The JRTN Movement and Iraq’s Next Insurgency

Jul 01, 2011

The stabilization of Iraq has become wedged on a plateau, beyond which further improvement will be a slow process. According to incident metrics compiled by Olive Group, the average monthly number of insurgent attacks between January and June 2011 was 380.[1] The incident count in January was 376, indicating that incident levels remained roughly stable in the first half of 2011. One reason behind this stability is the ongoing virulence of northern and central Iraqi insurgents operating within Sunni Arab communities. Five predominately Sunni provinces and western Baghdad were responsible for an average of 68.5% of national incidents each month in 2011.[2]

This article argues that one driver for the ongoing resilience, or even revival, of Sunni militancy is the growing influence of the Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi (JRTN) movement, which has successfully tapped into Sunni Arab fear of Iraq’s Shi`a-led government and the country’s Kurdish population, while offering an authentic Iraqi alternate to al-Qa`ida in Iraq (AQI). The features of JRTN are becoming clearer, providing an interesting case study of an insurgent movement that learned from the mistakes of other militants and has successfully created a hybrid of Islamist themes and nationalist military expertise.

Birth and Evolution of JRTN
When JRTN formally announced its establishment after Saddam Hussein’s execution on December 30, 2006, the movement was initially a subject of curiosity because of its apparent connection to the Naqshbandi order of Sufi Islam. In fact, JRTN’s adoption of Naqshbandi motifs reflected patronage networks that coalesced during Saddam’s rule. In northern Iraq, the Naqshbandi order had many adherents, both Arab and Kurdish, but the most politically significant strand of the movement were Arabs who pragmatically collaborated with the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and later the various Iraqi governments. According to Iraqi expert Professor Amatzia Baram, this Arab strand of Iraq’s Naqshbandis used the movement as a political and business fellowship—perhaps similar to freemasonry—to advance their joint interests.[3] Under the Ba`athist regime, the Naqshbandi cultivated Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, Iraq’s vice president and deputy chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council, as their sponsor. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, al-Duri was rushed through the process of confirmation as a Naqshbandi shaykh, officially connecting his spiritual lineage (silsilah) directly to the Prophet Muhammad.[4] Al-Duri initiated numerous military families into the Naqshbandi order during the Iran-Iraq War and throughout the gradual Islamification of the Ba`athist regime in the 1990s, using the order to strengthen his personal loyalty and patronage networks.[5]

The Naqshbandi layer of the former regime was not widely recognized during the early years of the insurgency in 2003-2005. Small hints of the use of Naqshbandi identity as a mobilizing principle began to surface in 2005 when insurgent katibat (battalions) emerged in Mosul and Kirkuk provinces bearing the name of Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani, the founder of the Qadiri order of Sufism, an order related to the Naqshbandi.[6] A number of events coincided in 2005-2006 to provide an opening for al-Duri and his supporters to develop an insurgent umbrella movement that blended Iraqi nationalism, protection of the Sunna (Iraq’s Sunni Arabs), and orthodox Islamic themes. During 2006, insurgent movements led by Iraqi Salafists (most notably the Islamic Army or Jaysh al-Islami) clashed with AQI and splintered. From 2006 onward, JRTN has contracted the services of many ailing Sunni insurgent groups.

The taped execution of Saddam Hussein by Shi`a militiamen in December 2006 provided a springboard for JRTN to announce its existence at the start of 2007. Against a backdrop of increasing sectarian violence, the manner of Saddam’s chaotic execution by hanging, a criminal’s death, prompted a wave of outrage and fear among former regime elements.[7] In early 2007, the growth of al-Duri’s ambitions led to a split in the New Ba`ath Party. One faction allied with Muhammad Younis al-Ahmed, a Saddam family consigliore with close ties to Syrian intelligence and with the al-Awda insurgent movement.[8] Others aligned with al-Duri, who formed the Higher Command for Jihad and Liberation (HCJL) in October 2007. Like the Islamic State of Iraq—a coalition dominated by one large group, AQI—HCJL is built almost entirely around JRTN. In the years after 2007, JRTN exploited the disintegration of other groups—including parts of AQI—and grew in strength. It emerged as the only Iraqi insurgent group to have grown stronger during and since the U.S.-led “surge.” Indeed, U.S. statements on JRTN have arguably added to its credibility and potential for recruiting and fundraising.[9]

