Mujahideen Army

FormedNovember 1, 2004
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackNovember 2004: Mujahideen Army takes 5 hostages, including an American (None killed or wounded).[1]
Last AttackSeptember 15, 2009: Mortar attacks fired at the Green Zone killed two civilians (2 killed).[2]
UpdatedFebruary 15, 2012

Narrative Summary

The Mujahideen Army is a militant organization composed almost entirely of native Iraqi Sunni Muslims that first emerged in late 2004.[3] In November of 2004, the group took five hostages (an American, a Nepali, a Filipino, and two Iraqis), all of whom were subsequently released.[4] In December of 2004, the Mujahideen Army kidnapped ten Iraqis working for the Sandi Group, a contracting firm with American ties.[5] The group killed eight and released two.[6] 

In early June of 2005, the Mujahideen Army and the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI) tentatively indicated that they were willing to enter discussions with the Iraqi government to end their campaigns of violence.[7] A few weeks later, however, the Mujahideen Army announced that it would conduct joint operations with the IAI and Ansar al-Islam (AI).[8] In early 2006 the Mujahideen Army called for attacks on Danish soldiers in response to the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.[9] Around the same time, it claimed responsibility for shooting down an American helicopter.[10] 

The Mujahideen Army has had contentious relationships with other militant groups in Iraq. Because of Al Qaeda in Iraq's (AQI) record of killing Shi'ite civilians, the Mujahideen Army refused to join the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), the umbrella organization formed by AQI. Together with Ansar al-Sunnah Sharia and IAI, the Mujahideen Army formed the Jihad and Reform Front (RJF) in 2007. The Mujahideen Army subsequently left the RJF in 2008.[11]

Leadership

Muhind Khalaf al-Alyan was the emir of the Mujahideen Army from its inception until it was restructured in May of 2007. At that time, Shaykh Abu-Jandal became emir and is the current leader of group. Ahmad Ni'mah Khudayyir Abbas (also known as Abu Shihab) was the lieutenant in charge of mortar and IED cells and oversaw propaganda until he was captured in October of 2005.[12] Abu Zaid, commander of the northern region, was killed two years later in October of 2007.[13] As recently as June 2009, Abu Muhammad was known to be the commander of the Army.[14]

  1. Muhind Khalaf al-Alyan (2004 to May 2007): Al-Alyan was removed from leadership upon restructuring of the group in May 2007.[15]
  2.  Shaykh Abu-Jandal (May 2007 to Unknown): Abu-Jandal is the group's current leader.[16]

Ideology & Goals

The Mujahideen Army "is an indigenous Sunni insurgent force that is trying to carve out a post-Saddam Hussein identity for religious Iraqi Sunni Arabs."[17] It has been inconsistent in supporting its hardline jihadist platform. It issued vehement threats in response to the Danish political cartoons and statements from Pope Benedict that were viewed by insurgents as defamatory to the Prophet Muhammad. However, the Mujahideen Army has also called for solidarity among "Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs, Kurds, Muslims, and Christians" to spare future generations "the evils of ethnic and religious extremism and segregation."[18] 

Its goal of expelling Coalition forces from Iraq, however, remains intact. The group pledged to increase attacks against Coalition forces and their allies even as Coalition troops started to reduce troop numbers during the summer of 2009.[19] The group states that its goal is "total and real withdrawal" of the forces occupying Iraq.[20]

Size Estimates

Resources

The group's resources are largely unknown, though the group claimed that many of its weapons were stolen from Iraqi army supply depots.[22]

External Influences

There is no evidence of any outside influence.

Geographical Locations

The group claims to be active throughout the country.[23] Most of its attacks occur close to Baghdad, and it does not operate outside Iraq.

Targets & Tactics

The Mujahideen Army has generally targeted Coalition forces and the Iraqis aligned with those forces, including the army and police.[24] AQI has claimed that the Mujahideen Army is responsible for the deaths of some of its members, but the Mujahideen Army rejects those claims.[25] The group admits to targeting armed Shiites who cooperate with Coalition forces, but claims not to target Shiite civilians.[26] 

The Mujahideen Army's attacks have included the use of IEDs, vehicle bombs, rockets, and mortars.[27] Additionally, the group has been known to kidnap foreign nationals and Iraqis cooperating with Coalition forces or foreign firms.

