Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn
|Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn
(Organization of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia)
|Participant in the Iraq War|
One of the flags used by AQI in their video releases. Variants used white text for the circle and the shahada.
|Active||17 October 2004-October 2006|
Salafist jihadism
|Leaders||Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (KIA)
Abu Ayyub al-Masri (KIA)
|Area of operations||Iraq|
|Part of|| al-Qaeda
Mujahideen Shura Council
|Originated as|| Ansar al-Islam (associate)
Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad
|Became||Islamic State of Iraq|
|Opponents|| Multinational force in Iraq
Iraq (Iraqi security forces, Kurdish and Shia militias)
|Battles and wars||Iraqi insurgency (2003–06)
Civil war in Iraq (2006–07)
Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, (TQJBR), ("Organization of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia", Arabic: تنظيم قاعدة الجهاد في بلاد الرافدين), also referred to as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) or al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, was an Iraqi Sunni Islamic Jihadist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda. It was a major combatant actor in the Iraqi insurgency and played a central role in the establishment of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq.
It is believed to have started bomb attacks in Iraq as of August 2003, five months after the coalition invasion and occupation of Iraq, targeting UN representatives, Iraqi Shiite institutions, the Jordanian embassy, provisional Iraqi government institutions.
In a letter to al-Zarqawi in July 2005, Al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri outlined a four-stage plan beginning with taking control of Iraq. Step 1: expulsion of US forces from Iraq. Step 2: establishing in Iraq an Islamic authority—a caliphate. Step 3: "the jihad wave" should be extended to "the secular countries neighbouring Iraq". Step 4: "the clash with Israel".
Part of a series on the
| Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Black Standard variant adopted by ISIL
Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (1999–2004)
Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (2004–06)
Mujahideen Shura Council (2006)
Islamic State of Iraq (2006–13)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (2013–14)Self-proclaimed as the Islamic State (June 2014–present)
End of October 2004, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group Tanzim (Al-Qaeda in Iraq, AQI) kidnapped Japanese citizen Shosei Koda. In a video posted on a website and shown on Arabic TV station Al-Jazeera, AQI gave Japan 48 hours to withdraw its troops from Iraq, lest Koda's fate would be "the same as that of his predecessors, Berg and Bigley and other infidels". While Japan refused to comply with this demand, Koda was beheaded, and his dismembered body found on 30 October.
In November, al-Zarqawi's network was the main target of the US Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, but its leadership managed to escape the American siege and subsequent storming of the city.
The car bomb attacks on 19 December 2004 in the Shiite holy cities Najaf and nearby Karbala, killing 60 people, were claimed by Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn ('al-Qaeda in Iraq').
Following deadly attacks—not mentioning the non-lethal attacks—are claimed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his followers or AQI:
- 30 January: AQI launched attacks on voters during the Iraqi legislative election in January. In 100 armed attacks, 44 people were killed, not meaning all those attacks came from AQI. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said: We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy (…)”.
- 28 February: in the southern city of Hillah, a car bomb strikes a crowd of police and Iraqi National Guard recruits. 125 people are killed.
- 2 April: the group launched a combined suicide and conventional attack on the Abu Ghraib prison in April.
- 7 May: in Baghdad, two explosives-laden cars plow into an American security company convoy. 22 people are killed, including two Americans.
- 6 July: AQI claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and execution of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq, Ihab el-Sherif. In a message posted on Internet, Zarqawi said: "The Islamic court of the al-Qaeda Organization in the Land of Two Rivers has decided to refer the ambassador of the state of Egypt, an ally of the Jews and the Christians, to the mujahideens so that they can execute him."
- 15–17 July: a three-day series of suicide attacks, including the Musayyib marketplace bombing, left 150 people dead and 260 wounded. AQI claimed that the bombings were part of a campaign to take control of Baghdad.
- 14 September: ‘Al-Qaida in Iraq’ (=Tanzim) claimed responsibility for a single-day series of more than a dozen bombings in Baghdad, which killed about 160 people, most of whom were unemployed Shia workers, and its leader Al-Zarqawi on Internet declared “all-out war” on Shiites, Iraqi troops and the Iraqi government.
- Friday 16 September: a suicide bomb attack outside a Shiite mosque 200 km north of Baghdad killed 13 worshippers.
