continued into the month of October. During the final and most holy days of
Ramadan, terrorist activity spiked, mostly due to Al Qaeda attacks. Total
reported open source activity decreased from the previous months, which agrees with
the statements on overall decreased activity. Most activity occurred in
Baghdad, and the northern provinces. Notable al Qaeda activity occurred in the
Tarmiyah and Samarra areas north of Baghdad. This indicates that the group has
moved into those areas and out of Baghdad.
A new organization called the
Political Council for the Iraqi Resistance was created during the month. The
organization is comprised of Islamic nationalist groups, which have been
reconciled with the government. The group is unlikely to engage in terrorist
activity under the current conditions, but may act as a political organization.
In October, the Kurdistan
Worker's Party (PKK) attacked Turkish forces while using Iraqi Kurdistan as a
base of operations. This has created tension between the Turkish, Iraqi, and
United States governments with possible operations by the Turkish military into
During October, al Qaeda was
again the most targeted group. Most al Qaeda -related activity occurred in the
Doura and Fadhl Districts of Baghdad, Arab Jabbour, Hawr Rajab, Tarmiyah area,
Mosul, Samarra, and Bayji.
Key leadership losses for al
Qaeda during October included: Military emir of Mahmoudiyah, Saddam Hussein's
cousin and financier, Abu Duha- Mosul security emir, South Baghdad and Fadhl
area emirs, New Baghdad emir, East Anbar emir, Foreign fighter facilitation
emir in Bayji, Abu Obeida- North Tigris area emir, al Qaeda -linked Jaysh
Mohammed emir. An "emir" is a term for a senior military commander.
On October 22, Osama bin Laden
released a statement concerning al Qaeda 's past activities. In the statement,
he chastised the group for attacking the local population. The statement was
made in a public format as a means of public humiliation and as an apology to
the moderate Muslims in the region. The statement acknowledges the number of
losses al Qaeda has had over the years. With the statement, bin Laden is
attempting to salvage the al Qaeda "brand" as well. Sudan is also mentioned as
an alternate target for the transnational jihad movement. Since November 2006,
approximately 10,100 members of the group have been killed or captured to
include at least three top tier leaders.
On October 11, a new Islamic
nationalist organization was formed comprising a number of nationalist and
Islamic nationalist groups. The group is comprised of the Reformation and Jihad
Front, Hamas of Iraq, and the Islamic Iraqi Resistance Front. These groups have
shown recent steps for reconciliation and have fought al Qaeda in a number of
incidents. The group announced an anti-occupation platform with concerns about
the Shiite dominated government and a desire to
amend the constitution. This platform is consistent with the concerns of
most Sunni Iraqis. Likely the group would not be prone to attacking foreign troops,
but will likely follow their namesake and engage in political activities
Activity associated with
Shiite groups involved mostly rogue cells from Jaysh al Mahdi (JAM). These
cells are not following the cease-fires created by Muqtada al Sadr. Activity
associated with these groups was located in the Sadr City, New Baghdad, and
Shaab Districts of Baghdad and further north in Khalis.
On October 6, Muqtada al Sadr
created an agreement with the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) to engage in
combined political activity. This builds on the previous cease-fires and was
likely the result of al-Sadr's falling popularity. The coalition would also
provide an alternative to the Dawa Party. Some of the targeted groups belonged
to the Special Groups networks operating out of Iran with assistance from the
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The decrease in activity associated
with the group is likely due to pressure on the group and leadership changes
within the IRGC.
The PKK attacked Turkish military
personnel and positions during the month. The Turkish Parliament then
authorized the military to engage PKK locations within Iraq. This activity has
created tension between all parties involved. The purpose for the PKK attacks
was likely to provoke Turkey into invading Iraqi Kurdistan and then promoting a
transnational Kurdish movement to create an independent and united Kurdistan.
The PKK strategy will fail due to the political power of the major tribes
controlling Iraqi Kurdistan. The economic exchange between Iraqi Kurdistan and
Turkey would possibly prevent a Turkish incursion. The major Kurdish tribes
will likely use the opportunity to consolidate more control of the region.
--Jonathan Henry (email@example.com)