Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad
|Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad
(Organization of Monotheism and Jihad)
|Participant in the Iraq War|
A flag that was in use by Jama'at al-Tawhid wal Jihad in late 2004
|Active||1999–17 October 2004|
|Leaders||Abu Musab al-Zarqawi|
|Area of operations||Iraq, limited in Jordan|
|Became||Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (aka Al-Qaeda in Iraq)|
|Allies||Ansar al-Islam|
|Opponents||Multinational force in Iraq,
Iraq (Iraqi security forces, Kurdish and Shia militias),
|Battles and wars||Iraqi insurgency|
Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (Arabic: جماعة التوحيد والجهاد, Organization of Monotheism and Jihad) was a militant Jihadist group led by the Jordanian national Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This group's name may be abbreviated as JTJ or shortened to Tawhid and Jihad, Tawhid wal-Jihad, Tawhid al-Jihad, Al Tawhid or Tawhid. The group started in Jordan, then became a decentralized network during the Iraq insurgency in which foreign fighters were widely thought to play a key role, though some analysts said that it may have also had a considerable Iraqi membership. Following al-Zarqawi's pledge of allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network on October 17, 2004, the group became known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (official name Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn). After several rounds of name changes and mergers with other groups, the organization is now known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).
Part of a series on the
| Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (1999–2004)
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)
A report released by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in mid-2014 describes Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as starting his jihadist group Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, with Jordanian and other Sunni Jihadist militants, in 1999 in Afghanistan with its training camp in Herat, Afghanistan, and with "a small amount of seed money" from Usama bin Laden "which continued until 9/11".
Al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian Jihadist who had traveled to Afghanistan to fight in the Soviet-Afghan War, but he arrived after the departure of the Soviet troops and soon returned to his homeland. He eventually returned to Afghanistan, running an Islamic militant training camp near Herat.
Ideology and motivation
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's interpretation of Islamic takfir — accusing another Muslim of heresy and thereby justifying his killing — was extreme, which caused friction between him and Osama bin Laden. On his first meeting with Bin Laden in 1999, Zarqawi reportedly declared: "Shiites should be executed".
Zarqawi's political motivation came partly from what he considered U.N.'s "gift" of Palestine "to the Jews so they can rape the land and humiliate our people", partly, but connected with the former, from what he considered (U.N.'s support for) (American) oppressors of Iraq and the consequent "humiliation [of] our nation".
Goals and tactics in Jordan and Iraq
Al-Zarqawi started the group with the intention of overthrowing the 'apostate' Kingdom of Jordan, which he considered to be un-Islamic according to the four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. After toppling Jordan's monarchy, presumably he would turn to the rest of the Levant.
For these purposes he developed numerous contacts and affiliates in several countries. Although it has not been verified, his network may have been involved in the late 1999 plot to bomb the Millennium celebrations in the United States and Jordan. Al-Zarqawi and his operatives are held responsible by the US for the assassination of US diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan in 2002.
JTJ's tactics relied heavily on suicide bombings, often using car bombs, but also included targeted kidnappings, the planting of improvised explosive devices, and mortar attacks. Beginning in late June 2004, JTJ conducted urban guerrilla-style attacks using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. They also gained worldwide notoriety for beheading Iraqi and foreign hostages and distributing video recordings of these acts on the Internet.
The group targeted the Iraqi Security Forces and those facilitating the occupation, Iraqi interim officials, Iraqi Shia and Kurdish political and religious figures, the country's Shia Muslim civilians, foreign civilian contractors, and United Nations and humanitarian workers.
Involvement in the Iraq War
Al-Zarqawi was in Baghdad from May until late November 2002, when he traveled to Iran and northeastern Iraq. The U.S. 2006 Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq concluded: "Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward al-Zarqawi."
Following the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, JTJ developed into an expanding militant network for the purpose of resisting[why?] the coalition occupation forces and their Iraqi allies. It included some of the remnants of Ansar al-Islam and a growing number of foreign fighters. Many foreign fighters arriving in Iraq were initially not associated with JTJ, but once they were in the country they became dependent on al-Zarqawi's local contacts.
After in March 2003 a U.S.-led coalition had invaded Iraq and had set up a Provisional Authority to rule Iraq, and insurgency against that rule had emerged, JTJ took responsibility for, or was blamed for, dozens of insurgent attacks in 17 months:
- August 7, 2003: Jordanian embassy bombing in Baghdad which killed 17 and injured at least 40. The Jamestown Foundation considered Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad responsible for this attack.
- August 19, 2003: Canal Hotel bombing that killed chief of the United Nations Mission to Iraq Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 22 others at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. More than 100 were injured. Zarqawi claimed this attack in April 2004, saying the U.N. "gave Palestine to the Jews so they can humiliate our people" and are "friends of the [American] oppressors".
