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[casi] CongrResServ ON POST-SADDAM IRAQ

Hi all,

[US] CRS = Congressional Research Service

Sorry for this unformatted and eye-reddening mess of a excerpted text.

But just had simply a plenty  - lack of time.

Alternatively, please go and bath yer eyes in its original at:





from the FAS [Federation of American Scientists] Project on Government

Volume 2003, Issue No. 108
December 15, 2003

( ... Excerpt: )



The daunting complexities of Iraq's internal political
environment after the fall of Saddam Hussein are explored in a
new report from the Congressional Research Service (completed
before the capture of Hussein on December 13).

See "Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts and Post-Saddam
Governance" by Kenneth Katzman, Congressional Research Service,CRS ON

The daunting complexities of Iraq's internal political
environment after the fall of Saddam Hussein are explored in a
new report from the Congressional Research Service (completed
before the capture of Hussein on December 13).

See "Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts and Post-Saddam
Governance" by Kenneth Katzman, Congressional Research Service,
updated November 18:


Congressional Research Service ~ The Library of Congress
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Order Code RL31339
Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts
and Post-Saddam Governance
Updated November 18, 2003
Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts
and Post-Saddam Governance
Operation Iraqi Freedom accomplished a long-standing objective, the
of Saddam Hussein, but U.S. officials acknowledge that restoring security to
Iraq has proved more difficult than anticipated. Past U.S. efforts to change

