1920s Revolution Brigades

FormedJune 2007
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackJune 2007: The group fought AQI north of Baghdad, Iraq. Note that this was the wing's first attack following the split from Hamas in Iraq.
Last AttackDecember 2009: The group claimed responsibility for bombing a U.S. vehicle in western Baghdad. (Casualties unknown).[1]
UpdatedAugust 11, 2014

Narrative Summary

The 1920s Revolution Brigades began as the armed wing of Hamas in Iraq in 2003. The group's name is derived from the 1920 uprising against British colonial occupation of Iraq.[2]Like Hamas in Iraq, the Brigades is a Sunni nationalist group with Islamist ties. 

The 1920s RBs generally avoid sectarian violence and have expressed support for other Islamic resistance groups in order to purge Iraq of American influence. In 2007, when it split from Hamas in Iraq, the group shifted part of its focus to combatting AQI and worked with American forces in this effort. Portions of the group have since joined the Sons of Iraq, also known as Awakening Councils, groups founded by tribal leaders to combat Al Qaeda.[3]

Though the 1920s RB has gotten smaller and less prominent as a result of the U.S.-supported Sunni military squads and the growth of AQI, the group remains "in armed resistance and continues to conduct attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces."[4]In April 2010, representatives from the Brigades 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."[5]

The most prominent event related to the group has been its alleged capture of a U.S. marine, Wassef Ali Hassoun, who was believed to be held for three weeks. In June and July 2004, members of the 1920s Revolution Brigades supposedly held captive U.S. Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun for three weeks. They threatened to kill him on a video shown on Al Arabiya television. It was later believed the whole incident was a hoax; the marine was charged with desertion. [6]

Leadership

There is little information about the leadership of this group. 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): Reported to be commander of the 1920s Revolution Brigades by the Iraqi Defense Ministry when he was captured in January 2005 (when it was still the armed wing of Hamas in Iraq), though it is unknown how long he had been in command.[7]
  2. Aswad Kamil Al-Falahi (Unknown to February 2007): Killed in an AQI suicide attack in Habbaniyah.[8]
  3. Ahmed Sabah (Unknown to February 2007): Killed in an AQI suicide attack in Habbaniyah.[9]
  4. Harith al-Dari (Unknown to March 2007): Killed by a car bomb in Iraq.[10]
  5. Sheik Ahmed al-Tamer (Unknown to September 2007): Killed in a suicide bomb in Diyala province.[11]
  6. Naim al-Dulaimi (Unknown to July 2008): A local, high ranking leader of the Brigades. He was killed by a female suicide bomber outside Baquba July 2008.[12]
  7. Unknown (2005 to 2006): This leader's identity remains unknown, but he was captured in September 2006.[13]

Ideology & Goals

The 1920s Revolution Brigades is a nationalist, Sunni organization whose main goal is to free Iraq from foreign occupation, particularly American military and political occupation. It also strives to install a state guided by Islamist principles in Iraq. The group has released a statement asking Islamic countries to assist in installing this state in Iraq.[14] They have also openly denounced AQI and taken stands against AQI.[15]

Size Estimates

External Influences

There appears to be little outside influence on the group, although the group was formerly a wing of Hamas Iraq.

Targets & Tactics

The 1920s RB focuses its attacks on American forces and other foreign influences in Iraq. The group does not target Muslims and avoids the sectarian war.<ref>"Iraqi National Islamic Resistance." GlobalSecurity.org, April 27, 2005, retrieved on April 24, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/iraqi_natl_islamic_resist.htm.[17] The group uses roadside bombs, mortar attacks, and rocket propelled grenades, but avoids suicide bombings.[18]

Major Attacks

  1. June 2007: Fought AQI north of Baghdad (unknown).[19]
  2. August 2008: Claimed responsibility for taking down a U.S. drone in Kirkuk (0 killed).[20]
  3. June 2009: Claimed responsibility for a bombing on a U.S. military vehicle in northern Iraq (unknown).[21]
  4. December 2009: Claimed responsibility for bombing a U.S. vehicle in Western Baghdad (unknown).[22]

Relationships with Other Groups

The 1920s Revolution Brigades began as the military wing of Hamas in Iraq. In early 2007, however, the two groups split for multiple reasons.[23] Previously, the groups had been associated with Zarqawi and with Al Qaeda's overall goals. However, Al Qaeda carried out a chlorine gas attack near Fallujah and subsequently assassinated many members of the Brigades for speaking out against the attack.


