A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Supreme Council For Islamic Revolution In Iraq (Sciri) Narrative


Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)

Last Update

June 2015

Aliases

SCIRI, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI)[1]

History

The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) is one of the most powerful Shiite political parties in Iraq. SCIRI was founded in 1982 by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim and his older brother, Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim, when they were in exile in Iran, with the support of that government.[2] SCIRI advocates for the creation of a separate, Shiite controlled region in southern Iraq as well as political control in Iraq’s government.[3] The Badr Brigade (SCIRI’s military wing) had tens of thousands of men trained in Iran and fought alongside Iranian troops during the Iraq-Iran war, which lasted from 1980 through 1988. In 1991, thousands of troops in the Badr Brigade went to Iraq to support the Shiite rebellion in the south.[4]

In 2002 Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim led a SCIRI delegation in Washington D.C. to deliberate with Bush administration officials, although they publicly opposed a foreign invasion in Iraq. In 2003 the Badr Brigade encountered pressure from the United States to disband its 10,000 troops and SCIRI announced that the Badr Brigades would be turned into a civilian unit.[5] In September 2003 the Badr Brigade changed its name to the Badr Organization of Reconstruction and Development.[6] In 2003 Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim became the president of the United States-led Governing council of Iraq. [7]

After this point, the SCIRI shifted from a militant rebellion group to an Iraqi political party with the objective of encompassing all Shiite groups.[8]In the 2005 elections, the first since Saddam Hussein’s fall from power, several SCIRI leaders were elected to seats in government after Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim formed an alliance of Shiite parties. In 2007 SCIRI changed its name to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC).[9] The group removed the word revolution from their name in order to gain wider political appeal from nationalist Iraqi people and United States officials.[10] Since 2008, SCIRI has had its primary political base in southern Iraq where its members control a majority of the provincial governments.[11] As of 2014, Hadi al-Ameri is the leader of the reformed Badr Organization.[12]

Home Base

  • 1982- 2003: Iran[13]
  • 2003-current: Iraq

Founding Year

1982[14]

Ideology

  • Religious-Muslim-Shiite; Ethnic-Separatist
    • SCIRI wants a separate autonomous Shiite region in southern Iraq as well as political control in Iraq’s government.[15]

Specific Goals

  • Bring together different Shiite opposition groups for the purpose of creating an Islamic republic in Iraq and an autonomous Shiite federal region in southern Iraq.[16]
  • Seeks to gain political control in Iraq and appoint a government modeled after Iran’s Islamic Revolution.[17]

Political Activity

  • SCIRI is the largest Shiite political party in Iraq.[18]
  • A Shiite alliance forged by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim for January 2005 elections won the most seats in both the January and December 2005 legislative elections.[19]
  • In 2014, SCIRI controlled 11 percent of seats in parliament, a decline from 25 percent in 2007.[20]

Financing

  • State sponsorship:
    • SCIRI was established by the Hakim family, with direct support from Iran's government.[21]
    • In the years before SCIRI became a political party, their military wing (the Badr Brigade) received funding from Iran.[22]

Leadership and Structure over Time

  • SCIRI's militant wing was known as the Badr Brigade. In 2003, it changed names to the Badr Organization of Reconstruction and Development, while allegedly breaking direct ties to SCIRI.[23]
  • 1982-2003: Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim was the leader of SCIRI until his death in 2003 by car bombing, after which his brother Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim took over control.[24]
  • 2003-2009: Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim was diagnosed with lung cancer and died on August 26, 2009.[25]  
  • 2009-Present: Ammar al-Hakim, Abdul Aziz’s son, became the new nominated leader following his father’s death.[26]
  • As of 2014, Hadi al-Ameri is the leader of the Badr Organization.[27]

Strength

  • 2003: 10,000-15,000[28]
  • 2005: 10,000[29]

Allies and Suspected Allies

  • Iran (ally, state sponsor):
    • SCIRI was allies with Iran since its creation in 1982.[30]
    • The Iranian government reportedly providing funding to SCIRI.[31]
  • United States (ally):
    • SCIRI was allies with the United States starting in 2003 as the George W. Bush administration supported in the group’s opposition against Saddam Hussein’s regime.[32]

Rivals and Enemies

  • Former Baathist Iraqi Government (enemy):
    • From the group’s founding in 1982 until the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni dominated regime, SCIRI opposed the Iraqi government.[33]
  • Sadrist Trend (rival):
    • As of 2008 SCIRI was rivals with the Sadrist Trend, which was a nationalist political movement.[34]
  • Mahdi Army (rival)
    • The Mahdi Army is SCIRI’s principle rival in Iraq.[35]

Counterterrorism Efforts

  • Domestic Military:
    • Before the downfall of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, there was domestic military force used against SCIRI. However since SCIRI became a political party there have been little if any counterterrorism efforts against the group.[36]  

United States Government Designations

None.

Other Governments’ Designations

None.

 

[1] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf;The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis; “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq; Helen Chapin Metz, Iraq: A Country Study (Washington, DC: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1988), http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a224269.pdf.

[2] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis; “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq; Barbara Slavin, “Mullahs, Money, and Militias,” US Institute of Peace Special Report, no. 206 (June 2008): 24, http://kms1.isn.ethz.ch/serviceengine/Files/ISN/57476/ipublicationdocument_singledocument/037B80DD-D830-4525-8B3B-8499FDAC49A7/en/sr206.pdf.

[3] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[4] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.; ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf;Lionel Beehner, “Iraq’s Militia Groups,” Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, (October 26, 2006), http://www.cfr.org/iraq/iraqs-militia-groups/p11824.

