Hamas Iraq

Hamas Iraq was an Iraqi Sunni Islamist organization that broke away from the 1920s Revolution Brigades in March 2007.

AT A GLANCE

Overview

Brief Summary of the Organization's History

Organization

How does a group organize? Who leads it? How does it finance operations?

Strategy

How does a group fight? What are its aims and ideologies? What are some of its major attacks?

Major Attacks

What are the group's most famous attacks? What are some key attacks in the group's evolution?

Interactions

What is the group's relationship with the community? How does it interact with other groups?

Maps

What is the group's relationship with other militants over time?

Key Statistics

2007 First Recorded Activity
2007 First Attack
2013 Last Recorded Activity

Contact

Send a message to the Mapping Militants team.

How to Cite

Mapping Militant Organizations. "Hamas Iraq." Stanford University. Last modified February 2019. https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/hamas-iraq

Overview

Brief History

    Overview
  • Overview
  • Narrative

Overview

 

Formed2007
DisbandedGroup is likely inactive.
First AttackApril 10, 2007: Hamas Iraq used two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against a U.S. military transportation vehicle in Diyala and subsequently posted a video of the attack online. (unknown killed, unknown wounded)
Last AttackFebruary 2009: Hamas Iraq orchestrated several grenade attacks against American forces in Baqouba in the Diyala province. (casualties unknown)
UpdatedFebruary 2019

 

Hamas Iraq was an Iraqi Sunni Islamist organization that broke away from the 1920s Revolution Brigades in March 2007.  The group primarily targeted U.S. forces in Iraq from 2007-2011.  In July 2007, Hamas Iraq joined with several of Iraq’s largest insurgent groups to form an umbrella organization called the Political Council for Iraqi Resistance (PCIR). There has been no clear activity from the group since 2013. As of February 2019, Hamas Iraq is believed to likely be inactive. 

Narrative

Hamas Iraq (no affiliation to the Palestinian Hamas or Kurdish Hamas) was an Iraqi Sunni Islamist organization that split off from the 1920s Revolution Brigades (1920s RB) in March 2007.[i]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 conducted a chlorine gas attack on a town near Fallujah and assassinated many members of the 1920s RB who spoke out against the attack.[ii]Following Dari’s death and the chlorine attack, two factions arose within the 1920s RB with different visions for the future of the organization.  One faction wanted to directly confront AQI and possibly cooperate with the U.S. backed Sons of Iraq. The other faction preferred to continue armed opposition to the U.S. and adopt a more passive, rhetorical approach to opposing AQI. This latter faction broke away from the 1920s RB in March 2007 and renamed itself Hamas Iraq (also sometimes known as Hamas in Iraq or Iraqi Hamas).[iii]

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).[iv]The PCIR sought to drive foreign forces from Iraq and refused to cooperate with or acknowledge the legitimacy of any political institutions established under U.S. occupation. 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.[v]However, there was no indication that the PCIR ever actually entered into negotiations with any other anti-occupation organizations.

Although the PCIR refused to negotiate with the United States, there was some evidence to suggest that Hamas Iraq cooperated with U.S. forces in their Diyala province offensive against AQI. After The Economist incorrectly reported that the 1920s Revolution Brigades had fought alongside U.S. forces in operations in Diyala, the 1920s RB issued a statement claiming that it had been Hamas Iraq, and not 1920s RB members, who worked with the United States.[vi]Around the same time, AQI also accused Hamas Iraq of cooperating with U.S. forces in Diyala.[vii]Hamas Iraq denied all allegations of cooperating with “the occupiers” and vowed it would never do so in the future.[viii]

Hamas Iraq appears to have largely disappeared during the period from 2009 to 2013. In February 2009, the group reportedly orchestrated several grenade attacks against American forces in Baqouba in the Diyala province.[ix]Hamas Iraq engaged in little observable activity after this 2009 attack. 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.[x]

Although Hamas Iraq supposedly re-emerged duringthe beginning of the Sunni insurgency in 2013, little is known about the group’s status or activities. Some sources claimed that Hamas Iraq fought alongside the Islamic State (IS) and its allies, while others sources state that the group to cooperated with the Iraqi government in its mission to roll back IS.[xi]

There has been no clear activity from the group since 2013. As of February 2019, Hamas Iraq is believed to likely be inactive. 



[i]Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; Gabbay, Michael. “The 2008 Elections and Sunni Insurgent Dynamics in Iraq.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 15 Sept. 2008. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; “Hamas Iraq.” Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, Date unknown. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; 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.

