A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Jundallah Narrative


Jundallah

Last Update

February 2015

Aliases

God’s Army, Jund Allah Organization for the Sunni Mujahideen in Iran, the People's Resistance Movement of Iran,[1] the Soldiers of God[2]

History

Jundallah is a militant group established in 2003 and based in Iran. The group advocates for the rights of the Baloch people, a minority ethnic group in southeastern Iran.[3] Other goals of the group include the recognition of the Balochi culture and religion from the Iranian government and improvement of socioeconomic conditions in Sistan Baluchestan, where the Baloch people are concentrated.[4] Baloch people are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, in contrast to the Shiite-dominated Iran. As a result, the Baloch are persecuted because of their ethnicity and religion by the Iranian government.[5] Jundallah was founded by Abdolmalek Rigi, who was in charge of the group's leadership until he was executed in 2010.[6] After Rigi’s death, Al-Hajj Mohammed Dhahir Baluch became the leader. Jundallah operates mainly in Sistan Baluchestan, a region in southeastern Iran that borders Pakistan.[7] Some of the most lethal attacks by the group include the Shiite Amir al-Mo’menin mosque attack (May 2009), a suicide bomb attack in a mall in the Sistan Baluchestan province (October 2009) and an attack in the Grand Mosque in Zahedan (July 2010).[8]

Home Base

Iran

Founding Year

2003

Ideology

  • Ethnic-Baloch.[9]
  • Religious-Sunni Muslim.[10]  

Specific Goals

  • Promotion of Balochi economic and political rights.[11]
  • Recognition of the Baloch culture and religion by the Iranian government.[12]
  • Improvement of socioeconomic conditions in Sistan Baluchestan, a region inhabited by Baloch people.[13]
    • In 2008, the former leader of the group, Abdomalek Rigi, stated that Jundallah did not have separatist intentions.[14]

Political Activity

None

Financing

  • State Sponsorship: The Iranian government suspects that Jundallah receives support from Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Pakistan, but these claims have never been confirmed.[15]
  • Other: Jundallah has received funding from a network created by Baitullah Mesud, a former Taliban commander, purportedly in exchange for protecting smuggling routes used by the group.[16]

Leadership and Structure over Time

  • No information is available in the open sources regarding how Jundallah structures its organization, beyond the names of its leadership.
  • 2003-2010: Abdolmalek Rigi. Rigi was arrested by the Iranian forces in February 2010 and was hanged in June 2010 in Iran.[17]
  • 2010-to present: Al-Hajj Mohammed Dhahir Baluch[18]

Strength

  • 2010: 500 to 2,000[19]
  • 2013: 500 to 2,000[20]

Allies and Suspected Allies

  • Al-Qa’ida (suspected ally).
    • The Iranian government has claimed that Jundallah and the Al-Qa’ida are linked, however these claims have not been substantiated further.[21]
  • Tehrik-I-Taliban Pakistan (suspected ally)
    • In 2009 and 2010 journalists speculated that Jundallah and TTP were linked, although the extent of the relationship is unclear.[22]
  • Taliban (suspected ally)
    • The Iranian government has claimed that Jundallah and the Taliban are linked, however these claims have not been substantiated further.[23]
  • Foreign governments (ally):
    • The Iranian government claims that Jundallah is supported by the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan.[24] These claims have not been substantiated.
    • Iran claims that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directly assist the group; however, they have not shown any proof.[25]

Rivals and Enemies

  • Iranian government (target).

Counterterrorism Efforts

  • Domestic Law Enforcement:
    • Iran has arrested and executed many members of the group, including the former leader Abdolmalek Rigi.[26],[27]

United States Government Designations

  • Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), November 4, 2010.[28]

Other Governments’ Designations

  • New Zealand (December 2011): Terrorist Organization[29]
 

[1] CNN, “US designates Iran's Jundallah as terrorist organization,” November 3, 2010, accessed May 8, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/11/03/jundallah.terrorist.designation/

[2] Roger Hardy, “Profile: Iran’s Jundullah Militants,” BBC, June 20, 2010, sec. Middle East, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm.

[3] USIP, “US Terrorism Report: MEK and Jundallah,” Foreign Policy Analysis, United States Institute of Peace: The Iran Primer, (August 23, 2011), http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2011/aug/23/us-terrorism-report-mek-and-jundallah.

[4] Roger Hardy, “Profile: Iran’s Jundullah Militants,” BBC, June 20, 2010, sec. Middle East, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm.

