Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad

A flag that was in use by Jama'at al-Tawhid wal Jihad in late 2004
A pair of armed anti-American insurgents in Iraq in 2006
The UN headquarters building in Baghdad after the Canal Hotel bombing, on 22 August 2003
Alternative Flag
Car bombings were a common form of attack in Iraq during the Coalition occupation
U.S. Navy Seabees in Fallujah, November 2004. Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad fought U.S. and coalition forces during the Iraq War.

Militant Jihadist group.

- Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad

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Islamic State of Iraq

Militant Salafist jihadist group that aimed to establish an Islamic state in Sunni, Arab-majority areas of Iraq during the Iraq War and later in Syria during the Syrian Civil War.

US Marines in Ramadi, May 2006, conducting a snap vehicle checkpoint patrol to disrupt insurgent activity
US soldiers and Sunni Arab tribesmen scan for enemy activity in a farm field in southern Arab Jibor, January 2008

Islamic State of Iraq traces its origins to Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which was formed by the Jordanian national Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Jordan in 1999.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Jordanian jihadist who ran a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in May 2004
U.S. soldiers in Fallujah, November 2004. Al-Zarqawi's network was the main target.
American hostage Nick Berg seated, with five men standing over him. The man directly behind him, alleged to be Zarqawi, is the one who beheaded Berg.
Colin Powell's U.N. presentation slide showing Al-Zarqawi's global terrorist network
A U.S. PSYOP leaflet disseminated in Iraq shows al-Zarqawi caught in a rat trap. Text: "This is your future, Zarqawi"
Remains of Zarqawi's safe house, June 8, 2006
U.S. distributed photo of Zarqawi's corpse

He formed Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999, and led it until his death in June 2006.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Iraqi Sunni Islamic Jihadist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda, for two years.

One of several flags used by AQI in their video releases; others used white text for the circle and the shahada.
US Navy Seabees during the Second Battle of Fallujah (November 2004)
Shosei Koda before his beheading
Car bombings were a common form of attack in Iraq during the Coalition occupation

The group was founded by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 1999 under the name Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (جماعة التوحيد والجهاد, "Group of Monotheism and Jihad").

Iraqi insurgency (2003–2011)

An insurgency began in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion, and lasted throughout the ensuing Iraq War which lasted from 2003 until 2011.

Armed Iraqi insurgents in November 2006
U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams tanks patrol the streets of Tal Afar, Iraq in February 2005.
A roadside bombing in Iraq on 3 August 2005
Ba'ath Party flag
Interpreters, mostly Iraqi Americans on patrol with U.S. troops, became frequent targets of insurgents during the war
Provincial control of Iraq in September 2011

Zarqawi was considered the head of an insurgent group called Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad ("Monotheism and Holy War") until his death on 7 June 2006, which according to U.S. estimates numbers in the low hundreds.


Neologism which is used in reference to "militant Islamic movements that are perceived as existentially threatening to the West" and "rooted in political Islam."

Jihadist variation of the Black Standard as used by various Islamist organisations since the late 1990s, which consists of the Shahada in white script centered on a black background.
Afghan mujahideen praying in the Kunar Province, Afghanistan (1987)
Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri of al-Qaeda have promoted the overthrow of secular governments.
A black flag reportedly used by Caucasian jihadists in 2002 displays the phrase al-jihad fi sabilillah above the takbir and two crossed swords.
Flag of ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh
ISIL's territory in Iraq and Syria (in grey), at the time of its greatest territorial extent in May 2015.
The Houthi flag, with the top saying "God is the greatest", the next line saying "Death to America", followed by "Death to Israel", followed by "A curse upon the Jews", and the bottom saying "Victory to Islam".
U.S. President Ronald Reagan meeting with Afghan mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office in 1983

Al-Qaeda's splinter groups and competitors, Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are thought to have been heavily influenced by a 2004 work on jihad entitled Management of Savagery (Idarat at-Tawahhush), written by Abu Bakr Naji and intended to provide a strategy to create a new Islamic caliphate by first destroying "vital economic and strategic targets" and terrifying the enemy with cruelty to break its will.

Canal Hotel bombing

Suicide truck bombing in Baghdad, Iraq, in the afternoon of August 19, 2003.

United Nations members prepare to load flag-draped metal transfer cases carrying the remains of bombing victims from the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI).
U.S. officers secure a United Nations flag over the transfer case of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, prior to a memorial service at the Baghdad International Airport.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of terrorist organization Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, in April 2004 claimed responsibility for the 19 August blast.

Beheading in Islam

Standard method of execution in pre-modern Islamic law.

The Beheading of Saint Paul. Painting by Enrique Simonet in 1887, Málaga Cathedral

In recent times, extremist Jihadist organizations such as ISIS and Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad have used beheading as a method of killing captives.


Multinational militant Sunni Islamic extremist network composed of Salafist jihadists.

Flag used by various al-Qaeda factions
Al-Qaeda militant in Sahel armed with a Type 56 assault rifle, 2012
Osama bin Laden (left) and Ayman al-Zawahiri (right) photographed in 2001
Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir interviewing Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, 1997
Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian Islamist who inspired al-Qaeda
CIA-funded and ISI-trained Afghan mujahideen fighters crossing the Durand Line border to fight Soviet forces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government in 1985
Omar Abdel-Rahman
Current military situation in Somalia:
Current military situation in Yemen:
Anwar al-Awlaki
View of Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was killed on May 1, 2011
Military situation in the Syrian Civil War as of {{#invoke:Iraq Syria map date|syriadate}}.
The scene of the October 2012 Aleppo bombings, for which al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility
1998 Nairobi embassy bombing
Aftermath of the September 11 attacks
US troops in Afghanistan
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after his arrest in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in March 2003
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (formerly GSPC) area of operations
Front page of The Guardian Weekly on the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The article claimed that al-Qaeda's activity is "increasingly dispersed to 'affiliates' or 'franchises' in Yemen and North Africa."
USS Cole after the October 2000 attack

In Iraq, al-Qaeda forces loosely associated with the leadership were embedded in the Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad group commanded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Kidnapping and murder of Kenneth Bigley

British civil engineer who was kidnapped in the al-Mansour district of Baghdad, Iraq, on 16 September 2004, along with his colleagues Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong, both United States citizens.

Bigley (right) with his wife Sombat in 1998

On 18 September, the Tawhid and Jihad ("Oneness of God and Jihad") Islamic extremist group, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, released a video of the three men kneeling in front of a Tawhid and Jihad banner.

Kim Sun-il

South Korean interpreter and Christian missionary who was kidnapped and murdered in Iraq.

Kim c. 2003

On 30 May 2004, he was kidnapped in Fallujah — about 50 km west of Baghdad — by the Islamist group Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and held as a hostage.