- 24 October: AQI made coordinated suicide attacks outside the Sheraton Ishtar and Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in October.
- 18 November: Tanzim claimed responsibility for a series of Shia mosque bombings in the city of Khanaqin, which killed at least 74 people.
Criticism from al-Zawahiri
January 2006: Tanzim as part of Mujahideen Shura Council
In January 2006, Tanzim's ('AQI') efforts to recruit Iraqi Sunni nationalist and secular groups were undermined by its violent tactics against civilians and by its fundamentalist doctrine. It then created an umbrella organization called the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC), in an attempt to unify Sunni insurgents in Iraq.
The attacks blamed on or claimed by AQI continued in 2006 (see also the list of major resistance attacks in Iraq). A U.S. intelligence officer in March 2007 blamed the al-Askari Mosque bombing in February 2006 on Tanzim (or ‘AQI’); in May 2007, ‘Iraqi officials’ blamed that al-Askari bombing on Al Qaeda or ‘AQI’ or Tanzim. 3 June 2006, four Russian embassy officials were abducted and subsequently killed. Al-Qaeda in Iraq and its umbrella groups were blamed for multiple attacks targeting the country's Shia population, some of which AQI claimed responsibility for.
On 7 June 2006, the leader of AQI, al-Zarqawi, and his spiritual adviser Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, were both killed by U.S. bombs. The group's leadership was then assumed by the Egyptian militant Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.
A week later, 16 June 2006, a U.S. checkpoint near Baghdad was attacked, one U.S. soldier killed and two abducted (see June 2006 abduction of U.S. soldiers in Iraq). Those two abducted, Thomas Lowell Tucker and Kristian Menchaca, were found on 19 June, “brutally killed and tortured” according to an Iraqi spokesman. The next day, Mujahedeen Shura Council of Iraq (MSC)—an organization of six groups including Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn—claimed to have “slaughtered” the two Americans. Three weeks later, MSC issued a video showing the mutilated corpses of Tucker and Menchada, purportedly as revenge for the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl, in March 2006, by U.S. soldiers of the same brigade (see Mahmudiyah killings).
October 2006: Tanzim as part of Islamic State of Iraq
On 13 October 2006, the MSC declared the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), comprising Iraq's six mostly Sunni Arab governorates: Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, Ninawa, and "other parts of the governorate of Babel", with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi being announced as the self-proclaimed state's Emir. A Mujahideen Shura Council leader said: "God willing we will set the law of Sharia here and we will fight the Americans"; the Council urged on Sunni Muslim tribal leaders to join their separate Islamic state "to protect our religion and our people, to prevent strife and so that the blood and sacrifices of your martyrs are not lost".
In reality, the group was not known to control any territory in Iraq yet. Following the announcement, scores of gunmen took part in military parades in Ramadi and other Anbar towns to celebrate.
In November, a statement was issued by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC), announcing the disbanding of the MSC, in favor of the ISI. After this statement, there were a few more claims of responsibility issued under the name of the Mujahideen Shura Council, but these eventually ceased and were totally replaced by claims from the Islamic State of Iraq.
According to report by US intelligence agencies in May 2007, the ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) planned to seize power in the central and western areas of the country and turn it into a Sunni Islamic state.
In June 2007, the uncompromising brand of extreme fundamentalist Islam of Tanzim ('AQI'), or Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC), or Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), seemed, again, to be alienating more nationalist Iraqi strands of insurgency, like former Baathists, or Sunnis with a grudge against the US-led coalition and the new Iraqi government.
In a video that appeared in December 2007, Ayman al-Zawahiri defended the AQI, but distanced himself from the crimes against civilians committed by "hypocrites and traitors" that he said existed among its ranks.
Operations outside Iraq and other activities
On 3 December 2004, AQI attempted to blow up an Iraqi–Jordanian border crossing, but failed to do so. In 2006, a Jordanian court sentenced to death al-Zarqawi in absentia and two of his associates for their involvement in the plot. AQI increased its presence outside Iraq by claiming credit for three attacks in 2005. In the most deadly of these attacks, suicide bombs killed 60 people in Amman, Jordan on 9 November 2005. They claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks which narrowly missed the American naval ships USS Kearsarge and USS Ashland in Jordan and also targeted the city of Eilat in Israel, and for the firing of several rockets into Israel from Lebanon in December 2005. The affiliated groups were linked to regional attacks outside Iraq which were consistent with their stated plan, one example being the 2005 Sharm al-Sheikh bombings in Egypt, which killed 88 people, many of them foreign tourists.
