Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn

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Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn
(Organization of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia)
Participant in the Iraq War
Flag of al-Qaeda in Iraq (2004-2005).svg
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[1]-October 2006
Ideology Sunni Islam[2]
Leaders Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (KIA)
Abu Ayyub al-Masri (KIA)
Headquarters Fallujah
Area of operations Iraq
Part of Al-Qaeda
Originated as

Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad

Ansar al-Islam (associate)
Became

Mujahideen Shura Council Iraq logo.jpg Mujahideen Shura Council

Islamic State of Iraq
Opponents Multinational force in Iraq
 Iraq (Iraqi security forces, Kurdish and Shia militias)
 Jordan
 United Nations
Battles and wars Iraqi insurgency (2003–06)
Civil war in Iraq (2006–07)

Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, (TQJBR),[3] ("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[2] 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.[4]

Origins[edit]

The group was founded by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 1999 under the name Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (Arabic: جماعة التوحيد والجهاد, "Group of Monotheism and Jihad").

The group 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.

After pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in October 2004, its official name became Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn.[1][5][6][7]

Leadership[edit]

On 7 June 2006, the leader of AQI, al-Zarqawi, and his spiritual adviser Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, were both killed by a U.S. airstrike with two 500 lb (230 kg) bombs on a safe house near Baqubah. The group's leadership was then assumed by the Egyptian militant Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.[8]

Purpose[edit]

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".[9][10]

Violent activities[edit]

US Navy Seabees during the Second Battle of Fallujah (November 2004)

2004[edit]

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".[11] While Japan refused to comply with this demand, Koda was beheaded, and his dismembered body found on 30 October.

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').[12]

2005[edit]

In 2005 (according to internal AQI documents seized in 2008), al Qaeda started killing Iraqi tribesmen and nationalist insurgents wherever they began to rally against it.[13]

Following deadly attacks in 2005 are claimed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his followers or AQI:

  • 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.[12]
  • 7 May: in Baghdad, two explosives-laden cars plow into an American security company convoy. 22 people are killed, including two Americans.[12]
  • 6 July: AQI claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and execution of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq, Ihab el-Sherif.[14][15] 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."[16]
  • 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.[17]
  • 19 August: In the Jordanian city of Aqaba, a rocket attack kills a Jordanian soldier.[12]
  • Friday 16 September: a suicide bomb attack outside a Shiite mosque 200 km north of Baghdad killed 13 worshippers.[19]
  • 9 November: in the Jordanian capital Amman, three bomb attacks against hotels killed 60 people.[12]

2006[edit]

Autumn 2006, AQI took over Baqubah, the capital of Diyala Governorate, and before March 2007, AQI or its umbrella organization ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ (ISI) claimed Baqubah as its capital.[23]

  • The US suggested that ‘al Qaeda’ was involved in the wave of chlorine bombings in Iraq, October 2006–June 2007, which affected hundreds of people, albeit with few fatalities.[24]
Further violent activities in Iraq after 13 October 2006 blamed on ‘al Qaeda (in Iraq)’ are listed in article Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

War Sunnis against Shias[edit]

September 2005, after a U.S.-Iraqi offensive on the town of Tal Afar, al-Zarqawi declared "all-out war" on Shia Muslims in Iraq.[25]

Conflicts between Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni Iraqi groups[edit]

In September–October 2005, there were signs of a split between homegrown Iraqi Sunni Arab rebel groups who wanted Sunni influence in national politics restored,[26] and therefore supported a “no” vote in the 15 October 2005 referendum on a constitution,[27] and ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’ led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi which strove for a theocratic state and threatened to kill those who engaged in the national political process with Shiites and Kurds,[26] including those who would take part in that referendum.[27]

Since mid-2006, AQI was being pushed out of their old strongholds in the rural Anbar Province, from Fallujah to Qaim, by tribal leaders in open war. That campaign was being facilitated and stimulated by the Iraqi government paying cash gifts and alleged salaries to tribal sheikhs of up to $5,000 a month.[28]

In September 2006, 30 tribes in Anbar Province formed the “Anbar Awakening”, an alliance to fight AQI militants.[29] Around September 2006, a new grouping called the “Anbar Rescue”—it is not certain that this group is the same as the “Anbar Awakening”—also claimed to represent a number of Anbar tribes and sub-clans and intended to clear Anbar Province from AQI.[28] End September–begin October 2006, that Anbar Rescue or other ‘fiercely independent Iraqi tribes’ fought three days with AQI and pushed it out of some strongholds in Anbar.[28]

January 2006: Tanzim (AQI) creates Mujahideen Shura Council[edit]

Shosei Koda before his beheading

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.[21]

Strength AQI in 2006[edit]

A secret U.S. Marine Corps intelligence report of August 2006 wrote that Iraq’s Sunni minority had been increasingly abandoned by their religious and political leaders who had fled or been assassinated, was “embroiled in a daily fight for survival”, feared “pogroms” by the Shiite majority, and was increasingly dependent on Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across Baghdad. In western Iraq, like Al Anbar Governorate, AQI was now entrenched, autonomous and financially independent, and therefore the death of AQI leader Al-Zarqawi (see section Leadership) in June 2006 had little impact on structure or capabilities of AQI. Illicit oil trading provided millions of dollars to AQI, and their popularity was rising in western Iraq.[30]

