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[casi-analysis] Inventory of Iraqi Resistance Groups

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I received the below article recently, I do not know the source but wonder if you wish to put it 
Ismail Jalili

An Inventory of Iraqi Resistance Groups
"Who Kills Hostages in Iraq?"
By Samir Haddad and Mazin Ghazi, Al Zawra (Baghdad) September 19, 2004  (FBIS Translated Text)

US soldiers guard the wreckage of a military armored vehicle destroyed by the Iraqi resistance. In 
Iraq, the issues are even more confused now than they were before. This happened after an armed 
group abducted two French journalists, and threatened to kill them if France did not rescind the 
law banning religious symbols at schools, including the veil,  and another group abducted two 
Italian women in Baghdad. The issues became even more confused when a third group killed 12 
Nepalese workers, claiming that they were serving the US forces.

It is our duty now to clarify the picture with regard to who targets civilians and foreigners, who 
abducts hostages indiscriminately, and who makes the US occupation and its soldiers his main 

After the fall of Baghdad into the hands of the Anglo-American occupation on 9 April 2003, as a 
natural reaction, several sectors of Iraqi society confronted the occupation. Resistance cells were 
formed, the majority of which were of Islamic Sunni and pan-Arab tendencies. These cells started in 
the shape of scattered groups, without a unifying bond to bind them together.

These groups and small cells started to grow gradually, until they matured to some extent and 
acquired a clear personality that had its own political and military weight. Then they stated to 
pursue combining themselves into larger groups.

The majority of these groups do not know their leadership, the sources of their financing, or who 
provides them with weapons. However, the huge amounts of weapons, which the Saddam Husayn regime 
left behind, are undoubtedly one of the main sources for arming these groups. These weapons include 
mortars, RPGs, hand grenades, Kalashnikovs, and light weapons.

Their intellectual tendencies are usually described as a mixture of Islamic and pan-Arab ideas that 
agree on the need to put an end to the US presence in Iraq.

These groups have common denominators, the most important of which perhaps are focusing on killing 
US soldiers, rejecting the abductions and the killing of hostages, rejecting the attacks on Iraqi 
policemen, and respecting the beliefs of other religions. There is no compulsion to convert to 
Islam, this stems from their Islamic creed, their reading of the jurisprudence texts and historical 
events, and their respect for the directives and appeals of the Islamic organizations and religious 

These groups believe the Iraqis are divided into two categories. One category -- the majority - is 
against the occupation, and the other -- the minority -- is on the side of the occupation. The 
resistance considers those who reject the occupation, whatever their description might be, to be on 
its side. The resistance considers those who are on the side of the occupation to be as spies and 
traitors who do not deserve to remain on Iraqi territory, and hence they should be liquidated.

As for their view of the political parties, it depends on the stance of these parties toward the 
occupation. If these parties are dealing with the United States on the basis that it is an 
occupation force that should be evicted and that Iraq should be liberated from any military 
occupation or constrictions, and if these parties choose to deal with the United States and to 
engage in political action within this context, then these parties are free to continue with their 
efforts. Moreover, in general, these groups do not target the political powers that deal, but do 
not cooperate with the United States within the political framework established by the occupation.

The following is a review of the resistance groups and the armed groups in Iraq:

First, the main Sunni resistance groups that primarily target the US occupation:

1. The Iraqi National Islamic Resistance, "The 1920 Revolution Brigades:"

-- It emerged for the first time on 16 July 2003. Its declared aim is to liberate Iraqi territory 
from foreign military and political occupation and to establish a liberated and independent Iraqi 
state on Islamic bases. It launches armed attacks against the US forces. The attacks primarily are 
concentrated in the area west of Baghdad, in the regions of Abu-Ghurayb, Khan Dari, and 
Al-Fallujah. It has other activities in the governorates of Ninwi, Diyali, and Al-Anbar. The group 
usually takes into consideration the opinions of a number of Sunni authorities in Iraq.

-- The group's statements, in which it claims responsibility for its operations against the US 
occupation, are usually distributed at the gates of the mosques after the Friday prayers.

-- A recent statement issued by the group on 19 August 2004 explained that the group, during the 
period between 27 July and 7 August 2004, carried out an average of 10 operations every day, which 
resulted in the deaths of dozens of US soldiers and the destruction of dozens of US armored 

-- The most prominent operations of the group during that period were the shooting down of a 
helicopter in the Abu-Ghurayb region by the Al-Zubayr Bin-al-Awwam Brigade on 1 August 2004, and 
the shooting down of a Chinook helicopter in the Al-Nu'aymiyah region, near Al-Fallujah, by the 
Martyr Nur-al-Din Brigade on 9 August 2004.