The Lebanese-Palestinian militant group Fatah al-Islam, which was defeated by Lebanese government forces during the 2007 Lebanon conflict, was linked to AQI and led by al-Zarqawi's former companion who had fought alongside him in Iraq. The group may have been linked to the little-known group called "Tawhid and Jihad in Syria", and may have influenced the Palestinian militant group in Gaza called Jahafil Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad fi Filastin.
- Pool, Jeffrey (16 December 2004). "Zarqawi's Pledge of Allegiance to Al-Qaeda: From Mu'Asker Al-Battar, Issue 21". Terrorism Monitor 2 (24): The Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "The War between ISIS and al-Qaeda for Supremacy of the Global Jihadist Movement". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. June 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- Govt bans al-Zarqawi terror group
- "The Rump Islamic Emirate of Iraq". The Long War Journal. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Middle East and North Africa Overview, Country Reports on Terrorism, U.S. State Department, 28 April 2006
- "Zarqawi pledges allegiance to Osama". Dawn. Agence France-Presse. 18 October 2004. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
- "Al-Zarqawi group vows allegiance to bin Laden". NBC News. Associated Press. 18 October 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
- "Country Reports on Terrorism". United States Department of State. 28 April 2006. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2014.[dead link]
- Whitaker, Brian (13 October 2005). "Revealed: Al-Qaida plan to seize control of Iraq". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "Group seizes Japanese man in Iraq". BBC. 27 October 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "Fast Facts: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "Al-Qaeda claims to have killed Egyptian envoy". The New York Times. 7 July 2005.
- Caroll, Rory; Borger, Julian (8 July 2005). "Egyptian envoy to Iraq killed, says al-Qaida". The Guardian (London).
- "Al-Qaeda threatens to kill abducted Egyptian envoy". Middle East Online. July 6, 2005. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
- Howard, Michael (18 July 2005). "Three days of suicide bombs leave 150 dead". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 December 2014.
- "Another wave of bombings hit Iraq". International Herald Tribune. 15 September 2005. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007.[dead link]
- Tavernise, Sabrina (17 September 2005). "20 die as insurgents in Iraq target Shiites". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 January 2008.
- "Al-Qaeda disowns 'fake letter'". BBC News. 13 October 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
- DeYoung, Karen; Pincus, Walter (18 March 2007). "Al-Qaeda in Iraq May Not Be Threat Here". The Washington Times. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI)". Dudley Knox Library. Naval Postgraduate School. Archived from the original on 1 April 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
- "Al Qaeda leader in Iraq 'killed by insurgents'". ABC News. 1 May 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "Al-Qaeda in Iraq names new head". BBC News. 12 June 2006.
- Tran, Mark (1 May 2007). "Al-Qaida in Iraq leader believed dead". The Guardian.[dead link]
- "Gunmen in Iraq's Ramadi announce Sunni emirate". Reuters. 18 October 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "Iraqi Insurgents Stage Defiant Parades". The Washington Post. 20 October 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "U.S. says Iraq chlorine bomb factory was al Qaeda's". Reuters. 24 February 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
- "Islamic State of Iraq Announces Establishment of the Cabinet of its First Islamic Administration in Video Issued Through al-Furqan Foundation". SITE Institute. 19 April 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- Mahnaimi, Uzi (13 May 2007). "Al-Qaeda planning militant Islamic state within Iraq". The Sunday Times (London). Archived from the original on 24 May 2011.
- Muir, Jim (11 June 2007). "US pits Iraqi Sunnis against al-Qaeda". BBC News. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "British 'fleeing' claims al-Qaeda". Adnkronos. 17 December 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Aloul, Sahar (19 December 2005). "Zarqawi handed second death penalty in Jordan". The Inquirer. Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007.
- "Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Amman blasts". The New York Times. 10 November 2005.
- "Fatah Islam: Obscure group emerges as Lebanon's newest security threat". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. 20 May 2007. Archived from the original on 25 May 2007.
- "Al-Qaida inspired militant group calls on Syrians to kill country's president". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. 28 May 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
- New Gaza Organization Vows Loyalty to Al-Qaeda, MEMRI 10-11-2008