JRTN’s Organizational Structure
Estimates concerning the size of JRTN range from 1,500 to 5,000 members, but these figures do little to improve understanding of the concentric circles of involvement in such a movement.[10] According to multiple accounts, JRTN appears to have a small core of permanent members by design; outside of a compact national leadership, the only “card-carrying” members appear to be a cadre of facilitators, financiers, intelligence officers and trainers.[11] Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri is the leader of JRTN and HCJL, and he remains in adequate health and is politically active within Iraq.[12] His role in the organization is tending to the coalition of tribal and factional relationships, a role to which he is ideally suited by temperament and experience.[13] The national leadership of JRTN and the HCJL command staff are one and the same, with five main sub-sections: Military Affairs, Religious Affairs, Financial Affairs, Media, and Operational Security.[14]

JRTN’s mid-level operatives were initially drawn from a select group of former military and intelligence officers who had attained ranks between lieutenant colonel and brigadier general under the Ba`athist regime. The first cadres of JRTN operators appear to have been recruited primarily from former Republican Guard and military intelligence officers with connections to the pre-2003 Naqshbandi lodges within the Saddam military. Security personnel from Saddam’s inner-most circle were not favored due to their high profile.[15] The tribal make-up of JRTN mirrors the professional backgrounds of members, with a significant number of Jubburis from Hawija, Sharqat and Kirkuk; Ubaydis from Rashad and Tuz Khurmatu; Azzawis from Lake Hamrin and northern Diyala; and Harbis (including al-Duri’s tribal relatives) from Salah al-Din. In keeping with Saddam-era policies, a patchwork quilt of small sub-tribes and clans are aligned with JRTN, rather than entire federations or tribes.[16] Since 2009, the movement has gained significant strength in Abu Ghurayb and parts of the Falluja to Ramadi corridor.[17] Due to old Ba`athist ties to southern tribes, JRTN probably has the ability to conduct limited attacks in southern Iraq as well.[18]

JRTN sponsors large numbers of attack cells across northern and central Iraq to strike specified types of targets, almost always for payment on delivery of a video proving the attack was undertaken. In some cases, specific targets may also be identified by JRTN core members (particular bases, vehicle routes or persons). If necessary, JRTN may also provide access to weapons and explosives.[19] JRTN seems to carefully choose its “contractors” and even provides a degree of training and recruitment support to help form such cells. One U.S. intelligence officer described the trainers sent out as “mid-level guys in their early- to mid-30s with technical expertise in [improvised explosive devices, IEDs], sniping, things like that, farming out their knowledge into other areas of Iraq.”[20] JRTN prefers to use former members of elite military units such as the Special Republican Guard or Republican Guard as operational affiliates.[21] Candidates are identified by personal recommendations, and vetting is undertaken through former regime networks. Training programs are used to refresh military skills and discipline, including extended “90-day” courses where recruits are subjected to physical abuse by former warrant officers.[22]

Operators are slowly introduced to operational tasks, progressing from reconnaissance to simple attacks and finally to weapons caching and complex attacks.[23] Instruction to new cells stresses the need to adopt low-risk tactics (such as sniper fire and rocket attacks) to conserve personnel and to progressively adapt more complex attacks only after patiently profiling the enemy.[24] New members are assigned a serial number that is intended to be used in lieu of their name in communications.[25] JRTN likes to parade a ceremonial platoon of its soldiers in videos, stressing uniform elements of armament and clothing; its deployed cells are also given platoon, company, battalion and brigade designations, although the order of battle is not as structured as this nomenclature suggests.[26]