[5] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf;Lionel Beehner, “Iraq’s Militia Groups,” Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, (October 26, 2006), http://www.cfr.org/iraq/iraqs-militia-groups/p11824; BBC, “Who’s Who in Post-Saddam Iraq: Sciri,” BBC News, accessed June 26, 2015, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/post_saddam_iraq/html/shia_sciri.stm.

[6] Lionel Beehner, “Iraq’s Militia Groups,” Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, (October 26, 2006), http://www.cfr.org/iraq/iraqs-militia-groups/p11824; BBC, “Who’s Who in Post-Saddam Iraq: Sciri,” BBC News, accessed June 26, 2015, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/post_saddam_iraq/html/shia_sciri.stm;“Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq.

[7] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis; BBC, “Who’s Who in Post-Saddam Iraq: Sciri,” BBC News, accessed June 26, 2015, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/post_saddam_iraq/html/shia_sciri.stm.

[8] Damien Cave, “Changes by Iraqi Shiite Party Signal Distancing From Iran,” The New York Times, May 13, 2007, sec. Foreign Desk, via LexisNexis; Steven Lee Myers, “Son to Succeed Father as Iraqi Shiite Party Leader,” The New York Times, September 1, 2009, sec. International / Middle East, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html.

[9] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis; Steven Lee Myers, “Son to Succeed Father as Iraqi Shiite Party Leader,” The New York Times, September 1, 2009, sec. International / Middle East, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html.

[10] Damien Cave, “Changes by Iraqi Shiite Party Signal Distancing From Iran,” The New York Times, May 13, 2007, sec. Foreign Desk, via LexisNexis.

[11] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf;“Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq.

[12] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf.

[13] “Shiite Politics in Iraq: The Role of the Supreme Council,” International Crisis Group, Middle East Reports N. 70, November 15, 2007. http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iraq%20Syria%20Lebanon/Iraq/70_shiite_politics_in_iraq___the_role_of_the_supreme_council.ashx

[14] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf; The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[15] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[16] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[17] Damien Cave, “Changes by Iraqi Shiite Party Signal Distancing From Iran,” The New York Times, May 13, 2007, sec. Foreign Desk, via LexisNexis.

[18] “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq.

[19] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[20] ISW, “Final 2014 Iraqi National Elections Results by Major Political Groups,” Institute for the Study of War: Iraq Updates, May 19, 2014, http://iswiraq.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/final-2014-iraqi-national-elections.html; Damien Cave, “Changes by Iraqi Shiite Party Signal Distancing From Iran,” The New York Times, May 13, 2007, sec. Foreign Desk, via LexisNexis.

[21] Barbara Slavin, “Mullahs, Money, and Militias,” US Institute of Peace Special Report, no. 206 (June 2008): 24, http://kms1.isn.ethz.ch/serviceengine/Files/ISN/57476/ipublicationdocument_singledocument/037B80DD-D830-4525-8B3B-8499FDAC49A7/en/sr206.pdf.

[22] “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq.

[23] House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy, “Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat: An Intelligence Challenge for the United States,” Staff Report (Washington, DC: US House of Representatives, August 23, 2006), https://fas.org/irp/congress/2006_rpt/hpsci082306.pdf; Lionel Beehner, “Iraq’s Militia Groups,” Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, (October 26, 2006), http://www.cfr.org/iraq/iraqs-militia-groups/p11824.

[24] “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq.; BBC, “Who’s Who in Post-Saddam Iraq: Sciri,” BBC News, accessed June 26, 2015, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/post_saddam_iraq/html/shia_sciri.stm.

[25] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis; Steven Lee Myers, “Son to Succeed Father as Iraqi Shiite Party Leader,” The New York Times, September 1, 2009, sec. International / Middle East, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html.

[26] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis; Steven Lee Myers, “Son to Succeed Father as Iraqi Shiite Party Leader,” The New York Times, September 1, 2009, sec. International / Middle East, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html.

[27] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf.

[28] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf; Lionel Beehner, “Iraq’s Militia Groups,” Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, (October 26, 2006), http://www.cfr.org/iraq/iraqs-militia-groups/p11824; IISS, “Non-State Armed Groups,” in The Military Balance 2005, vol. 105 (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2005), 421–34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/04597220500387720;Kenneth Katzman, “Iran-Iraq Relations,” CRS Report for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, August 13, 2010), http://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22323.pdf.

[29] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf; Lionel Beehner, “Iraq’s Militia Groups,” Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, (October 26, 2006), http://www.cfr.org/iraq/iraqs-militia-groups/p11824; IISS, “Non-State Armed Groups,” in The Military Balance 2005, vol. 105 (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2005), 421–34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/04597220500387720.

[30] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[31] “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” Resources, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, accessed June 26, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/organizations/islamic-supreme-council-of-iraq.

[32] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[33] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.

[34] ISW, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” Fact Sheet (Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of War, April 2008), http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Iraq’s%20Major%20Shia%20Political%20Parties%20and%20Militia%20Groups.pdf.

[35] “Shiite Politics in Iraq: The Role of the Supreme Council,” International Crisis Group, Middle East Reports N. 70, November 15, 2007. http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iraq%20Syria%20Lebanon/Iraq/70_shiite_politics_in_iraq___the_role_of_the_supreme_council.ashx

[36] The Times (London), “Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim: Iraqi Political Leader Who Opposed Saddam Hussein and Led Influential Elements of the Shia Community after the Dictatorship’s Collapse,” The Times, September 2, 2009, 1 edition, sec. Features, via LexisNexis.