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July 1, 2006 No.
284

Al-Zarqawi: A Post Mortem Prior to His Killing, Al-Zarqawi had Lost His Sunni Allies

By: D. Hazan*

Introduction

Though Abu-Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi is no longer a player in the Iraqi arena, it is important to review and analyze the military and political circumstances in Iraq surrounding his killing. This report presents the deterioration, prior to Al-Zarqawi's death, of his relations with his Sunni allies, which had reached the point of violent clashes and mutual killings. This violence emanated from the increased political participation by Sunni organizations and parties in the elections and, subsequently, in the establishment of a new democratic government in Iraq - and from Al-Zarqawi's opposition to these developments.

Al-Zarqawi realized that this process was isolating him more and more, and that, consequently, the threat to his life was increasing. This realization led him to react in a contradictory, almost hysterical manner, repeatedly alternating between threats and pleas. On the one hand, he escalated his threats against his Sunni allies who had turned to take part in the political process in Iraq - first in the 2005 elections and later in the establishment of the new government. On the other hand, he implored them in flattering tones not to lay down their weapons but to continue the jihad, comparing them to the Prophet Muhammad's warriors. The following are examples:

In his January 8, 2006 speech, Al-Zarqawi begins by calling the Sunnis "the next enemy... like evil that is hidden and lurking." He then reminds them of their great accomplishments so far: "[The losses you have caused to the U.S.] include over 15,000 wounded and killed and over half a trillion dollars [spent]... and we say that these figures are the figures [released by] the Crusader enemy and are much lower than the true figures...." He reminds the faithless Sunnis that "abandoning [the duty] of jihad is considered unbelief," and warns ominously: "This is the last call to the Sunnis in general and to the supporters of the Islamic Party in particular: Whither are they leading you, and on what path are you walking?" He ends by once again exhorting the Sunnis, "Accordingly, do not be the harbingers of evil for the nation of the Prophet [Muhammad], and do not choose for yourselves a destiny of failure - because its end is evil and lamentable," and again to reassures them that "the U.S. is now drawing its final breaths, and is about to fall, owing to the attacks of the jihad fighters in Afghanistan and in Iraq."

In his April 21 video, Al-Zarqawi follows a similar pattern, warning the defecting Sunnis: "Allah said: 'And whoever amongst you takes them [the Jews and Christians] for a friend, is surely one of them' [1]... We hereby renew our call and warn anyone who is acting for the deployment and the establishment of the [Iraqi] military and police apparatuses, which were established [from the outset] in order to implement the plans of the occupiers and to instill a regime that is not according to [the Koran] brought down by Allah. Beware of anyone who joins apparatuses like these, which collaborate [with the enemy]. I have sworn that among us they will find nothing but a sharp sword, and that between us and them [there will be] battles the horrors of which will turn the young men's hair white..." (See excerpts in this document, below).

Changing tack, Al-Zarqawi then urges the Sunnis to carry on waging jihad, because victory is nigh: [2] "Continue your jihad, intensify your operations, and multiply your blows. By Allah, these are the victories of Islam. By Allah, these are the final moments before the servants of the cross declare their defeat in the Land of the Two Rivers. Collapse of the motivation to fight has become the most prominent characteristic of the armies of the Crusaders."

He then entreats: "Where are the lions of the Al-Anbar province? Where are the lions of the Salah Al-Din province? Where are the men of Baghdad? Where are the knights of Nineveh and the heroes of Al-Diyala? Where are the heroes of Kurdistan? Where are you, lions of monotheism, oh descendents of Khaled and Al-Muthana, of Sa'd, Al-Miqdad, and Salah Al-Din? Where are the muhajirun? Where are the ansar? Where are the people of surat Al-Tuba and surat Al-Anfal, of the Koranic chapters of conquest and fighting? Oh, vanguard of the nation - who will help the bereaved mothers? Who will help the women in the prisons of the Crusaders? Who will help the pure women in the prisons of the hatred-filled Rafidite Shi'ites? By Allah, there is no life except the life of the world to come."

He then turns back to threats and warnings: "Beware not to lay down your weapons, for your lot will be sorrow, regret, shame, and humiliation in this world and in the world to come. You used to pray day and night for Allah to open before you the path of jihad for the sake of Allah in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and elsewhere. Then Allah made ready for you the jihad deal in your own land. He opened the gates of Paradise for you, and wanted your own good - beware, oh mujahidoon, not to close these gates by your sins."

It is important to note that Al-Zarqawi's and Al-Qaeda's isolation in Iraq has ramifications also for Al-Zarqawi's successor, who will sooner or later face the same situation. This was the main concern behind a document released after Al-Zarqawi's death by the general leadership of the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF); in it, the group attempted to deny that Al-Zarqawi and Al-Qaeda were becoming increasingly isolated from their former Sunni allies - which was in fact already widely known to the Arab public (see Appendix).

The following is a comprehensive review of the deterioration of the relations between Al-Zarqawi and his Sunni allies in the last few months, which led to his increasing isolation prior to his killing.

Background

Prior to the Iraqi elections on December 15, 2005, and even more so in their aftermath, tensions were on the rise between Al-Qaeda in Iraq, under Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, and Sunni elements that had been in favor of participating in the elections and had even cooperated with the elected Iraqi government.

According to reports in the Arab papers and on the Islamist websites, in late 2005 and early 2006 these tensions had reached the point of violent clashes between Al-Zarqawi and the Sunni tribes and the expulsion of Al-Zarqawi's men from various regions under Sunni control by local residents. On his part, Al-Zarqawi condemned the Sunni Iraqi Islamic party, accusing it of "selling the religion and ending jihad in exchange for a parliamentary seat," and called on Sunnis, particularly the Iraqi Islamic Party, to mobilize for jihad and to stop cooperating with the American forces, lest they be harmed.

On January 15, 2006, Al-Zarqawi established the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters (majlis shura al-mujahideen) with the aim of stopping the conflict between him and the Sunnis, as well as presenting a unified front against the common American enemy. The council included several Sunni organizations.

In January and February, news items were published about the trilateral agreements signed between various Sunni tribes, the Iraqi government and the American forces. Under these agreements, the tribes were to take responsibility for security in their regions, to hunt down Al-Zarqawi's men and to thwart their operations. Later, however, some tribal representatives denied these reports.

This report will present translations of excerpts from the following documents:

  1. A January 2006 audiocassette by Al-Zarqawi, circulated on Islamist websites.
  2. An official declaration by Al-Qaeda in Iraq on the establishment of the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq.
  3. Various reports in the Arab press and on Islamist websites on the tensions between Al-Qaeda and Sunni resistance elements in Iraq, and on trilateral agreements between Iraqi Sunni tribes, elements in the Iraqi government and the American forces.
  4. An April 21, 2006 video by Al-Zarqawi, circulated on Islamist websites.

