining control over the students', women's (especially al-Rabita, the League for the Defence of Women's Rights, largely working on primary education of girls), youth & professional unions, broadcasting facilities, newspapers and courts over Dec58-Jan59: Qasim needed to accommodate it. It opposed the UAR's formation (especially given how its Syrian counterpart party had been dissolved on Syria's incorporation; it stood 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. 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 and forestall the anticipated revolt: the murder of Kamil Qazanchi led to large-scale ICP revenge attacks. The Ba'th formed alliances with elements in the military and conservative associations through which it persecuted ICP members. 500,000 demonstrated for stronger communist role in government on 1 May 1959; the 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; however Qasim appears to have decided to act against the ICP then. Qasim appointed only 1 ICP minister in a minor role from 13 July 1959 (Naziha al-Dulaimi, Iraq's first female minister, as Minister of Municipalities, until Nov 1960; 2 other ICP sympathisers also given minor ministerial posts). The Kirkuk riots of July 1959 were used by Qasim to discredit the ICP, blaming them publicly for the deaths: from 19Jul59-1961, the party was gradually marginalised: arrest of ICP members, dismissal of ICP-supporting army officers, shutting down of front organisations (Peace Partisans closed on 7May61) and press (Ittihad al-Sha'b fully closed on 1Oct60), dropping of ICP supports from cabinet (al-Dulaimi on 15Nov60). Was denied a license despite the passing of the 1Jan60 Law of Associations: a minor ICP splinter organisation was given a license in its place. Lost majority control over many of the trade unions over 1960-61, partly through the rigging of elections, partly through genuine loss of support. Its leaders were largely left untouched: Husayn al-Radi reorganised the party in Nov61, without 'Amr 'Abdullah, and the ICP issued a new journal, Tariq al-Sha'b, which has been in existence since Nov61.
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, a sayyid from Najaf, 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. Its first secretary from 1963 was Aziz Muhammad, a Kurdish tin worker (b.1933, Sulaymaniyya, imprisoned 1948-58).
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: it was led by Karim Ahmad until April 2004, when he was succeeded by Kamal Shakir; other politburo members include Subhi Mehdi Ahmed, Abdul Rahman Faris and Ibrahim Sophi; its occasional newspaper is Regai, edited by Shaphol Fathi Kareem (with a separate paper, Kaldo Ashoor, for the Assyrian community); 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 Daβwa and the pro-Syrian Iraqi Baβth. 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, but has a member in the Governing Council and interim cabinet. Supported a strong UN role in reconstruction. Its headquarters in Baghdad is in a former mukhabarat building on shari' Abu Nuass.
Publications include the weekly periodical Tariq al-Sha'b, which was the first independent paper to be circulated in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Husayn. Leaders include Hamid Majid Musa al-Bayati (separate biography here), 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), Mufid Muhammad Jawad al-Jazairi (politburo member and interim minister for culture). There have been break-away factions, including the Advanced Cadre (led by politburo member Baqir Ibrahim al-Musawi). Website here.
Sources: Batatu (1978), Sluglett & Sluglett (1990).
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. Founded in 1993. 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 (who is head of the CMM's political office). 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. It was not awarded representation on the Governing Council, and has since claimed that the Council does not have the trust of the Iraqi people (eg, at high profile conference in the Palestine Hotel, Sept03); has also criticised the deBaathification order. Opposed the limited nature of the handover of 28 June 2004. Website here.
Democratic Centrist Tendency (DCT) / Independent Democrats Movement (IDM): Led by Adnan Pachachi (separate biography is here). The official spokesman was 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; was later "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. Close to Faysal al-Istrabadi, a lawyer based in Indiana, US, who had a major role in writing the interim constitution in Apr04. 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, and took a place in the Governing Council (and was a member of the rotating presidency). Website here; associated English version here. Daily newspaper is al-Nahda.
