December 7, 2020

Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada- threats to Saudi Arabia: translation and analysis

Intro and Analysis Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada is an Iranian proxy Iraqi Shi'a militia that first emerged as a participant in the Syrian civil war, fighting against the rebels as part of the 'shrine defence' [Sayyida Zainab] narrative. With the renewal of the Sunni Arab insurgency spearheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq this year, the group has also been participating in fighting alongside the government's regular armed forces and other Shi'a militias against the insurgents. Logo of … [Read more...]

Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula Statement: Solidarity with the Islamic State

Intro and Analysis The latest statement from al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP, h/t to Charlie Winter for drawing it to my attention) denounces the coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State [IS] and reiterates its call for an end to infighting among the jihadis in the Iraq-Syria arena. I take this opportunity to emphasize that this statement does not mean a true reconciliation between AQAP and IS, let alone between al-Qa'ida as a whole and IS: as I have outlined before, IS' … [Read more...]

“I am not content with a life of humiliation”- Nasheed from the Islamic State’s Ajnad Media

Below is a translation by me of this song released early this year by the Islamic State's music media wing Ajnad Media (NB: revised slightly since first published): "A life of humiliation no, I am not content with it. But love of death in glory is an aspiration. For no, by God, I do not fear the fate of death. For the slave has no place in the material world. And indeed death is in the path of Jihad, Verily God's favour is bestowed on whomsoever He wills. Oh path of jihad, … [Read more...]



PDF version available here *** WARNING:  This article contains images which some readers may find disturbing.  Caution is advised.   The fate of Kobani city now hangs in the balance, as around 9000 fighters of the Islamic State organization close in on the Kurdish held area.  The current IS assault on the Kobani enclave was not the first attempt by the jihadis to destroy the Kurdish-controlled area.  The Kobani enclave, most of which is now in the hands of the IS, at one time … [Read more...]

Western fear of angering Turkey leaves besieged Kurdish town at mercy of Islamic State

Jerusalem Post, 7/10 The fate of the Kurdish enclave in Kobani appears to be sealed. The greater part of the formerly Kurdish-ruled area has already fallen to the forces of Islamic State. Some 9,000 Islamic State fighters are positioned close to the last remaining redoubt – Kobani city itself. The black flag of the Sunni Islamists is already flying in three neighborhoods of the city. On Monday, the Kurdish authorities ordered the evacuation of all remaining civilians from the city. … [Read more...]


Kata’ib al-Hamza fighters reported to be in Haditha.

PDF version available here Spearheaded by the Islamic State (IS), a renewed Sunni Arab insurgency in Iraq has wrestled control of most localities in the Anbar, Ninawa, Salah ad-Din and Kirkuk governorates away from the central government over the course of 2014. While the question of exactly who controls what is still a matter of debate, it has become clear that IS has asserted its own authority at the expense of other factions in the main cities and towns, including Mosul, Tikrit and … [Read more...]


Burning oilfield during Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait.

PDF version available here Many news sources have announced that the answer to the question of who won the Iraq war is simple:  the People’s Republic of China. Was China the real winner? If so, in what ways? This study analyzes the question of who won the Iraq War in broader terms, both in retrospect and looking forward. It separates myth from reality and takes a long, hard look at the war’s impact, both short- and long-term, on the economic and strategic interests of China and the … [Read more...]

Despite Setbacks, Islamic State Faces No Danger to its Existence

Steven Sotloff, American-Israeli journalist abducted by ISIS in August 2013 and murdered in September 2014.

Jerusalem Post, 5/9 The Islamic State this week executed kidnapped American journalist Steven Sotloff – in ‘retaliation’, the group said, for US bombing of its area of control in Iraq.  The murder of Sotloff once more indicated the savage  brutality of this group. But while the IS may be almost without rivals in terms of its capacity for cruelty, events on the ground in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Syria are indicating its limitations as a military force.  IS tactical setbacks, … [Read more...]

Fractured States

Massoud Barzani, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region

Jerusalem Post, 4/7 In the latest evidence of ongoing fragmentation in what was once Iraq and Syria, Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq, this week announced his intention to hold a referendum in the coming months to decide the question of Kurdish independence. “I have said many times that independence is the natural right of the people of Kurdistan,” Barzani told the BBC in an interview. “All these developments [in Iraq] reaffirm that, and … [Read more...]

Second Front Opens in the Sunni-Shia War

A Syrian soldier manning a checkpoint near Damascus

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) organization swept into the city of Mosul in western Iraq last week.  No one has any right to be surprised. ‬ ISIL has held a large swath of western Iraq since January – including the city of Fallujah.  The organization was clearly planning a larger scale offensive action into Iraq. ‬ In January it had carried out a strategic withdrawal from large swaths of Idleb and Aleppo provinces in Syria. This was intended to consolidate its … [Read more...]