JRTN also appears to fully outsource some commissioned attacks to existing insurgent movements. In some cases, these are the remnants of formerly significant insurgent groups like Jaysh al-Islami, Hamas al-Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna and Jaysh Muhammad. The foot soldiers of these movements are often not informed by their leaders that JRTN contracted their services.[27] Some facilitators used by JRTN have operated with Ansar al-Sunna or AQI previously. This tactical “co-mingling” of groups is noted in numerous accounts.[28] JRTN appears to employ AQI to undertake deniable attacks on Iraqis, particularly civilian targets. In one well-known instance, JRTN contracted AQI to detonate a car bomb at the Ad Dawr Joint Control Center in December 2006, part of a successful strategy to eliminate all rivals to al-Duri’s sub-tribe in the area.[29] JRTN has also been linked to AQI car bombings in Ramadi, Kirkuk and Tikrit.[30] Some attacks by AQI have even been jointly claimed by JRTN.[31]

Population-Centric Insurgency
JRTN’s recruitment material and manifesto is a successful blend of political ideas with religious imagery. The key message of JRTN and HCJL communications is the need for unity among Sunni insurgent movements. In a June 2009 communiqué issued to celebrate the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq’s cities, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri stressed the goal of “resistance unity on the battlefield.”[32] One U.S. officer noted: “We believe now that JRTN’s intent is to coalesce as many insurgent groups…under a common theme of removing the occupiers (the Coalition Forces) from Iraq and, second, to overthrow the government of Iraq for a Ba`athist regime or something similar.”[33] JRTN states that it would be willing to negotiate a cease-fire with the government of Iraq and the United States, but only once many of the changes wrought in Iraq since 2003 are reversed, including the unattainable stated aim of restoring all of the 600,000-odd security personnel to their former statuses and disestablishing all government organs and laws introduced since the occupation began.[34]

From the outset, JRTN appears to have tailored its strategic messaging and its operational activity to appeal to the population within its operational areas. With a significant nod to Islamic values, JRTN’s video productions have consistently focused on the concerns of mainstream Sunnis, such as the fear of an Iranian-influenced Shi`a government in Baghdad, concerns about Kurdish activities in the disputed areas (termed “the occupied territories” by JRTN), and general discontent about the apparent chaos and corruption since the end of Ba`athist rule.[35]

Alongside its messaging, JRTN has issued targeting guidance to differentiate itself from AQI, most notably a commitment to restrict attacks to “the unbeliever-occupier,” the JRTN descriptor for U.S. forces.[36] Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri stated in 2009, “all the fighting efforts are going to be directed totally against the invaders (the imperial American forces wherever they are on the Iraqi land), and we absolutely forbid killing or fighting any Iraqi in all the agent state apparatus of the army, the police, the awakening, and the administration, except in self-defense situations, and if some agents and spies in these apparatus tried to confront the resistance.” All attack videos publicized by JRTN exclusively show strikes on U.S. bases and forces; other types of attacks, such as JRTN’s numerous under-vehicle IED intimidation attacks on security forces, are disavowed.[37]

Integrated Kinetic and Information Operations
JRTN’s branding and messaging has yielded a number of significant advantages for the group. One private security analyst with access to U.S. and Iraqi Security Force officers stated: “At the operational level, JRTN’s appearance of a religious connection gives it credibility in the eyes of the population and therefore increases the support offered and reduces the interference by the local population.”[38] The analyst noted that JRTN’s stated “policy of only attacking the ‘occupiers’ and not the local population (whatever their ethnic or religious group) makes it one of the least ‘interfered with’ terrorist groupings. The population turned its back on many of the foreign fighters but JRTN are still seen as Iraqis first.”[39] In areas along the federal-Kurdish line of control, JRTN’s anti-Kurdish agitation may have assisted its penetration of Sunni security forces. Kurdish factions recently accused JRTN of influencing the 12th Iraqi Army division in southern Kirkuk and flying JRTN’s flag on Iraqi Army vehicles during anti-Kurdish protests.[40] Through sympathizers in the security forces, JRTN is assumed by U.S. officers to have at least some basic insight into the workings of joint U.S.-Iraqi operations centers, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and signals intelligence.[41]

