Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq

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(Other Political Parties)

SCIRI is one of the largest and best organized Shia religious parties. It is currently led by Abdel Aziz the brother of its long time leader Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim who was killed in a car bombing in August 2003. Al-Hakim formed SCIRI from members of the pro-Khomeini faction of al-Daawa (another Shia religious party with a very long history). The initial break was in 1980 and after a couple name changes it became SCIRI in 1982. While SCIRI did break away from Al-Daawa it appears to have been a fairly amicable break-up and the groups tend to get a long.

SCIRI is the group most strongly tied to Iran. It military wing, the Badr Brigade trained with Iran's Republican Guard and was under the same command structure prior to the US invasion of Iraq. SCIRI military units fought along side the Iranians against the Iraqis in the Iran-Iraq war. The ties between Iran and SCIRI go both ways. One former senior SCIRI member, Mahmoud Shahrudi has become head of the judicial branch of Iran.

SCIRI's military alliance Iran against Iraq and specifically its military attacks against Iraqis during that conflict has hurt its support in Iraq. Many Iraqi think of it as a group of traitors. However it is still the most widely supported Shia organization in Iraq and it has a seat on the US appointed Governing Council.

SCIRI is committed to the doctrine of Velayat-e Faquih (clerical intervention in secular politics). Officially the organization rejects the kind of theocracy one finds in Iran, but it is not without its supporters in organization. Exactly what kind of clerical intervention it does support is not entirely clear. Some of it rejection of theocracy may merely be political expedience so as to not alienate the US. The other factor is that Iranian style theocracy is also not that popular among Iraqis and leadership must be pragmatic in the short run. The long run is more an open question. Of the organizations in Iraq with grass roots support SCIRI is the most likely to want to go the theocratic route.

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