The Army of Islam is the biggest Sunni terrorist group in Iraq.
A branch of the ubiquitous Muslim Brotherhood, the Army of Islam holds itself aloof from the American war on al Qaeda and, equally, from al Qaeda’s campaigns against the Americans and Shiites, both of which it battles independently.
A pamphlet released earlier this month by these fundamentalists has come into the hands of DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s counter-terror experts. Since the organization’s many networks are spread out in southern Iraq and the Iraq-Iranian border lands, its disclosures of Tehran’s subversive operations in Iraq and its plans for expansion should be treated as first-rate intelligence data.
Tehran is determined by the Army of Islam to have set itself 10 goals for 2008:
1. Ascendancy over the vast Iraqi Shiite population (more than 62 percent of all Iraqis) by seizing control of their political parties. In small remote towns, Iranian agents are already creating small parties, which are in fact Iranian front organizations.
2. Domination of the Shiite holy town of Najaf. Tehran is getting set for the demise of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who is in frail health. This Iraqi cleric has won renown throughout the Shiite world. Once he is dead, pro-Iranian gangs will move in on his tawzah (center of Shiite learning) both to grab its assets and start downgrading Najef as a world religious center. Tehran refuses to tolerate a Shiite world center which outshines Qom, the Iranian seminary center hallowed by the Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Iranian sources report that Sistani’s seminary center is one of the largest and mot eminent in the Shiite world as well as being the hub of a financial empire which turns over tens of billions of dollars a year.
A teller in every Iranian bank in Iraq is an undercover agent
3. Tehran has begun handing out to every Iraqi Shiite seminarist a monthly stipend of $80-100. This is three times the allocation paid by the Sistani tawzah.
4. Maintaining a Shiite majority in Baghdad by means of violence and sectarian cleansing.
5. Based on the successful model of Basra and al Amarna, where they exploited the British military presence as cover for their subversive takeover of these key southern cities, the Iranians plan to burrow under the US military presence in other parts of the country for more takeovers.
6. Iranians are being transferred en masse into Iraq, especially those able to exploit family or tribal ties in the Iraqi Shiite community. They are encouraged to open thousands of small businesses from their new homes.
7. Iranian banks are going up in every Shiite neighborhood. One or more of the bank tellers, says the Army of Islam’s publication, is an undercover Iranian intelligence agent whose covert mission is to winkle out and liquidate opponents of Iran in his area.
8. Newspapers, radio and television stations promoting Tehran’s policies are to be established in every Shiite town and village.
9. To run its Iraq enterprise, Tehran has deployed in Iraq 10,000 Revolutionary Guards personnel. Half have joined the Iraq Shiite Badr Brigade, which has been integrated in Iraq’s national security force as a separate framework; the rest perform missions on behalf of the Al Qods Brigade, the IRGC’s overseas terrorist arm.
10. Iran is running its day-to-day affairs in Iraq from Najef, out of the offices of a Shiite Charity Foundation called “The Bureau of Assistance to the Shiite Poor of Iraq”.
The Army of Islam publication discloses that Tehran allotted its Iraq project the round sum of $100 million for 2007, raising it by 30% for the current year.