November 27, 2014

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...]

Sunni Political Islam: Engine of the “Israeli-Palestinian” Conflict

Palestine events. The 1929 riots, August 23 to 31. Synagogue desecrated by Arab rioters. Hebron. Furniture broken, floor littered with torn sacred books (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA)

An oft-repeated sentiment currently doing the rounds in discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is that it is imperative that the conflict not become a “religious” one. This sentiment, guaranteed to set heads nodding in polite, liberal company, stands out even within the very crowded and competitive field of ridiculous expressions of historical ignorance found in discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This sentiment is connected to the recent wave of terror attacks in Jerusalem, … [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...]

Islamic State: Suicide Bombing in Arbil Statement: Translation and Analysis

Logo of the YBṢ, featuring Yezidi symbolism.

The statement translated by me below concerns the recent Islamic State [IS] suicide bombing conducted in the heart of Arbil, around 14 months after a previous assault by IS' predecessor the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS]. Some points to note: 1. That IS would use a Kurdish member to carry out this attack comes as no surprise. Featuring Kurds within the group's ranks- to be directed at Kurdish rivals and counteract allegations of ethnic supremacism- has been a part of IS[IS] messaging … [Read more...]

The Factions of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab)

IS graphic from media wing al-Itisam Media: "Inside Ayn al-Islam [Kobani]."

Media attention has somewhat focused away from the city of Kobani as the intense wave of coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) first helped to slow down the group's advance into Kobani. That said, the Democratic Union Party (PYD)'s project of an autonomous canton centred Kobani has been destroyed, and IS, in spite of the setbacks, still remains within the southern and eastern parts of the city (specifically in the latter, the industrial quarter), which IS has renamed Ayn al-Islam. … [Read more...]

Ummah of Islam, Good Tidings: Jihadi Nasheed by Abu Abd al-Malik

Mohsen al-Dos(a)ri aka Abu Abd al-Malik, reflecting his support for the Syrian rebels with the "FSA" flag.

The jihadi nasheed I have translated below is an old work of a Saudi munshid ('nasheed singer') by the name of Abu Abd al-Malik, real name Mohsen al-Dos(a)ri. Along with another Saudi munshid by the name of Abu Ali (of the famous 'Madin kas-Sayf', 'Bi Jihadina', 'Jaljalat' and other jihadi nasheeds), Abu Abd al-Malik was certainly a fan favourite of jihadi forums for the main part of the 2000s, but eventually fell out of favour as a personality even as compositions such as 'Ummah of Islam, … [Read more...]

Fear and Loathing in Jerusalem

Israeli emergency personnel walk past blood on the floor following the November 18, 2014, terror attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood in which four were killed.

The current atmosphere in Jerusalem is reminiscent of the Second Intifada’s opening days, in the autumn of 2000. Tension and fear. A sense of foreboding. “I can feel it in my bones, what’s coming,” says Daniella, a native Jerusalemite who owns a restaurant in central west Jerusalem, and whose sister was killed in a suicide bombing in 2002. What’s coming, she and many others think, is more violence. There are fewer pedestrians on the streets. People have become cautious and alert in … [Read more...]