Military


Jamaat al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad / Unity and Jihad Group
Tanzim Qa'idat Al-Jihad in Bilad al-Rafidayn
(Organization of Jihad's Base in the Country of the Two Rivers)

On June 7, 2006, coalition forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an air strike north of Baghdad. His spiritual advisor, Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, was also killed.

Jamaat al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad [Unity and Jihad Group] is believed to be led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [aka Abu Massad Al-Zakawi]. Al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian-born Sunni militant said to have links to Al-Qaeda. He was wanted by the United States on suspicion on organizing terrorist attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq.

The beheading of a US civilian by a group with ties to Al-Qaeda was a shocking image from Iraq. The group appears to be hoping that the graphic videotape will fan anger at Washington even as it revolts the public. The video, released ll May 2004, is titled: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shown slaughtering an American." The videotape shows 26-year-old Nicholas Berg kneeling on the floor as one of the masked men reads a statement saying he will be killed in response to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghurayb prison. Next, a man puts a large knife under Berg's neck and begins sawing off his victim's head. The killer shouts "God is Great" over Berg's screams. Then, he holds up the severed head to the camera like an executioner.

ABU MUSA'AB AL-ZARQAWI [AKAs: KHALAILAH, Ahmed Fadee Ii AL-KHALAYLAH, Ahmad Fadil Nazzali ABU AL-MU'TAZ], has ties to al-Qaida, Asbat al-Ansar and Hizballah. In addition to providing the financial and material support for the assassination of a U.S. diplomat, he has participated in acts of terrorism, trained terrorist, led terrorist cells, facilitated transport of terrorists and is being cited in the international press as a suspect in the recent devastating bombing of the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad.

ZARQAWI has arranged training for terrorists at al-Qaida camps. While he was in Pakistan, ZARQAWI made contact with al-Qaida to train Jordanians. His operatives (called "Jund al-Sham") began to arrive in Afghanistan in large numbers in l999. Some of these operatives trained at al-Qaida's al-Faruq Camp, where they received full support from al-Qaida. ZARQAWI eventually established his own cell and camp in Herat, Afghanistan.

Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a terrorist training camp. One of his specialties, and one of the specialties of this camp, is poisons. When the American-led coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this camp is located in northeastern Iraq.

Plans were made to send ZARQAWI's operatives to meet with Asbat al-Ansar (designated under E.O. l3224 as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on September 24, 200l and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002), Hizballah and any other group that would enable them to smuggle mujaheddin into Palestine. This plan was launched by ZARQAWI with other terrorist leaders in order to smuggle operatives into Israel to conduct operations. In addition to being tasked with finding a mechanism that would enable more suicide martyrs to enter Israel, these operatives were also sent to provide training on explosives, poisons, and remote controlled devices.

In October 2000, ZARQAWI was indicted in absentia in Jordan for his role in the al-Qaida Millennium bombing plot targeting the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman as well as other American, Israeli, and Christian religious sites in Jordan.

In mid 200l, ZARQAWI returned to Qandahar from Herat. At this time, he had received more than U.S. $35,000 for work in Palestine. ZARQAWI planned to use the money to bring more Jordanian and Palestinian mujaheddin to the camp in Herat, to purchase passports, and to facilitate travel to Lebanon. He received assurances that further financing would be provided for attacks against Israel. In early 2002, ZARQAWI was reported to have found a way into Palestine.

Zarqawi's activities were not confined to a small corner of northeast Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May of 2002 for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day. During his stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These al-Qaida affiliates based in Baghdad coordinated the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network.

On October 28, 2002, U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley, an officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, was assassinated in Amman, Jordan. ZARQAWI provided financial and material support for this assassination. Key individuals involved in both the planning and execution of the operation had strong ties to Afghan Jihad, the International Mujaheddin Movement, and al-Qaida. One of these individuals, Salim Sa'd Salim Bin-Suwayd, a member of al-Qaida, received more than U.S. $50,000 for his cooperation in planning assassinations in Jordan against U.S., Israeli, and Jordanian government officials. ZARQAWI instructed Suwayd to hide after he had completed his first operation and to plan to pursue additional operations against Israeli and Jordanian targets in Amman in the future. Jordanian authorities arrested Suwayd for the murder. The trial of Suwayd, a Libyan national, is currently underway in Jordan.

