Discover more from Militant Wire
A Show of Force by Jaish ul-Adl: The Iranian Militant Group’s Greatest Yet
On October 20, the Iranian opposition group Jaish ul-Adl (Army of Justice) published an unprecedented video and statement addressing the current protests and unrest in Iran, which it referred to as “the revolution of restoring dignity”. This comes just over one month after the onset of anti-regime protests in the country.
In its statement, the group threatened that “the blood that has been shed (during the crackdown on protesters) everywhere in Iran, especially in Zahedan (the capital city of Sistan and Balochistan province) will not be wasted and it will turn into a storm that will uproot the foundation of the Wilayat-e-Faqih'' (the concept upon which the Iranian regime is based). The video is 10:48 minutes long but its filming location is unclear, although Iranian authorities have previously alleged that the militants are using Pakistani territory as a sanctuary.
The video is entitled “Bloody Friday”, a phrase that refers to the crackdown on protesters by the Iranian security forces in Zahedan on September 30.
According to the Baloch Activists Campaign (BAC) – a human rights organization that documents violations against Balochi minority rights in Iran – at least 96 people were killed and 350 more were injured in the latest crackdown. The BAC has published the names of all protesters that were killed on its website and claims that there may be more victims who have yet to be identified.
Militant Wire now offers regularly published research and analysis accessible to paid subscribers. Our exclusive articles published since early October:
• The Islamic Translation Center: Al-Qaeda’s Media Force Multiplier
• MW Monitoring: Islamic State Propaganda Developments in South and Central Asia
• New Islamic State Khurasan Recruitment Channel Targets Tajiks
• Weaponry Used by Pro-Ukraine Belarusian Combatants Since Russia's Invasion
• ISKP Depends on Archive Sites, Social Media, and Messaging Applications to Spread Propaganda
• MW Monitoring: Islamic State Propaganda Developments in South and Central Asia - Threats Against Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
• A Brief History of Halummu, the Islamic State-Aligned Translation and Propaganda Outlet
• Islamic State’s Khurasan Branch Continues Trend of Celebrating Tajik Martyrs: A Profile of Umar at-Tajiki
• A Profile of Pro-Islamic State Group Halummu's Translation and Media Operations
• Manufacturing the Revolution: Weapons and Explosives Craft-Produced by Myanmar's Anti-Junta Fighters
• Communist Guerrillas Ambush Philippine Soldiers Reportedly Conducting Disaster Relief Operations
• MW Monitoring: ISKP Deepens Collaboration with Halummu Translation Outlet; Pro-Islamic State Al-Saqri Foundation for Military Sciences Resurfaces
The video also includes a relatively large number of militants, which is uncommon for Iranian militant groups, especially Balochi ones in the southeast of the country. Not only does it show militants roaming around different locations, but also an alleged “control room”.
Militants can be seen roaming multiple unknown locations with at least 43 cars of the same military color along with several motorcycles.
Opening with shots from these militants and victims of the “bloody Friday” crackdown, the video also contains a Farsi nasheed (lyrical song) in which Jaish ul-Adl urges people, especially Balochs, to revolt against the Iranian government. The video includes six units of militants, of which three have common military uniforms and two others are wearing local outfits of the same color.
The final group wearing white local uniforms appears to be a suicide attack unit, although in the video makes no specific mention of this.
Drone shots are also included in the video. As mentioned, the filming location is unknown, but this can likely be determined using mapping and geolocation tools. Moreover, nothing in the video aside from the faces of the militants is blurred: key indicators in the surrounding environment, especially the mountains, may be good places to start for those seeking to determine the video’s location.
At 04:33, an individual who appears to be a senior leader of Jaish ul-Adl, speaks. He calls the current “revolution” in Iran a “revolution for restoring social, economic, religious and human dignity” and alleges that the country’s Sunni population, especially the Balochs, are discriminated against in government offices for even their names. This speaks to the longstanding demands of Iranian Sunnis, which include the establishment of a formal mosque in the country’s capital of Tehran, which is not permitted by the government (although some pro-government media have attempted to deny this), and a lack of development in Sunni populated regions.
Although Jaish ul-Adl is considered a Sunni Baloch nationalist group, it denies being separatist in the video and calls for unity among the different ethnic groups in Iran.
Who is Jaish ul-Adl?
Jaish ul-Adl is an Iranian Sunni, Salafi, Jihadi, and Balochi group formed in 2012 by members of Jundullah, another Sunni militant group in the country. Jundullah was informally disbanded following the arrest and execution of its leader Abdul Malek Rigi by the Iranian government on June 20, 2010. Rigi had been traveling from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan using a forged Afghan passport when he was intercepted by the Iranian security and intelligence forces in a complex operation.
Jaish ul-Adl has claimed responsibility for several attacks against the Iranian security forces including a deadly attack on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces in 2019. It has also criticized the Iranian government for its support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The current leader of the group is Salahuddin Farouqi, a former member of Jundullah. One of his brothers was previously executed for being involved in the killing of a pro-government Balochi mullah. Another of his brothers, Amir Naroui was reportedly killed in clashes with the Taliban in Afghanistan. At the time, the Iranian media reported that he was in Afghanistan for talks with the Taliban about his militiamen who had been held by the Afghan group when clashes erupted between the two sides.
Jaish ul-Adl is a designated terrorist group by Iran, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States. Iran has previously accused Jaish ul-Adl militants of operating in the Pakistani border region and even warned that “if Pakistan fails to punish them in the near future, Iran will do so based on international law and will retaliate against the terrorists”.
Nearly one decade after its creation, Jaish ul-Adl published a video demonstrating that its militants are now better organized and better equipped. The organization is believed to have around 1,000 active militants and has been previously accused by the Iranian authorities of being backed by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel, although they have yet to provide proof of this.
Questions over whether the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan led to more developed weapons landing in the hands of Jaish ul-Adl.
From its latest video, it is clear that the group actively opposes the Iranian government, warning that it will increase its attacks against the regime and government forces.
Timeline of subsequent videos released by Jaish Ul-Adl
Following the release of the first video, Jaish published another 28:21 minute-long video entitled “The position of religion and the role of scholars in the uprising of the people against the oppression of the rulers”. In it, a senior member of the group urges people to do Jihad, using the basis of Sharia law to insist that, “jihad is [now] obligatory against the Iranian government”.
The group has since published several more videos aimed at different audiences. These include:
October 24: In a video, two “elders” of Baluchistan talk to different groups of people in the region. Mostly addressing elders and ulema, they call on them to gather people to fight against the government and to not support it.
October 25: In a video, one of Jaish’s leaders addresses Balochi members of the Basij (a branch of the IRGC) and the IRGC in general, calling on them to quit their jobs.
October 26: Two more video messages were published on October 26 with two militants warning Iranian regime forces of revenge for “what they have done to innocent people” in Baluchistan.
October 28: In an October 28 video, Kurdish members of Jaish ul-Adl address Iranian Kurds, urging them to commit Jihad. The group claims that it has “soldiers” from every corner of Iran and that all Sunnis should unite against the government.
October 29: A statement along with a video of the statement being read aloud by a militant are released. These contain warnings to the government and its forces and urge Balochis to not support them.
October 31: A 14:54-minute video is released. In it, a senior commander of Jaish is talking to a group of two dozen or so militants in an undisclosed location. As in the other videos, he discusses “the oppression of the Baloch Muslim nation and Iranians in general”. His final words are: “death will come in any way, but the best death is in the way of Allah, and we die while we have risen against this criminal [regime]”.