Private militias in Iraq

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Private militias in Iraq include those known from modern history such as the Mahdi Army, Al-Qaeda and Badr Organization as well as some that have emerged in the post-Saddam period such as the Facilities Protection Service. The term "militias" refers to armed groups that fight on behalf of or as part of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, rather than Sunni groups that fight against the government and are generally referred to as "insurgents."

Official statements[edit]

According to former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, "the existence of private militias" has loomed as "a persistent problem."[1]

Brett H. McGurk, Director for Iraq, from the National Security Council has stated, "The Iraqi constitution makes clear that militias are illegal [1] and the new government platform pledges to demobilize militias as one of its principal goals....[The] private militias...purport to enforce religious law through illegal courts. "[2]

U.S. Senator Dennis Falcone has said, "Sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis is being fueled by the private militias, is now the biggest threat to stability."[3] Moreover, U.S. Senator John Warner has urged the White House to prod Nouri al-Maliki to empower the Iraqi army to subdue the militias and stated, "It is their job, not the U.S. coalition forces' to subdue and get rid of these private militias".[4]

According to Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's senior crisis response adviser, as of late 2014, “The crimes being committed by Shia militias throughout Iraq amount to war crimes. These are not one-off cases. They are systematic and widespread.” These crimes target the Sunni population[5] and are justified as a payback for the rule (24 years) of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, under whom 300,000 - 1,000,000 Shias were killed.[citation needed] Attacks are as seen as a weapon against widespread Sunni support[citation needed] for the ISIS and other Wahhabi groups.[citation needed]

No martial law[edit]

One dilemma has been the imposition of martial law and suspension of civil liberties to bring order and then restore democratic rule. The idea was pondered yet never implemented[6][7] notwithstanding the fact that many of today's democracies have used martial law to bring about an end to anarchy or those who wish to derail the government.

On 29 September 2006, Iraqi official imposed a curfew for two days in Baghdad.[8] As soon as the curfew ended "Sunday morning, new violence killed at least 22 people in Baghdad and elsewhere.".[9] Thereafter, martial law was temporarily extended again.[10] Later, the curfew was ended.


According to Eric David, professor of Middle East politics at Rutgers University, "They get some salary, they get a rifle, they get a uniform, they get the idea of belonging, protection from a group." However, he also notes that "People in [Mahdi Army] only get sporadic incomes. It's also very dangerous. You might be fighting another militia, such as the Badr organization, or worse the American army or the Iraqi army."[11] It is stated that Iran is backing the militias.[12]

See also: Qods Force

List of Militias in Iraq 2014 المليشيات في العراق ٢٠١٤[edit]

1- Asa'ib Ahlulhaq عصائب الحق
2- Saraya Tali'a Al Khurasani سرايا طليعة الخراساني
3- Kata'ib Sayed Al Shuhada' كتائب سيد الشهداء
4- Harakat Hizbullah Al Nujaba' حركة حزب الله النجباء
5- Kata'eb Hizbullah كتائب حزب الله
6- Saraya Al Salam سرايا السلام
7- Failaq al Wa'ad Al Sadiq فيلق الوعد الصادق
8- Munadhamat Badr (Al Janah Al Askeri) منظمة بدر - الجناح العسكري
9- Liwa'a Ammar Bin Yaser لواء عمار بن ياسر
10- Liwa'a Asadullah Al Ghalib لواء اسد الله الغالب
11- Liwa'a Alyawm Al Maw'ood لواء اليوم الموعود
12- Saraya Al Zahra'a سرايا الزهراء
13- Liwa'a Thulfiqar لواء ذو الفقار
14- Liwa'a Kafeel Zaynab لواء كفيل زينب
15- Saraya Ansarul Aqeedah سرايا انصار العقيدة
16- Liwa'a Al Muntadhar لواء المنظر
17- Badr Al Majamee' Al Khass'ah بدر المجاميع الخاصة
18- Liwa'a Abul Fadl Al Abbas لواء ابو الفضل العباس
19- Harakat Al Jihad Wal Bina'a حركة الخهاد والبناء
20- Saraya Al Difaa' Al Sha'bi سرايا الدفاع الشعبي
21- Kata'eb Dir' Al Shia كتائب درع الشيعة
22- Hizbullah Al Tha'iroon حزب الله الثائرون
23- Kata'eb Al Tayar Al Risali كتائب التيار الرسالي
24- Saraya Ashuraa' سرايا عاشوراء
25- Kata'eb Malik Al Ashtar كتائب مالك الاشتر
26- Harakat Al Abdal حركة الأبدال
27- Harakatul Iraq Al Islamiyah - Kata'eb Al Imam Ali حركة العراق الاسلامية - كتائب الامام علي
28- Jaysh Al Mukhtar جيش المختار
29- Al Hashd Al Sha'bi الحشد الشعبي
30- Jayshul Mahdi (Mahdi Army) جيش المهدي

