Hamas Iraq

FormedMarch 2007
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackAugust 27, 2007: Hamas Iraq used two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against an American army Hummer and Utility vehicle in Diyala and subsequently posted a video of the attack online. (2 killed, unknown wounded) [1]
Last AttackFebruary 2009: Hamas Iraq orchestrated several grenade attacks against American forces in Baqouba in the Diyala province. (casualties unknown) [2]
UpdatedAugust 11, 2015

Narrative Summary

Hamas Iraq (no affiliation to the Palestinian Hamas or Kurdish Hamas) is an Iraqi Sunni Islamist organization that split off from the 1920s Revolution Brigades (1920s RB) in March 2007. [3] [4] [5] [6] The split was precipitated by the death of the 1920s RB leader, Harith Dhar Khamis al-Dari, who was allegedly killed in an ambush carried out by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) operatives. Around the same time, AQI carried out a chlorine gas attack on a town near Fallujah and subsequently assassinated many members of the Brigades who spoke out against the attack. [7] Following Dari’s death and the chlorine attack, two factions arose within the 1920s RB that differed in their visions for the future of the organization.  While one faction wanted to directly confront AQI and possibly cooperate with the U.S. backed Sons of Iraq, the other preferred to continue armed opposition to the U.S. and take a more passive, rhetorical approach to opposing AQI. This latter faction broke away from the organization in March 2007 and renamed itself Hamas Iraq (also sometimes known as Hamas in Iraq or Iraqi Hamas). [8] [9] [10]

In July 2007, Hamas Iraq joined with the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance and the Reformation and Jihad Front (RJF), an umbrella organization composed of Ansar-al Sunnah Shariah, the Mujahideen Army, and the Islamic Army in Iraq, to form a new umbrella group called the Political Council for Iraqi Resistance (PCIR). [11] The PCIR announced a political agenda that included a commitment to work towards an Iraq free of foreign forces, the rejection of cooperation with parties involved in the political institutions established during the U.S. occupation, and the nullification of all agreements and laws enacted by such institutions.  Furthermore, the PCIR hoped to work with other Shiite and Sunni anti-occupation groups to establish a temporary technocratic government in anticipation of the U.S. withdrawal. [12] There is no indication that the PCIR ever actually entered into negotiations with any other anti-occupation organizations.

Although the PCIR did not negotiate with the U.S., there is some evidence to suggest the Hamas Iraq cooperated with the United States in their offensive in the Diyala province against AQI.  After The Economist incorrectly reported that the 1920s Revolution Brigades had fought along side the U.S. in their operations in Diyala, the 1920s RB issued a statement claiming that it had been Hamas Iraq, and not its members, who had worked alongside the U.S. [13] [14] 2015. Around the same time AQI also accused Hamas Iraq of working with U.S. forces in Diyala. [15] [16] Hamas Iraq denied all allegations of cooperating with “the occupiers” and avowed it would never do so. [17]

Hamas Iraq appears to have largely disappeared during the period from 2009 to 2013. There is some indication that many of Hamas Iraq’s members joined the Sahwa Movement—the U.S. sponsored tribal police forces fighting AQI—starting in 2008. [18][19] [20] [21]

Although Hamas Iraq has purportedly re-activated since the beginning of the Sunni insurgency in 2013, little is known about the group’s status or activities.  While some sources claim that Hamas Iraq is fighting alongside the Islamic State (IS) and its allies, others believe the group to be cooperating with the Iraqi government in its mission to roll back IS. [22] [23] [24]


Leadership

Very little is known about the leadership of Hamas Iraq, and it is unclear who is currently in charge of the group.

  1. Harith Dhahir Khamis al-Dari (Unknown to March 27, 2007): Dari was the leader of the 1920s Revolution Brigades before he was assassinated by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) operatives on March 27, 2007. After his death, Hamas Iraq split from the 1920s RB to form an independent group. [25]

Ideology & Goals

Hamas Iraq is a Nationalist, Sunni Islamist militant organization that seeks to expel all foreign troops and influence from Iraq.  This manifested itself in the group’s vehemently anti-occupation, anti-American stance. [26] [27]

Hamas Iraq is relatively inclusive in its ideology, and has emphasized the need to work with Shiite organizations to exorcize foreign influence from Iraq.  In this vein, the group has denounced indiscriminate violence and violence that targets civilians because of their ethnic or sectarian allegiances. [28]


Size Estimates

There are no documented estimates of the size of Hamas Iraq.

Designated/Listed

Hamas Iraq has not been designated as a foreign terrorism organization by the U.S., EU, or UN.

Resources

The only information available about Hamas Iraq’s resources is its claim that it is “the only resistance movement in modern history which has received no help or support from any other country.”  In this vein, Hamas Iraq leadership asserts that it rejected Iranian offers of funding and arms. [29]

External Influences

Hamas Iraq has been profoundly influenced by the presence of foreign, namely American, forces in Iraq.  Although these forces been the group’s main targets, there have also been allegations that Hamas Iraq actually cooperated with the U.S. in Diyala in 2007. [30] [31] Hamas Iraq has denied these claims. [32] However, the group has admitted that it came under intense pressure from Saudi Arabia and Turkey to unite with other Iraqi Sunni groups. [33] It is unclear how much this pressure influenced Hamas Iraq’s decision to join the PCIR in July 2007.

