The number of terrorist and criminal paramilitary groups in Iraq is huge, and unfortunately only one or two actually gets mentioned in the media.
In Iraq today, unfortunately there a host of different terrorist and criminal paramilitary groups that operate in Iraq, killing innocent civilians, expelling people from their homes, and attacking houses of worship. Some are on the radar and get the attention of the world media, and yet others operate underneath the radar. Nevertheless they have killed thousands and forced millions to flee their homes. They include:
1. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or Sham or Levant) or ISIS, or ISIL, or DA'ISH as it is known in Arabic, led by Ibrahim Al-Badri (also known as Al-Baghdadi). They are based in Syria and Iraq. Some reports that they have ties to the Syrian Intelligence services belonging to the Assad regime, and the Iranian Intelligence, Talieh.
2. Iranian Quds Force (which is a special paramilitary organization underneath the Iranian Revolutionary Guards). The Quds Force is led by Qasim Sulaymani. The Quds militia has been active in massacres of civilians in Diyala, Basra, Samarra, and Tikrit.
3. Asaib Ahl-Haq militia led by Qais al-Khazali, The Asaib militia has been notorious for massacres and mass executions of civilians in Diyala and villages outside of Baghdad. The most recent massacre was when the Asaib militiamen entered Musab bin Umayr Mosque in Diyala and slaughtered over 70 worshipers during the Friday prayers.
4. Badr Forces Militia, led by Hadi al-Amiri. Badr has been notorious for infiltrating the ranks of the Interior Ministry forces and responsible for the arrest, torture, and mass executions of Sunnis.
5. Sarayah Salam Militia (formerly Mehdi Army or Jaish Al-Mahdi, JAM) led by Moqtada al-Sadr
6. Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi Militia (Popular Mobilization Militia) led by Moqtada al-Sadr, using the fatwa of Ali Sistani to rally against Sunnis
7. Shaheed Al-Mahrab (Prayer Martyr) Militia led Ammar al-Hakim. This is an offshoot of the Badr Brigades, but it is led by the Islamic Higher Council party head Al-Hakim.
8. Iraqi National Congress militia led by Ahmed Chalabi. The INC militia was notorious for sectarian assassinations and executions early on 2003 to 2006.
9. Dawa Party Militia led by Nouri Al-Maliki. Maliki established special paramilitaries from his Dawa party that reported to the Prime Minister's office.
10. Dawa Party - Iraq Branch Militia, led by Hashim al-Moussawi and Abdel-Karim Anzi.
11. Hezbollah Militia led by Karim Mahood Muhammadawi
12. Hezbollah Movement Militia led by Hassan Al-Sari
13. Iraqi Hezbollah Militia led by Wathiq Al-Battat (which has become known by making terrorist threats against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia). The Interior Ministry actually issued an arrest warrant for Al-Battat for threatening to assassinate government officials, but the warrant was never executed.
14. Al-Paratha Husseiniya Militia led by Jalaluddin al-Saghir. This militia was notorious for running secret torture chambers at the Al-Paratha center.
15. Ghasl Al-Aar (Wash the Shame) Militia led by Jafar Al-Ragheef. The militia specialized in targeting for executions, Shiites who became Sunnis.
16. Ashbal Al-Sadr (Cubs Battalions) Militia led by Mohammed Hussein al-Sadr
17. Yed Allah (Hand of God) Militia, led by Ahmed al-Saadi
18. Thar Allah (Revenge of God) Militia led by Walid al-Hilli
19. Al-Fudhalaa (Virtuous) Militia led by Khazaal Al-Saadi
20. Islamic Labor Organization Militia led by Abdul Karim Al-Mudarassi
21. Baqeyat Allah (Rest of God) Militia led by Mustafa al-Abadi.
22. Islamic Youth Gathering Militia led Muntisar Moussawi
23. World Aal-Bayt Militia led by Fadel Al Kaabi
24. Aal-Bayt Association Militia led by Musa al-Hasani
25. Al-Qassas Al-Adil (Just Retribution) Militia led by Majid Ali Hussein
26. Kataib Al-Qassas (Retribution Brigades) Militia led by Abdullah al-Lami
27. Al-Talee'a (Vanguard) Militia, led by Ali al-Yasiri
28. Al-Fatih (Conquering) Militia led by Mr. Kazim Ali
29. Kataib Al-Dem Al-Zakeya (Pure Blood Brigades) Militia led by Ali Hakim.
30. Anti-Terrorism Association Militia led by Muawafaq Al-Rubaie
31. Malik Ashtar Brigades, a militia led by Abbas Jaffer
32. Kawthar Committee to Rebuild the Shrines Militia, led by Mansour Haqeqat
33. Hussein Revenge Brigades Militia led by Ali Ghassan Shahbandar
34. Mokhtar Army Militia led by Atallah al-Husseini
35. Islamic Action Party Militia led by Sadiq Ali Hussein
36. Al-Mahdiya Movement Militia, led by Mohammad Ali Al-Khurasani
37. Al-Adalah (Justice) Militia led by Samir Sheikh Ali
38. Al-Youm Al-Mawoud (Promised Day) Brigade, belonging to the Sadrist Militia leaders Hazem Al-Ajraji and Al-Samaysem.
39. Al-Marjaeyya Soldiers Militia, a force reporting to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's office.
40. Sahwat Badr Militia, reporting to Nouri al-Maliki, personal guards.
41. Sarayah Al-Qassas (Retribution Brigades) Militia led by Rafid al-Maliki
42. Sarayah Al-Amr Bil-Marouf Wal Nahee An Al-Munkar (Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Brigade) Militia led by Nadhim Al-Saree.
43. Badr Organization Militia, led by Shaker Abu Rumi (this is separate from with Badr Forces led by Hadi Al-Ameri)
44. Shaban 15 Organization Militia of Hamza al-Battat
45. Jund Al-Imam (Imam Soldiers) Militia led by Sami Al-Badri
46. Thaer Allah (Revenge of God) Organization Militia, led by Yusuf Al-Sanadi
47. Mujaheed Al-Thawra Al-Islamiya Movement (Islamic Revolution Mujaheed Movement) Militia, link to the Islamic Higher Council Party, led by Al-Hakeem.
48. Sayid Al-Shuhada Movement (Master of Martyrs Movement) Militia led Nafee Al-Saymari and Sayed Dagher Al-Musawi
Many of these groups operate under the color of law and are closely linked to the central government security forces, which have been infiltrated by many of these paramilitary groups. In fact many of these militias are actually escorted by government security forces and military, and carry out the massacres under the cover of the government forces.
As you can see, the number of terrorist and criminal paramilitary groups in Iraq is huge, and unfortunately only one or two actually gets mentioned in the media.