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Iraq: The 1920 Revolution Brigades and its allies
Posted by: McQ on Friday, June 30, 2006

Recently 6 of the 11 insurgent groups were named which have responded to the Iraqi insurgency plan. Because they interest me, I've been digging around a bit and have come across a very useful database out there which keeps tabs on a vast number of terrorist groups around the world.

The MIPT Terrorist Knowledge Base is an extremely useful website which allows you access to all that they have gathered on each group.

The group identified as the "umbrella group" for the first 7 insurgent groups to respond to the amnesty proposal in Iraq is the 1920 Revolution Brigades. I assume all of the other groups listed with them fall under their umbrella since I was unable to fine them in MIPT. Their MIPT profile is here. Some background from that profile:
The 1920 Revolution Brigades (Kata’ib Thawrat al-Ishreen) is a Sunni Islamic extremist group in the Iraqi insurgency that has claimed responsibility for several attacks on U.S. forces as well as some high profile incidents including the kidnapping of U.S. marine Wassef Ali Hassoun in June 2004 and the bombing of the al-Arabiya television network headquarters in Baghdad in October 2005.

The group first appeared in June 2003 as a “nationalist Jihadist movement” dedicated to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in order to build an Islamic state. The 1920 Revolution Brigades is the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement in Iraq, formerly called the Iraqi National Islamic Resistance. The group is named after the 1920 Iraqi uprising against British colonial occupation following World War I, when the League of Nations granted the United Kingdom control over three Ottoman territories – Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra – that make up present day Iraq. Arabic script in the group’s logo contains a verse from the Quran popular among Jihadists, “Fight them, God shall torture them by your hands,” below which reads, “Islamic Resistance Movement, Twentieth Revolution Brigades.”
According to this profile, they are Sunni and they've almost exclusively attacked US forces. Under "current goals" is the following:
The 1920 Revolution Brigades continues to target U.S. troops in Iraq. In a statement issued on 13 February 2006, the group vowed to “carry on jihad until the liberation and victory or [until they are] martyred,” and adamantly denied any relation to the Ba’ath party. Given the current trend in activity, it is likely that the group will continue fighting U.S. forces by carrying out suicide bombings, planting IEDs, and launching rockets and mortars at U.S. positions. Likewise, they will probably continue to issue statements online and release videos of their attacks.
Note that they deny a Ba'ath party affiliation. Also another interesting tidbit about their leader:
Hatim al-Zawba'i was an alleged commander of the 1920 Revolution Brigades. However, his role and responsibilities within the group is unknown.

On 2 January 2005, the Iraqi Defense Ministry stated that Iraqi security forces had arrested al-Zawba'i. He is still thought to be in custody.
That speaks to a bit of an incentive to negotiate, doesn't it?

Another group linked or affiliated with the 1920 Revolution Brigades is Islamic Army in Iraq. This is a particularly nasty organization which claims to have thousands of terrorists in its ranks.
The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI) is a significant Iraqi terrorist entity, which is currently in operation. The group has initiated a brutally violent campaign against foreigners within Iraq, specifically anyone believed to be cooperating with the U.S.-led coalition. IAI has been implicated in several gruesome beheading deaths. The terrorist group aims to drive all U.S. and its related coalition forces, both military and civilian, from Iraq. But IAI does not limit its attacks to just these groups; it has also murdered French journalists, Pakistani contractors, an Italian journalist, and Macedonian citizens working for a U.S. company.
However, unlike the 1920 Revolution Brigades, IAI doesn't claim to have limited its operations to coalition forces:
The group’s leader also claims that the group is predominantly Iraqi, not foreign-born. Statements released in November 2004 announced that the Islamic Army in Iraq has collaborated with Ansar al-Sunnah and the terrorist network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, known then as Tawhid and Jihad and now as Tanzim Qa'idat Al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn.
That claim of working with al-Zarqawi should remove this group from amnesty consideration.

Ansar al-Sunnah is another very nasty insurgent group linked to IAI:
Ansar al-Sunnah (Followers of the Tradition) is an Iraqi Jihadist group, dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic state based on Shari’ah in Iraq, which they aim to achieve by the defeat of coalition forces and foreign occupation. They believe that jihad in Iraq has become obligatory for Muslims. The group’s membership is varied, and is comprised of operatives from the Kurdish terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam, foreign al-Qaeda operatives, and Iraqi Sunnis.

Targets have included coalition military personnel, members of the Iraqi National Guard, new Iraqi governmental institutions, and Kurdish political establishments, which the group sees as puppet regimes of the American occupation. Ansar al-Islam itself claims to have carried out a total of 285 attacks since May, 2003, killing 1,155 and injuring 160, although many of its claims are unsubstantiated.
Again, a group which should be barred from amnesty.

MIPT is a fascinating site, with link after link taking you from group to group, all associated, affiliated or allied with others. Take the time to look through it. It is a site which might be quite handy in the days to follow as we try to untangle the web of insurgent groups and their alliances.
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