Knights of Ameriya: Baghdad


They call themselves Farsan Al Rafidayn, the Knights of the Two Rivers. And in Ameriya, a formerly wealthy district of western Baghdad, they have turned on al Qaeda, routing with the help of the coalition, approximately 90% of the terrorist operatives.1
The process itself started in 2004. The siege of Fallujah caused an outpouring of al Qaeda members, many of whom came to Ameriya initially seeking shelter, but soon took to ‘reforming’ the quarter to their liking. Prayer leaders amenable to al Qaeda’s message of violent jihad started appearing in the mosques, and jihadist veterans regaled the local young men with stories of American atrocities and the need to fight.