2. The National Front for the Liberation of Iraq:

-- The front includes 10 resistance groups. It was formed days after the occupation of Iraq in 
April 2003. It consists of nationalists and Islamists. Its activities are concentrated in Arbil and 
Karkuk in northern Iraq; in Al-Fallujah, Samarra, and Tikrit in central Iraq, and in Basra and 
Babil Governorates in the south, in addition to Diyali Governorate in the east.

-- Generally speaking, its activities are considered smaller than those of the 1920 Revolution 

3. The Iraqi Resistance Islamic Front, 'JAMI':

The front is the newest Sunni resistance group to fight the US occupation. It includes a number of 
small resistance factions that formed a coalition. Its political and jihad program stems from a 
jurisprudence viewpoint that allows it to fight the occupiers. Its activities against the 
occupation forces are concentrated in the two governorates of Ninwi and Diyali. It announced its 
existence for the first time on 30 May 2004.

In its statements, JAMI warns against the Jewish conspiracies in Iraq.

According to statements issued by the front, JAMI's military wing, the Salah-al-Din and Sayf-Allah 
al-Maslul Brigades, has carried out dozens of operations against the US occupation forces. The most 
prominent of these operations were in Ninwi Governorate. These operations included the shelling of 
the occupation command headquarters and the semi-daily shelling of the Mosul airport. Further more, 
JAMI targets the members of US intelligence and kills them in the Al-Faysaliyah area in Mosul and 
also in the governorate of Diyali, where the front's Al-Rantisi Brigade sniped a US soldier and 
used mortars to shell Al-Faris Airport.

4. Other Small Factions:

There are other factions that claim responsibility for some limited military operations against the 
US forces. However, some of these factions have joined larger brigades that are more active and 
more experienced in fighting. These factions include:

Hamzah Faction: A Sunni group that appeared for the first time on 10 October 2003 in Al-Fallujah 
and called for the release of a local shaykh known as Shaykh Jamal Nidal, who was arrested by the 
US forces. There is no other information available about this group.

Iraqi Liberation Army: The first appearance of this group was on 15 July 2003. It warned the 
foreign countries against sending troops to Iraq and pledged to attack those troops if they were 

Awakening and Holy War: A group of Arab Sunni mujahidin. It is active in Al-Fallujah. It filmed an 
operation on videotape and sent the tape to Iranian television on 7 July 2003. On the tape, the 
group said that Saddam and the United States were two sides of the same coin. The group said that 
it carried out operations against the US occupation in Al-Fallujah and other cities.

The White Banners: A group of local Arab Sunni mujahidin that is active in the Sunni triangle and 
probably in other areas. Originally, they were opposed to Saddam Husayn, and in alliance with the 
Muslim Youths and Muhammad's Army. The group criticized the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy in 
Baghdad. So far, there is no information about their operations.

Al-Haqq Army: There is not much information about this group, apart from that it consists of Arab 
Sunni Muslims, it has some nationalistic tendencies, and it is not loyal to Saddam.

5. Ba'thist Factions:

These factions are loyal to the Ba'th Party and the previous regime of Saddam Husayn. They do not 
constitute a proportion of the actual resistance in Iraq. Their activities are more or less 
restricted to financing of resistance operations. The factions that still exist secretly in the 
Iraqi arena include:

Al-Awdah (The Return): This faction is concentrated in northern Iraq -- Samarra, Tikrit, Al-Dur, 
and Mosul. It consists of members of the former intelligence apparatus.

Saddam's Fedayeen: The faction was formed by the Saddam regime before the US invasion. Now, it is 
rumored that many of its members have abandoned their loyalty to Saddam and have joined Islamic and 
national groups on the side of the 11 September Revolutionary Group and the Serpent's Head Movement.

Second, Shiite resistance against the occupation:

Al-Sadr group: The Al-Mahdi Army is considered the only militia experiment to emerge after the 
occupation. In July 2003, Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr announced the formation of the Al-Mahdi 
Army, but not as a force directed against the occupation. Within a short period, Al-Sadr gathered 
between 10,000 and 15,000 well-trained youths, the majority of whom were from the poor of the 
Al-Sadr City, Al-Shu'lah, and the southern cities.

