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.”