Al-Tawhid Islamic Front

FormedJune 1, 2001
DisbandedSeptember 1, 2001
UpdatedAugust 17, 2015

Narrative Summary

On July 1, 2001, Tawhid and Kurdish Hamas (not to be confused with the unrelated Palestinian Hamas or Hamas Iraq), two violent splinter groups of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK), merged to form al-Tawhid Islamic Front (TIF). [1] The two groups were known for brutal methods of attack, including bombings, throwing acid on victims, and assassinations, that targeted non-Muslims, women, and foreigners. [2] Many Tawhid members were said to have been veterans of the Afghan insurgency and maintained contact with Osama bin Laden; some allegedly returned to Afghanistan to ask for financial assistance from bin Laden. [3] The relationship between Tawhid and Kurdish Hamas developed due to their mutual opposition to the Mullah Abdul Aziz Islamic Unity Movement, one of the splinter groups of the IMK in Kurdistan. [4] While there is public information available about Kurdish Hamas and Tawhid, the two constituent parts of TIF, little has been reported about TIF itself. After three months of independent existence, TIF merged with the Second Soran Unit, also a splinter group of the IMK, to form Jund al-Islam. 

Leadership

  1. Abu Bakr al-Hawleri (Unknown to Unknown): Hawleri was previously a leader of Tawhid before the merger with Kurdish Hamas.[5]

Ideology & Goals

TIF subscribed to a strict literalist interpretation of Quranic verses. They looked to impose strict readings of Sharia Law on the population of Kurdistan. TIF's component groups were known to throw acid on unveiled women and attack bookstores and beauty salons, all considered to be forbidden under TIF's literalist version of Islamic ideology.

TIF was formed in staunch opposition to the Kurdish Democratic Party. However, TIF broke off from the IMK partially because they felt that IMK’s role in Kurdish politics was fruitless. [6]

Designated/Listed

Due to its brief lifespan, TIF was never placed on a designated list.

Resources

The resources of TIF are unknown. Several members of TIF are speculated to have traveled to Afghanistan to form a relationship with Osama bin Laden. There is also evidence that members of TIF trained in al-Qaeda camps; however, it is unclear if they received any funding or arms from the group. [7] [8] 

External Influences

No known external influences.

Geographical Locations

TIF operated in Kurdistan in opposition to the Kurdistan Democratic Party. 

Targets & Tactics

While the tactics of TIF are unclear, there is documentation of targets and tactics of the component parts of TIF, Kurdish Hamas and Tawhid. [9] Both groups target civilian populations, carrying out attacks on ideological targets such as liquor stores and beauty salons. [10] 

Political Activities

TIF did not take part in Kurdish politics. The groups that came to form TIF broke off from the IMK in part because they felt that taking part in Kurdish politics was fruitless.

Relationships with Other Groups

While no solid evidence has been found for major relationships with other groups, TIF merged with the Second Soran Unit to form Jund al-Islam in September 2001. Since TIF only existed as an independent group for three months before this merge, it can be speculated that there was a close relationship with the Second Soran Unit. These two groups also share ideological and methodological similarities, particularly their violent jihadist outlook.

In addition, many member of TIF maintained ties with AQ in Afghanistan. While it is unclear if they received any funding, TIF leadership traveled to Afghanistan to meet with Osama bin Laden, the former leader of AQ. TIF fighters also may have trained at AQ camps in Afghanistan. [11]

Community Relationships

TIF had a tenuous relationship with the community in Kurdistan. TIF attempted to institute a strict interpretation of Islamic law, turning to violence in order to scare civilians into submission. [12]


References

  1. ^ Rubin, Michael. " The Islamist Threat from Iraqi Kurdistan." Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. December, 2001. Retrieved on June 19, 2011 from http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID=580
  2. ^ Romano, David. "An Outline of Kurdish Islamist Groups in Iraq." The Jamestown Foundation. September 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2011, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/20777907/An-Outline-of-Kurdish-Islamist-Groups-in-Iraq
  3. ^ Romano, David. "An Outline of Kurdish Islamist Groups in Iraq." The Jamestown Foundation. September 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2011, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/20777907/An-Outline-of-Kurdish-Islamist-Groups-in-Iraq
  4. ^ Rubin, Michael. " The Islamist Threat from Iraqi Kurdistan." Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. December, 2001. Retrieved on June 19, 2011 from http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID=580
  5. ^ Romano, David. "An Outline of Kurdish Islamist Groups in Iraq." The Jamestown Foundation. September 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2011, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/20777907/An-Outline-of-Kurdish-Islamist-Groups-in-Iraq
  6. ^ Romano, David. "An Outline of Kurdish Islamist Groups in Iraq." The Jamestown Foundation. September 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2011, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/20777907/An-Outline-of-Kurdish-Islamist-Groups-in-Iraq
  7. ^ Romano, David. "An Outline of Kurdish Islamist Groups in Iraq." The Jamestown Foundation. September 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2011, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/20777907/An-Outline-of-Kurdish-Islamist-Groups-in-Iraq
  8. ^ Rubin, Michael. "The Islamist Threat from Iraqi Kurdistan." Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. December, 2001. Retrieved on June 19, 2011 from http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID=580
  9. ^ "Radical Islam in Iraqi Kurdistan: The Mouse the Roared?" International Crisis Group. February 7, 2003. Retrieved on July 5, 2011 from http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iraq%20Syria%20Lebanon/Iraq/B004%20Radical%20Islam%20In%20Iraqi%20Kurdistan%20The%20Mouse%20That%20Roared.pdf
  10. ^ "Radical Islam in Iraqi Kurdistan: The Mouse the Roared?" International Crisis Group. February 7, 2003. Retrieved on July 5, 2011 from http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iraq%20Syria%20Lebanon/Iraq/B004%20Radical%20Islam%20In%20Iraqi%20Kurdistan%20The%20Mouse%20That%20Roared.pdf
  11. ^ Rubin, Michael. "The Islamist Threat from Iraqi Kurdistan." Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. December, 2001. Retrieved on June 19, 2011 from http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID=580
  12. ^ Romano, David. "An Outline of Kurdish Islamist Groups in Iraq." The Jamestown Foundation. September 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2011, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/20777907/An-Outline-of-Kurdish-Islamist-Groups-in-Iraq

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