The apparent focus on U.S. forces (plus its capacity to intimidate local judges and call upon tribal support) has earned the movement sympathetic treatment by some parts of the Iraqi security forces and judiciary. One intelligence officer from Diyala noted that his Iraqi counterparts “rarely stated in public that JRTN was much of a threat and every time we detained a JRTN leader, we had to fight tooth and nail to keep them detained. In other words they did not accept that JRTN was a serious risk to the [government of Iraq], only to Americans.”[42] JRTN appears to have successfully used loopholes in Iraqi law that means “resistance activities” are not treated as seriously as crimes with Iraqi victims. According to one analyst, this legal aspect “is one reason that [JRTN] is deliberately not leaving a trail of evidence and claims connecting it to car bombings or assassinations that target Iraqis.”[43]

Although opinions differ on the issue, most analysts seem to agree that JRTN is relatively well-funded compared to most Iraqi insurgent groups.[44] Localized extortion and intimidation is a mainstay for many Iraqi insurgent groups, including large segments of AQI, but JRTN appears to draw its funding primarily through top-down distribution of funds. Larger-scale contract and project-level business extortion may be a source, and JRTN also seems to draw on infusions of cash from major tribal figures in Iraq.[45] The former regime diaspora is an additional source of revenue, particularly former Republican Guard officers in Jordan and, to a lesser extent, Syria and Yemen.[46] JRTN’s energetic media campaign and its use of Islamic motifs has also allowed the movement to capture a strong share of the bigger, yet declining, slice of the external contributions coming to Iraq from “armchair jihadists” in the Gulf states. Some sources suggest that Arab intelligence services, notably the Jordanian General Intelligence Department, may be cultivating long-term ties with JRTN with an eye to countering Iranian influence in Iraq.[47]

Outlook for JRTN
JRTN, like its leader Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, is a chameleon, capable of assuming the form that will best serve its interests at the time. When Iraq’s Sunni insurgency was stricken by internal divisions between 2005 and 2009, JRTN emerged with a message of unity. When public support for the resistance was weakened by AQI’s actions against Iraqi Sunnis, JRTN committed itself to a public policy of not harming Iraqis whenever possible. The movement’s blend of Islamist and nationalist rhetoric and its appeal to Ba`ath-era nostalgia at a time of weak governance means it is squarely in-sync with the views of the population it relies upon for active and passive support. Yet the strategic landscape in Iraq is changing, not least due to the coming drawdown of U.S. forces. How will JRTN adapt to the potential forks in the road ahead?

One change factor could be the death or capture of Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, quite possibly by natural causes due to his age and recurring health issues. Al-Duri is the last substantial link to the Ba`ath government and his leadership credentials are solid compared to other former regime elements. Nor is al-Duri lacking in vision, which he showed when he submitted letters to President George W. Bush and later President Barack Obama, was interviewed by Time Magazine, and had pronouncements read out at the Arab League despite his changed status since 2003.[48] Al-Duri is more than an important symbol of continuity since Saddam’s time: he is also a “quiet professional”—a seasoned coalition-builder with unparalleled tribal and political ties in the Sunni community. His loss could cause cracks within the organization as its “spiritual center” is in his home town of Ad Dawr and in the Naqshbandi mosques he built there.[49]

The withdrawal of most or all U.S. forces could be another stressful transition for JRTN. The movement’s current raison d’être—expelling U.S. forces—could dry up in the coming six months. JRTN is already struggling to maintain the flow of new attack videos due to reduced availability of U.S. targets as bases shut down and convoy traffic declines, and this could stem the movement’s external fundraising. As a result, JRTN may evolve its concept of resistance until liberation. Since 2009, JRTN has slowly been moving the goalposts by parroting popular fears that Iraq’s Shi`a-led government is “basically a puppet of Iran and is trying to persecute Sunnis,” in the words of one U.S. officer.[50] A private security analyst who monitors JRTN communiqués noted that JRTN had “become a more anti-Baghdad organization than anti-American.”[51] JRTN is also likely to ramp up its anti-Kurdish rhetoric concerning the “occupied territories” along the federal-Kurdish line of control.

