Below are some excerpts of a statement of the formation of a new group called Jabhat al-Murabiteen in Iraq. Could this be the rumoured attempt by al-Qa'ida Central to resurrect an affiliate in Iraq? In favor of this view, one can draw attention to its reference to ahl al-dhimma (those Christians and Jews who must be dhimmis and pay jizya: a system supported by al-Qa'ida) as well as its rejection of secularism and democracy as disbelief. However, there is no reference to establishing a Khilafa or a project of the Ummah, and the opening talks in nationalistic terms (al-watan) as well as concepts like "moderation," typical of e.g. standard Islamist rebel factions in Syria.
However, perhaps this is more subtle new al-Qa'ida-style messaging, like Jabhat al-Nusra's leader's discourse that does not open talk of ambitions beyond establishing Shari'a for Ahl ash-Sham? In any event, the group's composition is a conglomeration of members of several previous groupings as well, likely those listed in a statement some months ago by the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen for Iraq that called for unity among various factions, including several widely deemed to have become defunct.
In any event, here is my translation of relevant excerpts:
"Since the beginning of the Iranian-American Crusader aggression against Iraq in 2003, the Ahl al-Sunna of Iraq have taken a noble stance witnessed near and afar against the Crusader occupation and its supporters from the Safavids, during which they undertook the most epic battles in defense of the safe havens of Islam. For their sons striving in jihad made the new American project in the region fail and forced them out of Iraq, defeated and bearing the consequences of their failure and loss after God- Mighty and Glorified is He- destroyed with the mujahideen's hands their legendary unconquered army and recked their greatest economy. The corpses of their slain by God's preference and aid became food for the fish of the Tigris and Euphrates after they began fearing for the cadavers of their slain with their being thrown into the rivers and lakes.
For the Ahl al-Sunna on their own and without any partners defended the land against the Crusader American occupiers and the Iranian Rafidite. For they stood for defending the homeland and protecting their creed. For their sons striving in jihad were fighting against the American forces of occupation, their allies, the militias of the Safavid government, groups of the Iranian al-Quds force and others from the criminal gangs after the land became a stage for international settling of accounts and a ground for every greedy, criminal and corrupt person. So the Ahl al-Sunna for that reason has suffered since the beginning of the occupation until this very day all sorts of killing, arrest, extermination and forced migration."
The statement proceeds to discuss the ongoing sufferings of the Ahl al-Sunna in Iraq under the Maliki government, and announces:
"And in conclusion for our previous jihad and our support for our people we announce today to our Ahl al-Sunna in Iraq the formation of a new jihadi front by the name of "Jabhat al-Murabiteen in Iraq" and it is called new for the building of an old component from an armed jihadi faction in Iraq from among the jihadi groups which wore out by God's preference and blessing the forces of the Crusader occupation and the treacherous Safavid militias of Maliki, and with it separate groups from a number of factions, as well as volunteers from the revolutionaries of the proud tribes...all of which have entered into this front without any mention for names on account of security reasons...And we say to our people in Anbar and the rest of the Ahl al-Sunna in Iraq that you must realize that this criminal regime and its Safavid project will not cease except by God's force and then by your jihad, and you must all awaken to defend your religion, save your land and free your imprisoned- men and women- from the filthy Safavid armies...
Components of the Front
1. A faction from the jihadi factions well-known in Iraq and which worked since the beginning of the American occupation without stopping until after the exit of the occupation forces, and not ceasing to operate in the vanguard of factions operating in the battlefield, especially in the province of Anbar that has arisen in uprising.
2. Many jihadi groups currently operating that were affiliated with previous factions.
3. Revolutionaries of some of the tribes.
We are an Islamic group adhering to the creed of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamaat in the understanding of the just path from the Companions, the Successors and the followed Imams, in creed, manhaj (program), path, conduct, view and argumentation. And it is a program of justice and moderation between extremism and harshness.
1. Jihad at this stage in Iraq is a defensive jihad, whose aim is to inflict total defeat on the enemies of Islam from the Safavid government and its militias and what remains from the followers of the Crusader occupation, and our greatest aim is the implementation of the Shari'a of God Almighty in the land.
2. Liberation of the land completely from Crusader and Safavid occupiers implementing God's law.
3. Work to make Islam accessible for the individual and society with call to the true manhaj and making it understandable for the people with wisdom, lecture, and good deed.
4. Working with all the upright from the mujahideen, leadership of the tribes and the competent in rebuilding the land on true foundations from justice, tolerance and mutual agreement as established by the Shari'a of Islam.
5. Restitution of lost Iraqi minds on account of the organized liquidations; and preparing competent and knowledgeable functionaries in all fields.
Our Stance on:
1. The sanctity of blood: [...] every Muslim is inviolable for a Muslim...
2. Political activism: We ask God Almighty to excuse us from political activism and its people and from entering into it and the path of its ways of idolatry, and judgement by its constitution that does not rule by what God has sent down.
3. Assisting the mushrikeen against Muslims: Assisting the kuffar against Muslims is among the things contrary to Islam, and whosoever brings forth its face has brought arms with them and fighting the mujahideen and the peoples of the Muslims taking refuge in God.
4. The vile Sahwa forces: Indeed what the mercenary groups do today in the so-called alliance of the treacherous from the vile Sahwa forces and their collaboration in bearing arms with Maliki's militias, fighting the mujahideen and the offspring of their own flesh from the sons of the Sunni tribes is [an example] of one who has brought forth help for the mushrikeen and providing assistance against the Muslims, the practitioner of which has abandoned the religion.
5. Secularism and democracy: We consider to be kufr [disbelief] programs that call for the separation of religion from state, life, legislation and ruling, limiting religion to acts of worship; as regards secularism and its difference of banners and names. In the same way democracy is a form of fitna since it places legislation and rule in the hands of human beings without God, and puts legislation and ruling in the hands of the majority and not to the texts of Shari'a.
6. Sects and minorities: all non-Muslim sects in Iraq recognized by the Shari'a and have not helped the occupier or Safavid armies against Muslims are guaranteed protection. Treating them with gentleness and good deeds as Shari'a has ordained; and targeting them is forbidden. And the Ahl al-Dhimma in Iraq from the people of the Book adhering to their treaties and have not provided aid against the Muslims will remain under their treaty."
The remaining two points repeat earlier points on defensive jihad and stress willingness to work with all other Muslim factions, tribal revolutionaries etc. against the government.