Islamic Army in Iraq
The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI) (Arabic: الجيش الإسلامي في العراق,al jaysh al islāmi fī'l-`irāq) is one of a number of underground Baathist and Islamist
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

The word militant, which is both an adjective and a noun, usually is used to mean vigorously active, combative and aggressive, especially in support of a cause, as in 'militant reformers'. It comes from the 15th century Latin "militare" meaning "to serve as a soldier"...

 (or mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

) organizations formed in Iraq following the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 by United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and coalition
A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant...

 military forces, and the subsequent collapse of the Baathist government headed by Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...


Although it carries an Islamic title, the group combines Islamism with Iraqi nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

, and is thought to be the largest militant group that consists of former Baathists and has been labelled as "resistance" by Iraq's Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi despite regular attacks against Iraqi soldiers and policemen, as well as Shi'ite militias such as the Mahdi Army
Mahdi Army
The Mahdi Army, also known as the Mahdi Militia or Jaish al-Mahdi , was an Iraqi paramilitary force created by the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in June 2003....

 and the Badr Organization
Badr Organization
The Badr Organization previously known as the Badr Brigades or Badr Corps is an Iraqi political party headed by Hadi al-Amiri...


Roots and ideology

The precise details about the emergence of the IAI are unclear, although it is generally assumed that the group was established in the summer of 2003 to fight coalition forces.

When the IAI first formed it used kidnapping as a means of pursuing its goals. The group also threatened to target the January 2005 elections, although it didn't carry out any such attack. Unlike most resistance movement
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

 organizations today the IAI does not have Salafist tendencies, its primary focus and goal being the expulsion of foreign troops from Iraq. A November 2004 Washington Post interview with the group's leader, Ishmael Jubouri
Ishmael Jubouri
Ishmael Jubouri is the senior rebel leader of the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the influential insurgence groups operating in Iraq. He is also a member of a prominent Sunni tribe located south of Baghdad. Jubouri's main objective is to remove foreign troops from Iraq, often using insurgent tactics...

, stated that the IAI was predominantly composed of Iraqis (Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and Arabs) trying to force foreign troops out of Iraq. The Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 Monitor put out by The Jamestown Foundation
The Jamestown Foundation
The Jamestown Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based institute for research and analysis, founded in 1984 as a platform to support Soviet dissidents. Today its stated mission is to "inform and educate" policy makers about events and trends, which it regards as being of current "strategic"...

 confirms some of what Jubouri was claiming. In a March 2005 article it states the group is composed primarily of Sunnis with a much smaller, but still present, Shiite congregation and, in general, is "[an] inclusive Islamic organization with Iraqi nationalist tendencies."

In a Nov. 2006 al-Jazeera interview, spokesman Ibrahim al-Shamary expanded on who the IAI considers foreign troops, "There are two occupations in Iraq. Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 on one side through the militias which they control and through direct involvement with the national guard and the intelligence services, that causes the killing and destruction of the Sunnis... And then there is the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 occupation which destroys the Iraqi people.

The group has released several joint statements with other groups such as Islamic Resistance Movement and the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance
Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance
The Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance abbreviated JAMI, is an insurgent group in Iraq, fighting the U.S. led coalition as a part of the Iraqi Insurgency...

, which are known to be of an ikhwan
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

 background. In one of these joint statements, six groups (including the IAI) called for Iraqis to participate in the referendum on the October 2005 constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 by voting against it. (This was in conspicuous contrast to al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a popular name for the Iraqi division of the international Salafi jihadi militant organization al-Qaeda. It is recognized as a part of the greater Iraqi insurgency....

, which said that simply participating in voting is a compromise of the basic fundamentals of Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, even if one were to vote against it.)

When rumours spread in Iraq of the alleged demolition of the al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

, in April 2005 the IAI announced the formation of the "al-Aqsa Support Division." This group was to support the Palestinians in their armed struggle against Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. The current status of the al-Aqsa Support Division is unknown, leading people to believe that the statement was merely rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...


Foreign hostages

The group was responsible for the abduction of the following persons who were released unharmed:
  • Fereidoun Jahani, Iranian Consul
    Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

  • Georges Malbrunot
    Georges Malbrunot
    George Malbrunot is a French journalist working for Le Figaro who, along with Christian Chesnot and their Syrian driver Muhammed al-Jundi, was taken hostage on August 20, 2004, by the Islamic Army in Iraq. This group gave the French government a 48-hour deadline to repeal its law against girls...

     (41), and Christian Chesnot
    Christian Chesnot
    Christian Chesnot is a French journalist working for Radio France who, along with Georges Malbrunot and Muhammed al-Jundi , was taken hostage on August 20, 2004, by the Islamic Army in Iraq. This group gave the French government a 48-hour deadline to repeal its law on secularity and conspicuous...

     (37), French
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • Marwan Ibrahim al-Kassar and Mohammed Jawdat Hussein, Lebanese
    Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

     electrical workers.
  • Angelo Dela Cruz, Filipino
    Filipino people
    The Filipino people or Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines. There are about 92 million Filipinos in the Philippines, and about 11 million living outside the Philippines ....

     truck driver.
  • Rosidah Anom, and Rafikan Binti Amin, female Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

    n nationals.

