1920s Revolution Brigades

Formed2003
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackApril 2007: June 2004: The 1920s Revolution Brigade kidnapped and held U.S. Marine, Wassef Ali Hassoun for three weeks in June 2004. The organization threatened to kill Hassoun in a video shown on Al Arabiya television. It is unclear if Hassoun worked with the group to stage the kidnapping to avoid desertion charges. He was found at the Beirut embassy on July 7th, and was charged for desertion by the Navy in 2004. (no Casualties) [1]
Last AttackDecember 2009: The 1920s Revolution Brigades bombed a U.S. vehicle in West Baghdad. (unknown casualties). [2]
UpdatedAugust 19, 2015

Narrative Summary

The 1920s Revolution Brigades (1920s RB) is an Iraqi nationalist group guided by Sunni Islamist principles that was founded in 2003. The group's name is derived from the 1920 Iraqi uprising against the British colonial occupation of the nation. [3] Unlike other groups in the region that seek to establish an Islamic caliphate, the 1920s RB strives to purge Iraq of foreign influence and to create a new state. From 2003 until the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2007, the 1920’s RB focused the majority of its resources on attacking U.S. soldiers and bases. The most widely publicized attack attributed to the group in this period was the alleged capture of a U.S. Marine, Wassef Ali Hassoun for three weeks in June 2004. However, the widely publicized incident was later deemed a hoax in which Hassoun was complicit and the Marine was charged with desertion. [4] 

In 2007, two factions rose within the 1920s RB because of a disagreement over the extent to which the group should cooperate with American troops and act in opposition to Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Earlier in 2007, AQI had attacked a village near Fallujah with chlorine gas and subsequently assassinated several members of the 1920s RB who denounced the attack. [5] Shortly after, the 1920s RB’s leader, Harith al-Dari, was killed by AQI operatives. The 1920s RB was split between those who wanted to openly oppose AQI and those who preferred to remain focused on targeting U.S. forces and simply denounce AQI.  The latter faction split from the group and founded Hamas Iraq. [6] Tensions continued to grow between the 1920s RB and Hamas Iraq over disagreements about cooperation with American coalition forces. Hamas Iraq chose not to negotiate with the coalition forces, while the 1920s RB shifted its focus to combatting AQI, alongside the American supported Sons of Iraq (SOI). [7] [8][9] However, despite credible reports, the 1920s RB has denied any cooperation with American efforts. [10] Finally, Hamas Iraq took a more nationalist ideology than the 1920s RB, further dividing the two organizations. [11] 

From 2007-2009, the 1920s RB decreased in size and prominence as a result of the growth of AQI and the creation of US-backed Sunni paramilitary squads. However, despite their shrinking influence, the group claimed they remained "in armed resistance and [continued] to conduct attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces." [12] In April 2010, representatives from the 1920s RB met with more than 200 people from 19 other Sunni insurgent groups at a conference in Istanbul "to find common ground" and "to plot a comeback” after the US presence in Iraq drove some leaders into exile and forced others to help the United States. [13] The outcome of the conference was that the groups stated that they were not in favor of using force against Iraqis, but if the Iraqi government did not attempt to reconcile with extremist groups, they would resort to force to defend themselves.[14]

Following the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, the 1920s RB did not participate in the political reconstruction of the nation despite American attempts to persuade Sunni extremist groups to participate. [15]  The 1920s RB has not conducted any major attacks since the American withdrawal, but in April 2012 in a public statement, they encouraged the Iraqi people to fight oppression and use violence to expel western influence from Iraq. [16]

Since the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, the 1920s RB has rarely been covered by the international media. In 2014, the Political Office of the organization released a statement saying that the organization maintains a strong stance against participation of Arab states in the coalition against IS because the Coalition conducted air strikes on the Sunni areas of Iraq. [17] A leader of the 1920s RB stated in 2015 that the group supports neither the international coalition against IS or IS itself. However,  he stated that if the Iraqi army or Shia militias were to attack Sunni areas, the 1920s RB would retaliate with force. [18] Additionally, the organization tried to distance itself from some of the criminal actives of IS, such as the massacre of the Yazidis. They believe that these actions are damaging to their attempts to rid Iraq of foreign influence by incentivizing foreign nations to intervene in Iraq to stop IS. [19]  There is also speculation that the 1920s RB might have a military presence in Mosul and other areas north of Baghdad [20]

Leadership

There is little information about the 1920s RB's leadership. Various individuals have been reported as "leaders" of the 1920s RB when killed, but it is not known how high ranking they were.

