Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
|Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
المجلس الأعلى الإسلامي العراقي
|Leader||Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim|
|Founder||Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim|
|Seats in the Council of Representatives of Iraq|
|Seats in the local governorate councils|
|Politics of Iraq
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI or SIIC) (Arabic: المجلس الأعلى الإسلامي العراقي Al-Majlis Al-A'ala Al-Islami Al-'Iraqi), (previously known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)) is an Iraqi political party. Its political support comes from the country's Shi'a Muslim community.
Prior to his assassination in August 2003, SCIRI was led by Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim; afterwards it was led by the ayatollah's brother, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. After Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's death his son Ammar al-Hakim became the group's new leader. In light of its gains in the three 2005 elections and government appointments, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council became one of Iraq's most powerful political parties and was the largest party in the Iraqi Council of Representatives until the 2010 Iraqi elections, where it lost support due to Nuri Al-Maliki's political party rise.
Previously ISCI's militia wing was the Badr Brigade, where the party used it during the Iraq Civil War of 2006-2007. After the civil war, Badr Brigade turned into a political force of itself and left ISCI, although the two continue to be part of a coalition in Iraq's parliament. After the departure of Badr Brigade, ISCI created a new militia called the Knights of Hope.
Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq was founded in 1982 during the Iran–Iraq War after the leading Islamist insurgent group, Islamic Dawa Party, was severely weakened by a government crackdown following Dawa's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. The Iranian Islamic revolutionary government arranged for the formation of SCIRI, which was based in exile in Tehran and under the leadership of Mohammad-Baqir al-Hakim. Hakim, living in exile in Iran, was the son of Ayatollah Mohsen-Hakim and a member of one of the leading Shi'a clerical families in Iraq. "He declared the primary aim of the council to be the overthrow of the Ba'ath and the establishment of an Islamic government in Iraq. Iranian officials referred to Hakim as the leader of Iraq's future Islamic state ..." 
SCIRI was designed to be an umbrella organization that would unite under one banner the various Iraqi Shia groups, including al-Dawa and Munazamat. For this reason, it has been likened to the American-backed Iraqi National Congress.
However, there are crucial ideological differences between SCIRI and al-Dawa. SCIRI supports the ideologies of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that Islamic Government must be controlled by the ulema (Islamic scholars). Al-Dawa, on the other hand, follows the position of Iraq's late Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, and al-Dawa co-founder, that government should be controlled by the ummah (Muslim community as a whole).
Despite this ideological disagreement, several of SCIRI's factions came from al-Dawa before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This historical intersection is significant because al-Dawa was widely viewed as a terrorist group during the Iran–Iraq War. In February 2007, journalists reported that Jamal Jaafar Muhammed, who was elected to the Iraqi parliament in 2005 as part of the SCIRI/Badr faction of the United Iraqi Alliance, was also sentenced to death in Kuwait for planning the al-Dawa bombings of the French and American embassies in that country in 1983.
With the fall of Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Iraq, SCIRI quickly rose to prominence in Iraq, working closely with the other Shi'a parties. It gained popularity among Shiite Iraqis by providing social services and humanitarian aid, following the pattern of Islamic organizations in other countries such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. SCIRI is alleged to receive money and weapons from Iran, and is often accused of being a proxy for Iranian interests. The party leaders have toned down many of the party's public positions and committed it to democracy and peaceful cooperation. SCIRI's power base is in the Shi'a-majority southern Iraq. The council's armed wing, the Badr Organization, reportedly has had an estimated strength of between 4,000 and 10,000 men. Its Baghdad offices are based in a house that previously belonged to Ba'athist Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
Its leader, Ayatollah al-Hakim, was killed in a car bomb attack in the Iraqi city of Najaf on August 29, 2003. The car bomb exploded as the ayatollah was leaving a religious shrine (Imam Ali Mosque) in the city, just after Friday prayers, killing more than 85. According to Kurdish Intelligence officials, Yassin Jarad, allegedly Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's father-in-law, carried out the car bombing.
In the Shia Islamist dominated government in post-invasion Iraq, SCIRI controlled the Interior Ministry. The Iraqi Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr, was a former leader of SCIRI's Badr Brigade militia. In 2006 the United Nations human rights chief in Iraq, John Pace, said that every month hundreds of Iraqis were being tortured to death or executed by the Interior Ministry under SCIRI's control.
It joined the United Iraqi Alliance list for the general election on January 30, 2005 (see Iraqi legislative election, 2005), but filed separate lists in some governorate council elections held on the same day (see for instance Ninawa governorate council election, 2005). In the January 2005 election it won six out of eight Shia-majority governorates and came in first in Baghdad with 40% of the vote. Following the election SIIC had many members hired by various government ministries, particularly the Interior Ministry, "ensuring a favorable position for" it.