Recent events -- starting with the closure of Al-Sadr's Al-Hawzah newspaper in March 2004; the 
arrest of Al-Sadr assistant Mustafa al-Ya'qubi against a background of suspicions about his 
involvement in the killing of Imam Abd-al-Majid al-Khu'i, and crowned with the writ to arrest 
Muqtada al-Sadr in April on charges of assassinating Al-Khu'i inside the Al-Haydari mosque in 
Al-Najaf on 10 April 2003 -- placed the Al-Mahdi Army in confrontation with the occupation forces 
in Baghdad and the southern governorates.

The greatest confrontation between this militia and the occupation forces erupted in Al-Najaf in 
August 2004. The confrontation continued for nearly three weeks, and it ended with the signing of a 
cease-fire agreement between the two sides. The observers believe that these confrontations 
bestowed upon the Al-Sadr tendency the mark of an armed resistance to the occupation.

Imam Ali Bin-Abi-Talib Jihadi Brigades: This Shiite group appeared for the first time on 12 October 
2003. It vowed to kill the soldiers of any country sending its troops to support the coalition 
forces, and threatened to transfer the battleground to the territories of such countries if they 
were to send troops. The group also threatened to assassinate all the members of the Interim 
Governing Council and any Iraqi cooperating with the coalition forces. The group also announced 
that Al-Najaf and Karbala were the battlegrounds in which it would target the US forces.

Third: Factions that adopt abductions and killing:

In addition to the groups resisting occupation, other armed groups have emerged and resorted to 
operations of abducting and killing foreigners as a method, in their opinion, that would terrorize 
the enemy and as a political pressure card to achieve their specific demands. This was what 
happened when Philippine President Gloria Macapagol-Arroyo decided to withdraw the Philippine 
forces acting under US command in Iraq after the abduction of her compatriot Angelo del Cruz on 7 
July 2004 and his release at a later time.

The most prominent of these groups are:

Assadullah Brigades: The brigades said in a statement, number 50, "The mujahid is entitled to 
capture any infidel that enters Iraq, whether he works for a construction company or in any other 
job, because he could be warrior, and the mujahid has the right to kill him or take him as a 

The activities of this group are concentrated in Baghdad and its suburbs. The group detained the 
third most senior diplomat at the Egyptian Embassy to Iraq, Muhammad Mamduh Hilmi Qutb, in July 
2004 in response to statements by Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif, who announced that Egypt was 
prepared to offer its security expertise to the interim Iraqi Government. The diplomat was released 
after nearly a week.

Islamic Retaliation Movement: One of the movements that adopt the course of abductions. It abducted 
the US Marine of Lebanese origin, Wasif Ali Hassun, on 19 July 2004, and then released him.

Islamic Anger Brigades: The group that abducted 15 Lebanese in June 2004 and then released them, 
with the exception of Husayn Ulayyan, an employee of a communications company, whom it killed.

Khalid-Bin-al-Walid Brigades and Iraq's Martyrs Brigades: They are believed to be the ones who 
abducted Italian journalist Enzo Bladoni in August 2004 and killed him.

The Black Banners Group: A battalion of the Secret Islamic Army. The group abducted three Indians, 
two Kenyans, and an Egyptian working for a Kuwaiti company operating in Iraq. The aim was to compel 
the company to stop its activities in Iraq. The hostages were later released.

The Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi Group.

The Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad Group.

The Islamic Army in Iraq: A secret organization that adopts the ideology of Al-Qa'ida. The 
organization abducted Iranian Consul Feredion Jahani and the two French journalists, Georges 
Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot.

Ansar al-Sunnah Movement: The movement abducted 12 Nepalese on 23 August 2004 and killed them.

The last four groups are clearly intellectually close to the beliefs and thinking of Al-Qa'ida 
Organization and its leader, Usama Bin Ladin.

The first case of slaughter was that of US national Nicholas Berg in May 2004, and the Abu-Mus'ab 
al-Zarqawi group claimed responsibility for it.

After that, the Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad Group killed South Korean Kim Il, who was working for a 
Korean company providing the US Army with military installations.

Following that, the operations of abducting hostages cascaded in Iraq. Some of the hostages were 
slaughtered, and others were released. And the phenomenon came to the surface.

The total number of hostages killed so far is: two Italians, two US nationals, two Pakistanis, one 
Egyptian, one Turk, one Lebanese, one Bulgarian, one South Korean, and 12 Nepalese.

(Description of Source: Baghdad Al-Zawra in Arabic--Weekly published by the Iraqi Journalists 

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