I. Al-Zarqawi's January 2006 Audiocassette

In an audiocassette posted January 8, 2006 on Islamist websites, Al-Zarqawi condemns the Sunnis who are cooperating with the "infidels," accusing them of undertaking to safeguard the security of the Americans in exchange for a seat in the Iraqi parliament. In the recording, Al-Zarqawi calls on the Sunnis, and particularly on the Iraqi Islamic Party - for the last time, he warns - to join the jihad for the sake of Allah, and he makes it clear to them that if the jihad fighters weaken, their women and their honor would not be protected for a moment. The following are translated excerpts from the audiocassette:

*"The Most Dangerous... are the Ones who Advocate [Iraqi] Nationalism... The Crusaders Will Use Them to Harm the Jihad Fighters"

"The most dangerous of the hypocrites today are the ones who advocate [Iraqi] nationalism, [3] and those who affiliate themselves falsely with Salafism. [4] They... mislead the ignorant [claiming that] they are fighting against the enemies and striving to liberate the land from the yoke of the occupation - while [in actuality] they feel enmity towards the shari'a and fight those who preach it... By Allah, they are the ones who are the next enemy, and they are like evil that is hidden and lurking, and the Crusaders will use them to harm the jihad fighters...

"The Crusaders' concessions on some of their aspirations do not abolish the great plan; on the one hand, they are conceding something and on the other hand they are acting to carry out their greater plan. Similarly, every time their possible defeat [has appeared imminent], this was spared them [in that the rebels' operations were halted]. When will those who slavishly follow the promises of the infidels realize that they are deluding themselves, and that when they negotiate about calming the situation they are giving the infidels an opportunity to attack them?"

*The U.S. Will "Never Find Better Help in the Region Than That of the Shi'ites as a Tool to Destroy Islam"

"These sights are meant to recur today in the new Crusader war that is taking place in Iraq, out of [the U.S.'s] desire to strengthen the Jews and to extend its [own era of] being the only [superpower], by taking control of the richest land in the world. Because it [the U.S.] knew that it would never find better help in this region than that of the Shi'ites, as a tool for destroying Islam, it has turned this help [from the Shi'ites] and its reliance on them into a constant accompaniment to the measures of its criminal plan.

"After the U.S.'s nay-saying at the beginning of its Crusader plan in Iraq, there began a series of concessions [by the U.S.], that constantly increase as the scope of its losses in Iraq increases - to the point where it has lately [begun to] beg for the aid of those whom it had until recently kicked, and whose heads it had trampled...

"The true scope of the losses has begun to become clear. They include over 15,000 wounded and killed and over half a trillion dollars [spent]... and we say that these figures are the figures [released by] the Crusader enemy and are much lower than the true figures. From the beginning of the jihad fighters' operations following the fall of the Ba'th regime until today, some 800 martyrdom [i.e. suicide] operations have been carried out against Crusader military targets and convoys, and this does not include the attacks, the ambushes, the explosive devices, the firing of missiles, et cetera. In our estimation, to date the Crusader losses in Iraq total no less than 40,000 troops..."

*The Iraqi Islamic Party has Sold the Religion and Halted the Jihad in Exchange for Parliamentary Seats

"The Iraqi Islamic Party, whose history with jihad and with the Sunnis is well known, is the one that wanted to be the lifesaver for the U.S. in the first battle of Falluja - which would have destroyed the American presence in Iraq had it not been for the hudna [i.e. temporary ceasefire] that this party worked so hard to attain, and which saved the American master from the quagmire in which it had sunk, after the noose drew tighter around the neck of the Crusader and the Shi'ite forces around Falluja, and after the jihad fighters cut them off from their supply lines and burned the ground under their feet...

"It was [the Iraqi Islamist Party] that gladdened the hearts of Bush and his gang by signing the last-minute agreement that breathed life into the [Iraqi] constitution - which should have been stillborn. This constitution was rejected even by the advocates of [Iraqi] nationalism, but 'those in the know' in this party found no difficulty in accepting it and turning it into [a document] that regulates Muslim life in Iraq instead of the Koran and the Sunna of the Prophet [which should regulate Muslim life], claiming that… the Crusader infidel promised them the option to introduce additional sections to it [i.e. to the constitution], [thus] ensuring that it can be amended in the future...

"The [Iraqi Islamist] Party bribed some of the tribal sheikhs in order to convince them of the need to participate in the elections, [and also received] a commitment by the tribal sheikhs to safeguard the security of the American forces in their areas, in exchange for a seat in parliament. The religion is sold and jihad is shirked in exchange for a seat in parliament… This is the political solution preached by the [Iraqi] Islamist Party and its allies. By Allah, how base you are if you exchange your Lord's satisfaction for crumbs from the tables of the brothers of apes and pigs [i.e. the Jews] and of the worshippers of the cross. I wonder whether you believe in part of the Koran and don't believe in another part. The U.S. would not be begging for solutions from some Sunnis [unless it realized] that its military apparatus does not have the capability to eliminate the jihad fighters..."

*"We Will Not Stop the Attacks Until Islam Triumphs and Shari'a is Established - Or Until We Die for its Sake"

"We have demands that we will not retract until we fulfill our obligations to Allah by being killed as shahids or by being victorious and living happily under the rule of Allah. Our demands are: The expulsion of the invaders from our lands in Palestine and in Iraq, and in the rest of the lands of Islam; the establishment of shari'a [law] throughout the world; the dissemination of the justice of Islam; and the elimination of the oppression by [other] religions.

"We will not stop the attacks until Islam triumphs and shari'a is established - or until we die for its sake. We direct the attention of our Sunni brothers in Iraq to a number of important things, and they are:

"It will sadden us to arrest one of you, or even to harm him with half a word - but the path to salvation lies not in surrender to the infidels or in consent out of ignorance, but in jihad, which is the only means of attaining glory and the mercy [of Allah]...

"When a man is killed or arrested, this is not humiliation; humiliation is a situation in which a man is prevented from observing the religion of his God in the world. Humiliation is when you see the Jews doing as they wish amongst the Muslims, yet you are silent and cannot act, you are bound and cannot free yourself. Humiliation is when the Crusaders and their aides can take control, and can build themselves [military] bases and then set forth from them to kill Muslims and to fight Allah and His Messenger. Humiliation is seeing your sisters crying out from the oppression of the Crusader jailer while you are at ease and free of care...