Many U.S. analysts relay a sense that JRTN is “playing the long game” or is “waiting us out.”[52] JRTN may shift its balance to non-U.S. targets in a switch toward the second of its stated aims: changing the nature of government in Iraq. This may result in a narrowing of its operations and use of affiliates and in greater numbers of deniable operations against Iraqis. Although its maximal aims are unachievable, it is conceivable that elements of JRTN could slip onto the edges of the political spectrum in Iraq as advocates of the Sunna who outwardly shed their affiliations to the Ba`ath Party and even al-Duri and JRTN.

The Ba`ath Party—including a young Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri—spent five years seeking to get back into power between 1963 and 1968. The process of recovering power was incremental and well-planned. It is difficult at the present time to assess the extent to which JRTN has contributed to the season of high-tempo assassinations in Baghdad, but a portion of the killings are probably traceable to the movement. This kind of carefully parsed violence that kills few but intimidates many is typical of the Ba`ath Party and may point to the future evolution of a slimmer, post-occupation JRTN movement.[53]

Dr. Michael Knights is the Lafer fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has been writing on Iraq since the 1990s and is the author of four books and the editor of one anthology on Saddam-era and post-war Iraq. Dr. Knights has operated extensively in Iraq as the head of analysis at Olive Group, a security provider with over 3,000 days of consecutive operations in Iraq.

[1] All of the data in this article is drawn from Olive Group operations. Olive Group is a major private security company operating in Iraq.

[2] Ibid. The five predominately Sunni Arab provinces are Anbar, Salah al-Din, Mosul, Diyala and Kirkuk.

[3] Personal interview, Professor Amatzia Baram, Washington, D.C., February 10, 2011.

[4] Rafid Fadhil Ali, “Sufi Insurgent Groups in Iraq,” Terrorism Monitor 6:2 (2008). Without al-Duri’s assistance, the Naqshbandi would have been treated to the same intense surveillance and intimidation of other secret societies such as Iraq’s freemason lodges, which became dormant under the Ba`ath.

[5] Al-Duri is typically associated with the “Return to Faith” campaign of the early 1990s. In fact, al-Duri appears to have avoided the public spotlight entirely during this campaign. As Amatzia Baram noted, “Saddam was the ‘Mr Islam’: Izzat Ibrahim was ‘Mr Sufi.’ Al-Duri was always careful not to overshadow Saddam.” Personal interview, Professor Amatzia Baram, Washington, D.C., February 10, 2011.

[6] Ali,  “Sufi Insurgent Groups in Iraq.” Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani formed the Qadira during the 11th century.

[7] Saddam had asked to be executed by firing squad. Many committed republicans and Ba`athists felt this was appropriate, to honor the office of the president if not Saddam himself. The manner of Saddam’s death—amidst Shi`a religious chanting—was taken as a sectarian affront by many Sunni Arabs. Personal interview, Professor Amatzia Baram, Washington, D.C., February 10, 2011.

[8] Rafid Fadhil Ali, “Reviving the Iraqi Ba’ath: A Profile of General Muhammad Yunis al-Ahmad,” Terrorism Monitor 7:3 (2009).

[9] Since 2009, when JRTN was designated by the United States as a terrorist group, U.S. statements have had the unintended impact of boosting JRTN’s credentials. Alongside AQI, JRTN is the other main insurgent movement cited as a threat by U.S. officials, many of whom identify JRTN as the greater threat. One U.S. officer told Jane’s, “the US and other security forces potentially played into [JRTN’s] hands by building JRTN up to be stronger than they actually were.” See Jo Sharp, “Iraq’s Sufi-Baathist Insurgency,” Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor, March 8, 2010. Also see “U.S. Treasury Department Freezes Assets of Iraqi Insurgent Group,” U.S. Treasury Department, December 23, 2009.

