Badr Organization of Reconstruction and Development

Formed2012
DisbandedGroup is active.
First Attack1980: The Badr Organization fought alongside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps during the Iran-Iraq War. They served on the frontline and led attacks against Iraqi government officials in southern Iraq. (Unknown killed, Unknown wounded) [1]
Last AttackMarch 2015: The Badr Organization fought alongside the US-led coalition in a campaign to drive the Islamic State from Tikrit, a city north of Baghdad. It was reported that the leader of the Badr Organization, al-Amiri, led alongside the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, Soleimani. Unknown killed, Unknown wounded) [2] [3]
UpdatedAugust 19, 2015

Narrative Summary

The Badr Organization of Reconstruction and Development, also referred to as the Badr Organization, was formed in 1983 as the armed wing of the largest Shiite political party in Iraq, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). [4] The Badr Organization is considered “Iran’s oldest proxy in Iraq” because of its close and lasting ties to Tehran. [5] Originally called the Badr Brigade, the organization was founded by Hadi al-Amiri who remains the leader of group today. [6]

 From 1983-2003, the SCIRI operated in exile from Iran against the Saddam Regime in Iraq. During this time, the organization received direct support from Iran, including funding and training from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.  [7][8] During the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988, the Badr Brigade was composed mainly of Shiite defectors from the Iraqi Army and former Iraqi soldiers. The group coordinated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to fight against Iraq. [9] [10] In the 1990s, American officials maintained contact with the SCIRI because of the SCIRI’s broad support in the Shiite community. The American government even offered the SCIRI funding in 1998; however, the group refused because they objected to the Clinton administration’s policy of isolating Iran and Iraq. During this period of exile, the Badr Brigade strove to transition from a guerilla force to a conventional army. While possessing heavy machinery and weapons, the Badr Brigade was easily crushed by the Iraqi army during the 1991 Shiite uprising. [11]

 After the fall of Saddam Hussein and the American occupation in 2003, the Badr Brigade returned to Iraq. American military officials demanded that the SCIRI disband the Badr Brigade; instead, the SCIRI changed the name to the Badr Organization of Reconstruction and Development to appear less militant. [12] Despite pledges to disarm, the Badr Organization remained militant, fighting against the Madhi Army and British coalition troops in southern Iraq. The Badr Organization has additionally been accused of torturing and kidnapping Sunni Arabs and murdering Sunni clerics, but it has denied these accusations. [13]  The group also started to advocate for the creation of a Shiite state in the oil-rich regions of southern Iraq, with Basra as the capital.[14]

 In 2007, the SCIRI renamed itself the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), in an attempt to disassociate itself from Tehran. To preserve ties with Iran, the Badr Organization split from the ISCI to form is own political and military unit in 2012. [15] The leader of the Badr Organization, al-Amiri, became the political - in addition to the military - leader of the group after the split. [16] Subsequently, the Badr Organization became a serious political force in Iraq. Under former Prime Minister al-Maliki, al-Amiri served as the Minister of Transportation; in October 2014, Mohammed Ghabban, another leader of the Badr Organization, was appointed Iraq’s Interior Minister. [17]The Badr Organization also held 22 seats in Iraq’s parliament in November 2014. [18] [19] Currently, seats are held by Badr Organization members, Faleh Sari Abdashi Akkab and Qasim Mohammed Jalal Hussein Alaraji. [20]

 With the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in 2013, the Badr Organization maintained a strong military presence in Iraq. In 2013, al-Amiri led the organization to fight IS alongside other Shiite militias and the Iraqi Army. The Badr Organization proved indispensible after the fall of Mosul, racking up a series of victories against the Islamic State in the Diyala Province. [21] During the battle for Tikrit in 2015, it was reported that al-Amiri led Iraqi troops alongside Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force. [22]