Political Activities

The Mujahideen Army objects that, in their view, the political process in Iraq is controlled by the Coalition and not based on religious principles.[28] In early 2010, the group issued a fatwa claiming that the upcoming parliamentary elections were illegitimate.[29] The Mujahideen Army referred to the elections as a hopeless attempt to legitimize a government that implements American objectives.[30] 

The Mujahideen Army has been made up almost entirely of Iraqis since its inception.[31] Members of the Baath party and Iraqi soldiers from Saddam Hussein's regime have joined the Mujahideen Army. The group claims that all of its fighters and leaders are Iraqi.[32]

During 2005, former Iraqi Electricity Minister Ayhamal-Samarra'i claimed that he had met with the leadership of the IAI and the Mujahideen Army to discuss the possibility of disarming. Both groups denied that the meetings had occurred or that they had authorized anyone to speak with Samarra'i.[33] Similarly, in early 2006 the Mujahideen Army denied alleged contact with US troops with the aim of ending its military operations.[34] However, elements of the Mujahideen Army reportedly fought with Coalition forces against AQI during 2007.[35] In late 2007, Mujahideen Army spokesman Abd-al-Rahmanal-Qaysi stated that the group had been "harmed by the awakening councils" due to its association with Al Qaeda.[36] The Mujahideen Army has been criticized by Shiite political leaders for being takfiri, exclusivist, and Saddamist, and for creating an environment where the Mjuahideen Army and the Shiite population cannot coexist.[37]

Major Attacks

  1. November 2004: The Mujahideen Army took 5 civilians hostage, including an American, a Nepali, a Filipino, and two Iraqis (None killed).[38]
  2. June 27, 2005: Mujahideen Army claimed responsibility for shooting down an American helicopter in Baghdad with a missile. Confrontations with armed men were reported in the area following the crash (Casualties unknown).[39]
  3. January 2006: Mujahideen Army claims credit for downing an American helicopter near Baghdad (Casualties unknown).[40]
  4. January 2007: Mujahideen Army claims responsibility for shooting down an American helicopter outside Baghdad (13 killed).[41]
  5. May 2009: The Mujahideen Army claimed responsibility for killing an American soldier in northern Baghdad (1 killed).[42]
  6. August 29, 2009: Bombing of a US intelligence vehicle north of Baghdad (Casualties unknown).[43]
  7. September 15, 2009: Mortar attacks fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad (2 killed).[44]
  8. January 2010: The group claimed credit for 430 operations during the course of 2009 (Casualties unknown).

Relationships with Other Groups

Since its inception in 2004, the Mujahideen Army has cooperated closely with the IAI. The groups officially announced their operational coordination in mid-2005.[45] Along with the IAI and Ansar al-Sunnah Sharia, the Mujahideen Army announced the establishment of a new umbrella organization, the RJF, on May 2, 2007.[46] However, in 2008 the Mujahideen Army left the Front.[47] 

When the Mujahideen Army joined the RJF in May 2007, at least thirty of the Army's battalions refused to join, according to Mujahideen Army spokesman Yasin al-Zawba'i. In an interview with al-Jazeera, al-Zawba'i adamantly denied any split in the organization, but he admitted that some of the Mujahideen Army had joined the RJF and some had not.[48] 

In October 2008, five members of Kata'ib Ushaq al-Firdaws (Paradise Lovers Brigades) were arrested. The group reportedly split from the Mujahideen Army some time before this, though little more is known about them.[49] 

In late 2005, the Mujahideen Army was reportedly "associated" with AQI.[50] However, the Mujahideen Army and AQI had a vehement and violent falling-out over AQI's indiscriminate tactics. An AQI leader accused the Mujahideen Army of issuing orders to kill AQI members and of engaging in the Sunni Awakening. The Mujahideen Army rejected those claims as "hideous slander" and in turn accused AQI of killing members of the Mujahideen Army, including one of its commanders.[51] 

In early 2006, AQI murdered Sheikh Naser Abdul Karimal al-Miklif, a revered religious leader and leader of the al-Bu Fahad tribe in Anbar province. In response, the Mujahideen Army joined with the Anuman Brigade and the 1920s Revolution Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Iraq, to form an "Advisory Council" to expel or kill AQI members.[52]