"Not waging jihad, tending towards and being addicted to the affairs of this world, and submission to an infidel rule and its oppression will over time generate submissive, disgraced, and humiliated people to whom disgrace and humiliation will taste good, and they will become accustomed to a life of repression and enslavement to someone other than Allah, and will no longer see any of these things as condemned, and will certainly not [attempt] to repel them, since they will be people who are led and dragged.

"Abandoning [the commandment] of jihad is considered unbelief [even] in the eyes of he who has a minimum of belief in his heart. Accordingly, with a look to the future, extinguishing the flame and the ember of jihad in [the heart of] the [Muslim] nation constitutes nothing but handing over the [Muslim] nation, obedient and humiliated, into the hands of its enemies. Allah save us from those who love to talk about the prohibitions and the damages [involved] in jihad [but] say not a word about the unbelief of abandoning jihad...

"The price of jihad for the sake of Allah, as high and as onerous as it may be, is not in any way comparable to the price of humiliation and disgrace [and the price of] the loss of religion and [freedom in] this world [which will be the lot of the Muslims if they abandon jihad]. It should be noted that the infidel regime does not settle for enslavement to it, but completely uproots the believers from their religion, and [thus] they lose [their freedom] in this world and are doomed to the punishment of Hell in the world to come - and how bitter their end is. Is there any greater unbelief than this, and can this unbelief be weighed against clinging to life, property, position, high status, organizational status, or scientific status? Furthermore, this clinging, for the sake of which jihad is being abandoned, is itself the true temptation by which the believer is tested, and which threatens to uproot him from his religion..."

*"This is the Last Call to the Sunnis in General and to the Supporters of the Islamic Party in Particular"

"We could have interfered with the elections in most of the regions in Iraq, but we refrained from doing so, for fear of killing ordinary Sunnis who have been defrauded by the imams of deviation from the right path. We expected the Crusaders to betray them [i.e. the Sunnis]; [we knew] that they would be tempted into the trap that was expertly set for them.

"We call on the Islamic Party to abandon this path of obstacles and the deadly slope that it has taken - which has nearly led to the loss of the Sunnis, and entangled them in a preference for this world and in coming to terms with the infidel regime, which they [excuse] by [evoking considerations of the general good that are permitted according to] shari'a. It would have been better for them to call people to jihad for the sake of Allah, and to be sad about our sisters and brothers sitting in the prisons of the Cross-worshippers, and not to dance with joy in the streets following a sham victory. Where is the zeal for the religion and for the Muslims? This is the last call to the Sunnis in general and to the supporters of the Islamic Party in particular: Whither are they leading you, and on what path are you walking? Don't you fear Allah... When it is clear to all that the Crusader enemy is defeated in his war with the jihad fighters, you throw him a rescue rope, out of forgetfulness of Islam. By Allah, we are very concerned about you and very fearful [for your souls]. Beware the preachers at the gates of Hell...

"The jihad fighters are the armor of the [Muslim] nation, and its steadfast [defensive] wall; it is they who defend their religion and their family honor. By Allah, if the jihad fighters weaken, then in that instant your women and your honor will be undefended. Oh people of the Sunna, you have sacrificed and invested much; those among us who were killed were killed for the sake of Islam and for the sake of preserving the Islamic nation. Accordingly, do not be the harbingers of evil for the nation of the Prophet [Muhammad], and do not choose for yourselves a destiny of failure - because its end is evil and lamentable.

"Our teacher and commander, the fighting lion Osama bin Laden, said in his message to the residents of Iraq: 'Know that this war is a new Crusade against the Muslim world; it is a fateful war for the entire [Muslim] nation, and it has grave ramifications and severe outcomes with regard to Islam and the Muslims, whose end only Allah knows.'

"Oh young people of Islam, in every place, and primarily in the countries neighboring [Iraq] and in Yemen, you must gird your loins, go out to wage jihad, and follow the path of the truth [of Islam], [5] and not act like those who follow their urges and fear going out to jihad and not [like those] who are biased in favor of the oppressors, lest they frighten you and hinder you from going out to this blessed jihad.

"Voices have been heard in Iraq - as were heard previously in Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and other countries - calling to resolve [the problems] with the governments that betrayed Islam, or with the Jewish and Crusader invaders, in peaceful and democratic ways, instead of fighting for the sake of Allah. Accordingly, [we] must warn of the severity of the danger that lies in this mistaken and misleading path, which runs counter to the path of Allah and which hinders going out to war for the sake of Allah. How can it be that you are willing to obey those who never went out to fight for the sake of Allah - when jihad has become a personal obligation! Won't you correct your path? For they [who reject waging jihad] are the same ones... who seek to bring upon themselves the tyranny of human beings - [that is,] democracy, the religion of unbelief - by joining legislative councils. They have deviated from the right path, and misled many people."

*"The U.S. is Now Drawing its Final Breaths"

"This is the message to the Islamic nation...: Our [military] operations are about to come, one after the other, and with Allah's help they will deal the Crusaders a defeat from which they will not recover in Iraq… Allah has decreed the downfall [of the U.S.], and has set upon it the armies of heaven and earth. Behold, storms [i.e. hurricanes] have come upon [the American people], one after another, and before they [can] forget the damage and the suffering of one storm, behold, another comes... And behold, [we see] that the troops of the U.S. Army are being abducted by the jihad fighters in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The U.S. is now drawing its final breaths, and is about to fall, owing to the attacks of the jihad fighters in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Everything you hear from the mouth of the White House liar - [namely that] the situation in Iraq is constantly improving, and that the Iraqi army has begun to bear its responsibility and take control of Baghdad and additional places - is a complete lie and is false. The Shi'ite army - into which Bush, the enemy of Allah, is breathing life so that it will defend his back from the blows of the jihad fighters - is incapable of defending itself from the swords of the faithful of Allah, and its morale is very low, and fear and horror are spreading through its ranks..." [6]

II. Al-Qaeda in Iraq's Declaration of the Establishment of the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq

On January 15, 2006, the Islamist websites published an announcement from Al-Qaeda in Iraq in which the organization declared the establishment of the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq - comprising some of the Sunni jihad organizations in Iraq, including Al-Qaeda. The announcement claimed that the establishment of this council was aimed at leading the struggle against the infidels, uniting the voice and the ranks of the jihad fighters, and preventing disputes amongst them. The following is a translation of excerpts of the announcement:

"The Crusader armies, their Shi'ite supporters, and the secularists have attacked the abode of the Caliphs - Baghdad - and struck the Muslims as one, out of a desire to bring about the victory of their unbelief and to actualize the dreams of their Jewish masters.