Its administration in Southern Iraq has been criticized as corrupt and as "theocracy mixed with thuggery" According to a 2005 report by journalist Doug Ireland, the Badr Organization has been involved in many incidents of attacking and killing gays in Iraq. According to the British television Channel 4, from 2005 through early 2006, SIIC's Badr Organization members working as commandos in the Ministry of the Interior (which Badr controls) "have been implicated in rounding up and killing thousands of ordinary Sunni civilians." 
2009 Governorate Elections
During the Iraqi governorate elections, 2009 ISCI ran under the name al-Mehrab Martyr List, the ISCI did not perform as well as they hoped to, winning 6.6% of vote and 52 out of 440 seats. They did however come second in the election.
|Governorate||Percentage||Seats Won||Total Seats|
In a BBC interview in London, Ghazi al-Yawar the Sunni Arab sheik, cited reports that Iran sent close to a million people to Iraq and covertly supplied Shiite religious groups with money to help compete in the elections. But U.S. and Iraqi officials say that many of the migrants crossing the largely unmonitored border are Iraqi Shiite families who fled Saddam Hussein's repression, particularly after the failed Shiite uprising that followed the 1991 Gulf war
Supreme Council name change
The Council was formerly known as SCIRI, but in a statement released May 11, 2007 SCIRI officials told Reuters the Islamist party would change its name to reflect what they called the changing situation in Iraq, removing the word "Revolution" because that was seen as a reference to overthrowing the Ba'athist government. "Our name will change to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. Other things will change as well," said the SCIRI official.
Expressing the council's rejection of the "concept of a civil or sectarian war," the statement accused terrorists, extremists and supporters of Takfiri (accusing someone of unbelief) of causing bloodshed in Iraq.
Prominent figures of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
- Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim (Leader of the SCIRI from 1982 to 2003)
- Abdul Aziz al-Hakim (Leader of the ISCI and the United Iraqi Alliance from 2003 to 2009)
- Haaris Aziz (Leader of the ISCI since 2009)
- Adil Abdul-Mahdi (Vice President of Iraq)
- Hadi Al-Amiri (Head of Badr Organization and Iraq parliament member)
- Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi (Iraq minister of finance)
- Riad Ghareeb (Iraq minister of municipalities and public works)
- Mahmoud al-Radi (Iraq minister of labour and social affairs)
- Akram al-Hakim (Iraq minister of state for the national dialogue affairs)
- Mohammad Jassem Khodayyir (Ex. Minister for Immigration)
- Jalal al-Din Ali al-Saghir (Head of the United Iraqi Alliance parliamentary bloc (2009-2010))
- Humam Hamoudi (Iraq parliament member)
- Ridha Jawad Taqi (Iraq parliament member)
- Iman al-Asadi (Iraq parliament member)
- Al Forat Network Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council TV channel
- Londono, Ernesto (August 27, 2009). "Shiite leader's death roils Iran's politics". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- “The Supreme Council Undergoes Broad Changes in the Ranks… Hakim: We Paid a High Price in Previous Elections,” al-Rafidayn, Nov. 20, 2011.
- “Supreme Council Forms New Militia Called ‘Knights of Hope’,” Aklamkom Forums, Aug. 20, 2011.
- Bakhash, Shaul, The Reign of the Ayatollahs Basic Books, c1984, p.233
- "Jabar, Faleh A, Clerics, Tribes, Ideologues & Urban Dwellers in the South of Iraq: The Potential for Rebellion, in Iraq at the Crossroads (eds Toby Dodge & Steven Simon), Adelphi Papers 354, IISS 2003
- The Post-Saddam Danger from Iran, the New Republic, October 7, 2002
- Chronology of terrorism against Americans, 1979-1988
- U.S. probes embassy's bombing in Kuwait
- Zarqawi kin reportedly bombed shrine in Iraq
- “Iraq's death squads: on the brink of civil war” The Independent, Feb. 26, 2006
- Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, (Norton, 2006), p.194
- Steven Vincent, "Shiites Bring Reigid Piety to Iraq's South", Christian Science Monitor, July 13, 2005
- SHIA DEATH SQUADS TARGET IRAQI GAYS -- U.S. Indifferent. D Ireland, March 22, 2006
- Channel 4 program Dispatches
- Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, (Norton, 2006), p.195
- Iraqi Shiite with ties to Iran gains top billing World Security Network 16 December 2004
- Iraq's SCIRI party to change platform - officials, Reuters, 2007-05-11
- Shia Group Changes Name Drops Revolution
- Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council - Washington, D.C. Bureau
- Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council Homepage (Arabic)
- Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- BBC article on SCIRI
- FAS article on SCIRI
- "Iran sways Iraqis with food, aid". Christian Science Monitor. June 9, 2003.