Though everyone in both Hamas in Iraq and the Brigades wanted to dissociate themselves from Al Qaeda, they disagreed on how to confront the issue. The majority, who became the 1920s Revolution Brigades, wanted to battle Al Qaeda openly. Those who did not want to use violence in this particular instance, however, remained Hamas in Iraq.[24] Hamas in Iraq also took on a more nationalist ideology than had been used by the Brigades.[25] A final issue that separated the two groups was whether or not to cooperate with Coalition forces. Hamas in Iraq chose not to negotiate while the Revolution Brigades did.[26][27]

In 2007, the 1920s Revolution Brigades became rivals with AQI and ISI. In March, ISI claimed that the 1920s Revolution Brigades was part of AQI.[28] However, the Brigades stood up against AQI, fighting alongside government forces. They later openly denounced AQI.[29] In June of the same year, the Brigades drove AQI out of the city of Buhriz.[30]

In June 2007, members of the Brigades reinforced fighters of the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI) in fighting against ISI.[31]

In September 2007, the Brigades joined with Mohammed al-Fatih Brigades and six other groups to form the umbrella group, Change and Reform Front, to begin diffusing a power struggle that might occur should the US withdraw and the Iraqi government collapse.[32]

In April 2010, members from the Brigades met with representatives from 19 other Iraqi groups in Turkey to plan a comeback following the U.S. withdrawal.[33]

In June 2007, the majority of the leadership of the Anbar Salvation Council consisted of members of the 1920s Revolution Brigades. The Council is a group against Al Qaeda made up of tribes and individuals in the area. This council most likely organizes the resistance to Al Qaeda in Buhriz.[34] The 1920s Revolution Brigades is also tied to the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni religious movement in Iraq.[35]

Other Key Characteristics & Events

In June and July 2004, members of the 1920s Revolution Brigades supposedly held captive U.S. Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun for three weeks. They threatened to kill him on a video shown on Al Arabiya television. It was later believed the whole incident was a hoax; the marine was charged with desertion.[36]


