Briefing Paper:
I. Assessing the Iraqi Resistance Movement

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Prepared by the research staff of Conflicts Forum, August 1, 2005

Both the U.S-led allied forces and the Iraqi Government realize that the Sunni forces with whom they have negotiated with immediately following the January election have no real impact on the strength and growth of the Iraqi resistance. Some of those groups now have officials who hold cabinet posts, and many of the leaders of those first groups are now a part of the political process. In spite of this partial success, however, resistance attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces have increased significantly over the last year.

As a substitute, U.S. and Iraqi officials have taken new steps to deal with the representatives of the more substantive and broadly based Iraqi resistance. In a small village, near Balad, 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, U.S. officials have had several meeting with a limited number of resistance representatives in the hope of dampening the increasingly violent responses to the American military presence, and the growing resistance to the creation of a new government.

But who exactly comprises this Iraqi “opposition”? In an attempt to answer this question, Conflicts Forum surveyed resistance and government officials in Iraq over a period of three months to determine the composition of the resistance -- and its leadership. This Conflicts Forum Briefing Paper summarizes our findings by detailing the names, leadership and funding of this increasingly strong resistance movement.