Leadership

  1. Muen al-Kadhimi (Unknown to Present): al-Kadhimi is the leader of the Badr Organization in Western Baghdad. In April 2015, al-Kadhimi was a senior commander of the Badr Organization in the fight against the Islamic State in Tikrit. Al-Kadhimi explained there were no prisoners after this campaign because, “everywhere we captured [Islamic State militants] we killed them because they were the enemy.” He was also senior aide to Hadi al-Amiri in the campaign to drive the Islamic State out of Falluja in May 2015. [23]
  2. Mohammed Ghabban (Unknown to Present): In October 2014, Mohammed Ghabban was appointed Iraq’s Interior Minister. He is a direct subordinate to al-Amiri in the Badr Organization.[24]
  3. Hadi al-Amiri (1983 to Present): The founder and leader of the Badr Organization since its inception in 1983, al-Amiri has played an important role in the Iraqi government. Under former Prime Minister al-Maliki, al-Amiri served as the Minister of Transportation. In 2015, he was given command over Iraq’s army and police in Diyala province. It is also speculated that current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave al-Amiri control of the 20th Battalion of the Iraqi Army in 2014. Finally, Al-Amiri has served as the political leader of the Badr Organization since its split from the ISCI in 2012. Many consider al-Amiri to be acting with impunity in Iraq, having the autonomy to plan and execute his own attacks.[25]

Ideology & Goals

Before its split with the ISCI, the Badr Organization followed a Shiite and Islamist ideology, attempting to bring Iran’s brand of Islamism to Iraq.

As a separate organization, the Badr Organization strives to obtain greater political influence, expand Shiite power in Iraq, and create an autonomous Shiite province in southern Iraq. The group is a strong supporter of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; the leader of the Badr Organization, al-Amiri, described Khameini as “the leader not only for Iranians, but the Islamic nation.[26]

Name Changes


Size Estimates

In July 2014, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most influential cleric, issued a fatwa to encourage Iraqis to fight the Islamic State. After this call to action, one Badr Organization recruiter claimed to have received 7,000 applications, meaning the organization is likely expanding its membership. (Reuters) [28]

Designated/Listed

The Badr Organization is not designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States or United Nations.

Resources

Before the 2012 split, the Badr Organization received financial support from the ISCI. [32]  However, the main financer of the organization has always been Iran. In 2005, the Jordanian news site al-Malaf reported that the Badr Organization received $3 million a month from Tehran. [33] Today, the group still relies on Iran for resources; in 2014, al-Amiri stated, “[Iran] gave us weapons, they gave us ammunition, and they gave us their military experience.”  [34]

External Influences

The Badr Organization is heavily influenced by Iran. At its inception, the organization operated out of Iran for two decades. The organization still receives funding and ideological guidance from the country. In 2014, the leader stated that “if it wasn’t for Iran, Baghdad would have fallen” and that he is “proud of this friendship” between the Badr Organization and Iran. [35][36]

Geographical Locations

The Badr Organization operates in Iraq and Syria and has based itself in Iran in the past. [37]  The organization is known to be fighting against the Islamic State in Diyala, Babil, the regions to the south of Baghdad, and the suburbs of Baghdad. [38] They have also fought against the Madhi Army in Southern Iraq. [39]

Targets & Tactics

In the early 1990s, the Badr Organization began to transition from a guerilla force to a conventional military organization. The organization possessed heavy weaponry that it displayed in impressive military parades in Iraq. [40]Today, members of the Badr Organization are deployed alongside the Iraqi army to combat the Islamic State, meaning that the organization shares the tactics of Iraq’s legitimate military force. [41]

The Badr Organization is also suspected of kidnapping Sunnis, using torture tactics, and murdering Sunni Arabs and clerics. [42] The leader of the Badr Organization, al-Amiri, is speculated to have encouraged brutal tactics such as “using a power drill to pierce the skulls of adversaries.[43] However, al-Amiri has frequently denied the use of extreme violence. [44]

Political Activities

Founded as the militia wing of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), a Shiite political party, the group broke away in 2012 to maintain ties with Iran after the ISCI attempted to disassociate from the nation. After the split, the Badr Organization became a political, as well as military, organization. Since this time, the group has played an important role in Iraqi politics. Under former Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki, al-Amiri served as the Minister of Transportation; in October 2014, Mohammed Ghabban, a member of the Badr Organization, was appointed Iraq’s Interior Minister. [45] In 2014, the Badr Organization held 22 seats in Iraq’s parliament, with two seats currently being held by Faleh Sari Abdashi Akkab and Qasim Mohammed Jalal Hussein Alaraji. [46] [47]

