Free Iraqi Army

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Free Iraqi Army
الجيش العراقي الحر
Participant in the Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi insurgency
Flag of Iraq (1991-2004).svg
Flag of Iraq (1991–2004)
Active 9 November 2012–present
Ideology Sunni Islamism
Area of operations
Strength 2,500+[1]

Naqshbandi Army
Anbar Tribal Councils

Free Syrian Army

Iraqi government

Special Groups

Battles and wars Iraqi insurgency
Syrian Civil War

The Free Iraqi Army (Arabic: الجيش العراقي الحر‎, Al-Jayš Al-‘Irāqī Al-Ḥurr, FIA) is a Sunni militant group formed in the western Sunni-majority provinces of Iraq from Iraqi supporters of the Free Syrian Army rebels fighting in the Syrian Civil War.[2] The group aims to overthrow the Shia-dominated government of Iraq,[3] believing that they will gain support in this from Syria should the rebels be successful in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad.[4][5] An Iraqi counterterror spokesman has denied this, saying that the name is merely being used by al-Qaeda in Iraq to "attract the support of the Iraqi Sunnis by making use of the strife going on in Syria."[6]

Aside from Anbar Province, the FIA reportedly has a presence in Fallujah, along the Syrian border near the town of Al-Qaim, and in Mosul in the north of Iraq. A recruiting commander for the group told a reporter from The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon that the group is opposed to both Al-Qaeda in Iraq and their opponents in the Sahwa militia. The same commander claimed that the group receives financial support from cross-border tribal extensions and Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf states of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.[4]

On 4 February 2013, Wathiq al-Batat of the Shia militant group Hezbollah in Iraq, announced the formation of the Mukhtar Army to fight against al-Qaeda and the Free Iraqi Army.[7]

Links to al-Qaeda and the Iraqi Ba'athists[edit]

Despite the group's denial of links to al-Qaeda, the group has been accused of being affiliated with the group.[8] These accusations of links with both al-Qaeda and the Ba'athists led to a Najaf Shiite figure associated with the State of Law Coalition issuing a fatwa against supplying the group with weapons.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How Syria's civil war is spilling over - Middle East". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  2. ^ "INSIGHT: Iraq’s Tensions Heightened by Syria Conflict". Middle East Voices (VOA). 29 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Syrian Soldiers Killed In Iraq: Reports". RTT News. 4 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Free Iraqi Army inspired by Syria war". The Daily Star (Lebanon). 10 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Iraqis locked in rival sectarian narratives". BBC News. 21 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Al-Qaida making comeback in Iraq, officials say". The Guardian. 9 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Briefing: A guide to defusing sectarian tensions in Iraq". IRIN. 13 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Syrian War’s Spillover Threatens a Fragile Iraq". The New York Times. 26 February 2013. 
  9. ^ عضو في الدفاع النيابية: الجيش العراقي الحر إسم آخر لتنظيم القاعدة. Iraqi Communist Party (in Arabic). 20 December 2012.