regime failed because of limited U.S. commitment, disorganization of the
opposition, and the efficiency and ruthlessness of Iraq's several
overlapping security
services. Previous U.S. Administrations had ruled out major U.S. military
action to
change Iraq's regime, believing such action would be risky and not
justified by the level of Iraq's lack of compliance on WMD disarmament.
In his 2002 and 2003 State of the Union messages, President Bush
Iraq as a grave potential threat to the United States because of its refusal
to verifiably
abandon its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and the potential for
to transfer WMD to terrorist groups. In September 2002, the President told
the U.N.
General Assembly that unless Iraq fully disarmed in cooperation with United
weapons inspectors, the United States would lead a coalition to achieve that
disarmament militarily, making clear that this would include the ouster of
President Saddam Hussein's regime. After a November 2002 - March 2003 round
of U.N. inspections in which Iraq's cooperation was mixed, on March 19, 2003
United States launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to disarm Iraq and change its
regime. The regime fell on April 9, 2003.
In the months prior to the war, the Administration stressed that regime
through U.S.-led military action would yield benefits beyond disarmament and
reduction of support for terrorism; benefits such as liberation of the Iraqi
from an oppressive regime and promotion of stability and democracy
throughout the
Middle East. However, escalating resistance to the U.S.-led occupation has
contributed to Administration implementation of several options, including
to recruit more foreign participation in post-war peacekeeping, building
institutions that can maintain security, and accelerating transfer of
authority to Iraqi
political bodies. Formerly exiled opposition groups form the core of a U.S.-
appointed 25-seat "governing council" as well as a 25-person cabinet; these
are relatively representative of Iraq's ethnic and political factions but
have not yet
clearly established themselves as legitimate and effective Iraqi
institutions that could
assume sovereignty. Congress has passed legislation (H.R. 3289, P.L.
108-106) that
provides supplemental FY2004 funding for military costs and reconstruction
in Iraq
(and Afghanistan).
See also CRS Report RL31833, Iraq: Recent Developments in Reconstruction
Assistance, and CRS Report RL32090, FY2004 Supplemental Appropriations for
Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terrorism: Military Operations &
Reconstruction Assistance. This report will be updated as warranted by major
Past Attempts to Oust Saddam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Emergence of An Anti-Saddam Coalition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . 2
The Iraqi National Congress/Ahmad Chalabi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 3
Ahmad Chalabi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . 3
The Kurds/KDP and PUK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . 4
Ansar al-Islam/Al Qaeda/Zarqawi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 5
Shiite Islamist Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
SCIRI/Badr Corps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . 6
Da'wa Party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Sadr Movement/Moqtada Al Sadr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . 8
Ayatollah Sistani/Hawza al-Ilmiyah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . 9
Islamic Amal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Schisms Among Anti-Saddam Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . 10
The Iraqi National Accord (INA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 11
Attempting to Rebound from 1996 Setbacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . 12
Iraq Liberation Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
The First ILA Designations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . 13
Monarchists/Sharif Ali . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . 13
Continued Doubts About the Capabilities of the Anti-Saddam Groups . . . 14
Bush Administration Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Pre-September 11 Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Post-September 11, 2001: Moving to Change the Regime . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 16
Iraq and Al Qaeda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . 17
WMD Threat Perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . 17
Broadening the Internal Opposition to Saddam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . 18
The Opposition Positions Itself Before War/Second
ILA Designations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 20
Decision to Take Military Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . 21
Post-Saddam Governance Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . 22
Establishing Iraqi Self-Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Formation of the Major Party Grouping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . 23
The Governing Council and Cabinet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . 24
New Cabinet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Debate Over Council Authority/November Transition Plan . . . . . . . . 25
Iraqi Resistance and U.S. Security Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 27
The Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . 28
"Iraqification"/Building Security Institutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . 30
Internationalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . 31
Restarting Iraq's Economic Engine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . 34
The Oil Industry/Revenues for Reconstruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . 34
Supplemental Funding Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . 35
Continuation of the Oil-for-Food Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . 36
Searching for Former Regime Violations and Officials . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . 37
Congressional Reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Appendix. U.S. Assistance to the Opposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . 41
1 See Eisenstadt, Michael and Eric Mathewson, eds. U.S. Policy in
Post-Saddam Iraq:
Lessons From the British Experience. The Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, 2003.
Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts
and Post-Saddam Governance
The United States sought to remove Iraq's Saddam Hussein from power after
the 1991 Persian Gulf war, although achieving this goal was not declared
policy until
1998. In November 1998, amid a crisis with Iraq over U.N. weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) inspections, the Clinton Administration stated that the
