Who’s your enemy?
Stars and Stripes June 3, 2007
Sunni Islamist groupsJama’at al-TawhidWa’al-JihadAKA: JTJ, TWJ, Monotheism and Jihad Group, al-Zarqawi Network, precursor to al-Qaida in Iraq.Wahhabi-Salafist Sunni militant group headed by now deceased Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.GOALS: Drive the U.S. military from Iraq, establish a seventh-century-style caliphate based on Islamic law, overturn “infidel” regimes throughout the Arab world and destroy Israel. Views Shiites as heretics.FAVORED TACTICS: Suicide bombings, beheadings and kidnappings. Claimed responsibility for video execution of Nicolas Berg, the assassination of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley and the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Iraq.ESTABLISHED: 2003
Organization of al-Qaida in the Land of Two RiversAKA: Al-Qaida in Iraq, AQIZ, Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, al-Zarqawi Network. Sunni Wahhabi-Salafist militant group led by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who was rumored killed in early May.GOALS: Foment sectarian bloodshed through suicide bomb attacks on Shiites, drive U.S. troops from Iraq, establish a seventh-century-style caliphate based on Islamic law.FAVORED TACTICS: Mass casualty attacks and assassinations using foreign suicide bombers, kidnappings, intimidation, torture, chlorine gas bombs. Suspected of many of the deadliest bombings in Iraq including the April 18 bomb attacks in Baghdad that killed more than 200 people, as well as the Golden Mosque bombing in Samarra on Feb. 22, 2006.AREA OF OPERATION: Central/northern Iraq (Ramadi, Fallujah, Baghdad, Baqouba, Mosul).ESTABLISHED: December 2004
Ansar al-SunnahAKA: Ansar al-Islam, Helpers of Islam, Kurdish Taliban.Group of Iraqi Kurds and Arabs who have vowed to establish an independent Islamic state in Iraq. Works closely with al-Qaida in Iraq. Responsible for the Marez Dining Facility bombing in Mosul on Dec. 21, 2004, and coordinated suicide bombings in Irbil on Feb. 1, 2004.LOCATION/AREA OF OPERATION: Northern and central IraqESTABLISHED: December 2001
Islamic State of Iraq Coalition of eight Salafist Sunni militant groups organized by al-Qaida in Iraq to enforce Islamic law and protect Sunnis. The state’s “Emir of Believers,” Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, has declared Iraq a “University of Terrorism,” and claims his group is now building its own “Quds 1” missile.The organization finds itself in a growing state of war with Sunni Nationalist insurgent groups and former allies who say they’re fed up with the slaughter of Iraqi civilians and “strange laws and verdicts,” such as the requirement that all women wear veils. Sunni nationalist insurgents charge that Islamic State of Iraq members are extorting cash from wealthy Sunnis and responsible for killing 30 of their fighters recently, including a field commander of the 1920 Revolution Brigades.ESTABLISHED: Oct. 15, 2006
Mujahedeen Shura CouncilUmbrella organization of seven Sunni Islamist militant groups including al-Qaida in Iraq to “manage the struggle” against “invading infidels and their apostate stooges.” The move came in response perhaps to a growing rift between Sunni insurgent groups.ESTABLISHED: January 2006Member groups include: Ansar al-Tawheed units; al-Ghurabaa units; Army of Ahlus Sunnah Wal jamaah; al-Qaida in Iraq; Army of the victorious sect; Islamic Jihad units; al-Ahwaal brigade.
