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Iraqi Militias

In early June 2004 Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said that most of the country's powerful militias had agreed to disarm. Their members would either join state-controlled security services, or return to civilian life. Nine militias with a total of some 100,000 fighters agreed to disband under the deal. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party together fielded some 75,000 fighters known as Peshmerga. About half of the Peshmerga will join the national army or police forces but that thousands of others will join Kurdish-controlled regional forces. Those forces are divided into three specialized units -- mountain troops, counterterrorist forces, and quick-reaction battalions -- under the command of the Kurdish regional government that controls northern Iraq. The third major militia is that of the best-organized Shi'a political party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which has some 15,000 fighters in its Badr Brigade. Other smaller militias include the Iraqi Hezballah, the Iraqi Communist Party, and the Iraqi Islamic Party. Three more groups -- Allawi's own Iraqi National Accord, the Iraqi National Congress, and the Al-Da'wah Party -- claim to have already demobilized their fighters, but there is no independent confirmation of the claims.

More than a dozen militias have been documented in Iraq . Under Coalition Provisional Authority Order 91, the Transformation and Reintegration Plan and Article 27(B) of the TAL, a total of 9 of these militias with a total of some 100,000 fighters were to be integrated into the ISF. As of June 2005, amongst these militias, only the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Peshmergas and the Badr Organization (formerly Badr Corps) remain as significant entities.

The other six organizations have either disbanded their militias or have assigned them to personal security duties. The Mahdi Army, made up of some 10,000 armed supporters under Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr is not part of this integration. The ITG and its predecessor have had some success in integrating militias into the ISF, but militia elements integrated into the ISF typically remain within preexisting organizational structures and retain their original loyalties or affiliations.

Many smaller Shiite militias persist in the face of the government's inability to stem the attacks targeting Shias. These militias often guard mosques, community centers and Shiite neighborhoods.




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