November 24, 2014

Islamic State: ‘Wilayat al-Barqa’ Operations Statement: Translation & Analysis

"Islamic Police," part of the "Wilayat al-Barqa" trend in late October 2014

Intro and Analysis As a companion to my post on the emergence of the Islamic State's 'Wilayat al-Barqa' ('Cyrenaica Province') in eastern Libya (mostly in the city of Derna, to be specific), here is a translation of a new Wilayat al-Barqa statement on military operations against its rivals in the Tobruq-based government's army and Heftar's forces (government-aligned). As far as the dating goes, these claimed operations seem highly questionable (typo error? Cf. spelling errors in the … [Read more...]

The Emergence of the Islamic State’s ‘Cyrenaica Province’ (Wilayat al-Barqa) in Libya

Parade of the Army of the Caliphate in Walayat al-Barqa

As has been noted previously, in his new speech put out by al-Furqan Media, the Islamic State's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi explicitly acknowledged the recent series of pledges of allegiance to him from Sinai, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Algeria, with the creation of new 'wilayat' ('provinces') therein. I had also noted that the most realistic prospects of this declaration translating to tangible results on the ground- that is, in terms of actually building the trappings of a state on the … [Read more...]

General Military Council for Iraq’s Revolutionaries [GMCIR] – October 29 Statement

General Military Council for Iraq's Revolutionaries (GMCIR)

Considering all the prior analysis that has been done here on the GMCIR (an initiative of the Ba'athist-Sufi Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandia [JRTN] and Harith al-Dhari's Muslim Scholars Association together with his 1920s Revolution Brigades), not much needs to be said here other than the following: - As ever, the style of address overlaps with JRTN: 'Oh dignified people of Iraq.' - Though using superficial cross-sectarian nationalist language like JRTN, it is clear this statement is … [Read more...]

Islamic State [IS] Acknowledgements of Allegiances- November 12: Translation and Analysis

Purportedly in Wadi al-Dawasir in Saudi Arabia, someone shows support for IS by declaring the land to be "Wilayat Najd" ('Najd Province'). Photo dates back at to mid-October 2014.

While it has been noted that the recent speech by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (released on 13 November) constituted the first recognition by Baghdadi of pledges of allegiance to him and his group from outside Iraq and Syria- specifically in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia (a series that emerged on 10 November beginning with Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis)- with consequent nullification of distinct group identities and announcement of new 'wilayāt' ('provinces') of IS therein, … [Read more...]

The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra: A Looming Grand Jihadi Alliance?

Syrian al-Qa'ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) fighters during training (photo credit: Wikicommons/File)

The international coalition- led by the U.S.- against the Islamic State [IS], with additional American airstrikes targeting the 'Khorasan' al-Qa'ida group in Syria (in reality just al-Qa'ida veterans from the Afghanistan-Pakistan embedded with Syria's al-Qa'ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra [JN])- has prompted media speculation of a wider truce, alliance or even merger between IS and JN. For example, on 28 September, Martin Chulov of The Guardian cited a "senior source" claiming "war planning … [Read more...]

The Islamic State Billboards of Raqqa (Part 2)

Islamic State (IS) billboard in Raqqa, Syria, "Traitors to Islam are collaborators of the West against Muslims."

As an appropriate follow-up to my Jihadology archive of billboards put up by what was then the Islamic State in/of Iraq and ash-Sham [ISIS] in the city of Raqqa during the summer and fall of last year, here is the latest series of billboards put up by what is now just the Islamic State [IS] in Raqqa. The difference in dynamics this time is that the city is solely controlled by IS, rather than power sharing with Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. Unsurprisingly, given the ongoing international … [Read more...]

Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis’ Abu Osama al-Masri: “Message to the Families of the Soldiers”

Fursan al-Balagh jihadi media outlet

Below is a translation of a message from Abu Osama al-Masri of Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Reflecting the new alignment with the Islamic State, the message concludes by quoting an Islamic State nasheed: "Lions of the Conflict," which could be heard for example in the al-Hayat Media video from the Islamic State featuring the English language testimony of fighters in the group, including British ones. Fursan al-Balagh: Jihadi media … [Read more...]

Analysis: Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis’ Allegiance to the Islamic State

"The Islamic State: Sinai Province. JABM pledges allegiance to IS"- includes JABM logo on top-right.

Over the early hours of this morning there emerged an audio clip attributed to the Sinai-Gaza jihadi group Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (JABM: the Group of the Helpers/Partisans of the Holy House [Jerusalem], which emerged post-Mubarak), declaring allegiance to the 'caliph of the Muslims' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, thereby making JABM a part of the Islamic State [IS]. The recording's content is fairly standard and predictable. Reflecting the group's affinity for global jihad, the speaker cites the … [Read more...]

Can Islamic State Survive Without Baghdadi?

Portrait of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Courtesy of: Thierry Ehrmann via Flickr Creative Commons)

In the wake of US-led air strikes on an Islamic State (IS) convoy near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Friday, media have been awash with rumours that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed or injured. The apparent silence of IS sources on the issue could be evidence that something has happened to al-Baghdadi. But there was a similar lack of official IS denial of rumours that the group's spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, had been killed in air strikes earlier this year - something that later … [Read more...]

Dwekh Nawsha: An Assyrian Fighting Force in Iraq

Dwekh Nawsha emblem

The fall of Mosul in June to a Sunni insurgent offensive spearheaded by the Islamic State (IS) saw IS rapidly assert its control over the city at the expense of other factions (e.g. Jamaat Ansar al-Islam and the Naqshbandi Army), effectively making Mosul a base from which IS could launch further attacks, including incursions into Christian towns and areas of Ninawa province, such as Qaraqosh and Bartella. These attacks came in addition to the displacement of Christians from Mosul by IS' … [Read more...]