[10] The aforementioned Jane’s article refers to “1,500 to 2,000” members. The author has heard other estimates by U.S. military officers that range from 3,000 to 5,000 members of various kinds.

[11] Personal interviews, U.S. intelligence analysts, Skype, telephone and face-to-face interviews, dates and locations withheld at the request of interviewees.

[12] Ibid. Al-Duri’s credentials within the Ba`athist milieu cannot be overstated. From 1963 to 1968, al-Duri was Saddam’s shadow, serving with him in the intelligence and peasants sections of the Ba`ath Party and later spending time in jail together. From the Ba`ath return to power in 1968 until the regime’s fall in 2003, al-Duri served as Saddam’s most trusted deputy, being careful not to threaten Saddam’s position. The relationship was not even weakened when al-Duri’s daughter divorced Saddam’s son Uday.

[13] Al-Duri’s special skill was always in the field of relationship-building. While others in the progressive Ba`athist government sneered at religious and tribal powerbrokers in the first decades of Ba`ath rule, al-Duri was busy forging long-term links to sects and tribes across Iraq. Despite his limited military background, al-Duri mixed well with professional soldiers during his long tenure as deputy commander of Iraq’s armed forces.

[14] Abdul Hameed Bakier, “Ex-Baathists Turn to Naqshbandi Sufis to Legitimize Insurgency,” Terrorism Focus 5:1 (2008).

[15] Only a small number of Special Republican Guard, Special Security Organization (Amn al-Khass), and Presidential Guard (himaya) have been associated with JRTN. Intelligence personnel in JRTN tend to be from the military intelligence or general intelligence rather than Saddam’s creation, the Mukhabarat. Saddam Fidayin, widely disliked by Iraqi military men, were also not included in JRTN’s core personnel.

[16] Saddam’s own tribe, the Albu Nasir, does not appear to be strongly involved in JRTN.

[17] Personal interviews, U.S. intelligence analysts, Skype, telephone and face-to-face interviews, dates and locations withheld at the request of interviewees.

[18] Many former Ba`athists and Ba`athist-affiliated tribal shaykhs lost status after 2003 and continue to be legally ostracized by the Islamist parties in the south. These outcasts sometimes assist former regime elements in carrying out attacks in the south, such as the attacks over the last year in Basra Province. Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri also maintained close ties with a number of southern tribes, to whom he acted as benefactor during the Saddam years.

[19] Personal interview, U.S. intelligence analyst, date withheld at the request of interviewee.

[20] Sharp.

[21] Colonel Mike Marti, “Intelligence Operations in Iraq,” U.S. Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable, May 19, 2010.

[22] Ibid. Also drawn from personal interview, U.S. intelligence analyst, date and location withheld at the request of interviewee.

[23] Personal interview, private security analyst with access to Iraqi brigade tactical operation centers in northern Iraq, March 27, 2011.

[24] Bakier.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Personal interview, U.S. intelligence analyst, date and location withheld at the request of interviewee.

[27] A U.S. soldier told a reporter, “Sometimes some of the groups perceive, in fact, that they’re working for their organization only to discover later that several tiers up they are actually being facilitated by another.” For details, see Richard Tomkins, “Analysis: Baathists Beat Nationalist Drum,” UPI, June 5, 2009. This is echoed in Sharp.

[28] A good example is the interview by U.S. Army Brigadier General Craig Nixon, who is quoted in Quil Lawrence, “US Sees New Threat In Iraq From Sufi Sect,” National Public Radio, June 17, 2009.

[29] Lieutenant Colonel Pat Proctor, “Fighting to Understand: A Practical Example of Design at the Battalion Level,” Military Review, March-April 2011. Also see reference to this incident in Sharp.

[30] For an official statement on a JRTN and al-Qa`ida-affiliated suicide bomb cell, see “Suspected VBIED Cell Leader Arrested in Sulaymaniyah,” Multinational Force-Iraq, March 2, 2010. Car bombings in Kirkuk and Tikrit in 2011 have also been linked to JRTN funding. This information is based on personal interview, U.S. intelligence analyst, date withheld at the request of interviewee.

