Islamic Army in Iraq

FormedJuly 2003
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackJuly 23, 2004: The group took hostage one Iraqi and two Pakistanis near Baghdad. The Pakistanis were shown dead on video five days later; the Iraqi was subsequently released (2 killed).[1]
Last AttackMarch 13, 2010: The group claimed responsibility for an attack on a US military vehicle north of Baghdad, Iraq (Casualties unknown).[2]
UpdatedFebruary 18, 2012

Narrative Summary

The Islamic Army in Iraq was established after the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, though plans for its creation existed earlier, in anticipation of the invasion.[3]Reportedly one of the largest Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq, IAI's Islamist narrative is more inclusive than that of many other groups within the Iraqi jihadist movement.[4]Unlike Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Ansar al-Islam (AI), IAI does not subscribe to the Salafist ideology (a fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam).[5]Like AS Sharia,It includes members who espouse an Iraqi nationalist platform as well as an Islamic one. IAI is not only anti-coalition, but also anti-Iran. The group has conducted attacks against Iranian and Shiite interests throughout the course of the conflict, including the kidnapping and interrogation of an Iranian diplomat.[6],[7]

IAI has few, if any, foreign members. Its members are drawn from various Iraqi factions and include former members of the Hussein regime.[8]IAI is most active in and around the Baghdad area.[9]

IAI rejects the legitimacy of AQI's Islamic State of Iraq and is one of the leading Sunni insurgent groups actively opposed to AQI.[10][11]IAI and AQI occasionally clash, both in their public rhetoric and in actual force-on-force engagements.[12]In early 2007, IAI formed an anti-coalition umbrella organization with the Mujahideen Army and Ansar al-Sunna Sharia (a breakaway group from Ansar Al-Islam).[13]This front, called the Jihad and Reform Front (RJF), publishes joint statements, engages in joint operations, and is aligned in opposition to the U.S.-led coalition, Iran, Shiite militias, and AQI. Some reports suggest the IAI and other RJF elements engaged in negotiations with the coalition as the U.S.-led force sought to create anti-AQI alliances throughout the country. By the middle of 2007, however, the RJF became largely inactive.[14]AQI had targeted its leaders andseveral of its major members, including Ansar Al Sunna, instead joined AQI's Islamic State of Iraq.[15]Its website is still active and at least one report has been made about a new group called the Army of Jihad joining RJF.[16]

Leadership

According to a statement released by Dr. Ali al-Naimi, a spokesman for the IAI, "We believe in action regardless of faces and names . . . It is not important that the people know who we are."[17]In 2004, Ishamel Jubouri was the leader of IAI.[18]Other prominent members of the group include Ibrahim al-Shammari, an official spokesman for the group as well as for the Mujahideen Army,[19]and Mishan al-Jabouri who released the statement against ISI in 2007.[20]

  1. Ishmael Jubouri (2004 to Unknown): Leader of IAI. Little is known about IAI's leadership, and Jubouri's current status is unknown.
  2. Mishan al-Jabouri (2007 to Unknown): Little is known about IAI's leadership, and al-Jubouri's current status is unknown.

Ideology & Goals

Dr. Ali al-Naimi, quoted in July 2008: "Our goals are to drive the occupiers out and put an end to the oppression of the Iraqi people, through establishing a state of justice and equality that will be based on the cornerstones of our nation."[21]Especially during their membership with RJF, IAI aligns with the RJF principles of dismissing exessive and civilian violence, but does sanction violence against occupiers and other enemies.[22]This attitude has also been attributed independently to the group as well.[23]

Size Estimates

Geographical Locations

The IAI has consistently carried out attacks north of Baghdad as well as in Anbar.

Targets & Tactics

The IAI's attacks have consistently been against foreign (mostly American) forces and the Iraqi troops aiding them.[26]These attacks are carried out using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and car bombs. Some attacks are also carried out using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) against helicopters. Another of the group's tactics is taking hostages, typically foreign civilians.

Political Activities

In June of 2005, the IAI and the Mujahideen Army allegedly indicated initial willingness to negotiate with the Iraqi government and disarm.[27]It appears this situation did not move past the initial stages, with demands for increased Sunni participation in government largely unmet and harsh, broad military attacks targeting insurgents pushing groups away from negotiations.

Major Attacks

  1. July 23, 2004: Took one Iraqi and two Pakistani civilians hostage near Baghdad. Five days later, the two Pakistanis were killed, and the Iraqi was released (2 killed).[28]
  2. August 2004: Took two French journalists hostage between Baghdad and Najaf, demanding French schools lift their ban on Islamic headscarves. The two were released in December 2004 (unknown).[29]
  3. March 2005: Four distinct attacks-an ambush on three trucks north of Baghdad that killed seven National Guards; the destruction of two American Hummers in Mosul; the detonation of a vehicle-borne IED in Al Anbar, killing 11 Iraqi police and wounding 14 other people; and a mortar attack on the Iraq National Assembly building in the Green Zone (unknown).[30]
  4. April 21, 2005: Downed a commercial helicopter north of Baghdad (11 killed).[31]
  5. November 9, 2007: Attacked al-Qaeda north of Baghdad (18 killed, 16 captured).[32]
  6. March 2008: The group claimed an attack on American forces north of Baghdad (unknown).[33]

Relationships with Other Groups

With the Mujahideen Army and Ansar al Islam, IAI formed the Jihad and Reform Front (RJF) on May 2, 2007.[34][35]The JRF is an anti-AQI umbrella group.