|Free Iraq Council: London-based organisation, led by Saβd Salih Jabr (b.1932/3), son of Iraq's first Shi'a prime minister Salih Jabr (Mar47-Jan48, an ally of Nuri al-Sa'id). 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 Shiβa 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; further interview is here. 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 Allawi participated in their London meeting of Apr01. Jabr reportedly returned to Iraq in early 2004.|
|Arab Socialist Baβth Party - Iraq Command: The pro-Syrian wing of the Baβth, estd in 1963. Member of the Coalition of Iraqi National Forces (see ICP entry). Prominent members include Mahmud al-Shaykh Radhi, Fawzi al-Rawi and Dr Mahmud Shamsa. Unclear if this is a participant in the Iraqi National Alliance of βAbd al-Jabbar al-Qubaysi. |
|Revolutionary Workers Party (RWP): a grouping made up of leftist Ba'thists, established in 1965 by Hani al-Fukaiki (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 Fukaiki 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. Fukaiki's autobiography is Dens of Defeat. |
Source: Middle East International 544 (21 Feb 1997), p.14.
|Iraqi Workers Communist Party (IWCP, al-Hizb al-Shuyu'i al-Ummali al-Iraqi): established on 19 July 1993 out of a merger between smaller communist groups, and with close links with the Iranian Workers Communist Party. Now has an office on al-A'aic street in Baghdad, and opposes the occupation and the Governing Council (opposing its sectarian balancing). It had opposed the US invasion of Iraq, and refused to attend the London conference of Dec02, protesting outside instead. Issam Shukri' is a member of their central committee. Barham Surush is prominent in their UK branch. Pre-2003 details from here: 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", and a weekly al-Shuyu'iya al-'Umaliya. 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.Website here.|
|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.|
|Iraqi National Alliance (al-Tahaluf al-Watani al-Iraqi): a reformist opposition grouping in Iraq that was tolerated under the Baβth regime, coming to prominence in Nov02, and with Baβthist 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 βAbd al-Jabbar al-Qubaysi, a former leader of the pro-Syrian Baβth (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 βAbd al-βAziz, Muhammad Jawad Faris and Amr al-Zirb. Is associated with Iraqi writer βAbd 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); further links here. A delegation held meetings with senior Iraqi leaders in Nov02; claims to have had secret contacts with the regime since 1999. After the invasion in 2003, has voiced its support for violent resistance to the occupation.|
National Democratic Party (al-Hizb al-Watani al-Dimuqrati): founded as a legal organisation on 2 April 1946 by Kamil al-Jadirji (Chadirchi), an Ahali-linked former minister in Hikmat Sulayman government (1936-37) who resigned in Jun37 over the lack of reforms; other founding leaders include Muhammad Hadid, a former leader of the Ahali group, and Husyan Jamil. Campaigned for liberal democracy, political reform, land reform, progressive taxation and workers' rights, with limited engagement with international issues (though it did organise protests against the Portsmouth treaty, 1948); was part of the national front of 1957 (see ICP notes). Joined a short-lived Nuri al-Sa'id government in Nov46. As communist parties were persecuted, a number of leftists joined the party; in response, Chadirchi urged the party to model itself on the British Labour Party, to distinguish itself from Marxists and radical nationalists. In 1947, it committed itself to "democratic socialism", and this became a public slogan from 1950, though it still opposed nationalisation of industry. Had good relations with 'Abd al-Karim al-Qasim: Muhammad Hadid was a key advisor to Qasim, and served as finance minister (Jul58-Apr60); 2 of its members were in his first cabinet (up to Feb59); 6 members or associates were in second cabinet (up to 1960). Was legalised on 9Feb60, in line with the Jan60 Law of Associations. Suffered from internal splits in May 1960 (when Hadid disagreed with Chadirchi taking the party into opposition; Hadid formed a separate pro-Qasim National Progressive Party in Jun60); and again in 1961, when Jamil also left the party over Chadichi's alliance with the ICP. The party went into decline thereafter, effectively ceasing to operate in Oct61, and was finally killed off by the Ba'th coups.
Reemerged after the removal of the Ba'th in 2003, under Nasir Jadirji (b.1933?), the son of Kamil and a lawyer, who had stayed in Baghdad, and who had set up an office in Mansur. His group, now sometimes known as the National Democratic Movement was made into a member of the "group of seven" on 7May03 to work with the US authorities (largely on account of being dominated by Sunnis with a secular liberal outlook). Jadirji became a member of the Governing Council, with 'Abd al-Amir Abbud Rahima as minister for agriculture. Other leaders include Hudayb al-Hajj Mahmud, Ihsam al-Bayati and Hasan al-Shaykh. Interview (May03) is here. Publishes the newspaper al-Ahali.
2. National Islamist groups