FACTBOX-Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq after Zarqawi death
June 8 (Reuters) – Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
al Qaeda leader in Iraq, was killed in an air strike on
Wednesday night. His death, announced on Thursday, raises
questions over the future of Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgency.
Major General William Caldwell, the chief U.S. military
spokesman, said an Egyptian militant trained in Afghanistan
named Abu al-Masari, who established the first al Qaeda cell in
Baghdad, may succeed Zarqawi as head of the group in Iraq.
Here are facts on some of the leading Sunni Arab insurgent
elements in Iraq seeking to topple the U.S.-backed, Shi'ite-led
government and expel American troops.
SADDAM HUSSEIN LOYALISTS
Former officers in ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's
regime are leading the Sunni insurgency. Their experience with
intelligence gathering make Saddam loyalists a deadly force.
There have been some unsubstantiated reports that they formed an
alliance with al Qaeda, providing logistics and funding.
Al Qaeda militants from across the Arab world make up only
about five percent of the Sunni Arab insurgency but their
spectacular suicide bombings kill the most people. It's not
clear if Zarqawi's death will provide more inspiration or weaken
the movement. Al Qaeda fighters are said to have alienated Sunni
tribal leaders with their brutal methods of killing.
MUJAHIDEEN SHURA COUNCIL
An umbrella body composed of al Qaeda in Iraq and some other
militant groups to coordinate their fight against U.S.-led
forces and the Iraqi government. It is made up of al Qaeda, the
Army of the Victorious Sect and four lesser known Sunni groups.
Its aim is to confront the "Crusaders and their rejectionist
(Shi'ite) and secularist followers who have seized Baghdad".
Ansar al Islam (Supporters of Islam) is made up mostly of
Kurds who follow an extremist brand of Islam and has close links
with al Qaeda. The group is blamed for a number of attacks,
including assassination attempts against Kurdish officials.
IRAQI NATIONAL ISLAMIC RESISTANCE 1920 REVOLUTION BRIGADES
This group, whose name refers to Iraq's history of fighting
British colonialism, apparently wants to liberate Iraq from
occupation and establish a new Islamic state. It has claimed
responsibility for attacks on U.S. troops, including the downing
of two helicopters in 2004.
IRAQI RESISTANCE BRIGADES
Iraqi Resistance Brigades has claimed responsibility for
several attacks against U.S. troops. The group has distanced
itself from others linked to Saddam Hussein loyalists.
JAYSH MUHAMMAD (THE ARMY OF MUHAMMAD)
The group appears to be mainly Saddam Hussein loyalists from
his former intelligence, security and police forces who took on
an Islamic militant identity.
THE MISSION OF ARMED VANGUARDS OF MUHAMMAD'S SECOND ARMY
This organisation is waging Jihad to evict U.S. forces from
Iraq and has threatened to attack any Muslim that cooperates
with the United States in Iraq. It was one of several groups
that claimed responsibility for the 2003 bombing of the United
Nations headquarters in Baghdad.
(Writing by Michael Georgy, edited by Dominic Evans)