Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq ("The True Promise Corps") is an Iraqi 'Islamic Resistance' faction with a long history, having emerged in the days of the U.S.-occupation of Iraq following the invasion in 2003 and being one of the Iraqi groups that have fought in Syria. Most recently, the group has come to some prominence for issuing a statement in which it vowed to continue fighting the U.S. presence in Iraq despite Kata'ib Hezbollah's announcement of a suspension of operations against American forces in the wake of the killing of three U.S. soldiers at a base on the Jordan-Syria border- an announcement that likely involved Iranian and Iraqi government pressure on Kata'ib Hezbollah to take a step to de-escalate. Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq also denounced retaliatory U.S. strikes as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, accusing Jordan of participating in the strikes and saying that Jordan had now become a target for the 'resistance.'
To learn more about Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq's history and its perspective on current events in Iraq and the wider region, I decided to conduct an interview with its leader Shaykh Muhammad al-Tamimi, which is presented below. The interview is slightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Q: Could you provide us with a picture of Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq's origins and history?
A: After the American-British occupation of Iraq in 2003, Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq was established by a contingent of the mujahidin defending the land and holy sites. It is an ideological faction and a military movement oppose to the presence of the occupation on Iraqi lands. Shaykh Abu 'Ammar al-Iraqi was chosen as the first leader of this formation and this formation participated in a number of major operations against the American and British occupation in all regions of Iraq. In 2011, al-Sayyid al-Safi al-Musawi was chosen for the position of secretary general of Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq and Shaykh Muhammad al-Tamimi became assistant secretary general and jihadi leader. In 2021, the consultation council chose Shaykh Muhammad al-Tamimi as secretary general of the Faylaq, and in 2013 the Faylaq participate with a contingent of the mujahidin in defending the holy sites in Syria, leading the most intense and greatest battles. We participated in fighting in Syria to support the Syrian regime and to defend Iraqi national security inside Syrian territory and defend the Islamic holy sites in Syria.
In 2014, after Da'esh [Islamic State] occupied large swaths of Iraq, al-Tamimi and the leaders of Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq undertook the first air descent operation upon Speicher airbase in Salah al-Din province: this was by night on 14 June 2014. The operation's aim was to save a group of the commanders, officers and fighters of our security forces who were besieged at that time: they were the Salah al-Din operations commander (General Ali al-Fariji), Brigadier General Akram Saddam, Major General Jum'a al-Juburi, Major General 'Abd al-Karim al-Tamimi. Muhammad al-Tamimi was accompanied by a group of 250 fighters, and on that day complete control was gained over the base and the monitoring towers in the base. After this, daily operations continued to resist the attacks on Speicher airbase, and Shaykh Muhammad al-Tamimi and Sayyid Ja'afar al-Musawi the jihadi assistant were in the base, competing and fighting among their fighters. On 24 June 2014, Shaykh al-Tamimi and a contingent of the mujahidin undertook an air descent operation on Tikrit University that was besieged by the Dawa'esh [Islamic State fighters], and the aim of this operation was to free no less than 300 families in the residential houses of the professors and employees of the university and colleges. After the 4-day siege by the Dawa'esh, the Salah al-Din operations command- led by General Ali al-Fariji- and a large contingent of the mujahidin of the Faylaq intervened to break the siege of the university by the Dawa'esh, and the operations continued until the province of Salah al-Din was entirely liberated. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Shaykh al-Tamimi also participated in the jihadi operations in the al-Karma and al-Fallujah operations sector with the factions of the resistance, the Hashd Sha'abi and the security forces, as well participating in the liberation of these towns. After this, a team of explosives experts belonging to Faylaq al- Wa'ad al-Sadiq was sent to Ramadi city in Anbar province, in order to cleanse it of IEDs and explosive materials left behind by the Dawa'esh. After the end of the cleansing mission and while on his way back, Shaykh al-Tamimi was targeted by the Dawa'esh, which led to the martyrdom of his brother, cousin and a group of companions (may God have mercy on them), and he continued in his jihadi role until zero hour for the liberation of Mosul arrived, and he participated with the security forces, making use of all the equipment and numbers at his disposal, until victory was achieved.
Q: With regards to the Israeli war on Gaza, is it necessary for this war to be considered as being foremost a Jewish war on Islam and Muslims? What is the obligation of the Islamic Ummah amid this campaign?
A: The Palestinian cause is an Islamic cause first and last, but the enemies of Islam have expended massive efforts to distance it from the Islamic line, and make no-Arab Muslims understand that it is an Arab cause that non-Arabs have no business in. It seems that they have succeeded in that to some extent. Therefore I consider that it is not possible to reach a solution to this issue without considering the cause to be an Islamic one, and Muslims standing with each other to rescue it, and waging an Islamic jihad against the Jews, until the land returns to its people, the outsider Jews return to their countries that they came from, and the original Jews remain in their land until the rule of Islam.
Palestine is the cause of us Arabs and the cause of all the free and noble ones in the world, but we have been overwhelmed in a massive way: no statement suffices and no language can encompass the shock about what is happening in Gaza and Palestine. The Palestinian cause is a humanitarian cause, and it is higher and more elevated than any corrupt system or political agenda. Over 75 years, the occupying Zionist entity has left no ethical value or civilisational principle unviolated, and it has left no humanitarian taboo not trampled on with the shoes of its soldiers stained with the blood of innocents. We do not recognise Israel: there is a Zionist entity occupying Palestinian lands and the removal of this entity has become very near, as has the liberation of Jerusalem from the evil Zionist entity. We will destroy them and not allow for the establishment of a Jewish state in occupied Palestine. We reject the establishment of this Jewish state that occupies the land of the Arabs and the Muslims and the liberation of Jerusalem has become very near.
Q: Kata'ib Hezbollah has now announced its decision to suspend operations. In your opinion what were the reasons for suspending the operations? For example it has been said that the 'brothers' in the Islamic Republic pressured them in order to avoid a military escalation with the Americans. Do you believe this is true?
A: The Kata'ib has an independent command and they have their own decision-making, and they are harsh against the disbelievers and occupiers, and they have the right to take any appropriate decision, and they are more cognisant of their decision-making. The Kata'ib and Kata'ib's leadership remain the voice of truth and the arm of Islam in the face of American oppression.
Q: What is your message to the other factions regarding the continuation of operations and the necessity of undertaking them?
A: We have previously announced and likewise announce today that there is no choice regarding the American presence besides resistance, and we call on all the Iraqi people to expel the occupation. Our choice is resistance, nothing else. The American threats are of no use.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is an Arabic translator and editor at Castlereagh Associates, a Middle East-focused consultancy, and a Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He runs an independent newsletter at aymennaltamimi.substack.com.