BackgroundAnsar al-Islam (AI), formerly known as Ansar al-Sunna (AS), is a Sunni extremist group comprised of mainly Iraqi Kurds intent on establishing a Salafi Islamic state in Iraq. AI was established during December 2001. AI's formation followed an agreement between Osama bin Laden and Kurdish Islamist groups to integrate their presence and activities Iraq. AI's co-founder, Mullah Krekar, lived in Iran for a time before fleeing to Norway. Abu Musab al Zarqawi (deceased leader of al Qaeda in Iraq) assumed a leadership position in AI after fleeing Afghanistan. The formation resulted in the merger of the Islah, al-Tawhid Islamic Front, and Jund al-Islam. Initially the AI was associated with violent clashes with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), but following the USA intervention in Iraq the AI transformed itself into a powerful group within the Sunni insurgency groupings. AI is predominately comprised of Iraqis, some of whom are former intelligence and security personnel.…
Ansar al-Islam (AI)
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