States would seek to go beyond containment to promoting a change of regime.
regime change policy was endorsed by the Iraq Liberation Act (P.L. 105-338,
October 31, 1998). Bush Administration officials emphasized regime change as
cornerstone of U.S. policy toward Iraq since shortly after the September 11,
attacks. Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched on March 19, 2003, and had
effectively removed Saddam Hussein from power by April 9, 2003.
The Bush Administration's stated goal is to transform Iraq into a democracy
that could be a model for the rest of the region. Iraq has not had
experience with a
democratic form of government, although parliamentary elections were held
the period of British rule under a League of Nations mandate (1920-1932).
which became independent in 1932, was governed by kings from the Hashemite
dynasty during 1921-1958, although with substantial British direction and
Members of the Hashemite dynasty continue to rule in neighboring Jordan.
first Hashemite king was Faysal bin Hussein, son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca,
led the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Faysal ruled Iraq as King
I and was succeeded by his son, Ghazi (1933-1939). Ghazi was succeeded by
son, Faysal II, who ruled until the military coup of Abd al-Karim al-Qasim
in 1958.
He was ousted in February 1963 by an alliance of the Baath Party and
officers. One of the Baath Party's allies in the February 1963 coup was Abd
Salam al-Arif, but Arif purged the Baath in November 1963 and instituted
military rule. He was killed in a helicopter crash in 1966 and was replaced
by his
elder brother, Abd al-Rahim al-Arif, who ruled until the Baath Party coup of
1968. Following that seizure, Saddam Hussein became the second most powerful
leader of Iraq as Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council. In
position, he developed and oversaw a system of overlapping security services
monitor loyalty among the population and within Iraq's institutions,
including the
military. On July 17, 1979, Iraq's aging President, Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr,
at Saddam's urging, and Saddam became President of Iraq.
2 Sciolino, Elaine. "Greater U.S. Effort Backed To Oust Iraqi." New York
Times, June 2,
Past Attempts to Oust Saddam
Prior to the launching on January 16, 1991 of Operation Desert Storm, an
operation that reversed Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, President
H.W. Bush called on the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam. Within days of the
of the Gulf war (February 28, 1991), opposition Shiite Muslims in southern
Iraq and
Kurdish factions in northern Iraq, emboldened by the regime's defeat and the
of U.S. support, launched significant rebellions. The revolt in southern
Iraq reached
the suburbs of Baghdad, but the Republican Guard forces, composed mainly of
regime loyalists, had survived the war largely intact, having been withdrawn
battle prior to the U.S. ground offensive, and it defeated the Shiite rebels
by mid-
March 1991. Many Shiites blamed the United States for not supporting their
and standing aside as the regime retaliated against those who participated
in the
rebellion. Kurds, benefitting from a U.S.-led "no fly zone" established in
April 1991,
drove Iraqi troops out of much of northern Iraq and subsequently remained
free of
Baghdad's rule.
According to press reports, about two months after the failure of the Shiite
uprising, President George H.W. Bush forwarded to Congress an intelligence
stating that the United States would undertake efforts to promote a military
against Saddam Hussein; a reported $15 million to $20 million was allocated
for that
purpose. The Administration apparently believed - and this view apparently
shared by many experts and U.S. officials - that a coup by elements within
current regime could produce a favorable new government without fragmenting
Many observers, however, including neighboring governments, feared that
Shiite and
Kurdish groups, if they ousted Saddam, would divide Iraq into warring ethnic
tribal groups, opening Iraq to influence from neighboring Iran, Turkey, and
Emergence of An Anti-Saddam Coalition
Reports in July 1992 of a serious but unsuccessful coup attempt suggested
the U.S. strategy might ultimately succeed. However, there was
within the George H.W. Bush Administration that the coup had failed and a
was made to shift the U.S. approach from promotion of a coup to supporting
diverse opposition groups that had led the post-war rebellions. At the same
time, the
Kurdish, Shiite, and other opposition elements were coalescing into a broad
diverse movement that appeared to be gaining support internationally. This
opposition coalition was seen as providing a vehicle for the United States
to build a
viable overthrow strategy. Congress more than doubled the budget for covert
support to the opposition groups to about $40 million for FY1993.2
3 The Iraqi National Congress and the International Community. Document
provided by
INC representatives, February 1993.
The Iraqi National Congress/Ahmad Chalabi
The growing opposition coalition took shape in an organization called the
National Congress (INC). The INC was formally constituted when the two main
Kurdish militias, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic
Union of
Kurdistan (PUK), participated in a June 1992 meeting in Vienna of dozens of
opposition groups. In October 1992, major Shiite Islamist groups came into
coalition when the INC met in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.
The INC appeared viable because it brought under one banner varying Iraqi
ethnic groups and diverse political ideologies, including nationalists,
officers, and defectors from Iraq's ruling Baath Party. The Kurds provided
the INC
with a source of armed force and a presence on Iraqi territory. Its
constituent groups
publicly united around a platform that appeared to match U.S. values and
including human rights, democracy, pluralism, "federalism" (see below), the
preservation of Iraq's territorial integrity, and compliance with U.N.
Council resolutions on Iraq.3 However, many observers doubted its commitment
democracy, because most of its groups have an authoritarian internal
structure, and
because of inherent tensions among its varied ethnic groups and ideologies.
INC's first Executive Committee consisted of KDP leader Masud Barzani,
Party and military official Hassan Naqib, and moderate Shiite cleric
Bahr al-Ulum. (Barzani and Bahr al-Ulum are now on the 25-member post-war
Governing Council and both are part of its nine member rotating presidency.)
Ahmad Chalabi. When the INC was formed, its Executive Committee
selected Ahmad Chalabi, who is about 59 years old, a secular Shiite Muslim
a prominent banking family, to run the INC on a daily basis. Chalabi was
in the United States (M.I.T) as a mathematician. He fled Iraq to Jordan in
