Al-Jaysh al-Islami speaks with al-Hayat
February 22, 2008 § Leave a comment
The emir (or deputy) of one of Iraq’s largest militant groups al-Jaysh al-Islami (Islamic Army) has given al-Hayat his first press interview ever. The emir — who remains anonymous — blamed al-Qaeda of blurring the concept of a “clear jihad” (al-jihad al-nas’aa) and that the groups which comprise the organization Political Council of the Iraqi Resistance (al-majlis al-siyasi lil muqawama al-iraqiyya) want a national government outside of sectarian labels, as well as the departure of the occupation.
On Weapons and Military Operations
He said: “Jihad and armed action is our strategic choice, and there are no words now about taking away weapons, the atmosphere (al-saaha — political space) is full of military challenges and whoever gets rid of their weapons, condemns himself to his end.” He was also very critical of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
He said that al-Jaysh al-Islami has undertaken 14,000 operations between 2006 and 2007. Furthermore, 3,000 of the group’s members have been arrested or killed since the beginning of the occupation.
On the Sunni Awakening Councils
In describing the American-formed Sunni Awakening Councils (majalis al-sahwa), he said that there are five types, including: traitors who have had relations with the Americans since the beginning of the occupation and are continuing these relations; those who have lost their purpose (like a shaykh of a tribe) and are seeking that purpose (or usefulness) even if it means cooperating with the occupier; others are searching for money.
On the Shi’a
He said that al-Jaysh al-Islami was not involved in any expulsion of Shi’a from areas that his group controls and that many Shi’a still reside in these areas under the protection of al-Jaysh al-Islami. Additionally, the expulsion of Shi’a from the area has been undertaken by militias that are supported by the American occupation and what happened in the past with expulsions will not happen again.