[ii]"Clans against al-Qa'ida." LexisNexis Academic, Mideast Mirror, 27 April 2007.

[iii]Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; 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.; Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[iv]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.

[v]Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[vi]Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug 2015.

[vii]Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “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.

[viii]Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.

[ix]Tomkins, Richard. "Ba'athist comeback feared; Insurgent former Saddam loyalists seen causing violence." LexisNexis Academic, The Washington Times, 4 June 2009.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/04/baathist-comeback-feared/

[x]Berwani, Hawar. “25 Iraq’s Hamas Fighters join National Reconciliation Project in Diyala.” Iraqi News, 8 Sept. 2011. Web. 10 Aug 2015.;“Government tries to Disarm Diyala Sons of Iraq.” Musings on Iraq, 7 June 2010. Web. 10 Aug 2015.; Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug.; “Powerful Iraqi Party Claims U.S. Killed Innocent Man.” McClatchy DC, 25 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 Aug 2015.

[xi]“Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015.; “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3 March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

 

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Harith Dhahir Khamis al-Dari (unknown-March 27, 2007

Leadership

This section describes various leaders, their deputies, and other importnant officials in the militant orgnizaiton. 

Very little is known about the leadership of Hamas Iraq, and it is unclear who is currently in charge of the group. More information is available on the leadership of the 1920s RB, the group from which Hamas Iraq broke off in March 2007.

Harith Dhahir Khamis al-Dari (unknown-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.[i]



[i]Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

 

    Name Changes
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Resources
  • Geographic Locations

Name Changes

There are no recorded name changes for this group.

Size Estimates

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

Resources

Hamas Iraq possibly received support through the PCIR. Though Iran offered one or more of the PCIR’s constituent groups money and weapons, the insurgents supposedly rejected this support.[i]



[i]Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

 

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organizaiton has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences. 

Hamas Iraq operated exclusively within Iraq.  The group’s activities were largely concentrated in Diyala, Baghdad, and Anbar.[i]

 

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

  • Islamist
  • Sunni
  • Nationalist

Hamas Iraq was a nationalist, Sunni Islamist militant organization that sought to expel all foreign troops and influence from Iraq. The group held vehement anti-occupation, anti-American views, which ran counter to rumors that the group cooperated with U.S. forces to counter AQI.[i

Hamas Iraq was relatively inclusive in its ideology and emphasized the need to work with Shiite organizations to exorcize foreign influence from Iraq.  The group denounced indiscriminate violence and attacks that targeted civilians because of their ethnic or sectarian allegiances.[ii]



[i]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; Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015; Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012. 

[ii]Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

 

Political Activities

Hamas Iraq’s relationship with the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), the largest Sunni political party in Iraq, was highly debated. While some sources claimed that Hamas Iraq was the armed branch of the IIP, others claimed that the two were merely associated. Still others asserted that there was no connection between Hamas Iraq and the IIP at all.[i]

In July 2007, Hamas Iraq joined with the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance and the Reformation and Jihad Front (RJF) – 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).[ii]The PCIR sought to drive foreign forces from Iraq and refused to cooperate with or acknowledge the legitimacy of any political institutions established under U.S. occupation.[iii]In line with this rejection of U.S.-backed political institutions, the PCIR never formally participated in the Iraqi electoral system.


[i]"The Death Industry." LexisNexis Academic, Al-Arabiya Television via BBC Monitoring Middle East, 11 June 2010.; "Iraqi Islamic Party." GlobalSecurity.org, 9 March 2010. 22 April 2011.;Gabbay, Michael. “The 2008 Elections and Sunni Insurgent Dynamics in Iraq.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 15 Sept. 2008. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[ii]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.

[iii]Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

 

Targets and Tactics

From 2007 to 2009 Hamas Iraq primarily targeted U.S. forces in Iraq.[i]In 2013, the group shifted to largely target the Iraqi government, although there is some speculation that Hamas Iraq was actually cooperating with the Iraqi Army to confront the Islamic State (IS).[ii]Although Hamas Iraq decried sectarian violence on multiple occasions and criticized AQI for targeting Shiite civilians, the group occasionally attacked Shiite militias, claiming that they were legitimate targets because of their cooperation with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.[iii]



[i]Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015. Ali, Abdallah Suleiman. “ISIS prefers allegiance, not allies, in Iraq.” Al Monitor, 17 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug.

