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

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Brief Note on Fighting in Fallujah and the Periphery

September 18, 2014 at 5:49 pm

When it comes to analysis of Iraq's Sunni insurgency, one of the most important questions is trying to determine which groups are in what area, particularly regions out of government control. One pattern that emerges is that the Islamic State (IS) comes to assert itself in the main urban area, and other factions, if they survive, end up fighting on the periphery of the city and/or disperse into nearby villages and countryside of the wider district.

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The Suwayda village of Dama and Druze Militias: A Case Study

September 18, 2014  •  Syria Comment

I have previously written about Druze militias in Suwayda province and other areas of southern Syria here and here. To summarize briefly the conclusion of those studies, it is clear that 'Jaysh al-Muwahhideen' ('Army of the Monotheists/Unitarians') and 'Forces of Abu Ibrahim' are banners for Druze militias of mainly pro-Assad orientation, working with regime forces via 'Popular Committees' that had been set up in coordination with the regular Syrian army; further, the boundaries are not always so clear cut between these militias/banner names and organized regime forces. Indeed, many of the localities where these Druze militia banners are advertised are alsoidentifiable sources of recruits for the Syrian army and the National Defence Force (NDF: an evolution from Popular Committees). Unfortunately though,Wikipedia, in attempting to summarize my work, erroneously presents 'Jaysh al-Muwahhideen' as a coherent military group spanning localities.

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Al-Qa'ida in Islamic Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula Statement on the U.S.-led coalition against IS

September 16, 2014  •  Syria Comment

Intro and Analysis

This new joint statement from al-Qa'ida's affiliates in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic Maghreb (AQAP and AQIM)- which seems unprecedented- comes in opposition to the U.S.-led international coalition to fight against the Islamic State (IS), characterizing instead as war against Islam and Muslims. Several things to note in analysis:

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Jamaat Ansar al-Islam: Tribute to Ahrar al-Sham: Translation and Analysis

September 14, 2014 at 10:54 pm

The latest statement from Iraqi jihadi group Jamaat Ansar al-Islam (JAI: which expanded into Syria once unrest broke out there), extending tribute to the leaders of Ahrar al-Sham recently slain in a bomb attack, actually comes as no surprise, especially when one considers my prior scoop on the life of Abu Muhammad al-Muhajir- one of the founders of JAI's Syria branch- and the close ties he is said to have forged with Ahrar al-Sham in particular. The fondness of JAI for Ahrar al-Sham should be noted despite the latter's more recent attempts under the deceased Hassan Abboud to exhibit a more 'moderate' face in the face of fragmentation and declining outside support. Considering that JAI's Syria presence has now been reduced to Idlib and Aleppo provinces, ongoing coordination seems likely. One should also note that Ahrar al-Sham, like other Islamic Front groups, was keen to show it was not anti-muhajireen in general when infighting broke out with ISIS in January of this year, and the relationship with JAI is likely to have figured in the rationale for such a public stance.

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Ahrar al-Sham Nasheed: "Woe upon you"

September 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm

This nasheed for Ahrar al-Sham [H/T: Hans Scholl], which I have translated below, will perhaps be of interest in light of the wiping out of a substantial portion of the group's leadership in a bomb attack, including the overall leader Hassan Abboud. The nasheed is most notable for emphasizing a transnational outlook, with explicit reference to the establishment of the Caliphate. This contrasts somewhat with Hassan Abboud's attempt to emphasize a national framework, and points to the diversity of the Ahrar al-Sham movement.

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