when the Hashemite monarchy was overthrown in a military coup. This coup
occurred 10 years before the Baath Party took power in Iraq (July 1968). In
1978, he
founded the Petra Bank in Jordan but later ran afoul of Jordanian
authorities on
charges of embezzlement and he left Jordan, possibly with some help from
of Jordan's royal family, in 1989. In 1992, he was convicted in absentia of
embezzling $70 million from the bank and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Jordanian government subsequently repaid depositors a total of $400 million.
Chalabi maintains that the Jordanian government was pressured by Iraq to
against him, and he asserts that he has since rebuilt ties to the Jordanian
In April 2003, senior Jordanian officials, including King Abdullah, called
"divisive" and stopped just short of saying he would be unacceptable to
Jordan as
leader of Iraq. Chalabi's critics acknowledge that, despite allegations
about his
methods, he was single-minded in his determination to overthrow Saddam
and he is said to be favored by those Administration officials, particularly
in the
Department of Defense, who most supported changing Iraq's regime by force.
Since Chalabi returned to Iraq, there have been no large public
supportive of him or the INC, indicating that he might not have a large
inside Iraq. However, anecdotal press reporting suggest that he has
attracted some
support from those Iraqis that most welcomed the U.S. military offensive
against Iraq
and subsequent occupation. On April 6, Chalabi and about 700 INC fighters
Iraqi Forces") were airlifted by the U.S. military from their base in the
north to the
Nasiriya area, purportedly to help stabilize civil affairs in southern Iraq,
deploying to Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. After establishing his
headquarters in
Baghdad, Chalabi tried to build support by searching for fugitive members of
former regime and arranging for U.S. military forces in Iraq to provide
security or
other benefits to his potential supporters. However, the Free Iraqi Forces
accompanying Chalabi were disbanded following the U.S. decision in mid-May
to disarm independent militias.
Chalabi is part of a grouping of five leaders of major exile parties that
held a
series of planning meetings shortly prior to the 2003 war. The major-party
was hoping to become the core of a successor regime, and the major parties
represented on the Governing Council. Chalabi is a member of the Governing
Council and one of the nine that will rotate its presidency. He was
president of the
Council during the month of September 2003 and represented Iraq at the U.N.
General Assembly meetings that month.
A prominent INC intellectual is Kanaan Makiya, who wrote a 1989 book,
Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq, detailing alleged Iraqi
regime human
rights abuses. Makiya supports a Western-style democracy for Iraq, including
rights for women and Iraq's minorities. A self-described atheist, he taught
Eastern politics at Brandeis University prior to returning to Iraq after the
fall of
Saddam. In August 2003, Makiya was tapped by the Governing Council to head a
25-person committee that is to propose a process for drafting a new
Another INC activist, Mohammed al-Zubaidi, declared himself in charge of
in April, but U.S. officials did not recognize him as mayor and ousted him.
The Kurds/KDP and PUK. The Kurds, among the most pro-U.S. of all the
groups in Iraq, do not have ambitions to play a major role in governing Arab
Iraq, but
Iraq's neighbors have always been fearful that the Kurds might still seek
independence. In committing to the concept of federalism, the INC platform
assured the Kurds substantial autonomy within a post-Saddam Iraq. Turkey,
has a sizable Kurdish population in the areas bordering northern Iraq,
fears that independence for Iraq's Kurds would likely touch off an effort to
unify into
a broader "Kurdistan." Iraq's Kurds have been fighting intermittently for
since their region was incorporated into the newly formed Iraqi state after
World War
I. In 1961, the KDP, then led by founder Mullah Mustafa Barzani, current KDP
leader Masud Barzani's father, began an insurgency that has continued until
although interrupted by periods of autonomy negotiations with Baghdad. Masud
Barzani's brother, Idris, commanded Kurdish forces against Iraq during the
war but was killed in that war. The PUK, headed by Jalal Talabani, split off
the KDP in 1965; the PUK's members are generally more well-educated, urbane,
left-leaning than those of the KDP. Together, the PUK and KDP have about
60,000 fighters, some of which are trained in conventional military tactics.
Barzani and Talabani were part of the major-party grouping that has now been
incorporated into the Governing Council, and both are part of the Council's
4 Chivers, C.J. Repulsing Attack By Islamic Militants, "Iraqi Kurds Tell of
New York Times, December 6, 2002.
In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf war, the KDP and the PUK agreed in May
1992 to share power after parliamentary and executive elections. In May
tensions between them flared into clashes, and the KDP turned to Baghdad for
backing. In August 1996, Iraqi forces helped the KDP capture Irbil, seat of
Kurdish regional government; Iraqi forces acted at the KDP's invitation.
With U.S.
mediation, the Kurdish parties agreed on October 23, 1996, to a cease-fire
and the
establishment of a 400-man peace monitoring force composed mainly of
(75% of the force). The United States funded the force with FY1997 funds of
million for peacekeeping (Section 451 of the Foreign Assistance Act), plus
$4 million in DOD drawdowns for vehicles and communications gear (Section
of the FAA). Also set up was a peace supervisory group consisting of the
States, Britain, Turkey, the PUK, the KDP, and Iraqi Turkomens.
A tenuous cease-fire held after November 1997, and the KDP and PUK leaders
signed an agreement in Washington in September 1998 to work toward resolving
main outstanding issues (sharing of revenues and control over the Kurdish
government). Reconciliation efforts showed substantial progress in 2002 as
Kurds perceived that the United States might act to overthrow the regime of
Hussein. On October 4, 2002, the two Kurdish factions jointly reconvened the
Kurdish regional parliament for the first time since their 1994 clashes. In
June 2002,
the United States gave the Kurds $3.1 million in new assistance to further
reconciliation process.
Ansar al-Islam/Al Qaeda/Zarqawi. In the mid-1990s, the two main
Kurdish parties enjoyed good relations with a small Kurdish Islamic faction,
Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan (IMIK), which is headed by Shaikh Ali
Aziz. Based in Halabja, Iraq, the IMIK publicized the effects of Baghdad's
1988 chemical attack on that city, and it allied with the PUK in 1998.
A radical faction of the IMIK split off in 1998, calling itself the Jund