[ii]“Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015. “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3 March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015. Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[iii]Gabbay, Michael. "Mapping the Factional Structure of the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq." CTC Sentinel 1(4), March 2008. Web. 15 October 2010.

 

Major Attacks

First Attacks, Largest Attacks, Notable Attacks

Major Attacks

Disclaimer: These are some selected major attacks in the militant organization's history. It is not a comprehensive listing, but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign. 

  1. February 2009: Hamas Iraq orchestrated several grenade attacks against U.S. forces in Baqouba in the Diyala province. (unknown casualties)[i]
  2. January 22, 2008: Hamas Iraq claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on a U.S. military vehicle in Anbar. (unknown casualties)[ii]      
  3. Unknown 2007: Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the 1920s Revolution Brigades accused Hamas Iraq of fighting alongside the U.S. against AQI in Diyala. Hamas Iraq repudiated these claims. (unknown casualties)[iii]
  4. April 10, 2007: Hamas Iraq used two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against a U.S. military transportation vehicle in Diyala and subsequently posted a video of the attack online. (unknown killed, unknown wounded)[iv]


[i]Tomkins, Richard. "Ba'athist comeback feared; Insurgent former Saddam loyalists seen causing violence." LexisNexis Academic, The Washington Times, 4 June 2009.

[ii]"Hamas-Iraq claims blowing up US vehicle with homemade rocket," LexisNexis Academic, Al-Jazeera (Qatar) via BBC Monitoring Middle East, 22 January 2008.

[iii]Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “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.

[iv]"Twentieth Revolution Brigades and Hamas of Iraq Individually Claim Downing American Helicopters in Baghdad, Video of Bombing Troop Transporter." SITE Institute: SITE Publications - Twentieth Revolution Brigades and Hamas of Iraq Individually Claim Downing American Helicopters in Baghdad, Video of Bombing Troop Transporter. April 10, 2007. Accessed April 09, 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20070928061304/http://siteinstitute.org/bin/....

 

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

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

Community Relations

The relationship between Hamas Iraq and the communities in which it resides is unknown.

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 regarding how the organization should respond to these events.[i]While one faction wanted to directly confront AQI and possibly cooperate with the U.S.-backed Sons of Iraq, the other preferred to continue to oppose the U.S. and take a more passive approach to countering AQI.  This latter faction broke away from the organization in March 2007 and became Hamas Iraq.[ii]In late 2007, the 1920s RB accused Hamas Iraq of cooperating with the U.S. in Diyala. Hamas Iraq vehemently refuted this claim.[iii]

In July 2007, Hamas Iraq joined with the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance and an the Reformation and Jihad Front (RJF) –  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).[iv]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.[v]However, there was 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.[vi]AQI, in turn, accused Hamas Iraq of cooperating with U.S. efforts to counter AQI in Diyala in 2007 – an accusation rejected by Hamas Iraq.[vii]However, Hamas Iraq’s relationship with AQI’s successor organization, the Islamic State (IS), is unclear. While some sources claim that Hamas Iraq fought alongside the Islamic State and its allies, others believed that Hamas Iraq cooperated with Iraqi government troops.[viii]



[i]"Clans against al-Qa'ida." LexisNexis Academic, Mideast Mirror, 27 April 2007.; Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[ii]Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; 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.;Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[iii]“Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015. ; “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3 March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[iv]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.

[v]Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[vi]Khalil, Lydia. “Leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades Killed by al-Qaeda.” Jamestown Foundation, 10 April 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; Milne, Seumas. “Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout.” The Guardian, 19 July, 2007. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

[vii]Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “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.

[viii]“Kurdistan Region-Iraq News in brief.” Ekurd Daily, 30 June 2006. Web.  10 Aug. 2015.; “Resurgent Insurgency.” Assyrian International News Agency, 3 March 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.; Knights, Michael. “ISIL’s Stand in the Ramadi-Falluja Corridor.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 29 May 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

 

State Sponsors and External Influences

Hamas Iraq was profoundly influenced by the presence of foreign forces in Iraq, namely those from the United States. Although these foreign forces were the group’s main targets, there were also allegations that Hamas Iraq actually cooperated with the United States in Diyala in 2007.[i]Hamas Iraq denied these claims.[ii]



[i]Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “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.

[ii]Angell, Ami & Gunaratna, Rohan. “Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq.” CRC Press: 2012.

 

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that "map" relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.

Evolving Militant Interactions

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Last updated February 2019