Free Iraqi Army
|Free Iraqi Army|
|الجيش العراقي الحر
Participant in the Syrian civil war and Iraqi insurgency
Flag of Iraq (1991-2004)
|Active||9 November 2012–present|
|Allies|| Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order
Free Syrian Army
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (alleged)
|Opponents|| Iraqi Army
Syrian Armed Forces
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. The group aims to overthrow the Shiite dominated government of Iraq, believing that they will gain support in this from Syria should the rebels be successful in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. 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."
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.
Links to al-Qaeda
Despite the groups denial of links to al-Qaeda, the group has been accused of being affiliated with the group. These accusations of links with both al-Qaeda and Ba'athists led to a Najaf Shiite figure associated with the State of Law Coalition issuing a fatwa against supplying the group with weapons.
- "INSIGHT: Iraq’s Tensions Heightened by Syria Conflict". Middle East Voices (VOA). 29 November 2012.
- "Syrian Soldiers Killed In Iraq: Reports". RTT News. 4 March 2013.
- "Free Iraqi Army inspired by Syria war". The Daily Star (Lebanon). 10 November 2012.
- "Iraqis locked in rival sectarian narratives". BBC News. 21 November 2012.
- "Al-Qaida making comeback in Iraq, officials say". The Guardian. 9 October 2012.
- "Briefing: A guide to defusing sectarian tensions in Iraq". IRIN. 13 February 2013.
- "Syrian War’s Spillover Threatens a Fragile Iraq". The New York Times. 26 February 2013.
- "عضو في الدفاع النيابية: الجيش العراقي الحر إسم آخر لتنظيم القاعدة". Iraqi Communist Party (in Arabic). 20 December 2012.
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