Iraqi Terrorists Form New Group
Posted: January 26, 2006
In a major realignment of the terrorist infrastructure in Iraq, six of the country’s terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda in Iraq, have announced the creation of a new, umbrella organization to unify their efforts and coordinate future attacks.
The creation of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq was declared in a January statement posted to a Web site frequently used by Islamic militants. The statement lists six primary points, couched in the rhetoric of Islamic extremism, which affirm the group’s commitment to violent jihad against Americans, Jews, Shiite Muslims and the current Iraqi government. Though the authenticity of the proclamation cannot be verified, attacks previously claimed by member groups have subsequently been claimed in the name of the Council.
The Council also released a second statement, a few days after the first, which stated that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, would step down as “emir” and that a native Iraqi, Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, would take over the leadership position. It is believed that this leadership change took place in order to cool the rising tensions between foreign terrorists and home-grown militants over the direction of the insurgency.
The formation of the new Mujahideen Shura Council signals a shift toward the unification of formerly independent and distinct terrorist organizations. Its members purportedly include Al Qaeda in Iraq, Jaish al-Taifah al-Mansourah, Ansar al-Tawhid, al-Ghurab’a, al-Jihad al-Islami and al-Ahwa’al Brigades. Though relatively small and obscure, by banding together with Al Qaeda in Iraq they may be able to expand their operational capacity and significantly enhance their ability to strike targets across Iraq. This new dynamic could potentially lead to more lethal and more frequent terror attacks.
Noticeably absent from the Council is Ansar al-Sunna, another major Iraqi terrorist group linked with Zarqawi.