Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles and Blog Posts

The National Ideological Resistance and the Local Defence Forces

January 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

Readers may remember that some time ago I wrote about the National Ideological Resistance (aka Imam al-Mahdi Army), a Syrian Hezbollah-brand group with its primary base and origins in the Tartous-Masyaf area and led by Sayyid Hashim Muhammad Ali. The National Ideological Resistance has fought in a variety of areas (including Damascus, Palmyra and Aleppo) and has claimed dozens of 'martyrs'. It has also proclaimed the establishment of affiliates in the northeast of Syria and Quneitra.

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Beit Jann: Myths and Reality

January 2, 2018  •  Syria Comment

The Syrian government's recent recapture of the last rebel-held pocket in the vicinity of Mt. Hermon (Jabal al-Sheikh) near the border with the Golan Heights- comprising the three towns of Beit Jann, Mazra'at Beit Jann and Mughir al-Mir- has led to much exaggeration and distortion about the matter, primarily emanating from Israeli discourse and supporters of the rebels. Based on their narrative, one would think that the recapture of this rebel-held pocket was an operation led by Iran/Hezbollah, as part of a strategic goal of developing a front against Israel. In the days leading up to the recapture of the Beit Jann pocket, rebel supporters increasingly played up the idea of an Iranian/Hezbollah-directed operation, such as through using the hashtag #Iran_burns_Beit_Jann (ايران_تحرق_بيت_جن#).

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Fawj al-Karbala'i: Republican Guard Affiliate

January 1, 2018 at 9:55 pm

The elite Republican Guard is one of the main actors on the government side in the Syrian civil war that set up auxiliary formations. Prominent examples include the Popular Defense Forces (Quwat al-Difa' al-Sha'abi) primarily based in the Qalamoun area near the border with Lebanon and Liwa Sayf al-Haq, whose base is in the Sayyida Zainab area but has operated in the Qalamoun area. The Republican Guard has also aimed to extend its reach into towns where it might compete with other formations for influence, such as the 'reconciled' Damascus countryside town of al-Tal.

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Saraya al-Ra'ad: Idlib Local Defence Forces Affiliate

December 26, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Previously on this blog I have sought to explore the Iranian-backed Local Defence Forces (LDF) networks beyond Aleppo province (where it is most prominent), such as the Damascus LDF affiliate Saraya al-Wa'ad. There are also LDF affiliates with visible profiles in Hama province, such as Quwat al-Ghadab based in the Christian town of Suqaylabiyah. When I first wrote about Quwat al-Ghadab, I had not quite appreciated the LDF connection, though the description of it as part of 'Quwat al-Asdiqa" ('Forces of the Friends') became clearer to me over time in alluding to the Iranian role (more specifically, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps- IRGC) in backing this group and other LDF units.

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Success for al-Qaeda in Syria?

December 18, 2017  •  Perspectives on Terrorism


This article considers how far one can describe al-Qaida's experiences in Syria as a success. A common line of analysis has been that al-Qaida has been playing a more successful long-term game in Syria as opposed to its more aggressive rival, the Islamic State. This article examines that argument more closely through exploring the nature of the relationship between al-Qaida and Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, the latest successor initiative to the original Syrian al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. The author considers the viability of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham's project and the future of al-Qaida in Syria, reaching a negative long-term prognosis.

Keywords: Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, al-Qaida, Zawahiri, Jowlani, Jihadism

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