Abdullah al Janabi openly preaches in Fallujah mosque

Abdullah al Janabi, the former emir of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Fallujah, an umbrella group that was formed by al Qaeda and was the precursor to the Islamic State of Iraq, has returned to Fallujah and is openly preaching at a large mosque there. Janabi is leading the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham in Fallujah, and has even established a “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.” From Reuters, which details how the ISIS and its tribal allies are in firm control of the city:

In Fallujah, it distributed leaflets on Thursday announcing a new “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” to enforce its strict Islamic code, residents said.

That recalled memories of the harsh Islamic courts set up in Falluja when the city was dominated by an umbrella group known as the Mujahideen Shura Council from late 2005 to 2006.

Dozens of youths accused of collaborating with the U.S. occupation were executed on the orders of these courts.

A leader of that council, Abdullah al-Janabi, who was also prominent in an ISIL precursor called the Islamic State of Iraq, returned to Fallujah two days after its takeover this year.

“Blood is on the hands of all policemen. Police buildings were used to torture and to extract confessions … and must be cleansed,” the Sunni cleric told worshippers at the Saad bin Abi Waqas mosque in northern Falluja on Friday.

“We swear by God almighty and the blood of martyrs that the Safavid army will not enter the city except over our dead bodies,” he said, in a derogatory reference to the Iraqi army.

About 200 masked militants using looted police vehicles guarded the road leading to the mosque, where worshippers were checked for weapons before Janabi’s sermon at weekly prayers.

Janabi did the same thing back in 2004, when al Qaeda took control of Fallujah. He set up sharia courts that dispensed harsh rulings that made the Taliban look soft. He welcomed foreign fighters into the city. Janabi was a close ally of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s deputy, Omar Hadid. From The New York Times, dated Nov. 25, 2004:

Mr. Janabi, a 53-year-old cleric, cemented his position as leader of Fallujah’s resistance after last April’s aborted Marine invasion, when the city solidified into a rebel bastion.

An adherent of the Salafiya sect of Sunni Islam, a fundamentalist branch followed by Osama bin Laden and the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Mr. Janabi set up a strict Taliban-like regime in Fallujah. He named himself head of the mujahideen council and provided safe haven for foreigners like Mr. Zarqawi and anyone willing to take up arms against the Americans or the interim Iraqi government. He worked closely with a Fallujah native believed to be Mr. Zarqawi’s second in command, Omar Hadid.

In the weeks before the offensive, Iraqi officials met with other leaders of Fallujah to seek a peace agreement, but they said they did not expect Mr. Janabi or the foreign fighters would obey those leaders even if an agreement were reached.

So, it is safe to say that Fallujah has reverted to its 2004 state, without the US military to oppose al Qaeda.

Iraqi forces have moved towards Fallujah but have stopped short of launching an assault. The government hopes that the tribes will restore the city to government control, just as the US and the interim Iraqi government did prior to the First battle of Fallujah. Keep in mind that it took nine battalions of US troops, a British battalion, and two battalions of Iraqi forces, backed by air, artillery, intelligence, and other combat enablers to wrest control of the city from al Qaeda during the Second Battle of Fallujah. Then, US and Iraqi forces, backed by the tribes, waged a protracted counterinsurgency before al Qaeda was finally ejected in June 2007. [Read Bill Ardolino’s book, ‘Fallujah Awakens,’ on the counterinsurgency campaign.]

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

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  • Joseph says:

    The Iraqi government has lost precious time that the ISIS has used to dig in. Any future fighting will be a bloodbath.

  • blert says:

    The 1982 Hama massacre, in Syria, by Assad, is the most likely template for any Shi’a assault on Fallujah.
    Today’s Iraqi Army simply does not have the precision to slice their way through the town. (It’s really too small to term it a city.)
    It’s notable that Baghdad is requesting heavy weapons — on the hurry up — from DC.
    There arrival will dictate events. Don’t be shocked if the counter-campaign takes months to unfold.
    As baby Assad could tell you, blow-back is a real headache.
    The fanatics that are being enabled now will come to be a true nightmare for their sponsors in the fullness of time. For, they surely don’t respect authority, and must, by the end, become the leading force to overthrow ALL of the existing Arab elites.
    As for Maliki, this travail is the inevitable outcome for a politician that is hot enough to sentence his own peers to death in absentia — whence they flee to Turkey. Perfect.
    “Tariq al-Hashimi (Arabic: طارق الهاشمي‎ Țāriq al-Hāshamī; born 1942)[2] … Hashimi fled to Iraqi Kurdistan to avoid arrest on murder charges. The Central Criminal Court of Iraq convicted him and sentenced him in absentia to death on 9 September 2012.[3][4] As of April 2012, Hashimi is living in Ankara, Turkey, with the assurance that he will not be extradited.[4][5]”
    The entire sequence of events looks to an outsider like Tehran was pulling the strings all along the way.
    Maliki was happy to play their poodle. The street talk is that he’s as hot-headed as any to come down the pike.
    Of course, LONG before the blow-up, the ranking Sunnis, all of them, boycotted Baghdad’s political scene. Ethnic cleansing had purged the capital city of Sunnis.
    So they just ‘phone in their objections.’
    The Maliki administration had enough votes to steam roll legislation through, come what may.
    On current trends, I don’t see how the European invoked borders can endure much longer.

  • Michael Green says:

    “He set up sharia courts that dispensed ‘harsh’ rulings”
    Interesting choice of words to describe the depraved acts of savagery carried out by these barbaric Islamist murderers.

  • SlayerMill says:

    Have you ever been to Fallujah? Definitely big enough to be considered a city, and well built up in parts too. I think you’d agree that the fight for Fallujah is over though. I’ve worked with the Iraqi army and they’re completely useless. They don’t have the heart nor the resources to retake the city.

  • Moreover, many things in the Reuters article are not correct. For instance, he returned to Fallujah more than two years ago.


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