- August 29, 2003: the Shia Imam Ali Mosque bombing in Najaf that killed Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim and more than 85 others, was claimed by Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the New York Sun wrote in 2007. More than 500 were injured.
- November 12, 2003: The truck bombing in Nasiriyah which killed 17 Italian paramilitary policemen partaking in the U.S.-led 'Multi-National Force', and 10 civilians and injured at least 100. The Jamestown Foundation considered Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad responsible for this attack.
- March 2, 2004: Series of bombings in Baghdad and Karbala that killed some 178 Shi'ite civilians and wounded at least 500 during the holy Day of Ashura. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy held "Zarqawi's group" responsible.
- April 19, 2004: Failed plot to explode chemical bombs in Amman, Jordan, said to be financed by Zarqawi's network.
- April 24, 2004: In a statement published by on the Muntada al-Ansar Islamist web site, Zarqawi took responsibility for a series of suicide boat bombings of the oil pumping stations in the Persian Gulf.
- May 18, 2004: Car bomb assassination of Iraqi Governing Council president Ezzedine Salim in Baghdad. The Jama'at group stated on an Islamist website that they were "determined to lift the humiliation from our nation (...) Another lion has removed the rotten head of those who betray God and sell their religion to the Americans and their allies".
- June 18, 2004: The suicide car bombing in Baghdad near an Iraqi Army recruitment center that killed 35 civilians, and wounded 145. Jama'at was blamed.
- August 1, 2004: six churches in Baghdad and Mosul were attacked, 12 people killed and 71 wounded. Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, blamed the attacks on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
- September 14, 2004: Car bomb killed 47 and injured nearly 100 more civilians and police recruits on Haifa Street in Baghdad.
- September 30, 2004: Baghdad bombing which killed 41 people, mostly children. Jama'at's claiming message of this attack was unclear though.
- The October 2004 massacre of 49 unarmed Iraqi National Guard recruits was claimed by JTJ.
- December 3, 2004: Failed attempt to blow up an Iraqi–Jordanian border crossing, for which al-Zarqawi and two of his associates were sentenced to death in absentia by a Jordanian court in 2006
Inciting sectarian violence
Alleged sectarian attacks by the organization included the Imam Ali Mosque bombing in 2003 and the 2004 Day of Ashura bombings (Ashoura massacre) and Karbala and Najaf bombings in 2004. These were precursors to a more widespread campaign of sectarian violence after the organization transitioned to become al-Qaida in Iraq, with Al-Zarqawi purportedly declaring an all-out war on Shias while claiming responsibility for the Shia mosque bombings.
Beheading/killing non-Iraqi hostages
- May 7, 2004: Nick Berg, American civilian beheaded. Presumably claimed by Zarqawi and his men. A video of the ceremony was published on Internet; the CIA said it was highly likely that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi personally had wielded the knife
- June 22, 2004: Kim Sun-il, South Korean civilian, executed by beheading.
- July 8, 2004: Georgi Lazov and Ivaylo Kepov, Bulgarian civilians beheaded
- August 2, 2004: Murat Yuce, Turkish civilian shot dead, by Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
- September 13, 2004: Durmus Kumdereli, Turkish civilian beheaded
- September 20, 2004: Eugene Armstrong, American civilian beheaded. Presumably claimed by Zarqawi and his men. Some vague website claimed it was done by Al-Zarqawi personally
- September 21, 2004: Jack Hensley, American civilian beheaded. Presumably claimed by Zarqawi and his men.
- October 7, 2004: Kenneth Bigley, British civilian beheaded. Presumably claimed by Zarqawi and his men.
U.S. fighting Jama'at
In September 2004, the U.S. conducted many airstrikes targeting Zarqawi, calling the catching of Zarqawi "highest priority".
The group officially pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in a letter in October 2004 and changed its official name to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (تنظيم قاعدة الجهاد في بلاد الرافدين, "Organization of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia"). That same month, the group, now popularly referred to as Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), kidnapped and killed Japanese citizen Shosei Koda. 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 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 resistance group in Gaza called Tawhid and Jihad Brigades.
- Abu Ayyub al-Masri
- Abu Omar al-Kurdi
- Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
- Terrorism in Iraq
- Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda
- "The War between ISIS and al-Qaeda for Supremacy of the Global Jihadist Movement" (PDF). Washington Institute for Near East Policy. June 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2015. (pages 1-2)
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- Brutal kidnappers gaining in popularity The Guardian on September 21, 2004
- Profile: Tawhid and Jihad group BBC News on October 8, 2004
- Purported Zarqawi letter Coalition Provisional Authority