  1. Hatim al-Zawbai (Unknown to 2005): Zawbai was reported to be commander of the 1920s Revolution Brigades by the Iraqi Defense Ministry when he was captured in January 2005. It is unclear how long he had been in command. [21]
  2. Aswad Kamil Al-Falahi (Unknown to February 2007): A senior commander of the 1920s RB, Al-Falahi was killed by an AQI suicide attack in Habbaniyah in February 2007.[22]
  3. Ahmed Sabah (Unknown to February 2007): A senior commander of the 1920s RB, Sabah was killed in an AQI suicide attack in Habbaniyah in February 2007.[23]
  4. Harith al-Dari (Unknown to March 2007): Dari was killed by a car bomb in a mass attack on the city of Talafar in March 2007.[24]
  5. Sheik Ahmed al-Tamer (Unknown to September 2007): al-Tamer was killed by a suicide bomb in Diyala province in September 2007. He had been attending a peace meeting between the United Jihad Factions Council, the Madhi Army, and a Sunni coalition militia. [25]
  6. Naim al-Dulaimi (Unknown to July 2008): A local, high-ranking leader of the 1920s RB, al-Dulaimi was killed by a female suicide bomber outside Baquba in July 2008.[26]
  7. Unknown (2005 to 2006): The Iraqi government reported the capture and arrest of a senior officer of the 1920s RB in 2006. The leader’s identity remains unknown[27]
  8. Unknown (2008 to Unknown): The current leader of the 1920s RB is unknown.

Ideology & Goals

The 1920s RB is a nationalist, Sunni organization whose main goal is to free Iraq of foreign occupation, particularly from American military and political presence. [28] Once free of outside influence, the 1920s RB aims to install an Iraqi state guided by Sunni Islamist principles. [29]

Name Changes

The 1920s RB has not changed its name since its split from Hamas Iraq in 2007.

Size Estimates

Designated/Listed

The 1920s RB is not a designated terrorist organization; however, the former leader of the 1920s RB in 2007, Harith al-Dari, was placed on the United Nations Consolidated List of Individuals and Entities Associated with Osama bin Laden, al-Qai'da and the Taliban because he “provided money to his own Sunni insurgent group, the 1920s Revolutionary Brigade, and other insurgent cells.” [31]

Resources

There is little information about the resources of the 1920s RB.

External Influences

There is no evidence of outside influence on the group.

Geographical Locations

The 1920s RB has been active in the areas of Abu Ghraib, Khan Dari,  Western Baghdad, and Fallujah in Iraq. It has also been active in the Ninwi, Diyali and Anbar provinces. [32]

Targets & Tactics

The 1920s RB focuses its attacks on American forces and other foreign influences in Iraq. However, in 2007, the group cooperated with U.S. forces in fighting AQI. [33] The group uses roadside bombs, mortar attacks, and rocket-propelled grenades, but avoids suicide bombings. [34]

Political Activities

Despite American attempts to persuade Sunni extremist groups to participate in the political reconstruction in Iraq from 2009-2011, the 1920s RB is not politically active in Iraq. [35]  

Major Attacks

  1. June 2004: The 1920s Revolution Brigade kidnapped and held U.S. Marine, Wassef Ali Hassoun for three weeks in June 2004. The organization threatened to kill Hassoun in a video shown on Al Arabiya television. It is unclear if Hassoun worked with the group to stage the kidnapping to avoid desertion charges. He was found at the Beirut embassy on July 7th, and was charged for desertion by the Navy in 2004. (no Casualties).[36]
  2. 2007: The 1920s RB, as part of the Anbar Salvation Council, fought AQI in the Anbar Provence. (unknown casualties).[37]
  3. June 2007: The group fought AQI in the Diyala province in their first attack following the split from Hamas Iraq. The city of Buhriz in Diyala was a stronghold of AQI’s power, but the 1920s RB drove the group of out of the city in this attack. (unknown casualties).[38]
  4. August 2008: The 1920s RB shot down an American drone in Kirkuk. (no casualties).[39]
  5. June 2009: The 1920s RB claimed responsibility for bombing an American military vehicle in northern Iraq. (unknown casualties).[40]
  6. December 2009: The 1920s RB bombed an American military vehicle in Western Baghdad. (unknown casualties).[41]

