Isis Iraq Terror
Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul. Reuters

A co-founder of the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Sunni group fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), has issued an ultimatum to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's regime that the insurgents will storm Baghdad if he does not resign.

"If Maliki does not step down, then there is no doubt that we are moving on Baghdad," Sheikh Ahmed al-Dabash told the Daily Telegraph. "We will go all the way."

Dabash, 47, said that the group does not share the extremist views of Isis but they have a common goal of overthrowing Maliki's Shia government.

"We are here to fight any occupation, whether American or Iranian. We have a common enemy with Isis now, and for this we are fighting together," he said.

Al-Dabash fought against the 2003 US invasion as part of a Sunni insurgency and went on to form the Islamic Army of Iraq to fight the Allied troops which made him a key US terrorist target.

"Maliki must first be deposed," said the commander. "Then we demand the fragmentation of Iraq into three autonomous regions, with Sunnis, Shia and Kurds sharing resources equally.

"And finally we need compensation for the one and half million Iraqis, most of them Sunnis, who have been killed at the hands of the Americans and the Maliki regime."

Sunni "awakening"

He claims the belief, that a few hundred Isis militants took control of large swathes of northern Iraq without any help, is a myth. Sunnis of different creeds have joined forces to tackle the Shia-led government.

"Is it possible that a few hundred Isis jihadists can take the whole of Mosul?," asked Dabash.

"No. All the Sunni tribes have come out against Maliki. And there are parts of the military, Baathists from the time of Saddam Hussein, clerics, everyone came out for the oppression that we have been suffering.

"The call by the Shia sheikhs to their people to fight is going to lead to a civil war," said Dabash. "We hope they will retreat from this but if they do not then we are ready. All the Sunnis now are in one direction."

Speaking of the Sunni "awakening", the army chief lays responsibility at the feet of the US invasion for creating an enivronment of "oppression and violence" for young Iraqis.

"Those who are 18 today were children ten years ago. They grew up in a hateful environment," he said.

"They have seen too much oppression and violence; first by the Americans, and then by the Iraqi government who came to power on an American tank. Now, they are eager to bite off the head of the snake."

Al-Dabash says that, despite the alliance with Isis, the two groups do not share similar policies, with the Islamic Army of Iraq wanting to create a confederation in Iraq rather than an Islamic caliphate.

"We are not extreme like Isis, and we disagree with their policies. We reject using Sharia. We want a constitution under civil law."