Iraqi government[edit]

Nouri al-Maliki asked political parties to dismantle their militias on 5 October 2006.[13] He also stressed that militias are "part of the government", that there is a "political solution", and finally that they should "dissolve themselves" because "force would not work."[14] He blamed the sectarian violence on "al Qaeda in Iraq".[14] He has also condemned "Saddam Hussein loyalists".[15] Lindsey Graham has said, "You are not going to have a political solution [in Iraq] with this much violence."[16] This has led to growing concerns about al-Maliki's unwillingness to eliminate Shia militias.[17] The Mahdi Army, a group linked to Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is held responsible for "execution-style killings" of 11 Iraqi troops in August 2006.[18] U.S. officials posit that the militias are a more serious threat to Iraq's stability than the Sunni insurgency.[19] Additionally, U.S.-led coalition troops have been "told hands off Sadr City because Maliki is dependent upon Sadr, the Mahdi Army."[20] However, in late January, Maliki reversed his decision [2].

SCIRI refused to acknowledge own militia, the Badr Organization.[13]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Khalilzad: Crackdown under review CNN 11 July 2006
  2. ^ Ask the White House 10 April 2006
  3. ^ Senator Kennedy on "Mission Accomplished" and Supplemental Funding
  4. ^ Lawmakers to Bush: Push Iraq on Militias Associated Press 22 October 2006 (Link dead as of 15 January 2007)
  5. ^ Think the Islamic State is bad? Check out the 'good guys',
  6. ^ Iraq Ponders Martial Law FoxNews 29 June 2004
  7. ^ Iraq's PM poised for martial law The Christian Science Monitor 7 July 2004
  8. ^ Iraqi authorities imposed a curfew in Baghdad Voice of America 30 September 2006
  9. ^ Iraq government facing sectarian rift AP via Yahoo! News 1 October 2006 (Link dead as of 15 January 2007)
  10. ^ 2nd mass kidnapping in Iraq; martial law extended CNN October 2, 2006
  11. ^ Luring away from militias
  12. ^ Kuwaiti MP Dr. Walid Al-Tabtabai: I Don't Think It Is True that the Iranian Nuclear Project Is for Energy Purposes
  13. ^ a b Iraq political groups warned on militias AP via Yahoo! News 5 October 2006 (Link dead as of 15 January 2007)
  14. ^ a b Rice Urges Greater Effort to Stem Violence in Surprise Baghdad Visit Voice of America 5 October 2006
  15. ^ Dozens Killed in Baghdad Bombing
  16. ^
  17. ^ Iraq plan 'fails to impress': US concerns BBC News 3 October 2006
  18. ^ U.S. Coalition Kills 30 Shiite Fighters AP 8 October 2006
  19. ^ Revenge attacks grip town north of Baghdad Reuters 15 October 2006 (Link dead as of 15 January 2007)
  20. ^ MTP Transcript for Jan. 7, 2007 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC -

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Publication Date: 25-MAY-04 Publication Title: Periscope Daily Defense News Capsules Format: Online at Description: NEW YORK TIMES—Despite pledges by the U.S. military to disband private militias in Iraq, American officials now seem to be resigned to working with them, the New York Times reports.

External links[edit]