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Iraqi Insurgent Groups

The following is a list of several prominent Iraqi insurgent groups that oppose the regime of Saddam Hussein:

Kurdish Democratic Party — KDP
• The KDP was founded in 1946 under Mullah Mustalafa-al-Barzani and established a territory called Mahabad inside Soviet-occupied land in Northern Iran. Barzani died in a Washington, D.C. hospital in March 1979.
• Based in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
• It is estimated that they can raise 15,000 fighters in a crisis and possess small arms and light artillery.
• The KDP intelligence-gathering arm is known as the "Parastin." It was set up with the assistance of Mossad in the late 1960's when the Israelis were assisting the Iraqi Kurds. In recent years, they have been particularly active against Turkish separatist groups the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
• In 1997 it was reported that the KDP was receiving both financial and military aid from Turkey.

Kurdistan Workers Party — PKK
• The PKK has been engaged in a separatist struggle against Turkey with forces based both in Turkey and northern Iraq.
• By 1998 PKK capabilities in the Kurdish region had been greatly reduced, in part because the KDP had moved against organization in conjunction with Turkish military forces. Within the main PKK operational area of southeastern Turkey, the organization had clearly suffered major setbacks by mid-1998, to the point that its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, offered a cease-fire which was rejected by the Turkish government.

Iraqi National Congress — INC
• This the main umbrella organization for groups that are opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein.
• Their 120-man militia is led by General Talal al Aubady — a former Iraq Air Force pilot who had defected in 1986.
• In Iraq, the INC is active in both the northern regions and southern Marsh area.
• With the removal of CIA backing, the INC was largely considered defunct by 1999. A meeting in November of that year in New York resulted in the election of a council of 65 members and a 7-man leadership team. Shortly before the meeting, the Clinton administration released $5 million of the $97 million in assistance under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1997. Of that money, $2 million was to be spent on a telecommunication systems. The rest was budgeted for training and dissemination of information.

Turcoman Front Militia
• Estimated to have about 300 fighters.
• Maintains a patrol along the PUK zone and is in contact with the Turkish authorities.
• Iraq executed some of its members after the 1996 military incursion into the Kurdish area. Iraqi agents are also suspected destroying its headquarters at Chamchamal, 55 km west of Sulaimaniya.

Communist Party Militia
• Has about 700 members.
• Headquartered in Sulaimaniya.

Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq — SCIR
Supported by Iran.
• The SCIR's militia, the lightly-armed Badr Corps, has two bases in the PUK zone in northern Iraq — one in Sulaimaniya and another in Maydan, 60 km to the south.
• Most of the Badr Corps forces are based in Iran, with headquarters at Kharamanshahr. Training is provided by former Iraqi military officers.
• The Badr Corps' strength is estimated at about 15,000. They are equipped with small arms, grenade launchers, mortars and light artillery captured by Iran during the Iran-Iraq War.
• They have armored, infantry, artillery and anti-aircraft units, but no aircraft.
• The SCIRI also has guerrilla fighters, especially in the Marsh area of the mainly Shi'a southern part of Iraq. They seek to harass Saddam's regime through sabotage, attacks on government forces and security personnel and assassinations of senior officials. Operations are also mounted in Baghdad itself.
• One such operation involved the firing of a number of Katyusha rockets at a presidential palace in the Al-Karkh district of Baghdad in May 2000. A SCIRI spokesman claimed that several officials were killed during this strike deep at the heart of Saddam's power.
• The SCIRI believes the only way to oust Saddam is through military action. The organization appears to be hoping that guerrilla attacks carried out by its own fighters and sympathetic Shi'a tribes will encourage dissident elements in the military to rise up against Saddam and stage a coup.
• In a post-Saddam situation, SCIRI says it favors a democratic parliamentary system, in which they would share power with Kurds and Sunnis.

Jund al-Islam — JAI
• The JAI is a militant Kurdish Islamist group that emerged in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in September 2001.
• The group is the result of a merger of a number of splinter groups that broke away from the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan that, in recent years, controlled Halabjah near the Iranian border.
• Soon after its emergence, the JAI became involved in armed clashes with PUK forces.
• It has been claimed that the JAI was funded by Al Qaeda, and that JAI members received training at Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan..
• Abu Abdel Rahman, a Syrian who had spent many years in Afghanistan, was believed to be Usama bin Laden's personal representative to the leadership of JAI. The JAI declared their jihad against the "secular and apostate forces that are waiting for an opportunity to overpower Islam and the Muslims of Kurdistan, and waiting to implement the sinister plans of the Jewish, Christian and all other apostate leaders."

Iranian Democratic Party of Kurdistan — KDPI
• Composed of Iranian Kurds opposed to the regime in Tehran, Iran.
• The KDPI militia has about 600 fighters and is based at Koy Sanjak.
• According to reports in April, Iranian agents allegedly poisoned 60 KDPI rebels in northern Iraq.

Islamic Movement of Kurdistan — IMK
• Based in Halabja, northern Iraq.
• The IMK appears to be split three ways, with allegiances to Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. The combined strength of its forces would be less than 1,500.