On October 13, 2004 Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi demanded that the city of Fallujah turn over Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or be attacked. At the time, it was widely held that the leader of Tawhid wal Jihad was within Fallujah and was using it as his command center. That is still believed today. Tawhid was definitely within the city, but was Zarqawi? According to several leaders within the organization he was not.
According to two leaders of Tawhid wal Jihad, and a religious leader from Fallujah, Zarqawi was outside the city during the entire Second Battle of Fallujah. First was Abu Anas al-Shami a member of Tawhid wal Jihad’s central command and a leader within Fallujah. (1) Shami wrote that Zarqawi wanted to be in the city to fight the Americans, but his followers told him not to. Next was Abu Azzam al-Iraqi who was Tawhid wal Jihad’s emir for Fallujah. He sent daily reports on the progress of the battle through a courier who travelled by river to where Zarqawi was. Then there was Abdallah al-Janabi one of the main religious leaders in Fallujah who helped run the city. He repeatedly said that Zarqawi was not there. While Janabi might have been trying to save his home from attack, that was not the case for Shami and Iraqi. There was no reason for two Tawhid wal Jihad leaders to claim their leader was not in the city in their personal correspondence and diaries. It would appear that while Tawhid wal Jihad definitely took part in the Second Battle of Fallujah, Zarqawi could have very well been an observer from the outside.
Phillips, James, “The Battle for Fallujah is Crucial for Iraq’s Future,” Heritage Foundation, 10/15/04
Tonnessen, Truls Hallberg, “The Islamic Emirate of Fallujah,” International Studies Association’s (ISA) Conference ‘Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition,’” 3/16-19/11
Warren, James, “The Vicious Battle to Capture Fallujah in 2004 Was a Close Fought Nightmare,” Daily Beast, 7/16/16