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Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI)
Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)

The large Shiite faction Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, renamed itself in June 2007 as the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, ISCI, seeking to accent its Iraqi-nationalist ties. Its militia is the Badr Organization, officially known as the Badr Organization for Reconstruction and Development. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution decided to omit 'revolution' in its name as a sign that the Iraqi constitution had superseded the need forrevolution. This wass not so much a sign of ane ideological transformation of SCIRI, but rather testimony to the pragmatic (even opportunistic) policies of the organisation.

SCIRI/ISCI has failed to achieve respectability because it has never managed to shake off its past as an Iran-bred group of exiles with a narrow sectarian agenda enforced by a potent militia.

Although Iraq's Shi'as constitute about half of the country's population, Iraq's government has been traditionally dominated by the country's Sunni minority. While there are Shi'a in other parts of Iraq, much of the country's Shi'a population lives in the southern marshland regions near the Iranian border.

The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a Shi'i resistance group also known as the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI), was formed in Iran in 1982 to provide an opposition to Iraqi aggression against Iran. Following the Iran-Iraq war, the organization continued to operate with the aim of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein. SCIRI was directly supported with funds by Tehran and with arms by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard. The movement advocated theocratic rule for Iraq and conducted a low-level, cross-border guerrilla war against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

By the late 1990s SCIRI had about 4,000-8,000 fighters, composed of Iraqi Shiite exiles and prisoners of war, operating against the Iraqi military in southern Iraq. Although SCIRI has distanced itself from Iran to some extent, Iran's Revolutionary Guard reportedly continues to provide it with weapons and training.

SCIRI consist of a general assembly of 70 members which represent various Islamic movements and scholars. SCIRI has a military forces called Badr Corps. It started as a brigade and developed into a division and then into a corps. The Badr Corps consist of thousands of former Iraqi officers and soldiers who defected from the Iraqi army, Iraqi refugees and POWs. A mutual agreement was signed by SCIRI with The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) headed by Jalal Talabani to work against Saddam's regime. A similar agreement was signed with the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) headed by Masood Barzani several years ago.

At the conclusion of Desert Storm, Iraqi Kurds in the north and the Iraqi Shi'a in the south launched an armed revolt against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Iraqi government troops tried to crush the movement, reportedly razing mosques and other Shi'ite shrines and executing thousands. Amid allegations that the Iraqi army used chemical and biological weapons in their efforts, the Shi'a revolt was suppressed while the Kurdish revolt ended in the granting of political autonomy to the Kurds. But the resistance continued, and tens of thousands of rebels and Shi'ite civilians fled into the southern marshlands between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. There are now roughly 300,000 or more such refugees in the southern marshes or over the borders in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In 1992 the Gulf War allies imposed "no-fly zones" over both northern and southern Iraq. The no-fly zones continued to deter aerial attacks on the marsh dwellers in southern Iraq and residents of northern Iraq, but they did not prevent artillery attacks on villages in either area, nor the military's large-scale burning operations in the southern marshes. In 1997 Iraqi armed forces conducted deliberate artillery attacks against Shi'a civilians in the southern marshes and against minority groups in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi Government also continued its water-diversion and other projects in the south, accelerating the process of large-scale environmental destruction. The Government claimed that the drainage is part of a land reclamation plan to increase the acreage of arable land, spur agricultural production, and reduce salt pollution in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. However, the evidence of large-scale human and ecological destruction belied this claim, and other credible reports confirmed the ongoing destruction of the marshes. The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq claimed to have obtained government documents describing its long-range plans to drain the marshes completely. The army continued to construct canals, causeways, and earthen berms to divert water from the wetlands. Hundreds of square kilometers have been burned in military operations. Moreover, the regime's diversion of supplies in the south limited the population's access to food, medicine, drinking water, and transportation.

SCIRI has secret cells all over Iraq which are involved in gathering information, media work and military activities. The head office of SCIRI is based in Iran among the largest Iraqi community outside Iraq temperarely estimated at one million Iraqis. SCIRI has main offices in different parts of the liberated areas of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Since its establishment in 1982 the main office of the Supreme Council was in Tehran. Iran welcomed Ayatollah Al Hakim the leader of SCIRI and thousands of Iraqi immigrants who fled Iraq after Saddam took power in Iraq in 1979. Most the countries in the region supported Saddam, especially during the Iraq-Iran War. The largest Iraqi community outside Iraq is in Iran which allow SCIRI to mobilise them, train them and send them to fight Saddam's regime inside Iraq. The chance for the Iraqi opposition to move against Saddam's regime from Iran especially during the war which Saddam's regime launched against Iran. The long borders between Iraq and Iran which allow the resistance fighters to cross to and from Iraq to carry on their activities. The Marshes in southern Iraq covers areas in southern Iran making resistance easier along the borders of the two countries. Some of the tribes of southern Iraq and the Marshes live over the borders between Iraq and Iran and that enables them to fight Saddam's regime and to have sanctuary across the borders.

In addition to the main offices in Tehran, SCIRI has offices in the following places: te liberated areas of Kurdistan Northern Iraq; London which covers other European countries and USA; Syria which covers Lebanon also; Vienna which covers Berlin also; a representative in the international organization in Geneva. There are also many active accredited agents for SCIRI in Canada, France, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Australia and other countries.

On 26 August 2009 Shi'ite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim died. Hakim was being treated for lung cancer at a hospital in Iran, and those close to the man said his health was deteriorating. A family member and an aide to Hakim, speaking on the condition of anonymity, separately told reporters that he had suffered a setback. Hakim was known for his close links with Iran, and he led the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, one of Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite groups. In June 2009, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani visited Hakim in Tehran, where the ailing cleric was seeking treatment.

On 01 September 2009 the son of deceased Iraqi politician Abdul Aziz al-Hakim succeeded his father as head of Iraq's largest Shi'ite party. Ammar al-Hakim was confirmed as leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council during a meeting in Baghdad. Following his appointment, Ammar al-Hakim said party officials will work hard to establish a special position in the political process in Iraq, and to reach out to other political forces. Ammar al-Hakim, who was nominated to take over the party leadership, had been groomed for the position for some time. The unbroken line of al-Hakim leadership of the party indicates the clannish ordynastic character of Shia-politics in Iraq.

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Page last modified: 19-11-2014 17:48:17 ZULU