Geographical Locations

Hamas Iraq operates exclusively within Iraq.  The group’s activities have been largely concentrated in Diyala, Baghdad, and Anbar. [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39]

Targets & Tactics

From 2007 to 2009 Hamas Iraq primarily targeted U.S. forces in Iraq. [40] [41] 

Since 2013, the group appears to have mostly targeted the Iraqi government, although some have speculated that Hamas Iraq is actually cooperating with the Iraqi Army to confront the Islamic State (IS). [42] [43] [44] Although Hamas Iraq decried sectarian violence on multiple occasions and criticized AQI for targeting Shiite civilians, the group has occasionally targeted Shiite militias, claiming that they were legitimate targets because of their cooperation with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. [45]

Political Activities

Hamas Iraq’s relationship with the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), the largest Sunni political party in Iraq, is highly debated.  While some sources claim that Hamas Iraq is the armed branch of the IIP, others claim that the two are merely associated, while still others assert that there is no connection between Hamas Iraq and the IIP at all. [46] [47] [48] [49]

In July 2007, Hamas Iraq joined with the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance and the Reformation and Jihad Front (RJF), which itself was composed of Ansar-al Sunnah Shariah, the Mujahideen Army, and the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI), to form a new umbrella group named the Political Council for Iraqi Resistance (PCIR). [50] The PCIR announced a political program to expel all foreign forces from Iraq, the rejection of cooperation with parties involved in the political institutions established during the U.S. occupation, and the nullification of all agreements and laws enacted by such institutions.  The PCIR professed its desire to cooperate with other Shiite and Sunni anti-occupation groups in Iraq to achieve these goals. [51] There is no indication that the PCIR ever formally participated in the Iraqi electoral system.

Major Attacks

  1. 2007: Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the 1920s Revolution Brigades accused Hamas Iraq of fighting alongside the US against AQI in Diyala. Hamas Iraq repudiated these claims. (unknown casualties).[52]
  2. August 27, 2007: Hamas Iraq used two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against an American army hummer and utility vehicle in Diyala and subsequently posted a video of the attack online. (2 killed, unknown wounded).[53]
  3. January 22, 2008: Hamas Iraq claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on a U.S. military vehicle in Anbar. (unknown casualties).[54]
  4. February 2009: Hamas Iraq orchestrated several grenade attacks against American forces in Baqouba in the Diyala province. (unknown casualties).[55]

Relationships with Other Groups

Prior to March 2007, Hamas Iraq was part of the 1920s Revolution Brigades (1920s RB). However, following the death of the leader of the 1920s RB and an AQI chlorine attack on a town near Fallujah, disagreement arose within the 1920s RB on how the organization should respond to these events. [56] [57] While one faction wanted to directly confront AQI and possibly cooperate with the U.S. backed Sons of Iraq, the other preferred to continue armed opposition to the U.S. and take a more passive approach to opposing AQI.  This latter faction broke away from the organization in March 2007 and became Hamas Iraq. [58] [59] [60] In late 2007, the 1920s RB accused Hamas Iraq of cooperating with the U.S. Diyala.  Hamas Iraq vehemently refuted this claim. [61] [62] [63]

In July 2007, Hamas Iraq joined with the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance and an the Reformation and Jihad Front (RJF), which itself was composed of Ansar-al Sunnah Shariah, the Mujahideen Army, and the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI), to form a new umbrella group called the Political Council for Iraqi Resistance (PCIR). [64] The PCIR sought to cooperate with other Shiite and Sunni anti-occupation groups in Iraq to establish a temporary technocratic government following the anticipated American withdrawal. [65] There is no indication that the PCIR ever actually engaged with other resistance organizations. 

Hamas Iraq and AQI were hostile toward each other for much of Hamas Iraq’s history.  Almost immediately upon its formation, Hamas Iraq denounced AQI’s use of indiscriminate violence and targeting of Shiite civilians. [66] [67] AQI, in turn, accused Hamas Iraq of cooperating with the U.S. offensive against it in Diyala in 2007—an accusation systematically rejected by Hamas Iraq. [68] [69] However, Hamas Iraq’s relationship with AQI’s successor organization, the Islamic State (IS), is unclear. While some sources claim that Hamas Iraq is fighting alongside the Islamic State and its allies, others believe the group to be cooperating with Iraqi government troops. [70] [71] [72]