[5] Abubakar Siddique, “Jundallah: Profile Of A Sunni Extremist Group,” RadioFreeEurope / RadioLiberty, October 20, 2009, sec. Features, http://www.rferl.org/content/Jundallah_Profile_Of_A_Sunni_Extremist_Group/1856699.html.

http://www.rferl.org/content/Jundallah_Profile_Of_A_Sunni_Extremist_Group/1856699.html

[6] BBC, “Iran Hangs Sunni Militant Leader Abdolmalek Rigi,” BBC News, June 20, 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/10359415; Moign Khawaja, “Iran Executes Jundullah Founder Abdul Malik Rigi,” News and Analysis, Foreign Policy Journal, (June 20, 2010), http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/06/20/iran-executes-jundullah-founder-abdul-malik-rigi/.

[7] Ian Black, “Iran Bombing: Profile of Sunni Group Jundallah,” The Guardian, December 15, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/15/iran-suicide-bombing-jundallah-profile.

[8] USIP, “US Terrorism Report: MEK and Jundallah,” Foreign Policy Analysis, United States Institute of Peace: The Iran Primer, (August 23, 2011), http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2011/aug/23/us-terrorism-report-mek-and-jundallah.

[9] USIP, “US Terrorism Report: MEK and Jundallah,” Foreign Policy Analysis, United States Institute of Peace: The Iran Primer, (August 23, 2011), http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2011/aug/23/us-terrorism-report-mek-and-jundallah.

[10] Abubakar Siddique, “Jundallah: Profile Of A Sunni Extremist Group,” RadioFreeEurope / RadioLiberty, October 20, 2009, sec. Features, http://www.rferl.org/content/Jundallah_Profile_Of_A_Sunni_Extremist_Group/1856699.html.

[11] USIP, “US Terrorism Report: MEK and Jundallah,” Foreign Policy Analysis, United States Institute of Peace: The Iran Primer, (August 23, 2011), http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2011/aug/23/us-terrorism-report-mek-and-jundallah.

[12] Roger Hardy, “Profile: Iran’s Jundullah Militants,” BBC, June 20, 2010, sec. Middle East, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm.

[13] Moign Khawaja, “Iran Executes Jundullah Founder Abdul Malik Rigi,” News and Analysis, Foreign Policy Journal, (June 20, 2010), http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/06/20/iran-executes-jundullah-founder-abdul-malik-rigi/.

[14] BBC, “Iran Hangs Sunni Militant Leader Abdolmalek Rigi,” BBC News, June 20, 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/10359415.

[15] Roger Hardy, “Profile: Iran’s Jundullah Militants,” BBC, June 20, 2010, sec. Middle East, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm.

[16] Abubakar Siddique, “Jundallah: Profile Of A Sunni Extremist Group,” RadioFreeEurope / RadioLiberty, October 20, 2009, sec. Features, http://www.rferl.org/content/Jundallah_Profile_Of_A_Sunni_Extremist_Group/1856699.html.

[17]BBC, “Iran Hangs Sunni Militant Leader Abdolmalek Rigi,” BBC News, June 20, 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/10359415.

[18] CNN, “US Designates Iran’s Jundallah as Terrorist Organization,” CNN, November 3, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/11/03/jundallah.terrorist.designation/.

[19] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010, Terrorist Organizations, August 18, 2011, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2010/170264.htm

[20] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2013, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, April 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/

[21] "Sunnis claim attack on mosque; Double suicide bombing that killed 26 is revenge for leader's hanging, Iranian separatists say," Toronto Star, July 17, 2010; "Iran Says US, Pak Behind Terror Attack," Kashmir Observer, October 20, 2009.

[22] Robert Tait and Mark Tran, "Guardian Weekly: Iran spreads blame for suicide attack," The Guardian Weekly. October 23, 2009; Saeed Kamail, "The wrong approach to Iran," The Guardian, January 7, 2010.

[23] "Sunnis claim attack on mosque; Double suicide bombing that killed 26 is revenge for leader's hanging, Iranian separatists say," Toronto Star, July 17, 2010; "Iran Says US, Pak Behind Terror Attack," Kashmir Observer, October 20, 2009.

[24] Roger Hardy, “Profile: Iran’s Jundullah Militants,” BBC, June 20, 2010, sec. Middle East, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm.

[25] Roger Hardy, “Profile: Iran’s Jundullah Militants,” BBC, June 20, 2010, sec. Middle East, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm.

[26] Abubakar Siddique, “Jundallah: Profile Of A Sunni Extremist Group,” RadioFreeEurope / RadioLiberty, October 20, 2009, sec. Features, http://www.rferl.org/content/Jundallah_Profile_Of_A_Sunni_Extremist_Group/1856699.html.

[27] Al Jazeera, “Iran Hangs ‘Sunni Rebels,’” Al Jazeera, July 14, 2009, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2009/07/2009714132021426228.html.

[28] US Department of State, “Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” Other Release, Bureau of Counterterrorism, (August 20, 2014), http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm.

[29] New Zealand, “Designated Individuals and Organisations” (New Zealand Police, February 10, 2015), http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/designated-entities-10-02-2015.pdf.