(Army of Islam). It later changed its name to Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of
This Ansar faction was led by Mullah Krekar, an Islamist Kurd who reportedly
once studied under Shaikh Abdullah al-Azzam, an Islamic theologian of
origin who was the spiritual mentor of Osama bin Laden. Ansar reportedly
associated itself with Al Qaeda and agreed to host in its northern Iraq
enclave Al
Qaeda fighters, mostly of Arab origin, who had fled the U.S.-led war in
in 2001. Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which its base was
about 600 primarily Arab fighters lived in the Ansar al-Islam enclave, near
the town
of Khurmal.4 Ansar fighters clashed with the PUK around Halabja in December
2002, and Ansar gunmen were allegedly responsible for an assassination
against PUK prime minister Barham Salih in April 2002. Possibly because his
movement was largely taken over by the Arab fighters from Afghanistan,
Krekar left
northern Iraq for northern Europe. He was detained in Norway in August 2002
now lives there under varying degrees of official restriction.
5 "U.S. Uncertain About Northern Iraq Group's Link to Al Qaida." Dow Jones
March 18, 2002.
6 Finn, Peter and Susan Schmidt. Al Qaeda Plans a Front in Iraq. Washington
September 7, 2003.
7 Schmitt, Eric. Cheney Theme of Qaeda Ties to Bombings in Iraq Is
Questioned by Some
in Administration. New York Times, November 11, 2003.
The leader of the Arab contingent within Ansar al-Islam is said by U.S.
to be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an Arab of Jordanian origin who reputedly fought
Afghanistan. Zarqawi has been linked to Al Qaeda plots in Jordan during the
December 1999 millennium celebration, the assassination in Jordan of U.S.
Lawrence Foley (2002), and to reported attempts in 2002 to spread the
agent ricin in London and possibly other places in Europe. In a presentation
to the
U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Powell tied
and Ansar to Saddam Hussein's regime, which might have viewed Ansar al-Islam
a means of pressuring Baghdad's Kurdish opponents. Although Zarqawi
received medical treatment in Baghdad in May 2002 after fleeing Afghanistan,
experts believed Baghdad-Ansar links were tenuous or even non-existent;
did not control northern Iraq even before Operation Iraqi Freedom.5 Zarqawi'
current whereabouts are unknown, although some unconfirmed press reports
he might have fled to Iran after the fall of the Ansar camp to U.S.-led
forces. Some
recent press accounts say Iran might have him in custody.6 U.S. officials
have said
since August 2003 that some Ansar fighters, possibly at the direction of
might have remained in or re-entered Iraq and are participating in the
resistance to
the U.S. occupation, possibly including organizing acts of terrorism such as
car/truck bombings (see below). One press report quotes U.S. intelligence as
assessing the number of Ansar fighters inside Iraq at 150.7 Ansar al-Islam
is not
listed by the State Department as Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
Shiite Islamist Organizations
Some U.S. officials and outside experts have had concerns about the
strength and ideological orientation of Iraq's Shiite Islamic fundamentalist
in post-Saddam Iraq. Many perceive these factions as aligned with Iran.
believe that Iraq's Shiite clerics consult with but do not answer to Iran
and do not
seek to model a post-war Iraqi state after Iran's Islamic republic. The
United States
sought to work with some Shiite Islamist opposition factions during the
1990s but
had few if any contacts with others. Shiite Islamist factions hold at least
five seats
on the Governing Council unveiled July 13, 2003.
SCIRI/Badr Corps. The most well known among these Shiite factions is the
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which was a
of the INC in the early and mid-1990s but progressively distanced itself
from the INC
banner. SCIRI was set up in 1982 to increase Iranian control over Shiite
groups in Iraq and the Persian Gulf states. SCIRI's leader, Ayatollah
Baqr al-Hakim, died in a car bomb by unknown assailants in Najaf on August
2003, an act that could accelerate a schism within the Shiite Islamist
Mohammad Baqr Al Hakim was the late Ayatollah Khomeini's choice to head
an Islamic Republic of Iraq, a vision that, if realized, might conflict with
U.S. plans
to forge a democratic Iraq. Baqr Al Hakim and his family fled Iraq to Iran
in 1980,
during a major crackdown on Shiite activist groups by Saddam Hussein. Saddam
feared that Iraqi Shiite Islamists, inspired and emboldened by the Islamic
in Iran in 1979, posed a major threat to his regime. Prior to the formation
Hakim and his family were leaders of the Da'wa (Islamic Call) Party (see
Mohammed Baqr was the son of the late Ayatollah Muhsin Al Hakim, who was a
prominent Shiite leader in southern Iraq and an associate of Ayatollah
when Khomeini was in exile in southern Iraq during 1964-1978. Baqr Al Hakim
returned to Iraq on May 10, 2003, welcomed by crowds in Basra and Najaf.
Until August 2002, when Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim joined other opposition figures
for meetings in Washington, D.C., SCIRI had publicly refused to work openly
the United States or accept U.S. assistance, although it was part of the INC
and did
have contacts with the United States prior to the 2003 war effort. Unlike
some other
Shiite Islamist groups, SCIRI has had good working relations with some Iraqi
Arab factions and most Kurdish parties.
Since the fall of the regime, SCIRI leaders have participated in U.S.-led
to establish a post-war government and counseled their followers to
tolerate, at least
temporarily, the U.S. occupation as a necessary vehicle for building an Iraq
in which
Shiites are adequately represented. At the same time, SCIRI has called for
the rapid
restoration of Iraqi sovereignty. After he returned to Iraq, Mohammed Baqr
Hakim had said he was for a democracy and would not seek to establish an
Islamic republic. Abd al-Aziz al Hakim met with other opposition leaders in
late April 2003 at a post-war governance planning session in Iraq, sponsored
by U.S.
officials. Abd al-Aziz later helped constitute the major-party core of the
Council, and he is part of the nine-person rotating Council presidency.
U.S. officials are said to be mistrustful of SCIRI's ultimate goals and its
ties to Iran.
In addition to its agents and activists in the Shiite areas of Iraq, SCIRI
has about
10,000-15,000 fighters/activists organized into a "Badr Brigades" (named
after a
major battle in early Islam) that, during the 1980s and 1990s, conducted
forays from
Iran into southern Iraq to attack Baath Party officials there. The Badr
Brigades are
headed by Mohammed Baqr's younger brother, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, who
to Iraq on April 20, 2003, to pave the way for Mohammed Baqr's return. Abd
Aziz has taken over the leadership of the movement in the wake of his elder