References

  1. ^ "Iraqi Insurgent Group Claims Attack on US Military Vehicle," Al Jazeera via BBC Monitoring Middle East, December 22, 2009, LexisNexis Academic.
  2. ^ Milne, Seumas, "Out of the Shadows," The Guardian, July 19, 2007, p. 4, LexisNexis Academic.
  3. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Sunni Allies of US Fear Fate Under Shia," The Irish Times, October 2, 2008, p. 14, LexisNexis Academic.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis Academic.
  6. ^ 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 from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/10/international/middleeast/10marine.html.
  7. ^ "National Guard arrests 217, militia commander in Al-Mahmudiyah," GlobalSecurity.org, January 2, 2005, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2005/01/imm-050103-unami.htm.
  8. ^ Roggio, Bill, "The Amiriya Battle," The Long War Journal, March 2, 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/03/the_amiriya_battle.php.
  9. ^ Roggio, Bill, "The Amiriya Battle," The Long War Journal, March 2, 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/03/the_amiriya_battle.php.
  10. ^ "Truck blasts kill 50 in Iraq town," BBC News, 27 March 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6500617.stm.
  11. ^ Tawfeeq, Mohammed, "24 die in Iraq peace meeting blast," CNN, September 25, 2007, retrieved on July 29, 2010 from http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/09/25/iraq.main/index.html.
  12. ^ Sterling, Joe, et al., "100 female U.S. service members have died in Iraq," CNN, 24 July 2008, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/07/24/iraq.main/.
  13. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Commander of 1920 Revolution Brigades Captured," The Long War Journal, September 24, 2006, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2006/09/commander_of_1920_re.php.
  14. ^ "Iraqi National Islamic Resistance." GlobalSecurity.org, April 27, 2005, retrieved on April 24, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/iraqi_natl_islamic_resist.htm.
  15. ^ 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 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/10/al_douri_forms_natio.php.
  16. ^ 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 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/08/AR2007080802549.html.
  17. ^ &nbsp;In 2007, however, the group cooperated with U.S. forces in fighting AQI.<ref>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  from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/08/AR2007080802549.html.
  18. ^ Beehner, Lionel. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Resurging or Splintering?" Council on Foreign Relations, July 16, 2007, retrieved on July 22, 2010 from http://www.cfr.org/publication/13007/alqaeda_in_iraq.html
  19. ^ Roggio, Bill, "1920s Revolution Brigades turns on al Qaeda in Diyala," The Long War Journal, June 12, 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/06/1920s_revolution_bri.php.
  20. ^ "1920 brigades claims credit for downing US drone in Kirkuk," Al-Jazeera TV, August 16, 2008, LexisNexis Academic.
  21. ^ "1920 Brigades attack on US vehicle in Iraq," Al-Jazeera TV, June 21, 2009, LexisNexis Academic.
  22. ^ "Iraqi Insurgent Group Claims Attack on US Military Vehicle," Al Jazeera via BBC Monitoring Middle East, December 22, 2009, LexisNexis Academic.
  23. ^ "Hamas-Iraq official details to Jordanian Islamic paper its programme" Al-Sabil (Jordan) via BBC Monitoring Middle East, April 12, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
  24. ^ "Clans against al-Qa'ida," Mideast Mirror, April 27, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
  25. ^ Beehner, Lionel. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Resurging or Splintering?" Council on Foreign Relations, July 16, 2007, retrieved on July 22, 2010 from http://www.cfr.org/publication/13007/alqaeda_in_iraq.html.
  26. ^ "Iraq: Al-Qaeda Tactics Lead To Splits Among Insurgents," Radio Free Europe, April 17, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
  27. ^ Ridolfo, Kathleen, "Iraq: Al-Qaeda Tactics Lead to Splits Among Insurgents," RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, April 17, 2007, retrieved on October 15, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2007/04/iraq-070417-rferl01.htm.
  28. ^ Roggio, Bill, "The Amiriya Battle," The Long War Journal, March 2, 2007, retrieved on July 12, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/03/the_amiriya_battle.php.
  29. ^ 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 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/10/al_douri_forms_natio.php.
  30. ^ Roggio, Bill, "1920s Revolution Brigades turns on al Qaeda in Diyala," The Long War Journal, June 12, 2007, retrieved on  July 12, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/06/1920s_revolution_bri.php.
  31. ^ Fishman, Brian, "Dysfunction and Decline: Lessons Learned from Inside al Qa'ida in Iraq," Combatting Terrorism Center, March 16, 2009, p. 19.
  32. ^ Janabi, Ahmed, "Iraq's armed groups form alliance," Al Jazeera, October 1, 2007, retrieved on April 24, 2010 from http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2007/10/20085251837562291.html.
  33. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Meetings Outside Iraq Cause Concern Amid Baghdad Political Crisis," The Washington Post, June 1, 2010, p. A5, LexisNexis.
  34. ^ Roggio, Bill, "1920s Revolution Brigades turns on al Qaeda in Diyala," The Long War Journal, June 12, 2007, retrieved on  July 12, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/06/1920s_revolution_bri.php.
  35. ^ Fishman, Brian, "Dysfunction and Decline: Lessons Learned from Inside al Qa'ida in Iraq," Combatting Terrorism Center, March 16, 2009, p. 12.
  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 from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/10/international/middleeast/10marine.html.

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