Free Iraqi Army
|Free Iraqi Army|
|الجيش العراقي الحر
Participant in the Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi insurgency
Flag of Iraq (1991–2004)
|Active||9 November 2012–present|
|Area of operations|
|Allies||Free Syrian Army|
|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. The group aims to overthrow the Shia-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 and the Iraqi Ba'athists
Despite the group's 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 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.
- "How Syria's civil war is spilling over - Middle East". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "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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