Country Report on Terrorism 2018 - Chapter 5 - Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi

Aka Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi; Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order; Armed Men of the Naqshabandi Order; Naqshbandi Army; Naqshabandi Army; Men of the Army of al-Naqshbandia Way; Jaysh Rajal al-Tariqah al-Naqshbandia; JRTN; JRN; AMNO.

Description: Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi (JRTN) was designated as a FTO in September 30, 2015. The group first announced insurgency operations against international forces in Iraq in December 2006 in response to the execution of Saddam Hussein. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former vice president of Saddam Hussein’s Revolutionary Council, leads the group, which consists of former Baath Party officials, military personnel, and Sunni nationalists. JRTN aims to overthrow the Government of Iraq, install a new Ba’athist regime, and end external influence in Baghdad.

Activities: Between its founding in 2006 and the 2011 withdrawal of Coalition Forces from Iraq, JRTN claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on U.S. bases and forces. JRTN also is known to have used VBIEDs against Iraqi government security forces.

In 2014, elements of JRTN joined military forces with ISIS in opposition to the Iraqi government. JRTN played a major role in the capture of Mosul from Iraqi security forces in 2014. However, fissures between ISIS and JRTN quickly emerged after ISIS’s advance in Baiji and Tikrit. Although some elements of JRTN splintered off, the majority of the organization was subsumed by ISIS. JRTN did not publicly claim any specific attacks from 2016 through 2018.

Strength: In 2013, the group was estimated to have about 5,000 fighters; membership is almost certainly much lower today.

Location/Area of Operation: The group is based primarily in Iraq.

Funding and External Aid: JRTN historically received funding from former regime members, major tribal figures in Iraq, and from Gulf-based financiers of terrorism.