"In the more than two and a half years that have passed [since then], the situation in Iraq has overturned, and the pace of events [in it] has stepped up, after Allah blessed the jihad of a small group of the pioneers of this nation. Recently, we are witness to the uniting of many different elements of unbelief. [This] obliges the supporters of monotheism from amongst the Sunnis, who have chosen the path of jihad and war against the infidels of all different kinds, to unite for the sake of the victory [of the path] of Allah, out of the agreement and friendship among them, declaring war against the unbelief and striving towards the goal regarding which no neutral position can be taken and from which there can be no retreat - as written in the Koran: 'And fight them until there is no more internal strife and the religion is all for Allah.' [7]...

"The following jihad organizations have decided to establish a council called the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq: Al-Qaeda in Iraq; Jaysh Al-Taifa Al-Mansoura; Saraya Ansar Al-Tawhid; Saraya Al-Jihad Al-Islami; Saraya Al-Ghuraba; Kataib Al-Ahwal. [They are doing this] in order to lead the struggle in the battle front and to halt the Crusader infidels and their hangers-on amongst the traitors; to unite the voice and ranks of the jihad fighters; to cling to the covenant of Allah... and to abandon divisiveness and disagreement... to stand as a united army [following] the path of the Prophet [Muhammad] in jihad... The jihad fighters emphasize that there is no difference between an Arab infidel and a foreign infidel. The council calls on our jihad-fighter brothers to join and unite the ranks...

"We expect more jihad organizations to join, among them: Jaysh Ansar Al-Sunna; Jaysh Al-Rashidin; Al-Jaysh Al-Islami; Jami' [the Iraqi Islamic Resistance Front]; Jaysh Ahl Al-Sunna Wa'Al Jama'a; the Islamic Movement of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq' [and] Jaysh Al-Mujahideen.

"[Signed,] The Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq

Abu Misra Al-Iraqi" [8]

The announcement of the Shura Council's establishment aroused speculation about the implications regarding the position of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and particularly regarding Al-Zarqawi's position. Some saw the council's establishment as a removal of Al-Zarqawi from his role in the wake of Sunni protests against the fact that a Jordanian citizen (i.e. Al-Zarqawi) was the leader of the Sunni resistance in Iraq.

On January 22, 2006, a document on this issue, titled "Al-Zarqawi has Given the Leadership of the New Organization He has Declared to an Iraqi Commander," was posted on the Islamist Al-Hesbah website. The following are translated excerpts from this document:

"Knowledgeable Iraqi sources connected to the affairs of the armed [Islamist] organizations have said that Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, commander of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, has given the leadership of the new organization whose establishment he declared [i.e. the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq] to an Iraqi commander. The sources [based this claim on] the new organization's recent announcement, of January 20, 2006, which was circulated in some regions of Baghdad... [and] was signed by 'Abdallah Rashid Al-Baghdadi, Commander of the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq,' and not by Al-Zarqawi, as [was] usual in Al-Qaeda announcements.

"Observers said that this change followed extensive criticism of the [Al-Qaeda] organization by the Iraqi resistance movements because of the insult to their honor [caused by the fact] that they are acting under a non-Iraqi commander..." [9]

In an announcement posted January 29, 2006 on the Islamist websites, the new Shura Council welcomed the Jayish Ahl Al-Sunna Wa Al Jama'a group's decision to join the council: "Jaysh Al-Sunna Wa Al Jama'a has decided to join the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq, and the council welcomes the brothers who advocate monotheism and strengthens their hand, and announces that the doors are open to all who wish to join"... [10]

III. Arab Press Reports on the Violent Clashes Between Al-Zarqawi and Sunni Organizations

The Arab press and the Islamist websites reported on tension between Al-Zarqawi's men and the Sunni resistance organizations; this tension had reached the point of violent clashes and street battles, and Al-Qaeda members had even been expelled from Sunni cities. This came after the Iraqis in most Sunni cities had defied Al-Qaeda following its threats to kill all those who voted in the elections, coming to the polling booths en masse, and also after agreements were signed between the Iraqi Sunni tribes, the Iraqi government representatives and U.S. military forces with the aim of hampering the activity of Al-Qaeda members. The following is a translation of excerpts from these reports:

On January 13, 2006, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published statements by Iraqi fighters on the internal war between the local armed groups and Al-Zarqawi's organization, and on the series of incidents and confrontation between them: "In an interview, two rebels said that, in October [2005], a group of local fighters from the Al-Jaysh Al-Islami organization in Iraq stood at a street corner in the Al-Taji region in northern Baghdad, with members of Al-Qaeda in Iraq - most of whom were Arabs from outside Iraq, some wearing explosive belts. The Al-Jaysh Al-Islami members accused the Al-Qaeda fighters of murdering their members. The confrontation ended in anger...

"A few days later, on October 23, [2005], a bloody battle broke out in the streets of the city between Al-Qaeda and Al-Jaysh Al-Islami, and it was one of the many clashes in past months between Al-Qaeda and opposing local Iraqi groups in the Sunni Triangle...

"Samarra lies north of Baghdad, and it has infiltrators from among the Al-Qaeda fighters. In September [2005], [Sheikh] Hikmat Mumtaz Al-Baz went to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi defense minister and ask for his help. A few weeks later, the sheikh was murdered by armed gunmen from Al-Qaeda, near his home... The tribe was angry, and its members hunted down the three who had committed the murder, and the tribal leaders put them on trial and interrogated them for days... Tribesmen raided the city and arrested 17 armed men as connected to the sheikh's murder, and in one of the houses they raided there were people from Sudan, Morocco, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.

"In response to the attack by the tribesmen, the Al-Qaeda fighters attacked [in retaliation] and [one of them] - an Arab, apparently of Saudi origin - who was wearing an explosive belt blew himself up at the sheikh's funeral, killing one and wounding two... As a lesson to all those connected to the sheikh's murder, the tribesmen killed the three who had committed the murder...

"From most of the testimony, it emerges that Al-Qaeda remains the group that is the strongest fighter and has the most funding in Iraq, but in most of the Sunni cities the Iraqis [nevertheless] challenged Al-Qaeda's threats and went to the polling booths en masse for the December 15, 2005 elections...

"The disputes between the local resistors and the Al-Qaeda fighters over Al-Qaeda's tactics are nothing new. Abu Al-Layl, who fought in the city of Al-Taji in October [2005], points out, for example, that in the meeting with the Al-Qaeda fighters that he attended in late 2003... the local rebels demanded that the foreign fighters leave Iraq...