In Al Anbar Governorate, home to 1.25 million Iraqis many of whom in violence-ridden towns like Fallujah, Haditha, Hit, Qaim and Ramadi, most government institutions had disintegrated in August 2006, and AQI was the dominant power in al-Anbar, the U.S. Marine Corps intelligence report said.[30] In 2006, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research estimated that Al-Qaeda in Iraq's core membership was "more than 1,000".[31]

October 2006: Tanzim (AQI) creates Islamic State of Iraq[edit]

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.[4] 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".[32]

In reality, the group was not known to control any territory in Iraq yet.[33] Following the announcement, scores of gunmen took part in military parades in Ramadi and other Anbar towns to celebrate.[32][33]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

In April 2007, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who had been the leader of the MSC, was given the title of Minister of War within the ISI's ten-member cabinet.[34]

Car bombings were a common form of attack in Iraq during the Coalition occupation

According to report by US intelligence agencies in May 2007, 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.[35]

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.[36]

U.S. fighting Tanzim (Al-Qaeda in Iraq)[edit]

In November 2004, al-Zarqawi's network was the main target of the US Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah,[citation needed] but its leadership managed to escape the American siege and subsequent storming of the city.

On 7 June 2006, the leader of AQI, al-Zarqawi, and his spiritual adviser Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, were both killed by a U.S. airstrike with two 500 lb (230 kg) bombs on a safe house near Baqubah. The group's leadership was then assumed by the Egyptian militant Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.[8]

Criticisms from al-Zawahiri[edit]

U.S. intelligence in October 2005 published a letter purportedly from Ayman al-Zawahiri questioning Tanzim’s (AQI's) tactic of indiscriminately attacking Shias in Iraq.[37]

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.[38]

Operations outside Iraq and other activities[edit]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[9] 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.[41] The group may have been linked to the little-known group called "Tawhid and Jihad in Syria",[42] and may have influenced the Palestinian militant group in Gaza called Jahafil Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad fi Filastin.[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ a b "The War between ISIS and al-Qaeda for Supremacy of the Global Jihadist Movement" (PDF). Washington Institute for Near East Policy. June 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Govt bans al-Zarqawi terror group". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "The Rump Islamic Emirate of Iraq". The Long War Journal. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Middle East and North Africa Overview, Country Reports on Terrorism, U.S. State Department, 28 April 2006
  6. ^ "Zarqawi pledges allegiance to Osama". Dawn. Agence France-Presse. 18 October 2004. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2007. 
  7. ^ "Al-Zarqawi group vows allegiance to bin Laden". NBC News. Associated Press. 18 October 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2007. 
  8. ^ a b "Al-Qaeda in Iraq names new head". BBC News. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "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]
  10. ^ Whitaker, Brian (13 October 2005). "Revealed: Al-Qaida plan to seize control of Iraq". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Group seizes Japanese man in Iraq". BBC. 27 October 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Fast Facts: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Ware, Michael (11 June 2008). "Papers give peek inside al Qaeda in Iraq". CNN. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Al-Qaeda claims to have killed Egyptian envoy". The New York Times. 7 July 2005. 
  15. ^ Caroll, Rory; Borger, Julian (8 July 2005). "Egyptian envoy to Iraq killed, says al-Qaida". The Guardian (London). 
  16. ^ "Al-Qaeda threatens to kill abducted Egyptian envoy". Middle East Online. July 6, 2005. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Howard, Michael (18 July 2005). "Three days of suicide bombs leave 150 dead". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Another wave of bombings hit Iraq". International Herald Tribune. 15 September 2005. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. [dead link]
  19. ^ a b c 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. 
  20. ^ Insurgents Kill 140 as Iraq Clashes Escalate. Washington Post, 6 January 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
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  26. ^ a b Caroll, Rory; Mansour, Osama (7 September 2005). "Al-Qaida in Iraq seizes border town as it mobilises against poll". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  27. ^ a b Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith (27 October 2005). "We don't need al-Qaida". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  28. ^ a b c Beaumont, Peter (3 October 2006). "Iraqi tribes launch battle to drive al-Qaida out of troubled province". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  29. ^ Klein, Joe (23 May 2007). "Is al-Qaeda on the Run in Iraq?". Time. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  30. ^ a b "Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker". Washington Post, 28 November 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  31. ^ Tilghman, Andrew (October 2007). "The Myth of AQI". Washington Monthly. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  32. ^ a b "Gunmen in Iraq's Ramadi announce Sunni emirate". Reuters. 18 October 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  33. ^ a b "Iraqi Insurgents Stage Defiant Parades". The Washington Post. 20 October 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  34. ^ "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. 
  35. ^ 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. 
  36. ^ Muir, Jim (11 June 2007). "US pits Iraqi Sunnis against al-Qaeda". BBC News. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  37. ^ "Al-Qaeda disowns 'fake letter'". BBC News. 13 October 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  38. ^ "British 'fleeing' claims al-Qaeda". Adnkronos. 17 December 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  39. ^ 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. 
  40. ^ "Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Amman blasts". The New York Times. 10 November 2005. 
  41. ^ "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. 
  42. ^ "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. 
  43. ^ New Gaza Organization Vows Loyalty to Al-Qaeda, MEMRI 10-11-2008