The Rump Islamic Emirate of Iraq

The Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq Declares the Establishment of a Sunni Islamic State of Iraq, carved from six provinces, however further divisions within al Qaeda in Iraq are exposed

A map of the Sunni Islamic State from an al Qaeda video. Image from MEMRI.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has made good on its promise to conduct an information campaign during Ramadan. The Mujahideen Shura Council, al Qaeda in Iraq’s front group designed to legitimize its actions, has released a video announcing the formation of a Sunni Islamic State of Iraq, which is comprised of “Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, Ninawa, and in other parts of the governorate of Babel,” according to the SITE Institute. The Sunni Islamic State would “will judge according to the Islamic Shari’a (law), using such as an aegis for the people, and to defend the religion.”

The declaration of the Sunni Islamic State follows the creation of the “Mutayibeen Coalition,” which includes six Anbar tribes, as well as three smaller insurgent groups. Counterterrorism expert Evan Kohlmann notes the announcement of the Mutayibeen Coalition and the inclusion of the Al-Fatihin Army has created a rift between the two groups.

Al-Fatihin’s media wing has denied its inclusion in the Mutayibeen Coalition, and al Qaeda angrily responded that disputes should not be made public. “The MSC offered a lukewarm willingness to mediate their dispute with the Jaish al-Fatihin’s representatives, but sternly admonished that ‘such information and discussions should not be posted in public forums in order to avoid spoiling the morale of Muslims,'” reports Mr. Kohlman.

This news follows the reports over the weekend that there are divisions within al Qaeda in Iraq the treatment of Sunni tribal and religious leaders, and jihadi and insurgent groups outside the umbrella of the Mujahideen Shura. Pitched battles have been fought between al Qaeda in Iraq and various insurgent groups such as the 1920s Revolution Brigades. The Mujahideen Shura denied the authenticity of Abu Osama al-Mujahid’s statement, and has called it a fabrication created by the “Crusader’s coalition.” As Mr. Kohlmann notes, The Mujahideen Shura is very interested in obscuring the “lingering hesitation of some Sunni insurgents in Iraq to join on the bandwagon of Al-Qaida in dismantling the final vestiges of the Iraqi nation.”

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal.

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5 Comments

  • Michael says:

    It is obvious from our entry into Afghanistan and Iraq we have gathered a treasure trove of information on our enemy as well, much still not for public consumption I’m sure. This surely has helped our armed forces and intelligence agencies to gain insight and connect the dots we needed prior to 9/11.
    We were dependent largely upon ex-patriots of Iraq and Afghanistan for limited info. If anything, the war in Iraq has allowed us to flush out terrorist connections from Egypt to Somalia, Sudan to European countries and all in between. We’ve seen how the Mosque and religious leaders are utilized to provide pathways from Europe thru Pakistan for example into terrorist camps and back again.
    What we found is a fairly elaborate system networked thru religious facilitators, charity institutions, educational institutions, rich Arab financial contributors, and even governments in what we assumed were our allies.
    I am at times dumbfounded why anyone would think we would be safer 10, 20 years from now if we held to status-quo and let Iraq be under Saddam. As I read your blog, CT Blog, SW and so many others I’ve found, it is obvious that a sustained war(ideological, terrorist) has been going on long before most civilians fully comprehended it(including me), on a sophisticated level of organized structures with tribal and religious affiliations.
    Staying in Iraq, not just for purposes of opinion, but for the very information gained is so important. We need to free a people and send a strong message to the enemy, yes. But also establish a new front, into their world to gain insight and knowledge of how they operate, think, live.
    What is interesting to see, is that so far the civilian government has yet to take on Imams and Mosque with any severe threats or shutting them down – as far as I know. Until they do, much of the violence will continue. Because it is the Imams the people follow.
    If we return to status quo, the enemy will return stronger than ever.
    I wish our politicians could explain how important it is with clarity to our public.
    Well, this statement is probably obvious for most here.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    I’d just point out that MSC’s claim that they have formed a Sunni Islamic State is far from reality. While they certainly have the ability to cause death and destruction, they don’t control any real estate.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Soldier’s Dad,
    Coudn’t agree with you more. Declaring the state and actually having one is certainly quite different.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    SD, Bill.
    Too true.
    – I suspect that 30 of the 36 Anbar tribes might disagree with that claim to statehood.
    – I also suspect the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th IA Divisions that own parts of that state’s battlespace might disagree.
    – Not to mention the coalition “guests”…

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