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Jaysh Muhammad

Jaysh Muhammad (The Army of Muhammad) (JM) is an anti-Coalition group with both politically motivated and religiously motivated elements. By late 2004 it appeared that the politically motivated members are Ba'athist, pro-Saddam elements who tend to be of the Sufi religious soca. The Sufi enjoyed special status during the Regime and hold Izzat al-Duri, the ex-vice-president, in exceptionally high esteem. They were members of intelligence, security, and police forces from the previous regime.

Jaysh Muhammad was initially believed to consist of terrorists who have infiltrated Iraq from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. By early 2004 it was believed to have formed an alliance with former intelligence and security agents of Saddam Hussein to fight the US forces. This alliance was is believed to be responsible for increasingly sophisticated attacks on US soldiers in early 2004. It is not clear how these elements may be cooperating, or whether there are separate centers of initiative. While Jaysh Muhammad is one of several names seek to imply a religious element that have claimed for car bombings , but the name can be deceiving and may be a false flag.

The Iraqi Jaysh Muhammad should not be confused with the Pakistani group called Jaish-e-Muhammad. The Pakistani group is led by Akbar Agha, who is known to have been close to Osama bin Laden.

By July 2003 attacks on coalition troops were being carried out by numerous Islamist groups. These resistance operations were not linked to Saddam Hussein. The Islamist groups involved included Ansar Al-Islam [Supporters of Islam], Jund Al-Islam [Soldiers of Islam], Jaysh Muhammad [Muhammad's Army], and other extremist groups.

A masked man claiming to speak for the Islamic Jihad Brigades of Muhammad's Army (Jaysh Muhammad), Abdallah Bin-Iyad Brigade, took responsibility for the 19 August bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad in an audiotape provided to Lebanon's LBC satellite television on 23 August 2003. A group calling itself the Armed Vanguards of the Second Muhammad Army claimed responsibility for the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, The claim took the form of a typewritten, Arabic statement shown on the Al-Arabiya station on 21 August 2003.

On 31 January 2004 men with their faces covered distributed circulated a declaration in al-Fallujah outlining their plan for taking control of Iraqi cities after the US occupation forces withdraw. The declaration was signed by 12 organizations and groups including: The Iraqi Islamic Patriotic Resistance [al-Muqawamah al-Wataniyah al-Islamiyah al-'Iraqiyah], the Salafi Movement for Propagation and Jihad [al-Harakah as-Salafiyah li-d-Da'wah wa-l-Jihad], the al-Qari'ah Organization [Tanzim al-Qari'ah], the Army of Partisans of the Sunnah [Jaysh Ansar as-Sunnah], and the Army of Muhammad [Jaysh Muhammad].

An anonymous interview with a member of Iraq's Jaysh Muhammad from Ba'qubah gave to the Institute of War and Peace Reporting was published on 14 May 2004. The source stated that the majority of Jaysh Muhammad combatants are farmer workers who joined the Salafist Sunni movement to drive the coalition from Iraq. He said there were only a few foreign fighters in the group and that they had "lived with us [before the war] and did not come from abroad after the war." He denied that the group, which he described as not Wahhabi, is linked to Al-Qaeda. He also claimed that the group received no funding from abroad, but that it is funded "from honorable and good people in this country." He said that Jaysh Muhammad opposed the Iraqi Governing Council because it was not elected, and since so many of the Council members were exiles. "They do not understand Iraqis' suffering and Arab traditions. [They] were distorted by the Western life they lived," he said. He also claimed that his group is affiliated with an Islamic political party, but declined to identify which party, only to say that it is not the Iraqi Islamic Party. While he denied the group targeted Iraq police officere, he condoned the kidnapping of foreigners, saying that "kidnapping is an obligation." He also said: "There is no real United Nations. It is an organization completely controlled by the United States and its resolutions always serve U.S. interests."

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:40:54 ZULU