The Badr Organization: Role in Iraq and Iranian influence
Badr Corps / Badr Organization: A case study
The Badr Corps is a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps formed in 1982 by Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, a Shiite Iranian politician who was born in Iraq – after 30 months, the corps’ leadership was reassigned to Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Baqir Hakim. Since 1984, the corps has been systematically entering a military phase and has been expanding until today.
The corps was formed of Iraqi mujahedeen who were committed to Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Baqir Hakim and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Baqir Sadr – the mujahedeen saw themselves as the devotees of Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran, considering the fight against the Baath regime in Iraq as jihad.
Mohsen Rezaei, commander of the Revolutionary Guards during the 8-year Iran-Iraq war, explains the organization and use of the Iraqi warriors and mujahedeen: “We had gone through several stages in working with the Iraqi forces. Before the liberation of Khorramshahr, we had a particular kind of cooperation with the Iraqi volunteer forces, and after the liberation of Khorramshahr, when we reached the borders in 1982, a new era of recruiting Iraqi volunteers began.”
The Badr Corps’ activities can be divided into three parts: the time of the Iran-Iraq war, the era of Saddam's rule over Iraq after war, and after the fall of Saddam.
The Badr Corps has also been present in Syria since 2013. Hadi Al-Ameri is the current commander of the Badr Corps. Hadi Al-Ameri, who is close to Qassem Soleimani, was in charge of the Ministry of Transportation for some time in the previous government of Iraq. Hadi Farhan Abdullah Al-Ameri a.k.a. Haj Al-Ameri, was born in Diyala province in Iraq in 1954. There, he began his struggle against the Baath regime of Iraq and the rule of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Al-Ameri was sentenced to death by the Baath regime, and had been forced to flee Iraq for many years. In 1982, Al-Ameri was responsible for Badr’s special preparations in Iran; after 1991, he directed military operations inside Iraq.
The Badr organization has a good relationship with all security circles in Iraq
Hadi Al-Ameri has Iranian citizenship and his wife is also Iranian. Al-Ameri says: “Given the long history of Badr Corps and its experience, we are able to train young forces who will carry Quran in one hand and bear arms in the other. Since the fall of the Baath regime to this day, we have played a role in the political process. Our forces are also a vital part of the state forces; therefore, we have always conducted two constant roles: formation of strong armed forces, as well as effective assistance in the formation of strong security forces that are able to protect the country.”
The Badr organization has a good relationship with all security circles in Iraq, including the army, the Federal Police, the Army Air Force, and the Iraqi Air Force.
The current structure of the Badr Organization is as follows:
Secretary General: The highest authority of the Badr Organization, the position is now held by Hadi Al-Ameri.
Political Office: The office is under the supervision of the Secretary General of the organization. The Organization of Youth and Students, the Humanitarian Aid Organization, the Culture and Press Agency, the Sports and Youth Organization, as well as the Economic Organization are multiple branches of the office.
Military Branch: The Badr Corps is a military branch of the Badr Organization, which is also active in Hashd al-Shaabi front.
Al-Ameri, the secretary-general of the Badr Organization, has linked the organization with Iran, and believes that Iran’s support has been crucial in the fight against ISIS. Mohammad Naji, the deputy of the Badr Corps during the Hashd Al-Shaabi operations against ISIS, welcomed the presence of Iranians in Iraq and declared them to be ‘Iraq’s true supporters.’
"I encouraged my friends at the Badr Corps to go to Syria to prevent the ignition and completion of this scenario – which I knew for sure, its main designers and the creators were the United States and their master, Israel." -Hadi al-Ameri
Hadi Ameri, in an interview with the Pars News Agency, says: “There is no doubt that ISIS is a bastard child of the United States. I and my comrades will never surrender to the involvement of the United States and its allies in Iraq, and this was our position from the beginning. One year before Ayatollah Sistani’s fatwa, I had predicted that the area was about to face unfortunate incidents. Therefore I encouraged my friends at the Badr Corps to go to Syria to prevent the ignition and completion of this scenario – which I knew for sure, its main designers and the creators were the United States and their master, Israel. We must recognize who the main enemy is and then pass this fact on to people and especially the youths with reason and evidence, as the enemy appears in different colors and clothes, depending on the time and conditions. Once as Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, once in the form of Nusra or ISIS in Syria; so we have to give our youth careful and elegant training in identifying hostility.
Once the enemy has been identified, a determination must be practiced to eliminate the enemy, and this will not happen unless all the mujahedeen and supporters of the resistance are united for the destruction of this common enemy along with the superpowers behind it – but regrettably, the detection of the enemy among we the Muslims is very faint. While on the other hand, they are well aware of their common enemy, the true Islam, and they are united in destroying true Islam – as you see what they are doing against the resistance in Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. So, whether we are Lebanese, Bahraini, Yemeni, Iranian or Iraqi, we should become united against them.”
'Saudi Arabia considers the Badr Corps to be influenced by Iran. After the formation of the government of Adel Abdul Mahdi in October 2018, Hadi al-Ameri, head of the al-Fatah coalition in the Iraqi parliament, denied any Iranian role in the formation of the cabinet, and accused the USA and Saudis of intervening in the process of government formation by threatening both non-Sunni and Sunni individuals.
As part of the recapture of Fallujah (June 2016), the Badr organization, following statements by the Saudi ambassador to Iraq blaming Hashd Al-Sha'bi for sectarianism in Iraq, Al-Ameri declared him an ‘undesirable element’ for ‘trying to interfere in Iraqi internal affairs, supporting ISIS, and damaging the national unity.’
In an interview with Vatan-e Emrooz newspaper, Hadi Al-Ameri acknowledged the Islamic Republic of Iran’s help to the Badr Corps, and said: “If it was not for Haj Qasem [Qasem Soleimani] and more like him, then you could not see a trace of Hazrat Zeinab's shrine [in Syria], nor a trace of Samarra and Shrine of the Askarein [in Iraq]. The cooperation of the Revolutionary Guards with us is through the sacrifice of Shiite youth and joining with Shiite resistance groups. The promotion of the Basij culture among our young forces is a necessity for war. We train our forces at the same time as war goes on.”