The new name in Arabic was Al-Majlis al-‘Aala al-Islami al-Iraqi, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council. Confusion in the media over the name’s translation – should it be SICI or SIIC in English? – led to an official announcement at the end of July that the English name would henceforth be 'The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq', 'ISCI'."
There's a lot more to the report than the name change, though. After an introduction to the group's history, and its role in the Iran-Iraq war, the report details at length ISCI's recent relationship with both the US and Iran, and the potential future for both of those relationships. Even here though, the name change offers fair insight into the group's complex and evolving relationships with Iraq's two biggest foreign... um... "partners":
"The name change was made to suggest SCIRI’s transformation from an exile-based rebel group associated with the Islamic Revolution in Iran to a responsible party of government in Iraq...
This clarification [of the official "ISCI" acronym] appears to have been made at the urging of SCIRI’s backers in the Bush administration, who were concerned about the possible negative connotation of the words 'siic' and 'sici', which are close to the English 'sick' and 'sicko'..."
And no, I'm not making that last sick/sicko bit up. (Al Kamen can even vouch for it.) Never thought I'd say this, but if "sick and sicko" are the extent of our forethought these days, then the steady hand of Karl Rove at the helm of the spin machine is sorely missed...
A closer look at the group is valuable though, as they continue to play a pivotal role in the future of Iraq. In October, ISCI made a much-remarked and widely heralded agreement with its erstwhile rival, the Jaysh al Mehdi, led by Moqtada al Sadr. However, numerous reports and analysts have suggested that the truce is just a political show, and that conflicts between the two groups continue unabated.
*For what it's worth, here's a google scorecard for the terms:
Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council SIIC
Supreme Islamic Council of
Islamic Supreme Council of
Supreme Council for Islamic
Obviously, somebody (quite a few somebodies) didn't get ISCI's memo. Whatta bunch of sickos.