[31] The attack in question was the July 29, 2010 daylight storming and capture of an Iraqi Army checkpoint in Adhamiya, Baghdad. See Hayder Najm, “Al-Qaeda Maintains its Foothold,” Niqash, August 11, 2010.

[32] Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, “Message Izzat Ibrahim Al-Duri Supreme Commander of the Fight and Liberation. The end of June 2009,” Jabha-wqs.net, June 30, 2009.

[33] Richard Tomkins, “Ba’athists Aiding Insurgent Attacks,” Washington Times, June 4, 2009.

[34] “Iraqi Resistance Announces Founding of Supreme Command for the Jihad and Liberation in Baghdad,”  alBasrah.net, October 3, 2007.

[35] Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, “Letter from the Jehad Leader of the Iraqi Resistance Izzat Ibrahim ad-Duri,” Jabha-wqs.net, May 29, 2005.

[36] The main JRTN tactics used are long-range harassing tactics such as rocket fire on U.S. bases and sniper attacks, or the use of command wire-initiated roadside bombs. JRTN affiliates make use of hand-thrown armor-piercing RKG-3 grenades and have occasionally experimented with armor-piercing roadside bombs related to explosively-formed projectiles. This information is based on personal interview, private security contact, May 12, 2011.

[37] In fact, JRTN appears to spend considerable resources on kinetic forms of counterintelligence, targeting judges, police officers and the Sons of Iraq with warnings followed by progressively deadly uses of force. In keeping with Ba`athist practices, JRTN uses not only terrorism, but also enticement: many police officers in strongholds like Ad Dawr receive “two pay checks”—their federal and JRTN stipends—according to U.S. officers quoted in Sharp. In the autumn of 2010, JRTN undertook a “concerted campaign to overawe Iraqi Army forces in west Baghdad” through massed employment of under-vehicle IEDs, according to a private security contact interviewed by the author in May 2011.

[38] Personal interview, private security analyst, March 27, 2011.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Personal interview, Kurdistan Regional Government counterterrorism intelligence analyst, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, May 21, 2011.

[41] “Partnerships,” Warhorse Intel Blog, September 17, 2010.

[42] “Seriously, I just need to let Diyala go,” Warhorse Intel Blog, January 22, 2011.

[43] Personal interview, U.S. intelligence analyst, date withheld at the request of interviewee.

[44] For instance, Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Catlett, commander of a U.S. battalion in the JRTN heartland of Hawija, stated that the movement was “very well-funded.” For details on his statement, see Michael Gisick, “US Targeting Insurgent Group in N. Iraq,” Stars and Stripes, May 25, 2010.

[45] Personal interviews, U.S. intelligence analysts, dates withheld at the request of interviewees.

[46] Ibid. For background on the amount of money held by former regime elements abroad, see Michael Knights, “The Role Played by Funding in the Iraq Insurgency,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, August 2005.

[47] “Dancing with Wolves: Maliki’s Envoys Take the Pulse of Baathists and Generals Outside Iraq,” Gulf States Newsletter, May 4, 2009.

[48] “The Next Insurgency: Baathists and Salafis Pool Resources to Fight Iraqi Government,” Gulf States Newsletter, September 17, 2010.

[49] “Phase Used in Proctor, Fighting to Understand,” Military Review, March-April 2011.

[50] Sharp.

[51] Personal interview, private security analyst, May 10, 2011.

[52] Personal interview, private security analyst, March 27, 2011. Also see Colonel Burt Thompson, quoted in Tomkins, “Analysis: Baathists Beat Nationalist Drum.”

[53] Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri laid out the rationale for counter-stability targeting when he stated: “Kill the traitors and stooges, pursue them and strike them down. Do not allow for any stability, because stability serves the enemy and his puppets.” See al-Duri, “Letter from the Jehad Leader of the Iraqi Resistance Izzat Ibrahim ad-Duri.”