"The residents of Al-dhalu'iya, north of Baghdad, see the rebels as the ones responsible for their isolation... The enthusiasm [among the Sunnis in Al-dhalu'iya] to vote [for the constitution] caused Al-Qaeda to try and implement the threats, and during the night its men hung posters threatening to slaughter anyone who voted. Two days before the vote, a group of Al-Qaeda fighters met with the imam of one of the local mosques and told him that voting was against the Koran. According to the imam - who spoke anonymously out of fear for his life - two men who seemed to be Algerian and Syrian promised to kill anyone who took down the posters, but [nevertheless] five imams removed the posters and Al-Qaeda understood the city's message; on voting day, the people thronged to the polling booths...

"Abu Muruwa, the commander of a group of resistors from Al-Yousefiya, south of Baghdad, noted... that the quarrel with Al-Qaeda began on October 13 [2005], when a group of people, apparently Syrians, kidnapped a relative of his and took him to the village of Karakul, which is under Al-Qaeda control... When they prevented gunmen from [Abu Marwa] from entering the village, he returned and infiltrated into it during the night. There he found his relative in a local operating room, his body punctured and his nose cut off, and burn marks scattered across his body. He mobilized a group of people to avenge the murder of his relative. In late October [2005], after they managed to locate the two Syrians from Al-Qaeda, they prepared their plan of vengeance and killed the two..." [11]

Al-Hayat reported an escalation in the conflict between the armed Iraqi organizations and the Al-Qaeda linked organizations in Iraq: "The escalation [began] with the conflict between the armed Iraqi organizations headed by Al-Jaysh Al-Islami, Kata'ib Thawrat Al-‘Ishrin and Jama'at Al-Mujahideen, and the organizations connected to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, headed by Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi. [Al-Zarqawi] declared the establishment of the Shura Council, comprising six factions, most of them anonymous, in advance of possible conflict in Al-Anbar and in a number of Sunni cities, following the proliferation of attacks by the takfir men [i.e. Al-Qaeda members] against the volunteer police and against clerics - the most recent of which [was the murder of] a prominent member of the Islamic Party.

"Al-Zarqawi's announcement [see translation above] is directed to the residents of the Sunni regions, which is currently suffering a wave of violent rebellion against what they call 'the takfir organizations' that they are accusing of murder; [those murdered] include clerics who have supporters amongst the Sunnis, such as Sheikh Iyad Al-'Azi, Sheikh Hamza Al-'Isawi, and, recently, Sheikh Abd Al-Ghaphoor Al-Rawi, who was murdered yesterday [January 15, 2006] by unknown men in the Al-Tamim neighborhood east of Al-Ramadi, just as he left the Imam Al-Shafi'i mosque in the city. This incident [i.e. the murder] followed warnings sent by Al-Zarqawi in the past to the Islamic Party, to which Al-Rawi belonged, and an attack against the Sunni volunteer police that that caused the killing of dozens of Al-Ramadi's young people...

"Sources close to the scene of the events in the Sunni areas reported that in the past few days there have been confrontations with Al-Zarqawi's men in Samarra, in Al-Salawia, and in Biji, and that the leaders of the tribes and the armed organizations in 'Aana, Rawa, and Haditha, west of Al-Anbar, have warned [Al-Zarqawi] to leave the place." [12]

On January 30, 2006, the Iraqi Al-Zaman paper reported that "sheikhs of the tribes in Al-Ramadi said that the explosion that harmed the [police] volunteers was not the main reason for the battles that broke out between the city residents and Al-Zarqawi's men, because the disagreement with the Al-Qaeda members had been getting steadily worse since the [December 15, 2005] elections, after the Al-Qaeda organization saw whoever voted in the elections as a traitor who must be killed. According to [the sheikhs], Al-Zarqawi's men sent threats to those who participated [in the elections], and then came the kidnappings and murders that led to the death of some Al-Ramadi residents.

"These sheikhs noted that the activity of tribes’ leaders began to pick up speed after the extremist groups issued many various fatwas. They stressed that the city's residents were determined to liberate their city from the Al-Qaeda supporters." [13]

On February 2, 2006, the Al-Sabah newspaper, which is close to the Iraqi government, reported: "The terrorists, who fled the Al-Karama [region], the Al-Khaldiyya [region] and other regions in Al-Anbar, have begun to situate themselves in wadis and caves in the Al-Naba'i [region], and have turned them into the places in which they train, reside, and hide their kidnap victims. At the same time, there is growing popular awareness in Iraq’s western regions of the [need] to expel and hunt down terrorists and dry up their sources of funding.

"This position consolidated following the terror attack that led to the killing of 70 [police] volunteers, on December 5, 2005. This was the spark that awoke the tribes of the Al-Anbar district and [led to] their decision to declare war on terrorism - [a decision] that earned the support of the tribes all across Iraq. One of the tribal sheikhs said: We suddenly realized our mistake in being in contact with cruel criminals...

"Some of the Al-Khaldiya residents think that in their city there are people who advocate salafiya and takfir [i.e. Al-Zarqawi's men], who have fled the [Al-Karama] region and managed to find shelter in [Al-Khaldiya]; among these are some extremists in the former Iraqi military [under Saddam]... The [Al-Karama] residents are determined to block the terrorists' path, after they succeeded in dismantling and destroying the Abu Naba terrorist network, which was arrested with their help, together with some men who aided them." [14]

On February 7, 2006, Al-Sabah reported on the war declared by the Iraqi tribes on the Iraqi terrorists and the foreigners among them, in an effort to "re-draw the security map" and "rehabilitate the internal Iraqi front": "External political observers and Arab and foreign correspondents who have been following the situation in Iraq have noticed that the trend of events [in Iraq] has changed greatly, after the Iraqi tribes began national activity that plays a significant role in the rehabilitation and strengthening of the internal Iraqi front, after the Iraqis realized the goals and activities of the foreign terrorist groups that are acting so as to unsettle internal security...

"An effective popular effort has begun in the war on terror [that purportedly aims to] liberate [Iraq] from the foreign occupation, [but in fact] involves the most criminal terror operations, intentional harming of innocent Iraqi residents, instigation of internal religious and sectarian disputes, and preparation for civil war among elements of the Iraqi people who have coexisted for years...

"The Iraqi tribesmen noticed how the foreigners coming to Iraq [i.e. the terrorists] seek to crumble Iraq, to squander its resources, and to bring it back to the dark ages, under slogans that are incompatible with Iraqi interests and with the interest of the Iraqi homeland. This has caused them to adopt a patriotic position...

"They [i.e. the tribes] have begun to expel the foreigners and the Iraqis who immigrated to the West and were misled [into coming back to wage jihad]; they have caught 295 terrorists and handed them over to the government authorities. They have begun to hunt down the terrorists and their supporters in the cities of Al-Ramadi, Al-Latifa, Basra, and Mosul, and in all the Iraqi cities where the terrorists tried to hold the residents prisoner, to disrupt their lives, and to prevent government efforts to provide them with services.