The groups had previously cooperated. IAI joined with Ansar al-Islamand the Mujahideen Army on June 23, 2005 in detonating two vehicle-borne IEDs in Baghdad, killing 10 civilians and police officers and wounding 10 more.[36]IAI and the Mujahideen Armyofficially announced their operational coordination in mid-2005. [37] 

IAI and AQI have had a fluctuating relationship, one that started in cooperation and has resulted in conflict between the groups, largely over the killing of civilians and attacks on other resistance fighters.[38]In April 2007, after the AQI's Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) killed more than 30 members of IAI for refusing to join the group, IAI openly criticized ISI and called upon members from all Islamic groups to condemn ISI for what it called "violations of Islamic law." Groups such as the 1920s Revolution Brigades said that although they support ISI's anti-coalition efforts, they are with IAI in opposition to the killing of civilians and attacks on other resistance forces.[39]In June 2007, members of the Brigades reinforced fighters of the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI) in fighting against ISI.[40]

Towards the end of 2007, IAI shifted focus slightly to prevent the appearance of more awakening councils, tribal-led councils typically encouraged by and aligned with occupying forces. The councils are also typically anti- Al Qaeda.Although IAI had previously cooperated with Al Qaeda, it joined several other nationalist groups in targeting Al Qaeda in 2007, but it still opposed the largely occupation-aligned awakening councils.[41]

Community Relationships

The IAI consists mostly of Iraqis (Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds) and other Arabs.[42]As of October 2008, many former insurgents who became members of the Tribal Awakening, which IAI opposes, began working with American forces to find and combat members of IAI. Community support for the IAI is starting to diminish.[43]


