BAGHDAD: The people and officials of the ethnically mixed Iraqi town of Tuz Khurmatu, 170 km north of Baghdad, talk about a new group that raises white flags decorated by the head of a lion drawn in black and carries out almost daily rocket attacks on the town, its surroundings and the suburbs of the nearby province of Kirkuk.
The group sometimes launches raids on the strategic road linking Baghdad to the northern oil city of Kirkuk, intercepting trucks, looting some and burning others, residents and local security officials told Arab News.
“These are extremist groups who were oppressed and prevented (by the Barzani government Kurdish authorities) from working before,” Najat Hussien, the acting mayor of Tuz Khurmatu, told Arab News.
“They are Kurdish militants (and are) joined by Daesh militants who fled the neighboring areas,” Hussien said. “They are sleeper cells that were waiting for the right time and place to resume their activities.”
Tuz Khurmatu is one of the disputed areas between Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdish region
On Tuesday, a mortar attack hit the center of the town, killing two civilians and injuring a further dozen, security sources said.
A few days earlier, three trucks on the main Baghdad-Kirkuk way were burned after their drivers were kidnapped, sources said. Last month at least 24 people were killed when a suicide car bomb exploded in central Tuz.
The group, which residents call “the Owners of the White Flags,” has emerged over the past two months after Iraqi security forces backed by the Shiite-dominated Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) drove the Kurdish forces out of almost 95 percent of the disputed areas and pushed them back into the 2003-constitutionally agreed border of the Kurdish region on Oct. 16.
Kurdish sources and residents of Tuz Khurmatu told Arab News that the group is led by Assi Al-Qawali, a Kurdish Peshmerga “volunteer” of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the biggest Kurdish political parties to govern Kurdistan. Al-Qawali and his group are fighting to “liberate the Kurdish lands — occupied by the Iranian Shiite militias.”
“Sheikh Mujahid Assi … is leading an armed group in Tuz Khurmatu as a part of the Kurdish popular resistance against the Shiite terrorist militias,” Kurdish Peshmerga Maj. Islam Chali tweeted on Tuesday.
“The Kurdish popular resistance launched Katyusha rockets (targeting) the Shiite militias and the terrorist Shiite Turkmen Hashid in Tuz Khurmatu,” Chali, tweeted hours after Tuesday’s rocket attack on Tuz.
Chali and other local Kurdish sites have circulated several photographs showing Al-Qawali and his fighters, all of whom were masked except Al-Qawali.
Al-Qawali has posted photographs of himself wearing traditional Kurdish dress and carrying a Kalashnikov on his Facebook page. Other photographs show him sitting next to sophisticated machine guns.
Local residents report..
“We know him because he previously participated in the riots in Tuz in 2015 and 2016 and he was burning the houses of Turkmen at that time,” Jankiz Tuzlu, a Turkman resident of Tuz, told Arab News.
Iraqi security and intelligence officials have ruled out the emergence of a new armed group and say intelligence reports suggest that “the Owners of White Flags” are actually the Kurdish radical group Ansar Al-Islam or “the Supporters of Islam,” which settled in the villages between the mountains of Hamrin and the Iraqi-Iranian border, and Daesh militants who fled the nearby towns and cities.Ansar al- Islam---- that rings a bell. Very loudly. Very clearly. If you've been following along with the Syrian destabilization, like I have, from the beginning that is.. you will recall Ansar al Islam.
Let's flashback to this 2016 post?
Ansar Al Islam (Syrian "rebels") have US Approved Anti-Aircraft Missiles or Manpads
Ansar al Islam had US approved weapons...Let's go back to this post
"Although on a much smaller scale, another confrontation emerged, this time between the PUK and a radical Islamist group called Ansar al-Islam that had established its base in the mountainous area near Halabja on the border with Iran"My commentary at that time....
So many of the same groups still around today- Some readers here may recall me mentioning Ansar al Islam as a Kurdish group of radical Islamists.. Some readers may recall me mentioning it seemed much more probable that the Kurds killed (gassed) in Halabja were killed by other kurdish factions, rather then Saddam Hussein- Much in the same way that it was the rebels that used sarin gas in Syria.My opinion has not changed. I absolutely believe it is way more sensible that Kurdish groups, backed most likely by the USrael killed the kurdish people of Halabja- That atrocity provided the justification for the desired attack on Iraq-
Ansar Al-Islam seeks to apply 7th-century Islamic rule in Iraq. Mullah Krekar, also known as Faraj Ahmad Najm Al-Deen, reportedly founded Ansar Al-Islam in 2001 with funding and logistical support from Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The group pledged allegiance to Daesh in 2014 and fought with them under their banner.The creation of Ansar al Islam, which did in fact take place earlier then 2001, fits perfectly into Afghanistan, 9/11 false flag sweep it all up blame and frame Iraq and kick off those birth pangs of the new middle east!
The intelligence officer told Arab News that their initial reports indicated that Al-Qawali was not the real leader of “the Owners of the White Flags,” but a front to hide the real links and goals behind the recent attacks in the northern disputed areas“ is a simple person who has nothing to do with leadership and radical Islamic ideas. They (Kurdish parties) use him as a facade to hide behind the group of Ansar Al-Islam and Daesh,” a senior intelligence Iraqi officer, who declined to be named, told Arab News.Ansar al Islam and Daesh- KurdIShIS
“All this (the daily attacks) aims to force Baghdad to negotiate with them (the Kurds) and allow the Kurdish forces to come back and gain control over the area again,” the officer said.“We are totally aware of this and it’s a matter of time to end it.”
Related to: Turkey may pay heavy price for Barzani Resignation
Order out of chaos..
Kurdish Mullah Protected in Norway
He completed a master’s degree in Islamic studies in Pakistan and moved to Norway in 1991, where he established the Salafist jihadi group Ansar al-Islam in 1994Ansar al Islam
Ansar al-Islam (AI), also known as Ansar al-Sunna or Jamaat Ansar al-Islam (JAI), was (still is) a predominantly Kurdish, Salafist militant organization based in Iraqi Kurdistan
From its inception, AI had close ties with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda (AQ). AQ had purportedly been responsible for training one of AI’s predecessor organizations, Jund al-Islam, when it had formed earlier in 2001. Additionally, many of the initial AI members were veterans of the Soviet-Afghanistan War during which they had fought alongside bin Laden and the Mujahedeen.  Some sources even allege that over a hundred of Ansar al-Islam’s original members were Al Qaeda fighters.  Although it has never been confirmed, it is believed that AI also received funds, training, and weapons from Al Qaeda.