"[Now] the residents have discerned that their lives are gradually returning to normal in the cities of Al-Ramadi, Mosul, and Basra, and that quiet has begun to prevail in these regions, since their residents from among the Iraqi tribesmen undertook to defend the [cities] and to protect their residents from the terrorist operations." [15]

The London daily Al-Hayat reported that nine tribes in western Iraq had gotten together to prevent the infiltration of foreigners to Iraqi soil: "One of the sheikhs of the prominent tribes in Samarra said that the Sunni Al-Bubaz tribe had taken upon itself the task of overseeing the movements of the tribes between the cities of the district (Samarra, Tikrit, and Biji), in coordination with the local police there... [The sheikh] stressed that there was almost complete agreement among the [nine] tribes - Al-Bu'abas, Al-Bubaz, Al-Bunisan, Al-Bubdar, Al-Hamadaniyan, Al-Qaysiyin, Al-Jbour, Al-Dulaym, and Al-Janabiyin - to purge the region of Al-Zarqawi's men, to fight the [Islamist] extremist ideology from the bottom up, and to establish a committee for defending the borders of the Salah Al-Din [district] in order to prevent foreign [jihad fighters] from entering it." [16]

At the same time, Al-Zaman wrote, on January 18, 2006, that the Al-Qaeda organization in Iraq remained as strong as ever in certain regions, and that some of the Sunni tribes were continuing to provide it with logistical help: "The Al-Qaeda organization remains extremely strong and effective in the city of Mosul (370 km north of Baghdad) and in the Salah Al-Din province, where there is a Sunni majority.

"In early October [2005], Sheikh Hikmat Mumtaz, from the Salah Al-Din district, went to visit Defense Minister Sa'don Al-Dulymi, in an attempt to prevent military attacks on his city. Seven days later, he was murdered.

"Following this, supporters of Sheikh Hakhmat Mumtaz killed two people, claming that they had confessed to committing the murder on instructions from the Al-Qaeda organization.

"The period of hostility between the sides continued for several months before it reached an ceasefire [hudna] in early February [2006], under which the Al-Qaeda leader was expelled from Samaraa and supporters of Al-Zarqawi stopped operations in the city and killing the Al-Bubaz tribesmen, to which Sheikh Hakhmat Mumtaz had belonged. In exchange, the tribe undertook to provide logistical help to Al-Qaeda in its war against the American forces. Since that time, the issue of killing Iraqis has not been decided [at all], particularly that of [killing] [Iraqi] security apparatus personnel." [17]

On March 2, 2006, Al-Sabah reported: "The sheikhs of the tribes in the Al-Hawija region have declared war on the extremist groups connected to the Al-Qaeda organization in Iraq headed by the terrorist Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi. In a communiqué posted Tuesday [February 28, 2006], the sheikhs permitted the tribes to kill anyone who participated in operations involving sabotage, killing, kidnapping, harm to police and military personnel, harm to oil and gas pipelines, [harm] to trucks and fuel tankers, killing religious and tribal figures, or [killing] professionals, engineers, and doctors. The decision also [permitted the killing of] anyone who carried out an operation that involved something that could cause damage to the residents of Iraq [in general] and to [the residents] of Kirkuk in particular.

"[The sheikhs declared their willingness] to fight every organization that has carried out such operations - particularly the Al-Qaeda organization - and is considered to deviate from the framework of the religion and the Islamic religious law. This decision followed the murders that have afflicted Al-Hawija in the past five weeks... [The sheikhs] called on the Iraqi police and on the military personnel among the city's residents to do their duty and come out against the terror operations [by Al-Zarqawi's men and their allies], and threatened that anyone who did not carry out his function properly and patriotically would be removed from his post." [18]

On March 5, 2006, Al-Sabah reported, in an article titled "Al-Anbar Tribes Tighten the Noose around the Terrorists": "Since [the beginning] of the national popular campaign - the Western Region Tribal Strength and Spirit Campaign - the Al-Anbar tribe has arrested over 1,700 terrorists of various Arab nationalities... including those of Syrian, Jordanian, Saudi, Yemeni, and Algerian nationality, and handed them over to the joint intelligence forces. Dr. Osama bin Jid'an, sheikh of the Al-Barbala tribes, said that all Al-Anbar residents are cooperating in order to protect the safety of the district's residents." [19]

On March 8, 2006, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported: "Over 300 sheikhs, politicians, clerics, security personnel, and other social figures met last week in Al-Hawayjah, located 35 km southwest of Kirkuk, and declared war on the Al-Qaeda organization in Iraq... The sheikhs of the tribes there said that their militias, called the Al-Anbar Revolutionaries, had, during the past months, killed 20 foreign fighters from Al-Qaeda and 33 Iraqi supporters [of Al-Qaeda] who had helped the rebels with arms and with funds." [20]

*The Agreement Among the Iraqi Tribes and the Americans Increases Tension Between Tribes and Al-Zarqawi's Organization

On January 18, 2006, Al-Hayat reported that the Iraqi tribes in the city of Al-Ramadi had agreed to replace the multi-national force in the district with their men, and to expel members of Al-Zarqawi's organization: "Tribal sources in Al-Ramadi said that... in the framework of the agreement among the tribal sheikhs and [Prime Minister Ibrahim] Al-J'afari, U.S. Ambassador [in Iraq] Zalmay Khalilzad, and multinational force commander [Gen.] George Casey, during a meeting last Monday [January 6, 2006] in Al-Ramadi, [the sheikhs] undertook to hobble the armed foreigners and to expel the Al-Qaeda organization, led by Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, [from the region].

"A source close to Al-Ja'afari said that the visit to Al-Ramadi yielded an agreement with the tribes, under which the residents of the city would be recruited to [military] camps for training, and military units would be established to handle the security issue [and] whose main goal will be to resist terror and to hunt down the armed groups, in exchange for the multinational forces' exit from the district...

"This agreement came against the backdrop of contacts that the prime minister conducted with dignitaries and sheikhs from the Al-Daim tribes, that asked [the prime minister to provide] financial, political, and social help in dealing with Al-Zarqawi, who they say is compelling the citizens, by force, to shelter him and his men, many of whom [have come from] outside Iraq. Hathem Al-Musawi, a senior official in the office of Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hakim - the head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution - reported that the delegations from the Al-Anbar tribes asked him to intervene [on their behalf] in the government, and to give [them] political and military help so that they could get rid of the terrorists...