References

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  2. ^ "Biden Meets With Iraqi Officials, a Day After Mortar Attack," Voice of America News via GlobalSecurity.org, September 16, 2009, retrieved on February 27, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2009/09/iraq-090916-voa01.htm.
  3. ^ Kohlmann, Evan F. "State of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq: August 2007," The NEFA Foundation, August 2007, p.16, retreived on January 28, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/iraqreport0807.pdf.
  4. ^ "Mujahideen Army," National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, March 1, 2008, retrieved on January 28, 2010 from http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4464.
  5. ^ From Sandi Group website: http://www.thesandigroup.com/aboutus.html
  6. ^ "78 killed as Iraq attacks stepped up," The Austrlian, December 30, 2004, LexisNexis.
  7. ^ Carroll, Rory, "19 dead as insurgents end lull in Iraq violence," The Guardian, June 8, 2005, LexisNexis.
  8. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Dispatches from the jihadi belt," The Long War Journal, June 24, 2005, retrieved on January 29, 2010, from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2005/06/dispatches_from.php.
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  11. ^ Gabbay, Michael, "The 2008 U.S. elections and Sunni insurgent dynamics in Iraq," CTC Sentinel, Vol. 1, No. 10 (September 2008), p.14, retrieved on January 29, 2010 from http://www.ctc.usma.edu/sentinel/CTCSentinel-Vol1Iss10.pdf.
  12. ^ "Jaysh al-Mujahideen terrorist lieutenant and propaganda chief captured,"GlobalSecurity.org, October 23, 2005, retrieved on February 2, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2005/11/mil-051124-mnfi02.htm.
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  18. ^ Kohlmann, Evan F. "State of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq: August 2007," The NEFA Foundation, August 2007, p. 16, retreived January 28, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/iraqreport0807.pdf.
  19. ^ Jaber, Hala, Ali Rifat Amman, and Tony Allen-Mills, "Iraq trembles as US troops pull back," The Sunday Times, June 28, 2009, p. 24, LexisNexis Academic.
  20. ^ Nammur, Jumanah, "Al-Jazeera talk show discusses formation of  'Jihad and Reform Front' in Iraq," Interview, Doha Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel Television via BBC Monitoring Middle East, May 4, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
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  23. ^ Muhammad, Abd-al-Azim, "Iraqi Al-Mujahidin Army spokesman explains policies towards Shi'i, US," Interview, Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 15, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
  24. ^ Muhammad, Abd-al-Azim, "Iraqi Al-Mujahidin Army spokesman explains policies towards Shi'i, US," Interview, Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 15, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
  25. ^ "The Mujahideen Army rejects 'slander' from Abu Hamza al-Muhajir," The NEFA Foundation, November 2, 2008, pp. 1-2, retrieved on January 29, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/nefamujarmyisi1208.pdf.
  26. ^ Muhammad, Abd-al-Azim, "Iraqi Al-Mujahidin Army spokesman explains policies towards Shi'i, US," Interview, Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 15, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
  27. ^ Muhammad, Abd-al-Azim, "Iraqi Al-Mujahidin Army spokesman explains policies towards Shi'i, US," Interview, Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 15, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
  28. ^ Muhammad, Abd-al-Azim, "Iraqi Al-Mujahidin Army spokesman explains policies towards Shi'i, US," Interview, Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 15, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
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  31. ^ Kohlmann, Evan F. "State of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq: August 2007," The NEFA Foundation, August 2007, p. 16, retreived January 28, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/iraqreport0807.pdf.
  32. ^ Muhammad, Abd-al-Azim, "Iraqi Al-Mujahidin Army spokesman explains policies towards Shi'i, US," Interview, Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 15, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
  33. ^ "Iraqi armed groups deny contacts with ex-minister," Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, via BBC Monitoring Middle East, June 8, 2005, LexisNexis Academic.
  34. ^ "Iraqi Mujahidin Army denies contacts with US troops," Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, February 19, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
  35. ^ Roggio, Bill, "The Amiriya Battle," The Long War Journal, March 2, 2007, retrieved on March 1, 2010, from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/03/the_amiriya_battle.php.
  36. ^ "Iraq's Al-mujahidin Army spokesman satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, December 30, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
  37. ^ Muhammad, Abd-al-Azim, "Iraqi Al-Mujahidin Army spokesman explains policies towards Shi'i, US," Interview, Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 15, 2006, LexisNexis Academic.
  38. ^ "Mujahideen Army," National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, March 1, 2008, retrieved on January 28, 2010 from http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4464
  39. ^ "Iraq's Mujahidin Army said claiming downing of US chopper," Al-Jazeera TV Doha via BBC Monitoring Middle East, June 27, 2005, LexisNexis Academic.
  40. ^ "Dual claim on copter crash," The Daily Telegraph, January 17, 2006, LexisNexis.
  41. ^ Young, Fiona, "13 die as chopper downed," Sunday Mail, January 21, 2007, p.10, LexisNexis Academic.
  42. ^ "Iraqi al-Mujahidin Army claims credit killing of US soldier in Baghdad," Al-Jazeera satellite news via BBC Monitoring Middle East, May 27, 2009, LexisNexis Academic.
  43. ^ "Insurgent group claims attack on US vehicle in Iraq," Al Jazeera TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, August 29, 2009, LexisNexis Academic.
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  45. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Dispatches from the jihadi belt," The Long War Journal, June 24, 2005, retrieved on January 29, 2010, from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2005/06/dispatches_from.php.
  46. ^ "Islamist Websites Monitor" The Middle East Media Research Institute, No. 95. (May 4, 2007), retrieved on January 29, 2010 from http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2177.htm.
  47. ^ Gabbay, Michael, "The 2008 U.S. elections and Sunni insurgent dynamics in Iraq," CTC Sentinel, Vol. 1, No. 10 (September 2008), p.14, retrieved on January 29, 2010 from http://www.ctc.usma.edu/sentinel/CTCSentinel-Vol1Iss10.pdf.
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  49. ^ "Iraqi Kurdish police arrest insurgent group in Sulaymaniyah," Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan satellite TV via BBC Monitoring Middle East, October 28, 2007, LexisNexis Academic.
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  52. ^ Lloyd, Anthony, "Murder of sheikh provokes Sunnis to turn on al-Qaeda," The Times, February 10, 2006, p.43. LexisNexis Academic.

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