Mujahideen Shura Council (Iraq)


Mujahideen Shura Council (Iraq)
Alleged logo of the Mujahideen Shura Council.[citation needed] Three hands holding aloft the black flag of jihad.

The Mujahideen Shura Council was an umbrella organization of at least six Sunni Islamist groups taking part in the Iraqi insurgency: Tenzheem Qa'adah al-Jihad (al-Qaeda in Iraq), Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, Saray al-Jihad Group, al-Ghuraba Brigades, and al-Ahwal Brigades.

The formation of the group was first announced on January 15, 2006, in a statement posted to the Jihadist website Hanin Net. The statement was signed by the spokesman for Tenzheem Qa'adah al-Jihad, Abu Maysarah al-Iraqi. It was formed to resist efforts by the U.S. and Iraqi authorities to win over Sunni supporters of the insurgency. The stated purpose of the council was "Managing the struggle in the battle of confrontation to ward off the invading kafir (infidels) and their apostate stooges...Uniting the word of the mujahideen and closing their ranks...[and] determining a clear position toward developments and incidents so that people can see things clearly and the truth will not be confused with falsehood." On or before April 25, 2006, a videotape of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was released bearing the organization's logo.[citation needed] The Mujahideen Shura Council is believed by the United States Marine Corps to be the primary political force in the Al Anbar province.[1] [2]

The group was headed by Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi (nom de guerre: Abu Omar al-Baghdadi).[3]

In mid-October 2006, a statement was released, stating that the Mujahideen Shura Council had been disbanded, and was replaced by the Islamic State of Iraq.

Contents

Formation

In October 2005, Iraqis claiming to be part of the Islamic Army in Iraq told The New York Times about a clash between it and al-Qaeda. U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officials also confirmed to the paper that there had been clashes between "al Qaeda in Iraq" and mainstream Iraqi militant groups fighting the U.S. and coalition forces in Ramadi, Husayba, Yusifiya, Dhuluiya and Karmah.[4]

On January 15, a spokesman of Jihad Base in Iraq, announced the formation of the "Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen fi al-Iraq" (Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq or Mujaheddin Consultative Council), apparently a coalition of about six insurgent organizations.[5] This was apparently an attempt at regaining support.[4]

Structure

Little is known about the organizational structure of the Council, in large part due to the shadowy nature of the organization itself. Jihad Base in Iraq is the most powerful and visible group.[citation needed] Because of the multiple leaders the Shura Council has, there seems to have been no disruption in the Shura Council’s ability to carry out attacks: more than 1600 Iraqi civilians died in the month right after Zarqawi's death, the largest number killed in a month so far.[6] Elements of the Shura Council's organization from the top to the bottom remain fluid due both to the nature of its aims and methods as well as its loose confederation. It is speculated that the group was dominated by Jihad Base in Iraq and that his death has dealt a severe blow to the unity of the Council, but how severe is not known.[7] Aside from the murky workings of the Shura Council's leadership it is known that the Council has rather smooth operations when it comes to propaganda, the Council's propaganda czar, Murasel, regularly posts updates, criticisms, and praises for the Council's own acts of violence on a semi-daily basis at blogspot.com.

Insurgency in Iraq

On June 16, 2006, the council claimed responsibility for the alleged kidnapping of two U.S. soldiers, Private First Class Thomas Lowell Tucker and Private First Class Kristian Menchaca, during an attack that day on a roadside checkpoint in Youssifiya, an area known as the Triangle of Death. The soldiers were actually killed in the attack and their bodies were found in Youssifiyah on June 19.[8]

On October 15, 2006, the Council released a video claiming to declare an Islamic Iraqi state, made up of six provinces including Baghdad. The current Iraqi government has discounted this, noting none of the provinces mentioned are in insurgent control.[3][9]

On the same day, the Ba'ath Socialist Party, released a statement which warned against 'backing any divisive plan under the pretext to protect whatever community...', a direct reference to the attempted establishment of a separate Sunni Arab state.

On October 18, 2006, according to Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf of the Interior Ministry, about 60 al-Qaida militants arrived in Ramadi, 70 miles (110 km) west of Baghdad, in 17 vehicles and remained there for 15 minutes before being forced to flee, suffering unspecified losses in clashes with security and "tribal forces". Witnesses said that dozens of masked militants dressed in white marched through the streets of the city, the capital of western Anbar province, carrying banners exhorting people to support an Islamic state in Iraq. "We are from Mujahideen Shura Council and our Amir (Prince) is Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. God willing we will set the law of Sharia here and we will fight the Americans," said a man who identified himself as Abu Harith. "We have announced the Islamic state. Ramadi is part of it. Our state will comprise all the Sunni provinces of Iraq".[10] [11] However by late October tribal resistance seemed to have ceased and fedayeen forces affiliated with the Shura Council staged large military parades in cities throughout the Anbar province including Ramadi, where the open presence of militants met no resistance at all.[12]

Disbanding

In mid-October 2006, a statement was released, stating that the Mujahideen Shura Council had changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq. Then, in November, a statement was issued by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir stating that the Mujahideen Shura Council had been disbanded, in favor of a new group under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq. The reason given for this shift was that a new phase of jihad was beginning, in which they would attempt to reestablish the Islamic caliphate. 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.

References



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