"The tribes of the Al-Khaldiya region, where the Al-Falahat tribe lives, and the Al-Karama region south of Falluja, established popular committees that included the imams of the mosques and educated individuals, in order to educate the residents to cast out violence and terrorism from among them.

"The sources close to the armed Iraqi groups said that Al-Zarqawi's organization is trying to renew the trust between it and the Iraqi resistance elements by taking responsibility for the downing of three American helicopters this week, but that the fighters from amongst the residents of Al-Ramadi and Al-Falluja have placed Al-Zarqawi and his organization in the terror category, and have clashed with some of his allies. In their estimation, resistance and tribal [elements] are trying to push Al-Zarqawi outside the border, peacefully....

"The residents of Al-Anbar are trying to find a way to be rid of [Al-Zarqawi], and some tribes in the city have already permitted his killing, and that of his men, after their men were killed two weeks ago in a suicide attack against the police. In response [to the attack], the Abu Fahed tribe - the biggest of the Al-Dulaym tribes in the region - confronted Al-Zarqawi’s people two days ago [January 16, 2006], and [i.e. the tribe's] sheikh, Nasser Abd Al-Karim Al-Hindawi, one of the prominent candidates for the post of governor of the Al-Anbar district, was killed.

"In Samarra, local committees were established for expelling and removing the foreigners, and the local council was reestablished. The Al-Bubaz tribe of Samarra managed to kill four [people] and expel 11, in the framework of the joint plan [formulated] with the security forces and with the other tribes." [21]

On February 12, 2006, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published an account, by Sheikh Osama Al-Jad'an of the Al-Karabla tribe, on the details of the agreement signed February 7 between some tribes in the Al-Anbar region and the Iraqi government:

"According to the agreement, the Al-Anbar tribes will take responsibility for the struggle against the foreign fighters who have infiltrated into Iraq, and for defending [Iraq's] western border... The number of Iraqi police in Al-Anbar will be increased from about 3,000 to about 11,000 by the end of this year. With regard to the [Iraqi] military forces, there was agreement on the permanent deployment of two military divisions in the district, and that the Iraqi defense ministry would take in 5,000 new [police] volunteers from among the district residents, who would be presented as candidates by the tribes, the parties, and the clerics in the [Al-Anbar] district.

"The two sides agreed to carry out a security plan called 'Defenders of the Desert,' for defending the district's western desert using local fighters, whose number will reach about 1,500 by the end of this year... During the meeting, the Al-Anbar sheikhs asked that the Iraqi government and the multinational forces release all prisoners from the Al-Anbar district, about 19,000 in number, and rehabilitate the district, most of whose cities had been sown with destruction following the military operations that have been carried out in them ever since the fall of [Saddam's] Iraqi regime...

"There will be [a campaign] to increase the awareness of the tribesmen, particularly of those living along the border who host [the jihad fighters who infiltrate into Iraq] out of good will and based on the Arab tradition [of hospitality].

"The meeting [at which the agreement was signed] took place less than a month after the visit of previous Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim Al-J'afari to the Al-Anbar district, during which he met with some tribal sheikhs there and promised to pay $75 million to rehabilitate the district and to give the district additional aid." [22]

On February 10, 2006, Al-Hayat published all the details of the agreement between the tribal heads in the Al-Anbar district and the U.S. and Iraqi commanders. The content of the document is similar to the above, except for the paper's mention of the release of prisoners from Al-Anbar: "Some of the prisoners from among the residents of the Al-Anbar district will be released when the plan is approved, provided that their number is established by representatives of the district, and provided that they are only from the Al-Anbar district; the prisoner release will take place as the security situation improves, based on cooperation between all the sides; representatives of the district guarantee that those released will be included in the framework 'community security network' and will distance themselves from all kinds of violence and terrorism - which requires a guarantor for every person released." [23]

It should be noted that on May 28, 2006, the Arabic-language BBC website reported the murder of Sheikh Osama Al-Jad'an, as follows: "Osama Al-Jad'an, one of the senior sheikhs of the Sunni Al-Karabla tribe, was murdered today, Sunday [May 26, 2006], in Baghdad... It should be noted that Osama Al-Jad'an had issued a statement about the agreement that he made with the American forces to help Iraqi government forces hunting the foreign Al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq, in the region of the border with Syria. [On May 25, 2006] Al-Jad'an declared that his tribe had taken part in the arrest of Zayid Khalaf, one of the tribesmen, who is widely [thought] to be one of the Al-Qaeda commanders in Iraq." [24]

On May 30, 2006, Al-Hayat reported that "Al-Zarqawi has taken responsibility for murdering one of the leaders of the Al-Karabla tribe [i.e. Sheikh Osama Jad'an] because of his cooperation with the Americans." [25]

Al-Qaeda Denies Clashes With Iraqi Tribes

Some 10 days after the news reports about the tension and clashes between the Iraqi Sunni tribes and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamist websites posted a denial. A news item from the Quds Press news agency stated: "Observers raised doubts about the existence of disagreement between the Iraqi armed resistance organizations and the Al-Qaeda organization, and said, in an announcement given to the Quds Press agency in Falluja, that even if the armed Iraqi groups were resentful over some of Al-Zarqawi's operations, it was inconceivable that a front [against Al-Zarqawi] had developed under current circumstances.

"Abu Hudhayfa, who belongs to the Jaysh Muhammad faction in the Al-Anbar [region], stated that the reports of recent confrontations between the armed Iraqi organizations and the Al-Qaeda organization were not true, and that the confrontations that had [actually occurred] were limited and were not against Al-Qaeda elements but rather against destructive elements that had entered the Al-Anbar district in official guise, or against the gangs carrying out dubious murder operations for which they were paid." [26]

According to an item from the Al-Haq news agency, Al-Ramadi residents stated: "These news items were aimed at blackening the image of the Al-Ramadi residents and of the [members of the] resistance, something which will they will never manage to do because the Arab fighters are fighting for their religion and for the liberation of the land of the Muslims from the defilement of the occupation... The Al-Ramadi tribes will never withdraw their [support] from the jihad fighters, and will continue to support them until the occupiers are expelled." [27]

IV. Al-Zarqawi Video, April 21, 2006.

On April 25, 2006, Al-Zarqawi's first video, dated April 21, 2006, was posted on the Islamist websites; up to this point, he had never revealed his face to the media. In this video, Al-Zarqawi again warned the Sunni residents not to cooperate with the Americans against the jihad fighters, and swore to wage all-out war against anyone who did so. Al-Zarqawi also discussed the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters, and clarified that he was a member of this council as well as commander of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The following is a translation of excerpts from the video:

"The U.S. now understands that [even with all] its tanks, planes, and heavy army corps, and with its agents among the army of the hostile Shi'ites, it will not be able to win the battle with the jihad fighters. Thus, it has turned to a plan of fraud, in which it calls [on the Sunnis] to unite against the jihad and [against] the jihad fighters, by giving instructions to its agents among the Sunnis who have agreed to serve as a rope to be wrapped around the neck of the [jihad-supporting] Sunnis and to rescue the Americans from the quagmire of their failure and from their death in Iraq.

