Al-Tawhid Islamic Front

FormedJuly 1, 2001
DisbandedSeptember 1, 2001
UpdatedAugust 11, 2014

Narrative Summary

On July 1, 2001, Tawhid and Iraqi Hamas (not to be confused with the unrelated Palestinian Hamas), 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 their brutal methods that targeted non-Muslims 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 .[3] The relationship between Tawhid and 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 publicly available information about 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 Iraqi 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 northern Iraq. 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.

Designated/Listed

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

Resources

Its resources are currently unknown. While TIF members did have contact with Osama bin Laden, it is unlikely that they received any funding or arms from his group.

External Influences

Many member of TIF had ties with Osama bin Laden"s group in Afghanistan. While it is unclear if they received any funding it is known that TIF leadership traveled to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. TIF fighters also traveled to Afghanistan to train in Al Qaeda camps.[6] 

Targets & Tactics

While not much is written about the tactics of TIF, there is documentation of targets and tactics of the component parts of TIF, Hamas and Tawhid. Both groups were considered to be extremist factions of the IMK before splitting off. [7] Both groups target civilian populations, carrying out attacks on ideological targets such as liquor stores and beauty salons.[8] 

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. Thus one could infer that there was a close relationship with the Second Soran Unit group given that TIF was an independent group for only three months. Ideological and methodological similarities between TIF and the Second Soran Unit, particularly their violent Jihadi outlook, serve to bolster this claim.

Community Relationships

TIF had a tenuous relationship with the community it controlled. TIF attempted to institute their strict interpretation of Islamic law, many times turning to violence in order to scare the community into submission.[9]


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. ^ 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
  7. ^ "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
  8. ^ "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
  9. ^ 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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