The IAI is believed responsible for the execution of the following foreigners:
  • Enzo Baldoni
    Enzo Baldoni
    Enzo G. Baldoni was an Italian journalist working freelance and for the Italian news magazine . He was kidnapped near Najaf, Iraq, on August 21, 2004, by the "Islamic Army in Iraq", a Muslim fundamentalist terrorist organization, allegedly linked with Al-Qaeda. His driver-interpreter was killed...

    , Italian
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     journalist killed on or about August 26, 2004.
  • Raja Azad (49), engineer, and Sajad Naeem (29), his driver, Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    i nationals working in Iraq for a Kuwait
    The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

    i-based firm killed on or about July 28, 2004.
  • Dalibor Lazarevski, Dragan Markovic
    Dragan Marković
    Dragan Marković , born in Končarevo in 1960 and commonly known as Palma , is a Serbian politician and entrepreneur, currently serving as a member of the National Assembly of Serbia and founder and the party leader of United Serbia political party...

    , and Zoran Naskovski, nationals of Republic of Macedonia
    Republic of Macedonia
    Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

    , working for United Arab Emirates
    United Arab Emirates
    The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

    -based Soufan Engineering on contracts and subcontracts for the U.S. military and its private contractors. The three were seized in August 2004 and the Macedonian government confirmed their execution by October 21, 2004; receipt of videos depicting two beheadings were announced, but not broadcast, on al-Jazeera TV on October 17, 2004.
  • Ronald Schulz, American contract electrician, killed around December 8, 2005.

Other activities

The Islamic Army in Iraq claimed responsibility for the September 1, 2004, assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 attempt against Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi
Ahmed Chalabi
Ahmed Abdel Hadi Chalabi is an Iraqi politician. He was interim oil minister in Iraq in April-May 2005 and December-January 2006 and deputy prime minister from May 2005 until May 2006. Chalabi failed to win a seat in parliament in the December 2005 elections, and when the new Iraqi cabinet was...

, leader of the Iraqi National Congress
Iraqi National Congress
The Iraqi National Congress is an umbrella Iraqi opposition group led by Ahmed Chalabi. It was formed with the aid and direction of the United States government following the Gulf War, for the purpose of fomenting the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.-History:INC was set up following the...

, in which two of his bodyguards were killed, two were wounded and two went missing (the IAI admitted capturing one of Chalabi's bodyguards and executing the other), and Chalabi escaped unharmed.

On 22 April, the IAI released a video of their members killing a Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n civilian contractor who survived after the downing of his helicopter. He was helped to his feet and then shot with 27 rounds of ammunition. The group also claims to have shot down
2007 Balad aircraft crash
The 2007 Balad aircraft crash was a January 9, 2007 airplane incident involving an Antonov An-26 airliner, which crashed while attempting to land at the U.S. military base in Balad, Iraq. The crash killed 34 people aboard and left one passenger critically injured...

 a commercial airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

 in Iraq, although officials maintain the accident was caused by fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

. The crash killed 34 people.

In 2006 videos were released of their snipers killing coalition forces. The nom de guerre of the IAI sniper(s) is "Juba
Juba (sniper)
Juba is the pseudonym of an alleged sniper involved in the Iraqi Insurgency featured in several propaganda videos. The second of these videos shows Juba claiming to have shot 37 American soldiers...

". These sniper videos were distributed for free to Iraqi citizens on CDs as part of a propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

, recruiting campaign and as a means of waging psychological warfare
Psychological warfare
Psychological warfare , or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations , have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda...

 on coalition forces. Islamic Army videos of attacks on US-led coalition forces are aired on the al-Zawraa TV
Al-Zawraa TV
Al-Zawraa TV was an Iraqi satellite television channel that was known for airing video footage of insurgent attacks on US-led coalition forces.-Broadcasts:...

 channel, which is banned in Iraq.

War with al-Qaeda in Iraq

In early 2007 the Islamic Army engaged in an armed conflict against al-Qaeda in Iraq. In June, this ended in a ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 between the two rival groups. The IAI was quoted saying "The most important thing is that it's our common duty to fight the Americans;" nevertheless, the groups never adopted al-Qaeda's philosophy and refused to sign on to the al-Qaeda-led Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq
The Islamic State of Iraq , is an umbrella organization of a number Iraqi insurgency groups established on October 15 2006.The group is composed of and supported by a variety of insurgency groups, including its predecessor, the Mujahideen Shura Council, Al-Qaeda, Jeish al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba,...


According to Iraqi sources, fighters from the Islamic Army battled al-Qaeda gunmen around Samarra
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700....

at least twice in October and November 2007, a possible indication that the cease-fire brokered earlier this year had collapsed (however, coalition officials later issued a statement claiming that Iraqi Policemen and coalition troops, not Islamic Army fighters, had carried out the latter operation). Furthermore, although the Islamic Army denied that it had joined forces with the U.S. military, several news outlets reported that many Islamic Army commanders in and around Baghdad were now working together with the U.S.-led coalition to counter al-Qaeda in Iraq militants and Shia militias.,,2208820,00.html

External links

Also see crude live translation into English of the IAI web site on Google.
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