In late 2002, ZARQAWI traveled to Iraq where he initiated plans to smuggle additional small arms, explosives, and rockets (NFl) into Jordan for use by his terrorist cell.

The German government has established that ZARQAWI is the operational leader of Al Tawhid, an organization with close personal and organizational links to the al-Qaida network. Al Tawhid, which has the figurative meaning of "unity of all the faithful" -is the name of a Palestinian Sunni movement with roots in Jordan. It is waging a campaign against the Jordanian monarchy, which it rejects as "un-Islamic." Based on a militant interpretation of Islam, the Al Tawhid movement promotes and supports the "jihad" of all fellow-believers worldwide; in particular, the "fight against non-believers and crusaders" led by Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

The German government notes that an independent Al Tawhid cell was formed in Germany by September 200l. Formed around Mohamed ABU DHESS, the cell worked in both an isolated and clandestine manner. In addition to ZARQAWI, members of the cell included Mohamed ABU DHESS, Shadi ABDALLA, Aschraf AI-DAGMA, and Ismail SHALABI, who were living in Beckum, German. In early September 200l, ZARQAWI met his confidant, Mohamed ABU DHESS, in Iran and instructed him to commit terrorist attacks against Jewish or Israeli facilities in Germany with "his people."

According to the German government, the group was involved in gathering donations, smuggling "fighters" and forging passports, but then increasingly concentrated on planning the attacks in Germany. ZARQAWI urged them to carry out his instructions swiftly. The members of the cell planned to use a pistol fitted with a silencer to carry out an attack on a busy square in a German town or city and to explode hand grenades in another German town in the immediate vicinity of an Israeli or Jewish property with the aim of killing as many people as possible. The attacks were supposed to be carried out by Shadi ABDALLA, Aschraf AL-DAGMA and Ismail SHALABI.

The German government has also stated that Shadi ABDALLA, a trusted ally of ZARQAWI with close contacts to Mohamed ABU DHESS, was instructed to identify potential targets in German cities and, above all, to obtain the necessary weapons. In March 2002 he ordered a pistol fitted with a silencer and a crate of hand grenades from Djamel MOUSTFA, a supporter of the cell based in Dusseldorf. However, before the weapons could be delivered, Shadi ABDALLA, Mohamed ABU DHESS, Aschraf AL-DAGMA, Ismail SHALABI and Djamel MOUSTFA were arrested along with other suspects on April 23, 2002. All five of them are currently in detention awaiting trial.

Shadi ABDALLA was indicted by the German Public Prosecutor General of the Federal Court of Justice on May l5, 2003 before the State Security Division of the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court for being a member of a terrorist organization and for the organized forging of passports. The investigations against Mohamed ABU DHESS, Aschraf AL-DAGMA, Ismail SHALABI, and Djamel MOUSTFA are still ongoing.

Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a statement posted to an Islamic forum website on 17 October 2004. The statement attributed to al-Zarqawi's Jama'at Al-Tawhid wa Al-Jihad militant group said: "Talks, during which views were exchanged between Sheikh Abu Mus'ab...and brothers from Al-Qaeda, have been going on for eight months." The statement said that talks were interrupted for a time but then resumed, adding, "Our respected brothers in Al-Qaeda understood the strategy of Jama'at Al-Tawhid wa Al-Jihad in the land of the two rivers [Iraq] and the caliphates and their hearts opened to their approach.... We deliver to the nation the news that both Jama'at Al-Tawhid wa Al-Jihad's Amir [al-Zarqawi] and soldiers have pledged allegiance to the sheikh of the mujahedin, Osama bin Laden, and that they will follow his orders in jihad for the sake of God so there will be no more tumult or oppression, and justice and faith in God will prevail." The statement called on the "youth of this nation" to join al-Zarqawi's followers under the banner of Al-Qaeda.