brother's death on August 29. (Another Hakim brother, Mahdi, was killed in
in 1990, allegedly by agents of Iraq's security services.) Abd al-Aziz
al-Hakim's key
aide is Adel Abd-al Mahdi.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which is politically aligned with Iran's hard
civilian officials, has been the key patron of the Badr Brigades, providing
it with
weapons, funds, and other assistance; the Brigades fought alongside the
against Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq war. However, many Iraqi Shiites
SCIRI as an Iranian creation and SCIRI/Badr Corps operations in southern
Iraq prior
to Operation Iraqi Freedom did not spark broad popular unrest against the
regime. Some Badr fighters deployed inside northern Iraq on the eve of
8 See also, White, Jeffrey. To the Brink: Muqtada Al Sadr Challenges the
United States.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policywatch 794. October 17,
Iraqi Freedom, and the rest have since entered Iraq. Asserting that the
United States
failed to create a secure environment that might have prevented the August
29, 2003,
bombing that killed Ayatollah Al Hakim, some Brigade fighters have deployed
throughout Najaf since the bombing.
A variety of press reports say that some other individual militias now
security in many towns in southern Iraq are linked to the Badr Brigades. One
militia is derived from the fighters who challenged Saddam Hussein's forces
in the
marsh areas of southern Iraq, around the town of Amara, north of Basra. It
goes by
the name Hizbollah (Party of God)-Amara, and it is headed by marsh guerrilla
Abdul Karim Muhammadawi, nicknamed "Prince of the Marshes" who was named
to the Governing Council. He is widely perceived as an ally of SCIRI and is
considered by observers to have substantial Shiite support north of Basra.
Da'wa Party. The Da'wa Party, Iraq's oldest organized Shiite Islamist
grouping, continues to exist as a separate group, but many Da'wa activists
appear to
be at least loosely allied with SCIRI. The party was founded in 1957 by a
Iraqi Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr Al Sadr, a like-minded
associate of
Ayatollah Khomeini. It was the most active Shiite opposition movement in the
years following Iran's Islamic revolution in February 1979; Da'wa activists
conducted guerrilla attacks against the Baathist regime and attempted
of senior Iraqi leaders, including Tariq Aziz. Baqr Al Sadr and his sister
were hung
by the Iraqi regime in 1980 for the unrest, and many other Da'wa activists
were killed
or imprisoned. After the Iraqi crackdown, many surviving Da'wa leaders moved
into Iran; some subsequently joined SCIRI, but others rejected Iranian
control of
Iraq's Shiite opposition movement and continued to affiliate only with Da'
Da'wa's current leader, Ibrahim Jafari, and its leader in Basra, Abd al
Othman, are on the Governing Council, as is a former Da'wa activist turned
rights activist, Muwaffaq Al-Ruba'i. Jafari is one of the nine members of
Council that is rotating the presidency; he was first to hold that post.
The Kuwaiti branch of the Da'wa Party allegedly was responsible for a May
1985 attempted assassination of the Amir of Kuwait and the December 1983
on the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait. The Hizballah organization in
was founded by Lebanese clerics loyal to Ayatollah Baqr Al Sadr and the late
Ayatollah Khomeini, and there continue to be personal and ideological
between Hizballah and the Da'wa Party. The Hizballah activists who held U.S.
hostages in that country during the 1980s often attempted to link release of
Americans to the release of 17 Da'wa Party prisoners held by Kuwait for
attacks in the 1980s. Some Iraqi Da'wa members look to Lebanon's senior
cleric Mohammed Hossein Fadlallah, who was a student and protege of
Mohammed Baqr Al Sadr, for spiritual guidance.
Sadr Movement/Moqtada Al Sadr.8 Members of the clan of the late
Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr Al Sadr have become highly active in post-Saddam
The Sadr clan, based in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule, was repressed and
politically active during that time. The United States had no contact with
grouping prior to the 2003 war and did not attempt to enlist it in any
efforts during 1991-2002. Although the Sadr clan has been closely identified
the Da'wa Party (see above), it appears that members of the clan and their
currently are operating in post-war Iraq as a movement separate from Da'wa.
Another revered member of the clan, Mohammed Sadiq Al Sadr, and two of his
were killed by Saddam's security forces in 1999. A surviving son of Mohammad
Sadiq, Moqtada Al Sadr, who is about 28 years old, has attempted to rally
followers to attain a prominent role in post-Saddam Shiite politics. He and
his clan
apparently have a large following in the poorer Shiite neighborhoods of
which, after the fall of the regime on April 9, renamed their district "Sadr
from the former name of "Saddam City." However, Moqtada is viewed by many
Iraqi Shiites as a young radical who lacks religious and political weight.
compensate for his lack of religious credentials, he has sought spiritual
authority for
his actions from exiled Iraqi senior cleric, Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, who is
living in
Qom, Iran. An alternate interpretation by some experts is that Haeri is
acting at the
direction of Iran's leadership to keep Moqtada Sadr under a measure of
Moqtada's reputation was tarnished in early April 2003 when his supporters
allegedly killed Abd al-Majid Khoi, the son of the late Grand Ayatollah
Qasem Musavi-Khoi, shortly after his return to Najaf from exile in London.
Abd al-
Majid Khoi headed the Khoi Foundation, based in London, and he returned to
after U.S.-led forces took Najaf. Grand Ayatollah Khoi differed with the
doctrines of Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran.
The Sadr grouping is not represented in the Governing Council. Moqtada has
used his Friday prayer sermons in Kufa (near Najaf) and other forums to
the Council as a puppet of the U.S. occupation. In July 2003, Moqtada and
his aides
began recruiting for an Islamic army, for now unarmed, that Sadr says must
challenge the U.S. occupation, although he has thus far stopped short of
calling for armed attacks on American forces. He is openly calling for a
Islamic state similar to that of Iran. In August 2003, Shiites in Basra and
in Baghdad
rioted against British and U.S. occupation forces over fuel shortages and
slights, and there was speculation that Moqtada was helping fuel the riots.
days of anti-U.S. demonstrations by pro-Sadr Shiites broke out in Baghdad in
October 2003.
Later in October 2003, and amid assessments that Moqtada's popularity is low
and waning further, his supporters stepped up the challenge to the United
States. He
named an alternate "government" for Iraq, and some of his followers formed
