Since the collapse of the Iraqi regime, a number of Islamic web sites have carried reports of the establishment of an “Iraqi National Resistance Front” to carry out guerilla attacks and terrorism against coalition forces and their representatives in Iraq. This campaign is intended to bring about the withdrawal of coalition forces and the liberation of Iraq from “foreign occupation”. According to the same reports, the Resistance Front is still in the process of organization, and is comprised of Islamic and nationalist elements, Ba’ath party members, Iraqi military personnel, and Arab volunteers. The Front operates in several regions of Iraq, with its primary strongholds in Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, and Tikrit. Several previously distributed leaflets point to disagreements within Iraqi resistance organizations. The divisions are particularly acute between secular nationalist elements, which support a free democratic Iraq, and the Radical Islamists, who aim to establish an Islamic state based on the Taliban model in Afghanistan. It was against the backdrop of these disputes that an umbrella organization of resistance fighters was established in Iraq. The Mujahidin Supreme Headquarters in Iraq is led by radical Islamic elements, and includes Taliban, al-Qaida and other Arab fighters who entered Iraq to fight against the Americans. The Mujahidin Supreme Headquarters in Iraq is an attempt to bridge the various internal disputes among Iraqi fighters. However, these disputes are only part of the picture; the resistance organization also faces challenges from Arab regimes outside Iraq. Syria, for example, has purportedly turned over Iraqi fighters to the U.S.; while Iraqi fighters have accused Iran of attempting to foment a civil war (Fatna) between Shiites and Sunnis. An analysis of the latest leaflets and declarations by Supreme Headquarters of the Mujahidin in Iraq points to a link between the organization and the al-Qaida network, as well to Saddam Hussein and/or his loyalists in Iraq and abroad. It is noteworthy that these declarations also emphasize the connection between the struggle for the liberation of Iraq and the Palestinian struggle against Israel. A call to arms The declaration of the establishment of the Supreme Headquarters of the Mujahidin in Iraq was first published by Amir Rachabi, an Iraqi opposition member and writer living in Paris. According to Rachabi, the Headquarters is comprised of nationalist and Islamic elements, Iraqi officers and military personnel, Ba’ath party members, Special Forces personnel, Fedayun Saddam and volunteers from Arab countries. Rachabi also reported that the Headquarters is in the process of organizing its military framework based on regional commands. Rachabi called on Arabs and Muslims to assist the Front with money and arms. At the same time, Iyad Samraai, Chairman of the Iraqi Islamic Party (a Sunni group associated with the Muslim Brotherhood), reported from London on the establishment of the Front for the Liberation of Iraq. The Front’s objectives were reported to be as follows: to thwart any attempt to establish a pro-American regime in Iraq; to remove American forces from Iraq; to unify all factions, ethnic groups and organizations in the country; and to establish a free and democratic state. The statement also warned against privatizing the Iraqi oil sector, and called for the establishment of a single resistance front to fight the occupiers utilizing all available means and methods. It its first leaflet, published immediately after its establishment on 11 April 2003 under the headline “Aggression has ended…liberation has begun,” the Front expressed its suspicion that a treasonous conspiracy on the part of Iraqi elements had brought about the collapse of the Saddam Hussein’s regime. The leaflet also featured a scathing attack against Iraqi National Congress Chairman Ahmed Chalabi, “The Thief of Baghdad,” and claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt against him. The leaflet pledged to engage in a war to “purify every inch of Iraqi soil.” Leaflet number 2 was published (on behalf of “the Resistance and Liberation Headquarters in the Republic of Iraq”) on an Islamic web site known to support and issues publications for the Center for Islamic Studies and Research, a group associated with al-Qaida. The leaflet is written in fundamentalist Islamic style, referring to a “struggle against infidels” and the continuation of Jihad until “the removal of all infidel Zionist and imperialist outposts.” The leaflet includes a religious proclamation forbidding any type of cooperation with the occupier, and features a claim of responsibility for two suicide attacks against American military checkpoints in Mosul and on the road leading to the town of Ramadi. The organization also advises caution in dealing with foreign journalists, claiming they are Israeli intelligence agents. This leaflet highlights the dispute between secular nationalists on one side, and radical Islamists supporting the principle of global Jihad on the other. It was this dispute that brought about the establishment of the Iraqi Liberation and Resistance Headquarters. This radical Islamic militant body views the struggle to liberate Iraq as part of the Islamic world’s struggle against the Christian and Jewish infidels. The organization threatens to kill Jews and pledges to carry out suicide and other high-profile terror attacks. Such attacks are meant to sow fear in the hearts of American soldiers and foreign corporations, in order to prevent the exploitation of Iraqi oil and bring about an American withdrawal through the adoption of a persistent and grueling terrorism campaign. Leaflet number 3 was also published in an internet forum associated with radical Islamic