Major Attacks

  1. 1980: From 1980-1988, the Badr Organization coordinated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to fight against Iraq in the Iraq-Iran War. (Unknown Killed, Unknown Wounded).[48]
  2. June 1996: A bomb killed 19 U.S. Air Force servicemen in Iraq. The leader of the Badr Organization, al-Amiri, is alleged to be responsible for the attack. (19 killed, Unknown Wounded).[49]
  3. 2004: In a leaked State Department cable from December 2009, the leader of the Badr Organization, al-Amiri, is speculated to have personally ordered attacks on up to 2,000 Iraqi Sunnis in a brutal sectarian war against Iraq’s Sunni population from 2004-2006. (2,000 Killed, Unknown Wounded).[50]
  4. 2006: Hundreds of Iraqis were tortured and executed by armed police working for Iraq’s Interior Ministry under the SCIRI’s control. United Nations human rights chief John Pace, stated that many of these policemen were suspected members of the Badr Organization. (Hundreds Killed, Unknown Wounded).[51]
  5. December 2007: Fifty Shiite pilgrims were killed in a clash between the Madhi Army and the Badr Organzation in Karbala. The Madhi Army was blamed for the incident, precipitating the group’s eventual disarmament. (50 Killed, Unknown Wounded).[52]
  6. June 2014: After the fall of Mosul, the Badr Organization was victorious in a series of battles against the Islamic State in the Diyala Province. (Unknown Killed, Unknown Wounded).[53]
  7. July 2014: The Human Rights Watch accused the Badr Organization of killing Sunni prisoners. It was also speculated that the organization targeted Iraqi Sunnis thought to be sympathetic to IS. (Unknown Killed, Unknown Wounded).[54]
  8. January 2015: The Badr Oragnization is suspected to have killed 72 Iraqi civilians 80 km east of Baghdad in Muqdadiyya. However, al-Amiri denies responsibility for the killings. (72 Killed, Unknown Wounded).[55]
  9. March 2015: The Badr Organization fought alongside the US-led coalition in a campaign to drive the Islamic State from Tikrit, a city north of Baghdad. It was reported that the leader of the Badr Organization, al-Amiri, led alongside the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, Soleimani. (Unknown Killed, Unknown Wounded).[56]

Relationships with Other Groups

The group has a history of conflict with the Madhi Army, another Shiite militant group within Iraq. [57] This rivalry originated because the Madhi Army disproved of the close relationship between the Badr Organization and Iran. In addition, the Badr Organization supported former Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki, while the Madhi Army called for al-Maliki’s resignation. [58] [59]  According to American military officials, the rivalry between the groups, called the “Badr vs. Sadr” conflict, is so pronounced that it shapes politics and society in southern Iraq. [60]

In June 2014, al-Maliki called for the establishment of popular militias to respond to Islamic State (IS) offensives in Iraq. The Badr Organization, and two other militant groups, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Kata’ib Hezbollah, responded with the formation “popular committees” of Shiite militants to combat IS.  This union coupled with the fact that these groups are all proxies of Iran has led to speculation that the groups share a close relationship. [61]

The Badr Organization is an enemy of IS, and its predecessor, AQI, because IS targets Shiite Muslims. The Badr Organization supports the fight against the Islamic State through participation in popular committees and the Iraqi Army. [62]

Community Relationships

The relationship between the Badr Organization and its community is unclear. However, electoral support for its members in the Iraqi parliament and its participation in the popular militias against the Islamic State reflect that there is a support base within the Iraqi community for the Badr Organization. [63]

In addition, after the fatwa issued against the Islamic State in 2014, one Badr Organization recruiter claimed to have received 7,000 applications, suggesting that the organization is expanding its membership and increasingly popular. [64]


References

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