References

  1. ^ “Hamas Iraq: Two IED’s against Hummer and utilitary vehicle in Diyala.” Liveleak, 27 August 2007. Web. 10 Aug 2015.
  2. ^ Tomkins, Richard. "Ba'athist comeback feared; Insurgent former Saddam loyalists seen causing violence." LexisNexis Academic, The Washington Times, 4 June 2009.
  3. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  4. ^ Gabbay, Michael. “The 2008 Elections and Sunni Insurgent Dynamics in Iraq.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 15 Sept. 2008. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  5. ^ “Hamas Iraq.” Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, Date unknown. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  6. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Al Douri forms nationalist Sunni coalition; 1920s Revolution Brigades denounces al Qaeda," The Long War Journal, 4 October 2007. Web. 10 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Clans against al-Qa'ida." LexisNexis Academic, Mideast Mirror, 27 April 2007.
  8. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  9. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Al Douri forms nationalist Sunni coalition; 1920s Revolution Brigades denounces al Qaeda," The Long War Journal, 4 October 2007. Web. 10 July 2012.
  10. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  11. ^ Bakier, Abdul Hameed. “Iraq’s Islamic Mujahideen Profiled by Jihadi Websites: Part Two.” Jamestown Foundation, Terrorism Focus 5(41), 3 December 2008. Web. 23 July 2015.
  12. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  13. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  14. ^ Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug.
  15. ^ Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.
  16. ^ Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  17. ^ Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.
  18. ^ Berwani, Hawar. “25 Iraq’s Hamas Fighters join National Reconciliation Project in Diyala.” Iraqi News, 8 Sept. 2011. Web. 10 Aug 2015.
  19. ^ “Government tries to Disarm Diyala Sons of Iraq.” Musings on Iraq, 7 June 2010. Web. 10 Aug 2015.
  20. ^ Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug.
  21. ^ “Powerful Iraqi Party Claims U.S. Killed Innocent Man.” McClatchy DC, 25 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 Aug 2015.
  22. ^ “Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015.
  23. ^ “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3 March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  24. ^ Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  25. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  26. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Al Douri forms nationalist Sunni coalition; 1920s Revolution Brigades denounces al Qaeda," The Long War Journal, 4 October 2007. Web. 10 July 2012.
  27. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  28. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  29. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  30. ^ Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.
  31. ^ Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  32. ^ Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.
  33. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  34. ^ "Seven die in Baghdad bomb blast." BBC News, 30 October 2004. Web. 24 April 2010.
  35. ^ "Iraqi group claims attack on US soldiers in Baghdad." Al Jazeera via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 30, 2005.
  36. ^ "Armed group videotape claims attack against US jeep in northern Iraq," LexisNexis Academic, Al-Jazeera via BBC Monitoring Middle East, 13 January 2006.
  37. ^ Tomkins, Richard. "Ba'athist comeback feared; Insurgent former Saddam loyalists seen causing violence." LexisNexis Academic, The Washington Times, 4 June 2009.
  38. ^ Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.
  39. ^ Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  40. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  41. ^ Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug.
  42. ^ “Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015.
  43. ^ “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3 March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  44. ^ Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  45. ^ Gabbay, Michael. "Mapping the Factional Structure of the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq." CTC Sentinel 1(4), March 2008. Web. 15 October 2010.
  46. ^ "The Death Industry." LexisNexis Academic, Al-Arabiya Television via BBC Monitoring Middle East, 11 June 2010.
  47. ^ "Iraqi Islamic Party." GlobalSecurity.org, 9 March 2010. 22 April 2011.
  48. ^ Gabbay, Michael. “The 2008 Elections and Sunni Insurgent Dynamics in Iraq.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 15 Sept. 2008. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  49. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  50. ^ Bakier, Abdul Hameed. “Iraq’s Islamic Mujahideen Profiled by Jihadi Websites: Part Two.” Jamestown Foundation, Terrorism Focus 5(41), 3 December 2008. Web. 23 July 2015.
  51. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  52. ^ “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012. Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  53. ^ “Hamas Iraq: Two IED’s against Hummer and utilitary vehicle in Diyala.” Liveleak, 27 August 2007. Web. 10 Aug 2015.2007-08-27
  54. ^ "Hamas-Iraq claims blowing up US vehicle with homemade rocket," LexisNexis Academic, Al-Jazeera (Qatar) via BBC Monitoring Middle East, 22 January 2008.
  55. ^ Tomkins, Richard. "Ba'athist comeback feared; Insurgent former Saddam loyalists seen causing violence." LexisNexis Academic, The Washington Times, 4 June 2009.
  56. ^ "Clans against al-Qa'ida." LexisNexis Academic, Mideast Mirror, 27 April 2007.
  57. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  58. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  59. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Al Douri forms nationalist Sunni coalition; 1920s Revolution Brigades denounces al Qaeda," The Long War Journal, 4 October 2007. Web. 10 July 2012.
  60. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  61. ^ “Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015.
  62. ^ “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  63. ^ Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  64. ^ Bakier, Abdul Hameed. “Iraq’s Islamic Mujahideen Profiled by Jihadi Websites: Part Two.” Jamestown Foundation, Terrorism Focus 5(41), 3 December 2008. Web. 23 July 2015.
  65. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  66. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  67. ^ Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  68. ^ Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.
  69. ^ Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  70. ^ “Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015.
  71. ^ “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3 March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  72. ^ Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

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