The following are some of the notable groups involved in shaping Iraq's future:
Iraqi National Congress — INC
• The main umbrella organization for groups opposed to Saddam Hussein. It includes the major Kurdish parties, has at times received the endorsement of the Shiite-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and now includes the monarchists and several prominent independent groups.
• It is nominally headed by Ahmed Chalabi (search), a Western-educated mathematician who set foot in Iraq this month for the first time since 1958.
• Chalabi is known to have a cordial relationship with PUK leader Jalal Talabani, but a more tense relationship with the KDP's Massoud Barzani.
• In Iraq, the INC is active in both the northern regions and southern Marsh area.
• The INC is a Pentagon favorite which enjoys support inside the White House.
Iraqi National Accord — INA
• Established in 1990 by former Ba'ath party members with the goal of achieving "a democratic pluralistic regime that respects human rights and lives peacefully with its citizens." It backed the removal of Saddam Hussein.
• According to its charter, the INA "will also work for passing necessary legislations ensuring and respecting the cultural rights of Turkmen, Assyrians and other minorities."
• Tension between INA leader Dr. Iyad Allawi (search) and INC leader Chalabi has been described as "acute."
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — PUK
• Founded in June 1975, following the collapse of a Kurdish rebellion.
• Based in the eastern half of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, with headquarters at Sulemaniyah.
• Led by Jalal Talabani (search), a former lawyer, journalist and one of the leaders of the resistance agains Saddam Hussein. He has been the group's Secretary-General since 1975.
Kurdish Democratic Party — KDP
• Founded in 1946 under Mullah Mustalafa-al-Barzani. Barzani died in a Washington, D.C. hospital in March 1979. Currently led by his son Massoud Barzani (search).
• Based in western half of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, with headquarters at Irbil.
• Its intelligence-gathering arm is known as the "Parastin," set up with the assistance of Israel's Mossad in the late 1960s.
• In recent years, the KDP fought both the PUK and the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), even allying with Saddam Hussein's military in 1996 to end the PUK's occupation of Irbil.
• In 1997 it was reported that the KDP was receiving both financial and military aid from Turkey.
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq - SCIRI
• Supported by conservative elements in the Iranian government.
• Headed by Ayatollah Mohamad Baqir Al-Hakim (search), the son of the late Grand Ayatollah Muhsin Al-Hakim
• The organization consists of a general assembly of 70 members. The general assembly elects a central committee of 11 members, which is considered the supreme body of SCIRI.
• Al-Hakim has traditionally had warm relations with the two main Iraqi Kurdish parties in their shared opposition to Saddam Hussein
• The SCIRI's militia, the Iranian-backed and -armed Badr Corps, has two bases in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 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.
• SCIRI was involved in the firing of a number of Katyusha short-range 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.
• SCIRI says it favors a democratic parliamentary system, in which it would share power with Kurds and Sunnis.
• Shiite political party, supported and encouraged by Iran.
• In April 1980, al-Dawah members tried to assassinate then-Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz, who is a Chaldean Christian.
• Fledgling party organized by 79-year-old Adnan Pachachi, a Sunni Arab and former foreign minister who opposes U.S. military rule. It positions itself as a counterweight and rival to Chalabi's INC.
• Jordan, seat of a Hashemite monarch since British times, has sentimental notions of returning the dynasty to the throne in Baghdad. The last Iraqi king was overthrown in 1958.
• Divisions exist between the elected head of the Iraqi monarchists, Sharif Ali bin Al-Hussein (search), and the heir to the throne, Prince Hassan.