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 (1963–1991); Flag of Syria (1963–1972).svg
Active 19 July 2012[1] – August 2014
Ideology Sunni Islamism
Area of operations


Size 2,500+[2]

Naqshbandi Army[citation needed]
Logo of the Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation.png SCJL[citation needed]

MCIR[citation needed]
Anbar Tribal Councils[citation needed]
Free Syrian Army


Special Groups

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (sometimes)[citation needed]
Battles and wars Iraqi insurgency

The Free Iraqi Army (Arabic: الجيش العراقي الحر‎, Al-Jayš Al-‘Irāqī Al-Ḥurr, FIA) was a Sunni rebel 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.[4] The group aimed to overthrow the Shia-dominated government of Iraq,[5] believing that they would gain support in this from Syria should the rebels be successful in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad.[6][7] An Iraqi counterterror spokesman 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."[8]

Aside from Anbar Province, the FIA reportedly had 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 was opposed to both Al-Qaeda in Iraq and their opponents in the Sahwa militia. The same commander claimed that the group received financial support from cross-border tribal extensions and Sunni sympathizers in the Persian gulf states of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.[6]

On 4 February 2013, Wathiq al-Batat of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Iraq, announced the formation of the Mukhtar Army to fight against al-Qaeda and the Free Iraqi Army.[9] In August 2014, the group became defunct, after a large offensive by ISIL in northern Iraq, with activity on their websites ceasing.

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

Despite the group's denial of links to al-Qaeda, the group had been accused of being affiliated with the group.[10] 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.[11]

See also[edit]


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