Relationships with Other Groups

In 2007, the 1920s RB and Hamas Iraq split into separate organizations because of conflict over ideology, cooperation with American troops, and opposition to AQI. The groups have had little interaction since the split except for an incident in 2007 during the anti-AQI Diyala campaign. An American military official stated that the American government was cooperating with the 1920s RB, but the 1920s RB countered that this was a “very big lie” and that Hamas Iraq was actually the organization that was cooperating with the American troops. [42]

 Later in 2007, the 1920s RB joined with Mohammed al-Fatih Brigades and six other groups to form the umbrella group, The Change and Reform Front. The goal of this coalition was to preemptively diffuse a power vacuum should the US withdraw and the Iraqi government collapse. [43]

 In April 2010, members from the 1920s RB met with representatives from 19 other Iraqi groups, including the al-Rashideen Army, in Turkey to plan a comeback following the U.S. withdrawal. [44] The outcome of the conference was that the groups stated that they were not in favor of using force against Iraqis, but if the Iraqi government did not attempt to reconcile with extremist groups, they would resort to force to defend themselves.[45]

 Following Hamas Iraq’s split from the 1920s RB in 2007, the group was a strong opponent to AQI and later its successor, the Islamic State (IS). The 1920s RB engaged in their first military conflict with the organization as part of the Anbar Salvation Council, a coalition of Iraqi tribes and insurgents who opposed AQI. Members of the 1920s RB comprised the majority of both the general body and the leadership of the Anbar Salvation Council, helping the Council eradicate AQI from the Anbar Provence in 2007. [46] In June 2007, the 1920s RB drove AQI out of the city of Buhriz in their first independent military conflict against the organization. [47] The 1920s RB also fought alongside Iraqi government forces against AQI and openly denounced the organization for terrorizing civilians in Salahadin, Diyala, and Babil in late 2007. [48] The 1920s RB remains a rival of IS because the organization believes that IS’s violent methods against Iraqi citizens damages attempts to purge the Iraq of any foreign presence. [49] However, the Political Office of the 1920s RB also opposes the participation of Arab States in the coalition against IS because the coalition conducted air strikes on the Sunni areas of Iraq in 2014. [50]

Community Relationships

The relationship between the 1920s RB and its community is unknown; however, the organization does not support attacks on Iraqi civilians. [51] 


