12 October 2006

Iraq: Terrorist Organizations (Mujahideen Shura Council)

Here is a description of the Mujahideen Shura Council terrorist group from the official website of the Multi-National Force - Iraq:

The Mujahideen Shura Council, “Freedom Fighter Consultation Council,” is an umbrella organization made up of several terrorist groups in Iraq, including AQI.

The Mujahideen Shura Council first appeared in spring 2005 when it claimed the kidnapping of Australian citizen Douglas Wood. Wood was a contractor with the American firm Bechtel. The group demanded the departure of all foreign forces in Iraq. Wood was freed by Iraqi forces in an operation in June 2005 after being held several weeks.

Despite the high-profile nature of this incident, the Council did not claim responsibility for any more attacks for several months.

In January 2006, several Sunni insurgent groups announced that they were joining to form the Mujahideen Shura Council. They claimed to unite in order to continue the struggle and force out the “invading infidels.” The groups that formed the council included: al-Qaida Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers, Jaish al-Taifa al-Mansoura, al-Ahwal Brigades, Islamic Jihad Brigades, al-Ghuraba Brigades, and Saraya Ansar al-Tawhid.

The idea of the Council is to unify insurgent efforts in Iraq against government and Coalition forces. It may also be an attempt to mend a rift between various Sunni insurgent groups. But it is clearly an attempt to unify disparate groups with a radical Sunni ideology driven to destroy the Iraqi government and its international support.

The formation of the Council is also possibly to shore up support for the insurgency by distancing itself from the extremely violent tactics and targeting of innocent Iraqis by al-Qaida. The Council allows AQI to continue its methods without claiming direct responsibility. It is now the organization claiming attacks by its member factions. Thus, the goals of the Council and its members are the same: the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the formation of an Islamic government in place of the current government.

Since Zarqawi’s April 2006 tape claiming leadership of AQI, it is unclear the exact relationship between the Mujahideen Shura Council and AQI.

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