Sunni nationalist insurgents1920 Revolution Brigades Sunni group believed to be comprised of former Saddam loyalists and military officers who were fired or barred from involvement in the new Iraq government by the Coalition Provisional Authority.GOAL: U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.Actively hostile to Islamic State of Iraq, which reportedly killed one of its field commanders, Harith Tahir al-Dhari, nephew of Iraq’s most prominent Sunni cleric, Haith al-Dari, of the Association of Muslim Scholars. Rumored to be negotiating with the U.S. and Iraqi government, as well as fighting alongside tribal militias against al-Qaida in Iraq insurgents.FAVORED TACTICS: Targeting U.S. helicopters. Targeting U.S. and Iraqi forces with suicide bombs, small arms and indirect fire attacks. Has refused to participate in sectarian killing or targeting of Shiites. Claims responsibility for the kidnapping of U.S. Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun in June 2004, the bombing of the Al-Arabiya television headquarters in Baghdad in October 2005 and the downing of several U.S. helicopters around Fallujah.ESTABLISHED: June 2003
Hamas of Iraq A recent splinter group from the 1920 Revolution Brigades. The break may be the result of rumored discussions between the 1920 Revolution Brigades and the U.S. and Iraqi governments.ESTABLISHED: March 2007
Islamic Army of IraqAKA: al-Jaish al-Islami fi al-IraqHomegrown Sunni group comprised of Saddam-era Baathists, soldiers and paramilitary groups such as the Saddam Fedayeen.GOALS: Expel all coalition troops and remove “Iranian” influence from Iraq. Once allied itself with Salafist groups like Ansar Al Sunnah and the al-Zarqawi Network, but has recently broken ties with those groups. Group claims that al-Qaida-linked groups had killed 30 Islamic Army fighters and that the threat of Iranian influence in Iraqi government was a greater danger than U.S. troops.Claimed responsiblility for various surface-to-air missile attacks on civilian and coalition aircraft, including the November 2003 missile strike on DHL Airbus A300 at Baghdad International Airport and the April 2005 downing of a Blackwater helicopter north of Baghdad. Videotape of the incident showed the execution of the lone survivor, co-pilot Lyubomir Kostov. Implicated in the kidnappings of more than a dozen foreign nationals in Iraq, including Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll. Claims that it conducts, on average, a thousand military operations against U.S. and Iraqi government targets each month and has conducted hundreds of attacks on military bases including Falcon base in 2006.FAVORED TACTICS: Sniper attacks, bombings, kidnappings.ESTABLISHED: 2003
Al-Fatihin ArmyAKA: Army of the ConquerorsSplinter group of the Islamic Army of IraqFAVORED TACTICS: IED attacks on U.S. troops in RamadiESTABLISHED: January 2006
Mujahedeen Army Sent open e-mail letter to American people urging them to overthrow the Bush administration, accusing the president of rigging the 2004 election.Virtually unheard of since 2006
Shiite militiasMahdi ArmyAKA: Jaysh al-Mahdi, JAM, “Mookie’s Boys”Lower-class and dispossessed Shiite followers of Muqtada al-Sadr.GOAL: Expel coalition troops from Iraq, establish a federal state based on Islamic law.FAVORED TACTICS: Explosively formed projectile, mortar, rocket and small arms attacks on U.S. and British troops. Prone to violent clashes with competing Shiite militias like those of the Badr Corps and Fadhila. Engaged in bitter and bloody battles with U.S. troops in 2004. While militiamen have been implicated in waves of sectarian killings, Sadr has recently called upon them to join with Sunnis to oppose coalition forces.STRENGTH: 60,000ESTABLISHED: 2003
‘Rogue’ Mahdi ArmyAKA: Rogue MilitiaGOAL: Expel coalition troops from Iraq, conduct reprisal killings on Sunni IraqisFAVORED TACTICS: Execution with power drill; EFP, mortar and rocket attacks. Reportedly financed and trained by Iranian Quds ForceSTRENGTH: 3,000ESTABLISHED: 2006
Badr Corps Armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an organization of former Iraqi exiles who sought refuge in Iran.Trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, widely infiltrating Iraqi Police and military. Suspected of waging a campaign of murder, rape, torture, and bribery against Sunni Iraqis and political rivals.STRENGTH: 20,000ESTABLISHED: 1982
Iranian militants Quds Force Element of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard devoted to aiding Shiite movements in other nationsReportedly supplying explosively formed projectiles, rockets, mortar bombs, funding and training to Shiite militias.