References

  1. ^ "A Chronology of Significant International Terrorism for 2004," National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), April 27, 2005, p. 39.
  2. ^ "Islamic Army Video Claims Bombing of US Vehicle in Iraq," Al Jazeera via BBC Monitoring Middle East, March 13, 2010, LexisNexis Academic.
  3. ^ Kohlmann, Evan, "Exclusive:  An Interview with The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI)," NEFA Foundation, July 2008, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefaiaiiraq0708.pdf.
  4. ^ Abedin, Manhan, "Before Counterinsurgency:  Post-2005 Provincial Election Terrorist Trends in Iraq," Volatile Landscape:  Iraq and Its Insurgent Movements, Jamestown Foundation, March 10, 2005, p. 10.
  5. ^ Abedin, Manhan, "Before Counterinsurgency:  Post-2005 Provincial Election Terrorist Trends in Iraq," Volatile Landscape:  Iraq and Its Insurgent Movements, Jamestown Foundation, March 10, 2005, p. 10.
  6. ^ Abdel-Hamid, Hoda, "Inside the Islamic Army of Iraq," Al Jazeera, November 20, 2006, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2006/11/2008525124016422749.html.
  7. ^ Abedin, Manhan, "Before Counterinsurgency:  Post-2005 Provincial Election Terrorist Trends in Iraq," Volatile Landscape:  Iraq and Its Insurgent Movements, Jamestown Foundation, March 10, 2005, p. 10.
  8. ^ Abedin, Manhan, "Before Counterinsurgency:  Post-2005 Provincial Election Terrorist Trends in Iraq," Volatile Landscape:  Iraq and Its Insurgent Movements, Jamestown Foundation, March 10, 2005, p. 10.
  9. ^ Abdel-Hamid, Hoda, "Inside the Islamic Army of Iraq," Al Jazeera, November 20, 2006, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2006/11/2008525124016422749.html.
  10. ^ Kohlmann, Evan, "Exclusive:  An Interview with The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI)," NEFA Foundation, July 2008, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefaiaiiraq0708.pdf.
  11. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Islamic Army of Iraq Splits with Al Qaeda," Long War Journal, April 2007, retrieved on Jan 9, 2012 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/04/islamic_army_of_iraq.php
  12. ^ Al-Naimi, Dr. Ali, "A Press Statement on the Events of al-Latifiyah and Samarra Areas," translated and reprinted by the NEFA Foundation, November 1, 2007, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://www1.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/iaidigest1107-1.pdf.
  13. ^ "JR Front Establishing Statement," Jihad and Reform Front, Islamic Army in Iraq website, September 15, 2007, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://iaisite-eng.org/, (full link appears to be expired)
  14. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Islamic State of Iraq – an al Qaeda Front," The Long War Journal, July 18, 2007, retrieved on June 1, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/07/islamic_state_of_ira.php.
  15. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Islamic State of Iraq- an al Qaeda front," July 18, 2007, accessed Jan 9, 2012, available at http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/07/islamic_state_of_ira.php
  16. ^ CBS News Investigates, "New Group Joins Reform and Jihad Front," July 21, 2008, accessed Jan 9 2012, available at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-502684_162-4278842-502684.html
  17. ^ Kohlmann, Evan, "Exclusive:  An Interview with The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI)," NEFA Foundation, July 2008, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefaiaiiraq0708.pdf.
  18. ^ Spinner, Jackie, "Marines Widen Their Net South of Baghdad," The Washington Post, November 28, 2004, p. A20, LexisNexis Academic.
  19. ^ "Iraq Fighters Name Joint Spokesperson," Al Jazeera, July 4, 2005, retrieved on June 1, 2010 from http://english.aljazeera.net/archive/2005/07/2008410103325388371.html.
  20. ^ Roggio, Bill, "‘The darkness has become pitch black' - Osama bin Laden on Iraq situation," The Long War Journal, October 24, 2007, retrieved on June 1, 2010 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/10/the_darkness_has_bec.php.
  21. ^ Kohlmann, Evan, "Exclusive:  An Interview with The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI)," NEFA Foundation, July 2008, retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefaiaiiraq0708.pdf.
  22. ^ Islamist Websites Monitor 95: "Jihad Organizations IN Iraq Establish New Front," The Middle East Media Research Institute,  May 4, 2007, accessed January 9th, 2012 at http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2177.htm
  23. ^ Roggio, Bill, "Islamic Army of Iraq Splits with Al Qaeda," Long War Journal, April 2007, retrieved on Jan 9, 2012 from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/04/islamic_army_of_iraq.php
  24. ^ "Armed Groups within Iraq," The Globe and Mail, July 13, 2007, p. A10, LexisNexis Academic.
  25. ^ "Iraq Tribal Leader Offers US Talks," Al Jazeera, September 13, 2007, retrieved on June 26, 2010 from http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2007/09/200852514344935444.html
  26. ^ Abdel-Hamid, Hoda, "Inside the Islamic Army of Iraq," Al Jazeera, November 20, 2006, retrieved on June 1, 2010 from http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2006/11/2008525124016422749.html.
  27. ^ Mite, Valentinas, "Some Insurgents in Iraq Say They Are Ready to Disarm," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 8, 2005, retrieved on May 29, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2005/06/iraq-050608-rferl02.htm.
  28. ^ "A Chronology of Significant International Terrorism for 2004," April 27, 2005, p. 39
  29. ^ Karacs, Imre, "French Hostages Held Over Scarf Ban," Sunday Times, August 29, 2004, p. 23, LexisNexis Academic; Buel, Meredith, "Deadly Attack on US Military Base Near Mosul Kills 24," Voice of America, December 2004, Retrieved on May 29, 2010 from http:/
  30. ^ "9 March 2005 Headlines," United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), March 9, 2005, retrieved on May 30, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2005/03/imm-050309-unami.htm; "Reports on Incidents of Terrorism 2005," NCTC, A
  31. ^ "Reports on Incidents of Terrorism 2005," NCTC, April 11, 2006, p. 42
  32. ^ Muir, Jim, "Is Iraq Getting Better?" BBC News, November 11, 2007, retrieved on June 1, 2010 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7089168.stm
  33. ^ "Statement from the Islamic Army of Iraq," NEFA Foundation, April 2, 2008, retrieved on June 1, 2010 from http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefaislamicarmyansar0408.pdf
  34. ^ "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
  35. ^ "Ansar al-Islam." The National Counterterrorism Center. Accessed Jan 11, 2012 at http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/ai.html
  36. ^ "Reports on Incidents of Terrorism 2005," April 11, 2006, p. 50.
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ Ridolfo, Kathleen, "Iraq: Al-Qaeda Tactics Lead To Splits Among Insurgents," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, April 17, 2007, retrieved on May 30, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2007/04/iraq-070417-rferl01.htm.
  39. ^ Ridolfo, Kathleen, "Iraq: Al-Qaeda Tactics Lead To Splits Among Insurgents," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, April 17, 2007, retrieved on May 30, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2007/04/iraq-070417-rferl01.htm.
  40. ^ Fishman, Brian, "Dysfunction and Decline: Lessons Learned from Inside al Qa'ida in Iraq," Combatting Terrorism Center, March 16, 2009, p. 19.
  41. ^ Ridolfo, Kathleen, "Iraq: Awakening Councils Change Sunni Arab Insurgency," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, April 14, 2008, retrieved on May 29, 2010 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2008/04/iraq-080414-rferl01.htm.
  42. ^ "Iraq Tribal Leader Offers US Talks," Al Jazeera, September 13, 2007, retrieved on June 26, 2010 from http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2007/09/200852514344935444.html.
  43. ^ Wood, Paul, "Face to Face with the Insurgency," BBC News, October 22, 2008, retrieved on June 26, 2010 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7684866.stm.

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