Jama'at Al-Tawhid wa Al-Jihad later released a statement claiming it has officially joined the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, Al-Arabiyah television reported on 20 October 2004. Al-Jazeera broadcast a statement by the group identifying itself as Tanzim Qa'idat Al-Jihad in Bilad al-Rafidayn (Organization of Jihad's Base in the Country of the Two Rivers). Iraq is commonly known as the land of the two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates. The statement has not been verified.

Four days before the U.S. presidential election al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has threatened new attacks on the United States. He appeared in a video broadcast on the Arab TV network Al Jazeera claiming responsibility for the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York. He made no mention of Zarqawi, suggesting that the report a few days earlier that Zarqawi and Bin Laden had joined forces were in error.

On 30 October 2004 a spokesman for Iraq's Electoral Commission said today the body's offices in Baghdad and Mosul had received letters threatening commission members with death if they stayed at their posts. The letters were signed by militants using the former name of the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Al-Qaeda-linked extremist believed to be operating out of Al-Fallujah. This would suggest that the report a few days earlier that Zarqawi and Bin Laden had joined forces were in error.

In an audiotape, released December 28, 2004, Bin Laden praised al-Zarqawi. This was seen as a confirmation that Zarqawi and Bin Laden were in an alliance.

Zarqawi's group claimed responisbility for the November 9, 2005 suicide bombings of three hotels in Amman, Jordan. Two of the hotels were attacked by suicide bombers wearing concealed bombs. The other hotel was attacked with a car bomb. At least 57 people were killed and over a hundred wounded in the attacks. Most of the the casualties were Jordanian. On December 18, 2005, a Jordanian military court sentenced al-Zarqawi, in absentia, to death for the hotel bombings. This was the second time Jordan had sentenced al-Zarqawi to death. He was also sentenced to fifteen years in prision for plotting to bomb the US Embassy in Jordan.

In January of 2006, US military officals suggested Sunni insurgants were battling Zarqawi and his network. Zarqawi's network would often target civilians, which put it at odds with the Sunni insurgants. The Sunni insurgants mostly target coalition forces. Iraqi insurgents have killed six key al Qaeda in Iraq leaders since September 2005.

In May of 2006, coalition forces captured terrorist documents, including some unflattering outtakes from a recent Internet propaganda video filmed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In the video, Zarqawi apparently was unable to operate a machine gun, asking for assistance from his aides as the weapon jammed. U.S. Army Major General Rick Lynch, spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, during a press briefing, "Why he's their leader, I don't know."

On June 7, 2006, coalition forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an air strike north of Baghdad. His spiritual advisor, Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, was also killed. Al-Zarqawi was in a safehouse in an isolated date palm area, eight kilometers to the west of Baqubah. He was tracked via Abd-Al-Rahman who was identified by a source within al-Zarqawi's network. At 6:15pm, on June 7th, two US Air Force planes dropped two 500-pound bombs on the house. The strike killed six people, two of which were identified as al-Zarqawi and al-Rahman.


Remarks to the United Nations Security Council
Secretary Colin L. Powell
New York City
February 5, 2003
Click on the small image to view a larger version

"Since last year, members of this network have been apprehended in France, Britain, Spain and Italy. By our last count, 116 operatives connected to this global web have been arrested. The chart you are seeing shows the network in Europe. We know about this European network and we know about its links to Zakawi because the detainees who provided the information about the targets also provided the names of members of the network. Three of those he identified by name were arrested in France last December. In the apartments of the terrorists, authorities found circuits for explosive devices and a list of ingredients to make toxins. The detainee who helped piece this together says the plot also targeted Britain. Later evidence again proved him right. When the British unearthed the cell there just last month, one British police officer was murdered during the destruction of the cell."

"Zakawi's terrorism is not confined to the Middle East. Zakawi and his network have plotted terrorist actions against countries including France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia. According to detainees Abu Atia, who graduated from Zakawi's terrorist camp in Afghanistan, tasked at least nine North African extremists in 2001 to travel to Europe to conduct poison and explosive attacks."

"We also know that Zakawi's colleagues have been active in the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia, and in Chechnya, Russia. The plotting to which they are linked is not mere chatter. Members of Zakawi's network say their goal was to kill Russians with toxins."




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list