elements. It calls on the Muslim nation (“Umma”) to engage in Jihad, warns against the concentration of American forces on the Syrian border and claims responsibility for a series of attacks. The attacks included bombings, the laying of landmines, and shooting attacks on American troops in Iraq. For the first time, the leaflet addresses the issue of Iraqi oil and the need to sow terror in order to prevent American corporations from operating in the oil fields. Among other things, the organization claims responsibility for mining access roads to the oil fields and attacks against American troops guarding those fields. Leaflet number 4, issued by the Supreme Headquarters of the Mujahidin in Iraq (April 21, 2003), includes a scathing attack against Christians, Jews, and their supporters, and pledges to continue the war of Jihad against Allah’s enemies until the occupier is removed. The leaflet reveals that Taliban and al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan entered Iraq in order to assist their brethren. It also claims that the Mujahidin Headquarters has split off form the Iraqi Headquarters, because of its aim of establishing an Islamic state. The leaflet lays out the preferred methods of accomplishing this goal, namely guerilla war, a war of attrition, along with suicide attacks and other high profile attacks (“High-quality attacks”). These tactics are designed to inflict maximum human and financial damage and sow fear in the hearts of American soldiers. The Muslim struggle against the Americans in Afghanistan is presented as a model for imitation. It should be noted that the same methods of combat, in the context of the fight against the Americans in Iraq, have been published (in 12 chapters to date) on the web site of the Center for Islamic Studies and Research—a website associated with al-Qaida (www.bkufus.com), as well as on other web sites. Leaflet number 5, issued by The Supreme Headquarters of the Mujahidin’s in Iraq turns to Muslims with a pledge that Allah’s victory is nearing. The leaflet vows that Mujahidin fighters will bring despair to the occupiers and to Allah’s enemies, as they have done in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. It also pledges to “shatter the Holy Cross” and kill Jews. The leaflet reveals that the phase of assigning fighters to the various sectors is complete and vows a continuous war against the occupier. The leaflet also claims responsibility for the guerilla war launched by the organization against the Americans in several areas of Iraq. There is a claim of responsibility for a number of attacks (i.e. the explosion at a weapons depot last month), an assassination attempt on Ahmed Chalabi, and the abduction and murder of 6 U.S. soldiers stationed at an inspection points along with the seizure of their weapons and equipment (including night-vision goggles). On May 1, the Iraqi Resistance and Liberation Front (Kiada almakauma ve’altahrir eliraqia) distributed a letter protesting against what it claimed was a silencing campaign on the part of the media regarding the struggle against the occupation of Iraq. This letter may point to a possible connection between the organization and Saddam Hussein’s close circle. The letter claimed that Saddam is still alive and would relay a message to his people within 72 hours. The letter also issued a scathing attack against Arab regimes, including Syria, which turned over Iraqi fighters and senior figures to the Americans. The Iranian regime is accused of inciting a civil war (Fatna) between the various ethnic groups in Iraq. The letter also offers an attempt to defend Saddam Hussein’s policy through a denial of reports of torture and executions purportedly carried out by him. The letter ends with a quote from Saddam Hussein’s last speeches prior to the collapse of his regime: “Long live Iraq, long live Palestine”.
Following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, we have witnessed the establishment of various resistance organizations that view the occupation of Iraq as a humiliation of, and threat to, the Arab and Islamic world. These organizations are mainly comprised of nationalist and Islamic elements, loyalists of the previous regime and volunteers from various countries, including Taliban and al-Qaida members. Against a backdrop of internal disagreements among resistance organizations, particularly in regards to Iraq’s character and future, we have seen the establishment of the Supreme Headquarters of the Mujahidin in Iraq, a radical Islamic umbrella organization associated with al-Qaida and the Taliban. In our assessment, this body maintains a connection with Saddam Hussein and/or his circle of loyalists, who may be assisting the organization’s activity in Iraq. Most terrorist activity carried out by the Mujahidin’s Supreme Headquarters in Iraq takes the form of attacks against American troops and targets, as well as foreign corporations active in the country. These attacks are intended to sow terror in their midst with the aspiration of liberating Iraq and establishing an Islamic regime in the country similar to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The Mujahidin Headquarters advance the same tactics and combat strategies previously published in a long 12-chapter treatise on a web site associated with the al-Qaida organization. In this treatise, al-Qaida offered lessons and recommendations regarding preferred combat methods for Jihad fighters in Iraq, based on the experience of the continuing war in Afghanistan. The ideas, terminology, and suggestions featured in the leaflets of the new Islamic body established in Iraq clearly reflect the adoption of, and connection to, articles published on web sites associated with al-Qaida.
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