The image combines several elements to reflect notions of religious legitimacy, purity, martyrdom and a continued violent struggle. First, there are large flowers in the background of the image. Flowers in general represent vitality, as well as life and its incessant pace, and thus represent the afterlife, paradise and the goal of martyrdom, especially in the context of jihadi imagery. The red of the petals represents notions of fire, blood, passion, impulse and danger. Red is fundamentally linked to the vital force and to warlike qualities. The image also features a warrior, namely, ‘Umar Hadid, who emerged as a top insurgent leader during the height of insurgent control of Fallujah in Iraq. Technically, he was Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s de facto field commander, but he was considered the face of the insurgency until he was killed during Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004. Hadid’s figure is surrounded by rays of light, his left hand is shown clutching an assault rifle and his chest is clad with an explosive vest. His face is covered with a white kafiyya (traditional Arab scarf), revealing only his eyes. The white of the scarf, the light rays and the letters of the slogan all evoke the notion of death, as white is the color of grief, mourning and shrouds. The slogan reads: “sayr/siyar a‘lam al-shuhada’—asad al-falluja” (“journey/biographies of luminaries among the martyred—the lion of falluja, ‘Umar Hadid”).

More Information
Group Name AQI? (or Black Banners Organization assembled by Hadid before joining ranks with AMZ)
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Red
Secondary Colors White
Language Arabic
Visual or Textual Reference to Significant Recent Events
Date EntryAnalysis Entry
Iraqi insurgency and battles of Fallujah
Image Number 0026
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Iraq
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, Explosives, Explosive Belt / Cest
Body Parts Face / Bust
Fire Light Rays / Light
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive updates from CTC.

Sign up