References

  1. ^ Sink, Mindy, "Marine Who Was Missing in Iraq Is Charged With Deserting Post," New York Times, 10 December 10, 2004, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  2. ^ "Iraqi Insurgent Group Claims Attack on US Military Vehicle." LexisNexis Academic, Al Jazeera via BBC Monitoring Middle East, 22 December 2009.
  3. ^ Milne, Seumas, "Out of the Shadows," The Guardian, July 19, 2007, p. 4, LexisNexis Academic.
  4. ^ Sink, Mindy, "Marine Who Was Missing in Iraq Is Charged With Deserting Post," New York Times, 10 December 10, 2004, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  5. ^ Roggio, Bill. "The Sunni Civil War." The Long War Journal. 27 Mar. 2007. Web. 26 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Clans against al-Qa'ida," Mideast Mirror, April 27, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
  7. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Sunni Allies of US Fear Fate Under Shia," The Irish Times, October 2, 2008, p. 14, LexisNexis Academic.
  8. ^ "Iraq: Al-Qaeda Tactics Lead To Splits Among Insurgents," Radio Free Europe, April 17, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
  9. ^ Ridolfo, Kathleen, "Iraq: Al-Qaeda Tactics Lead to Splits Among Insurgents," RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, April 17, 2007, retrieved on October 15, 2010.
  10. ^  MacAskill, Ewan. "Sunni Insurgents Form Alliance against US." The Guardian. Web. 31 May 2015.
  11. ^ Beehner, Lionel. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Resurging or Splintering?" Council on Foreign Relations, July 16, 2007, retrieved on July 22, 2010.
  12. ^ "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," Department of Defense, Report to Congress in accordance with the Department of Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act 2008 (Section 9204, Public Law 110-252), October 30, 2009, pp. 22-3.
  13. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis Academic.
  14. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis Academic.
  15. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis Academic.
  16. ^ "The 1920s Revolution Brigades." Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi. Web. 2 June 2015.
  17. ^ "The Rise of ISIS And the Fading Away of the Rest of the Iraqi Insurgency." The Rise of ISIS And the Fading Away of the Rest of the Iraqi Insurgency. Web. 31 May 2015.
  18. ^ Buren, Peter. "Iraq's Sunnis Won't Fight ISIS for U.S." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 31 May 2015.
  19. ^ "1920s Revolution Brigades: October 25 Statement: Translation and Analysis." Rubin Center. Web. 31 May 2015.
  20. ^ "Obelisk Paint a Map of Terrorist Groups in Mosul." Almasalah. Web. 31 May 2015.
  21. ^ "National Guard arrests 217, militia commander in Al-Mahmudiyah," GlobalSecurity.org, January 2, 2005, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  22. ^ Roggio, Bill, "The Amiriya Battle," The Long War Journal, March 2, 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  23. ^ Roggio, Bill, "The Amiriya Battle," The Long War Journal, March 2, 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  24. ^ Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
  25. ^ Tawfeeq, Mohammed, "24 die in Iraq peace meeting blast," CNN, September 25, 2007, retrieved on July 29, 2010.
  26. ^ Sterling, Joe, et al., "100 female U.S. service members have died in Iraq," CNN, 24 July 2008, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  27. ^ The Iraqi government reported the capture and arrest of a senior officer of the 1920s RB in 2006. The leader’s identity remains unknown Roggio, Bill, "Commander of 1920 Revolution Brigades Captured," The Long War Journal, September 24, 2006, retrieved on
  28. ^ Raban, B. "Kidnappings Keep Iraq Pot Boiling." Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran Current Affairs. Web. 26 June 2015.
  29. ^ "Iraqi National Islamic Resistance." GlobalSecurity.org, April 27, 2005, retrieved on April 24, 2010.
  30. ^ Tyson, Ann Scott, "Sunni Fighters Find Strategic Benefits in Tentative Alliance With U.S.," The Washington Post, 9 August 2007, retrieved on April 24, 2010.
  31. ^ "Press Center." Treasury Targets Al Qai'da In Iraq. Web. 14 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran Current Affairs." Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran Current Affairs. Web. 26 June 2015.
  33. ^ Tyson, Ann Scott, "Sunni Fighters Find Strategic Benefits in Tentative Alliance With U.S.," The Washington Post, 9 August 2007, retrieved on April 24, 2010.
  34. ^ Beehner, Lionel. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Resurging or Splintering?" Council on Foreign Relations, July 16, 2007, retrieved on July 22, 2010.
  35. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis Academic.
  36. ^ Sink, Mindy, "Marine Who Was Missing in Iraq Is Charged With Deserting Post," New York Times, 10 December 10, 2004, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  37. ^ Roggio, Bill, "1920s Revolution Brigades turns on al Qaeda in Diyala," The Long War Journal, June 12, 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  38. ^ "1920s Revolution Brigades Turns on Al Qaeda in Diyala." The Long War Journal. 12 June 2007. Web. 22 June 2015.
  39. ^ "1920 brigades claims credit for downing US drone in Kirkuk," Al-Jazeera TV, August 16, 2008, LexisNexis Academic.
  40. ^ "1920 Brigades attack on US vehicle in Iraq," Al-Jazeera TV, June 21, 2009, LexisNexis Academic.
  41. ^ "Iraqi Insurgent Group Claims Attack on US Military Vehicle," Al Jazeera via BBC Monitoring Middle East, December 22, 2009, LexisNexis Academic.
  42. ^ "Offensives Elsewhere, but Baghdad Remains Deadliest for U.S. Troops." Mcclatchydc. Web. 14 July 2015.
  43. ^ Janabi, Ahmed, "Iraq's armed groups form alliance," Al Jazeera, October 1, 2007, retrieved on April 24, 2010.
  44. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis.
  45. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis Academic.
  46. ^ Roggio, Bill, "1920s Revolution Brigades turns on al Qaeda in Diyala," The Long War Journal, June 12, 2007, retrieved on  July 12, 2010.
  47. ^ Roggio, Bill, "1920s Revolution Brigades turns on al Qaeda in Diyala," The Long War Journal, June 12, 2007, retrieved on  July 12, 2010.
  48. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Al Douri forms nationalist Sunni coalition; 1920s Revolution Brigades denounces al Qaeda," The Long War Journal, October 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  49. ^ Fishman, Brian, "Dysfunction and Decline: Lessons Learned from Inside al Qa'ida in Iraq," Combatting Terrorism Center, March 16, 2009, p. 19.
  50. ^ "The Rise of ISIS And the Fading Away of the Rest of the Iraqi Insurgency." The Rise of ISIS And the Fading Away of the Rest of the Iraqi Insurgency. Web. 31 May 2015.
  51. ^ "Obelisk Paint a Map of Terrorist Groups in Mosul." Almasalah. Web. 31 May 2015.

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