General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries
|General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries|
المجلس العسكري العام لثوار العراق |
Participant in Iraqi insurgency (post-U.S. withdrawal)
Official logo (up) and flag (down) of General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries
|Active||15 January 2014 – present|
|Area of operations||Iraq|
|Battles and wars|
The General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (Arabic: المجلس العسكري العام لثوار العراق al-Majlis al-‘Askari al-‘Āmm li-Thuwwār al-‘Irāq) abbreviated as GMCIR or MCIR, is a Ba'athist militant group active in Iraq headed by Saddam Hussein-era military and political leaders. It has been described by Al Jazeera as "one of the main groups" in the current Iraqi insurgency.
The Council began its insurgency against the Iraqi government in January 2014 as a unifying command for the former Sunni Arab Spring protestors that Nouri al-Maliki's government had cracked down upon since 2012. The figures associated with the MCIR have stated that it has a central command and "the footprints of a professional army", that it follows the Geneva Convention protocol rules, as well as claiming to be non-sectarian and seeking a "democratic solution" to the Iraqi crisis. The MCIR has announced its opposition to Iranian influence in Iraq and the role the IRGC have played with Iraqi security forces.
Presence in Iraq
The MCIR has a presence in Al-Anbar (especially Ramadi and Fallujah), Salahuddin, Baghdad, Abu Ghraib, Mosul, and Diyala. After seizing and capturing Mosul, the MCIR entered it along with many opposition armed forces, including ISIS. They installed a former officer in the Iraqi Army, Major General Azhar al-Ubaidi, with the approval of the other forces that entered Mosul, as governor. A municipal worker described MCIR as administering the management of the city better than the Iraqi government, which was "providing electricity for only 2 or 3 hours a day," and was "corrupt."
After the Iraqi Parliament approved the government of the new PM Haider al-Abadi on 8 September 2014, the MCIR stated on 9 September "Our people are being deceived, misled, ignored and mocked, while the political process stayed on the same faces." They commented in the statement on the installation of Nouri al-Maliki as a vice-president of Fuad Masum, saying "Instead of prosecuting al-Maliki for his crimes and his explosive barrels that are being thrown on the heads of innocent people, the political leaders of Iraq honored him by making him vice-president of the republic of murder and destruction."
Relationships with other groups
Association of Muslim Scholars
The MCIR's relationship with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is one of cooperation, yet there are significant differences between the two. Despite taking part in the same June 2014 offensive, which wrested control of much of Northern Iraq from Baghdad, MCIR spokesman and former General Muzhir al Qaisi has criticized ISIS and their strict implementation of Shari'a law, describing members of ISIS as "barbarians." He also claimed that the MCIR was stronger than ISIS.
The presence of MCIR fighters on the ground has been noted by observers, who argued that United States airstrikes would "inflame" the situation in Iraq by not taking into account the diversity of the opposition to the al-Maliki regime.
Kurdish Regional Government
The MCIR reportedly has a truce agreement with the Kurdish Regional Government not to target Kurdish territory, in return for the Regional Government's non-interference in the Council creating an autonomous area outside of the control of the current Iraqi government.
Iraqi TV coverage of early 2014 events within the country was split along sectarian, religious lines. Channels loyal to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, including the government's own al-Iraqiya TV, are rallying Iraqis to volunteer and fight to restore order and remove "terrorists". Meanwhile, Sunni channels present the latest advances by the insurgents as part of an uprising against what they call "al-Maliki's army."
According to western media, Al-Rafidain TV is particularly supportive of the cause of the "revolutionaries" and "mujahideen" who it says are fighting to liberate the country.
- Heras, Nicholas A. "The Tribal Component of Iraq's Sunni Rebellion: The General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries". The Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Hassan, Hassan (17 June 2014). "More Than ISIS, Iraq's Sunni Insurgency". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- Arraf, Jane (March 12, 2014). "Iraq's Sunni tribal leaders say fight for Fallujah is part of a revolution". Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
The councils include tribal leaders and former insurgent leaders but are headed by former senior army officers — among the thousands of Sunni generals cast aside when the United States disbanded the Iraqi army after the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003...“We consider the Iraqi government illegitimate because it is a result of [the U.S.] occupation,” said Dari, head of the association’s information office
- Bayoumi, Alaa; Harding, Leah (June 27, 2014). "Mapping Iraq's fighting groups". Al Jazeera. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- Nasrawi, Salah (March 20, 2014). "The enemy next door". Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
- "Iraq conflict: 'We are stronger than ISIS'". BBC News. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- Wasfi, Dahlia (12 August 2014). "The truth about operation Iraqi liberation (take II)". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- "MCIR install Ubaidi as the governor of Mosul". Azzaman. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Nasser, Mostafa (16 June 2014). "Iraq: Signs of disagreement emerge between ISIS and the Baath". Alakbar English. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- Abu Sibha, Muhammad. "The government of Abadi doesn't suggest change". Ummah Electronic Newspaper. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- المجلس العسكري العام [militarycouncil1] (9 September 2014). ".(32) بيان المجلس العسكري العام لثوار العراق رقم" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2 June 2015 – via Twitter.
- Muir, Jim (June 13, 2014). "Could Iraq conflict boost Kurdish dreams of independence?". BBC News. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
The Kurds ... are in touch with other elements, including tribal leaders and commanders of the Military Councils of Iraqi Revolutionaries (MCIR), which includes many experienced former Iraqi army officers. The Kurds have been given assurances from the latter that they will not encroach on the borders of the KRG autonomous region, according to an MCIR spokesman... The Kurdish leadership's message to the MCIR conversely was that Erbil would not be against the Sunnis taking the road of establishing their own autonomous area, following the lead of Kurdistan itself.
- Adnan, Khan (June 19, 2014). "The U.S. debate over Iraq is missing the most serious questions". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
Bombing the insurgents would kill both ISIS and MCIR fighters as well as many Sunni civilians. It would not fix the underlying issues, and potentially inflame them further.
- Hashim, Mohanad (13 June 2014). "Iraqi TV reflects sectarian split". BBC News. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries on Twitter (Arabic)
- General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries on Facebook (Arabic)