In the previous post I featured an interview I did with an Islamic Army of Iraq [IAI] online media activist: Abo Zakaria al-Sufyani. One arguable limitation of this research into the IAI's outlook is that such a person's views cannot be taken as necessarily representative of the organization (indeed, besides adding some additional supporter testimony, note I have edited the post to remove the description of him as a 'member' lest it be thought that he actually engages in fighting on the ground for the group).
Nonetheless, in this post I have taken it a step further and interviewed the administrator for the official Facebook page of al-Boraq News, the forum media wing of the IAI (though the forum is currently down at the moment), using the same questions as last time, except the last one about the question of coordination with JRTN. Though the interviewee below attempts formal distancing from the IAI (and al-Boraq does advertise material from other groups including the Taliban), this should be taken with a pinch of salt. In reality there is a clear link as the group's official spokesman Dr. Ibrahim al-Shammary advertises al-Boraq News' Facebook page as his website on his Twitter account, and besides, al-Boraq News is the first outlet by which IAI statements and operations are reported.
Logo of al-Boraq News
What emerges from this interview is a pattern in the thinking of the IAI's members and supporters: while the prior agenda post-2011 was pushing for a Sunni federal region within the system, for many or perhaps even the majority of the IAI and its fans, at the minimum the establishment of such an entity is now merely a stepping stone to the overthrow of the central government in Baghdad.
Note also that in speaking on relations with IS, my prior interview is also corroborated in that the IAI is reluctant to shift focus to confronting IS despite clashes: incidentally today, there were reports of fighting in Yathrib, Salah ad-Din province, between IS and local tribesmen. Given that Yathrib has been an area of IAI activity, the IAI may well be implicated, though it is also possible that these Sunni tribesmen are working with the government (which is the case in the Salah ad-Din province locality of Daluiya as well).
Interview (see here for original)
Q: What are the goals of the IAI? To establish a Sunni region or free Baghdad from Shi'a rule?
A: The mujahideen have their eyes on Baghdad- the seat of the Caliphate- and a slogan of the group we have adopted is: "The jihad is past and the region is a step," so the Sunni region is a goal and the liberation of Baghdad is not absent from the minds of the mujahideen, and they will do all they can to liberate it by God's permission. In all cases, the jihad will continue to rise and endure, just as it is the day to fight against the Safavids in Baghdad by God's permission.
Q: How are relations with the Islamic State? Is there cooperation against government forces?
A: There is no relation or direct cooperation with the organization. There are some inconveniences on the battlefield we cannot discuss in clear terms because of the gravity of timing and the Rafidites [Shi'a] are taking up positions against the Ahl al-Sunna.
Q: What is IAI's opinion on 'Kata'ib al-Mosul' and 'Kata'ib al-Hamza' that say they are fighting to liberate areas from the Islamic State?
A: We believe that these media entities don't have a real existence on the ground.