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

Latest Articles and Blog Posts

The Syrian Civil War & Demographic Change

March 15, 2017  •  Syria Deeply

Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of the Syrian conflict is the concept of "demographic change": the allegation that the Syrian government, with the support and participation of its ally Iran, is trying to engineer a new sectarian balance. According to this argument, featured prominently in a wide range of media outlets, the government is trying to reduce the proportion of Sunnis who may pose a threat to its rule, and repopulate majority-Sunni areas with foreign and/or native Shiites – alongside Iranian efforts to pursue broader Shiification: that is, conversions to Shiite Islam among the wider population.

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Liwa al-Mukhtar al-Thiqfi: Syrian IRGC Militia

March 8, 2017  •  Syria Comment

Emblem of Liwa al-Mukhtar al-Thiqfi. Flanked by the flags of Syria and Iran, the top reads: "Fawj Qamr Bani Hashim." The centre consists of a flag with the inscription: "Labbayk ya Hussein." At the bottom is the name Liwa al-Mukhtar al-Thiqfi.

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A Gazan Provincial Governor For The Islamic State

March 5, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Overall, the resonance of the Islamic State (IS) among the Palestinian Arab populations in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza has been relatively low. Attempts to connect some recent Palestinian attacks on Israelis to IS have been unconvincing. Where support for IS does exist, it is primarily found in Salafi jihadi circles in Gaza, though there are no formal affiliates in Gaza, but rather pro-IS groups. Some of these groups have undoubtedly acted as feeders into IS ranks both in the Sinai area (where a formal wilaya- 'province'- was declared in November 2014) and to 'IS central' in Iraq and Syria. There have also been claimed links between Gaza and the IS affiliates in Libya.

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Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham and Civil Society in Jabal al-Summaq

March 4, 2017  •  Syria Comment

The formation of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham ('Liberation of al-Sham Commission'- HTS) has understandably provoked fear of a total jihadist/al-Qa'ida takeover of Syria's rebel-held northwest, centred around Idlib province. HTS was announced on 28 January amid wider rebel infighting in Idlib that saw multiple groups merge under Ahrar al-Sham in a bid to protect themselves from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS), the rebranded Jabhat al-Nusra that had ostensibly dropped links to al-Qa'ida in July 2016. The largest single component of HTS is undoubtedly JFS, whose leader Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani was recently confirmed in a video release to be the overall military commander of HTS, even as the overall leader Hashim al-Sheikh was originally in Ahrar al-Sham and had been pushing for his group to merge with JFS.

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The Formation of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham and Wider Tensions in Syria's Insurgency

February 22, 2017  •  CTC Sentinel

Abstract: Late January 2017 saw a significant realignment of rebel and jihadi factions in Syria. Following aggressive moves by al-Qa'ida-aligned Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, a number of rebel groups sought protection under Ahrar al-Sham. In response, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and its main allies announced the formation of a new umbrella group, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, headed by the leader of a hardline former faction of Ahrar al-Sham. If the lines between the two blocs harden, a confrontation between them could further weaken the rebel position in Syria.

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