militias and attempted unsuccessfully to seize control of some mosques in
Pro-Sadr militants also ambushed some U.S. forces. Press reports say U.S.
commanders are debating how to control Moqtada Al Sadr, with the option of
arresting him apparently under consideration. Possibly to head off any U.S.
against him, Moqtada tempered some of his statements in October.
Ayatollah Sistani/Hawza al-Ilmiyah. The revered Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani, based in Najaf, was repressed during Saddam's rule and is
emerging as a
major potential force in post-war Iraq. The United States had no contact
with Sistani
when Saddam was in power and has had only limited contact with him since; he
reportedly refuses to meet with representatives of the U.S. occupation. He
is the
most senior of the Shiite clerics that lead the Najaf-based "Hawza
al-Ilmiya," a major
grouping of seminaries and Shiite clerics, and numerous assessments say many
Shiites follow him and respond to his pronouncements. Other senior clerics
Ayatollah Mohammad Sa'id Al Hakim, uncle of the slain SCIRI leader Mohammad
Baqr, Ayatollah Mohammad Isaac Fayadh, and Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi. The
Hawza, which is well funded through donations, is becoming an important
source of
political authority in the Shiite regions of Iraq, hiring Iraqis to perform
performed by the former regime and issuing directives, often obeyed, to some
civil servants. Sistani and the Hawza are generally allied with SCIRI in the
Shiite power struggle, seeking to contain Moqtada Al Sadr, whom Sistani and
both view as radical and impulsive.
Sistani, who is of Iranian ethnicity, is considered to be in the tradition
Ayatollah Khoi in opposing a direct role for clerics in governmental
affairs, and
Sistani and the Hawza have spoken against a direct role for the clerics in
post-war Iraq. However, in early July 2003, Sistani began to take a more
active role
in Iraq's post-war decision-making by issuing a statement that the drafters
of a new
constitution should be elected, not appointed. That statement, according to
Iraqi officials, caused a deadlock in the effort to develop a roadmap to the
writing of
a constitution; Shiites on the Governing Council reportedly insisted that
directive be followed. Sistani has not himself commented on whether or not
supports the November 15, 2003 agreement on a political transition (see
although some Shiite activists claim he supports it.
Islamic Amal. Another Shiite Islamist organization, the Islamic Amal
(Action) Organization, has traditionally been allied with SCIRI. In the
early 1980s,
Islamic Amal was under the SCIRI umbrella but later broke with it. It is
headed by
Mohammed Taqi Modarassi, a Shiite cleric, who returned to Iraq from exile in
in April 2003, after Saddam Hussein's regime fell. Islamic Amal, which has a
following among Shiite Islamists mainly in Karbala, conducted attacks
Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s. However, it does not appear to have a
following nearly as large as SCIRI or the other Shiite Islamist groups.
brother, Abd al-Hadi, headed the Islamic Front for the Liberation of
Bahrain, which
tried to stir up Shiite unrest against the Bahrain regime in the 1980s and
Since returning to Iraq in April 2003, Mohammad Taqi has argued against
opposition to the U.S. occupation, saying that such a challenge would plunge
into civil warfare. On November 14, 2003, Modarassi criticized the United
for not holding elections to any of the political bodies formed thus far.
Schisms Among Anti-Saddam Groups
The differences among the various anti-Saddam organizations led to the near
collapse of the U.S. regime change effort the mid-1990s. As noted above, in
1994, the KDP and the PUK began clashing with each other over territory,
revenues levied at border with Turkey, and control over the Kurdish enclave'
government based in Irbil. The infighting contributed to the defeat of an
offensive against Iraqi troops in March 1995; the KDP pulled out of the
offensive at
9 An account of this shift in U.S. strategy is essayed in Hoagland, Jim.
"How CIA's Secret
War On Saddam Collapsed." Washington Post, June 26, 1997.
the last minute. Although it was repelled, the offensive did initially
overrun some of
the less well-trained and poorly motivated Iraqi units facing the Kurds.
Some INC
leaders point to the battle as an indication that the INC could have
militarily, without direct U.S. military help, had it been given additional
and training in the 1990s.
The Iraqi National Accord (INA). The infighting in the opposition in the
mid-1990s caused the United States to briefly revisit the "coup strategy" by
renewing ties to a non-INC group, Iraq National Accord (INA).9 The INA,
founded in 1990 with Saudi support, consisted of defectors from Iraq's Baath
military, and security services who were perceived as having ties to
officials in those organizations. It is headed by Dr. Iyad Alawi, former
president of
the Iraqi Student Union in Europe and a physician by training. He is a
secular Shiite
Muslim, but most of the members of the INA are Sunni Muslims. The INA's
prospects appeared to brighten in August 1995 when Saddam's son-in-law
Kamil al-Majid - architect of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs -
defected to Jordan, suggesting that Saddam's grip on the military and
services was weakening. Jordan's King Hussein agreed to allow the INA to
from there. The INA was ultimately penetrated by Iraq's intelligence
services and,
in June 1996, Baghdad dealt it a serious setback by arresting or executing
over 100
INA sympathizers in the military.
Baghdad's offensive against the opposition accelerated with its August 1996
incursion into northern Iraq, at the invitation of the KDP. Iraq not only
helped the
KDP capture Irbil from the PUK, but Saddam's forces took advantage of their
presence in northern Iraq to strike against the INC base in Salahuddin, a
city in
northern Iraq, as well as against remaining INA operatives throughout the
north. In
the course of its incursion in the north, Iraq reportedly executed two
oppositionists and arrested as many as 2,000 others. The United States
from northern Iraq and eventually resettled in the United States 650
mostly from the INC.
Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Alawi claimed that the INA was operating
throughout Iraq, and it apparently had rebuilt its presence in Iraq to some
extent after
the June 1996 arrests. However, it does not appear to have a large following
in Iraq.
Although it was cooperating with the INC at the start of the U.S.-led 2003
war, there
is a history of friction between the two groups. Chalabi and the INC have
for comprehensive purging of former Baathists from Iraq's institutions,
while the
INA, which has ex-Baathists in it, has argued for retaining some members of
former regime in official positions. Alawi has also taken the lead in