"[The Americans] have exploited [people] who used the slogans of Islam as a camouflage aimed at covering up the sin of their abhorrent deeds. [The Sunnis who are collaborating with the Americans] have begun to issue propaganda on behalf of their masters in favor of the need to establish military apparatuses and police... They pretend that they have forgotten that in modern history, every imperialist and [every] occupier of a country appoints someone from the occupied [nation to serve] as [his] show window vis-à-vis the masses, so that the occupier can reinforce his hold [on the occupied country] and plunder the fat and [property] of the people and carry out whatever serves his [own] loathsome interests.

"Allah said: 'And whoever amongst you takes them [the Jews and Christians] for a friend, is surely one of them' [28]... We hereby renew our call and warn anyone who is acting for the deployment and the establishment of the military and police apparatuses, which were established [from the outset] in order to implement the plans of the occupiers and to instill a regime that is not according to [the Koran] brought down by Allah. Beware of anyone who joins apparatuses like these, which collaborate [with the enemy]. I have sworn that among us they will find nothing but a sharp sword, and that between us and them [there will be] battles the sights of which will turn the young men's hair white...

"And in conclusion, I hereby declare to the nation the establishment of the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters [majlis shura al-mujahideen] in Iraq, which, with Allah's help, will constitute a core for the establishment of an Islamic state, in which the religion of Islam will be supreme. Allah be praised, coordinated activity [in this direction] has already begun, and hands are extended and hands are shaken [in commitment to] obey Allah and His Messenger and [to carry out] jihad for His sake. This council will serve as an umbrella [framework] for every faithful jihad fighter. I am honored to be one of the members of this blessed council, with its blessed leadership, along with [my role as] commander of the Al-Qaeda organization in Iraq, the servant of the jihad and the jihad fighters, who is proud in Allah - your brother Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, Friday, the 23rd day of the third month of the year 1427, April 21, 2006."

Appendix

On June 13, 2006, the Al-Hesbah website posted a document by "the general leadership of the Global Islamic Media Front [GIMF]" calling on all jihad fighters in Iraq to join the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq in order to discredit rumors and news circulated around the country regarding Al-Zarqawi's isolation and the Iraqis' dislike of him. The following are excerpts from the document:

"This is a call by the leadership of the Global Islamic Media Front to all the jihad fighters who support monotheism [i.e. the Sunni jihad fighters] in Iraq... After witnessing the rejoicing of the Nation of the Prophet Muhammad over the martyrdom of our jihad fighter Al-Zaraqawi, [who has been] ushered into Paradise by the wide-eyed [virgins]... the media is [now] playing a dirty game by exaggerating this affair, in collaboration with lackeys who purport to be knowledgeable in [these] matters. The game began with allegations that Al-Zarqawi and his organization had been isolated by the Iraqis, and with false claims that the Iraqis disliked Abu Mus'ab [Al-Zarqawi], may Allah accept him [into Paradise]. [These claims have been made] in our region.

"As for the West, you know how the game has been played there for a long time. We predict the imminent defeat of the jihad fighters' information [campaign] if they do not stand fast against this flood of false information in the media which is pouring into the ears of Muslim and infidel peoples, under the direction of the evil liar George Bush.

"In light of the above... we [call] on all the real jihad groups in the Iraqi jihad arena, particularly on those who were presented by the media as [opposed] to Al-Qaeda's policy against the Shi'ites, [and we call also] on our brothers who were presented by the international media as [belonging to] Iraqi groups that did not leave [Iraq in the past and then come back to wage jihad], and on all those who support monotheism from among the Iraqi tribes, to join the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq... and not to be content with expressing their joy over the nuptials and martyrdom of their brother Abu Mus'ab [Al-Zarqawi]...

"If one of the courageous groups wishes to join [the Shura Council], it must quickly announce its intention to do so in the media and in the Iraqi street, before [actually joining]... And then, after we deal with the rumors, there will come the strong blow of the unified [Shura Council]...

"A hot summer [is in store] for the enemies of Allah...

"General Leadership

"Global Islamic Media Front

"Advertising and Publications Department" [29]

[*]D. Hazan is director of MEMRI's Islamist-Jihadi Website Initiative.


[1] Koran 5:51.

[2] For the full transcript, including these excerpts, and to view the clip, see MEMRI Special Dispatch 1149, "New Video by Al-Qaeda Commander in Iraq Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi," April 26, 2006, New Video by Al-Qaeda Commander in Iraq Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi.

[3] As opposed to pan-Arab nationalism.

[4] Salafism is the Islamist stream that advocates emulating the first generations of Islam; Al-Qaeda is a Salafi organization.

[5] An allusion to Koran 9:38.

[6] http://www.alhesbah.org/v/showthread.php?p=320937, January 8, 2006.

[7] Koran 2:193.

[8] http://www.alhesbah.org/v/showthread.php?t=47781, January 15, 2006.

[9] http://www.alhesbah.org/v/showthread.php?t=49029, January 22, 2006.

[10] http://www.alhesbah.org/v/showthread.php?t=50297, January 29, 2006.

[11] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 13, 2006.

[12] Al-Hayat (London), January 16, 2006.

[13] Al-Zaman (Iraq), January 30, 2006.

[14] Al-Sabah (Iraq), February 2, 2006.

[15] Al-Sabah (Iraq), February 7, 2006.

[16] Al-Hayat (London), February 10, 2006.

[17] Al-Zaman (Iraq), January 18, 2006.

[18] Al-Sabah (Iraq), March 2, 2006.

[19] Al-Sabah (Iraq), March 5, 2006.

[20] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 8, 2006.

[21] Al-Hayat (London), January 18, 2006.

[22] AL-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 12, 2006.

[23] Al-Hayat (London), February 10, 2006.

[24] http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/arabic/world_news/newsid_5025000/5025292.stm, May 28, 2006.

[25] Al-Hayat (London), May 30, 2006.

[26] http://www.alhesbah.org/v/showthread.php?t=49029, January 22, 2006.

[27] http://www.alhesbah.org/v/showthread.php?t=53127 February 14, 2006.

[28] Koran 5:51.

[29] http://www.alhesbah.org/v/showthread.php?t=68686, June 13, 2006.