Abu Abdullah says that most attacks by his group, the IAI, focus on the US military. The IAI's website features an up-to-date list of all its purported attacks – most involving rocket or mortar fire and roadside bombings against US troops. Some attacks are also against Shiite militias and government forces. "We are fighting a battle for our existence," says Abu Abdullah.
He also maintains that while the US has succeeded in driving a wedge between AQI and Sunnis in Anbar Province, many of the tribesmen there who are now on the American payroll are still aiding IAI and other insurgent groups.
"Chasing out Al Qaeda has benefited us a lot," he says, explaining that AQI militants have largely been driven out of Anbar and Baghdad and are now concentrated in parts of Diyala, Nineveh, and Salaheddin provinces to the north. He says AQI used indiscriminate violence to subdue other Sunni insurgent groups. Petraeus has offered a similar assessment.
Abu Abdullah, a former Iraqi military officer who was briefly jailed during Saddam Hussein's rule for his Islamic sympathies, says he first joined the insurgency shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003 and belonged at the time to a group known as the 1920 Revolution Brigades. He left that group to join the IAI in May 2004 after he realized the Brigades were being swayed by the secular ideology of Hussein's Baath Party. One IAI goal is to turn Iraq into a state similar to Saudi Arabia, which adheres to a puritanical form of Sunni Islam.