pushing for the
establishment of an internal security service for post-war Iraq, dominated
by the
major exile factions. Alawi was part of the major-party grouping that became
core of the Governing Council, and Alawi has been named a member of that
and one of its nine-member rotating presidency. He is president during
Attempting to Rebound from 1996 Setbacks
For the two years following the opposition's 1996 setbacks, the Clinton
Administration had little contact with the opposition. In those two years,
the INC,
INA, and other opposition groups attempted to rebuild their organizations
and their
ties to each other, although with mixed success. On February 26, 1998, then
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright testified to a Senate Appropriations
subcommittee that it would be "wrong to create false or unsustainable
about what U.S. support for the opposition could accomplish.
Iraq's obstructions of U.N. weapons of mass destruction (WMD) inspections
during 1997-1998 led to growing congressional calls for overthrowing Saddam
Hussein, although virtually no one in Congress or outside was advocating a
military invasion to accomplish that goal. A formal congressional push for a
change policy began with an FY1998 supplemental appropriation (P.L. 105-174,
signed May 1, 1998) that, among other provisions, earmarked $5 million in
Economic Support Funds (ESF) for the opposition and $5 million for a Radio
Iraq, under the direction of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). The
service began broadcasting in October 1998, from Prague. Of the ESF, $3
was devoted to an overt program to coordinate and promote cohesion among the
various opposition factions, and to highlighting Iraqi violations of U.N.
The remaining $2 million was used to translate and publicize documented
of alleged Iraqi war crimes; the documents were retrieved from the Kurdish
placed on 176 CD-ROM diskettes, and translated and analyzed by experts under
contract to the U.S. government. In subsequent years, Congress has
funding for the Iraqi opposition and for war crimes issues, as shown in the
Some of the war crimes funding has gone to the opposition-led INDICT
(International Campaign to Indict Iraqi War Criminals) organization for
Iraqi war crimes issues.
Iraq Liberation Act
A clear indication of congressional support for a more active U.S. overthrow
effort was encapsulated in another bill introduced in 1998: the Iraq
Liberation Act
(ILA, H.R. 4655, P.L. 105-338, signed into law October 31, 1998). The ILA
gave the
President authority to provide up to $97 million in defense articles and
services (and
authorized $2 million in broadcasting funds) to opposition organizations to
designated by the Administration. The Act's passage was widely interpreted
as an
expression of congressional support for the concept of promoting an
insurgency by
using U.S. air-power to expand opposition-controlled territory. This idea
advocated by Chalabi and some U.S. experts, such as General Wayne Downing,
subsequently became a National Security Council official on
counter-terrorism in the
first two years of the George W. Bush Administration. President Clinton
signed the
legislation despite reported widespread doubts within the Clinton
about the chances of success in promoting an opposition insurgency.
The Iraq Liberation Act made the previously unstated policy of promoting
regime change in Iraq official, declared policy. A provision of the ILA
states that
it should be the policy of the United States to "support efforts" to remove
the regime
headed by Saddam Hussein. In mid-November 1998, President Clinton publicly
articulated that regime change was a component of U.S. policy toward Iraq.
specific language in the Act provides for its termination after Saddam
Hussein is
removed from power.
The signing of the ILA and the declaration of the overthrow policy came at
height of the one-year series of crises over U.N. weapons inspections in
Iraq, in
which inspections were repeatedly halted and restarted after mediation by
the United
Nations, Russia, and others. On December 15, 1998, U.N. inspectors were
withdrawn for the final time, and a three-day U.S. and British bombing
against suspected Iraqi WMD facilities followed (Operation Desert Fox,
16-19, 1998). (For information on these crises, see CRS Issue Brief IB92117,
Weapons Programs, U.N. Requirements, and U.S. Policy.)
The First ILA Designations. Further steps to promote regime change
followed Operation Desert Fox. In January 1999, a career diplomat, Frank
Ricciardone, was named as a State Department's "Coordinator for the
Transition in
Iraq," the chief liaison with the opposition. On February 5, 1999, after
with Congress, the President issued a determination (P.D. 99-13) that the
major anti-
Saddam organizations would be eligible to receive U.S. military assistance
under the
Iraq Liberation Act: the INC; the INA; SCIRI; the KDP; the PUK; the Islamic
Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan (IMIK); and the pro-monarchist Movement for
Constitutional Monarchy (MCM). (Because of its possible role in contributing
the formation of Ansar al-Islam, the IMIK did not receive U.S. support after
although it was not formally taken off the ILA eligibility list.)
Monarchists/Sharif Ali. The Movement for Constitutional Monarchy is led
by Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein, a relative of the Hashemite monarchs (he is a
cousin of
King Faysal II, the last Iraqi monarch) that ruled Iraq from the end of
World War I
until 1958. Sharif Ali, who is about 47 and was a banker in London, claims
to be the
leading heir to the former Hashemite monarchy, although there are other
mostly based in Jordan. The MCM was considered a small movement that could
contribute much to the pre-war overthrow effort, although it was part of the
INC and
the United States had contacts with it. In the post-war period, Sharif Ali
returned to
Iraq on June 10, 2003, to a small but apparently enthusiastic welcome. He
did not
participate in the major-party grouping that negotiated with the U.S.-led
authority on the formation of the Governing Council, and neither Sharif Ali
nor any
of his followers was appointed to the Governing Council.
In May 1999, in concert with an INC visit to Washington, the Clinton
Administration announced it would draw down $5 million worth of training and
"non-lethal" defense equipment under the ILA. During 1999-2000, about 150
opposition members underwent civil administration training at Hurlburt air
base in
Florida, including attending Defense Department-run courses providing civil
training, including instruction in field medicine, logistics, computers,
communications, broadcasting, power generation, and war crimes issues.
the Clinton Administration asserted that the opposition was not sufficiently
to merit U.S. provision of lethal military equipment or combat training.


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