December 19, 2014

The Story of Shami Witness

A joint nasheed production by Maqdisi Support and Fresh Air Media in support of the Islamic State: "From Bayt al-Maqdis [Jerusalem] we support you/give you victory."

Those of you reading this post will probably know by now of the latest viral story to hit social media: namely, the revelation of the true identity of the most prominent Islamic State (IS) fanboy on Twitter by the pseudonym of 'Shami Witness.' Originally using the name 'El Saltador' (Spanish for 'the jumper': a Western cultural reference that escapes my recall), he emerged on the Twitter scene around the beginning of 2013. At that time, he would often try to engage certain, more prominent … [Read more...]

A Jaysh al-Mujahideen Amir’s Testimony on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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

I have written many times before on Jaysh al-Mujahideen, the Salafi, anti-Shi'a insurgent group in Iraq aspiring to overthrow the central government but also a noted rival of the Islamic State (IS), having issued a lengthy condemnation of IS in January 2014 (the mere preface of which I translated and analyzed) andclashed with IS for control of al-Karma in August culminating in Jaysh al-Mujahideen's withdrawal from the town. One of the focuses of Jaysh al-Mujahideen's criticisms of IS is that … [Read more...]

General Military Council for Iraq’s Revolutionaries- November 26 Statement

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Statement 35 Oh dignified people of Iraq, Oh heroic revolutionaries, Salam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuhu. We recall in these sorts of days a year ago how the government of oppression and tyranny directed all its might against the squares of pride/might and dignity, and instead of responding to the demands of the people and their legitimate rights, it responded to the voice of Satan and the advice of the tyrants and haters from their masters, doing away with the voice of reason and … [Read more...]

The Islamic State (IS) and Pledges of Allegiance: The Case of Jamaat Ansar al-Islam

Jamaat Ansar al-Islam in Bilad al-Sham: slaughter and distribution of meat for Eid al-Adha 2014.

With the rise of IS, it is of interest to examine how IS has secured pledges of allegiance (bay'ah) from other groups both on the domestic front (i.e. within Iraq and Syria) and abroad (e.g. in Gaza-Sinai and Libya). I would argue that the case of Jamaat Ansar al-Islam ('The Group of the Supporters/Partisans of Islam') offers instructive insight not only into the factors that lead to pledges of allegiance but also the means of interpreting the available evidence. To recall, Jamaat Ansar … [Read more...]

1920s Revolution Brigades- 23 November Statement: Translation

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Message 71 (original here) Inertia in thought or determination to go astray Months have passed since the West's announcement- under the leadership of the American occupation- of their alliance against Islam in our region- especially Iraq- under the slogan of the war on terrorism, and the truth of our analysis has been illustrated in this long period. And the spurious nature of their claims have been exposed, for the difficulty has arisen in place for the enemy to persist for a long time in … [Read more...]

Islamic Army of Iraq Spokesman: Two New Statements

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

The latest statements from the Islamic Army of Iraq's official spokesman- Dr. Ibrahim al-Shammary- concern two subjects. Firstly, the death sentence handed down to the former Sunni Arab MP Ahmed al-Alwani, who was a central figure behind the renewal of Iraq's wider Sunni insurgency. Alwani was the MP the security forces under then PM Nouri al-Maliki attempted to arrest in December 2013 as they were also ordered to dismantle the Ramadi protest site in Anbar. In the subsequent confrontation, … [Read more...]

“The Cheers Surge”- Nasheed Plagiarised by the Islamic State (IS)

Muhammad al-Jabbari

I have remarked elsewhere that IS' creation of Ajnad Media Foundation in summer 2013 with the production of a plethora of unique songs (e.g. 'Close ranks and pledge bay'ah [allegiance] to Baghdadi', 'My Ummah, Dawn Has Appeared/Loomed', and 'I am not content with a life of humiliation') helped to give the group a unique identity vis-a-vis other jihadi groups, particularly al-Qa'ida, from which, it was clear, what was then ISIS had de facto broken off following on from Baghdadi's refusal to … [Read more...]

“Oh Soldiers of Righteousness, Rise up!”- Islamic State Nasheed from Ajnad Media

Church in Raqqa converted into a da'wah office by ISIS in 2013.

The following nasheed from the Islamic State was released at the beginning of June 2014 (i.e. when the group was still just the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham; unsurprising in light of explicit reference to Bilad al-Sham). There is also anticipation of subsequent propaganda themes like 'kasr al-hudud' ('breaking of the borders') that came with the group's rapid advances in Iraq that meant genuine contiguous territory spanning the Iraq-Syria border. The nasheed has subsequently been … [Read more...]

Jamaat Jund al-Qawqaz: A Caucasus Emirate Group in Latakia

Latakia Province, Syria

Relatively little news comes out these days from northeast Latakia province, which remains outside of regime control despite the recapture of the Armenian town of Kassab in June. However, it is important to observers of jihadi groups as what I would call 'the muhajireen's hangout'. For example, the Moroccan group Harakat Sham al-Islam- now a part of the independent jihadi coalition Jabhat Ansar al-Din- engages in da'wah outreach to locals in the area. It is also where the group Jaysh Muhammad … [Read more...]

“The Shari’a of Our Lord”- Nasheed from the Islamic State’s Ajnad Media

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

This nasheed from the Islamic State, with its benign tone, emphasizes the supposed peace, security and ideal nature of life under the group's rule. For example, it was featured in an Islamic State video from Rutba in Anbar province as part of a showcase of the Islamic State's offering of public services. The Shari'a of Our Lord is a light, By which we rise above the stars, By which we live a life without humiliation, A life of security and peace. Our state has arisen on Islam in its true … [Read more...]