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

Latest Articles and Blog Posts

Iraqi Kurdistan's Crisis: A Failure of Strategy

October 22, 2017  •  American Spectator

As the war against the Islamic State as an entity controlling territory comes to a close in Iraq, control over territories disputed between the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government (KRG) has come to the forefront. Forces officially affiliated with the Baghdad government, as well as militias aligned with it on this issue, have taken control of several key disputed sites, including Kirkuk city and Sinjar, which were previously held by Kurdish forces. While it initially seemed that the aim of the operations was just to assert the boundaries that existed prior to the Islamic State surge of 2014, there are indications the rollback may go as far as the 2003 boundaries. What is the root of this crisis? And what, if anything, should be the U.S. role?

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Katibat Ali Sultan: Syrian IRGC Group

October 5, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Previously I have written on Liwa al-Mukhtar al-Thiqfi, a small group deployed at the time I wrote the article to Latakia province, under the leadership of one al-Hajj Mukhtar and asserting direct affiliation with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Katibat Ali Sultan (The Ali Sultan Battalion) similarly claims affiliation with the IRGC but has an even lower social media profile.

I first came across Katibat Ali Sultan in some posts by one Samih Zahr al-Din, a Druze member of the group who clearly still identifies as Druze and is originally from the predominantly Druze province of Suwayda' in southern Syria. For example, in a post dated 7 March 2017, he wrote:

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Amaq News and Claims of Responsibility

October 2, 2017 at 11:47 am

Understandably, there has been widespread disbelief on social media regarding the claim published by the Islamic State's Amaq News that the Las Vegas attacker was a "soldier of the Islamic State" (i.e. inspired by Islamic State to carry out the attack). Probably anticipating or responding to the disbelief, Amaq News released a follow-up post saying the attacker had embraced Islam months ago. Amaq News only purported to rely on "a security source." In this context, "security" refers to the carrying out of operations inside enemy territory. Thus, any Islamic State-directed or Islamic State-inspired attack inside the U.S., which is leading the coalition against Islamic State, would come under this category.

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The Archivist: Media Fitna in the Islamic State

September 28, 2017  •  Jihadology

The Islamic State has two main types of media departments that come under its media administration: central media institutions such as al-Furqan Media and al-Hayat Media, and the provincial media offices. The latter category includes areas of formally declared 'provinces' (e.g. Raqqa province in Syria and Diyala province in Iraq) and areas where the Islamic State operates on the ground but has not declared a 'province' (e.g. Somalia). In addition to these institutions, we have Amaq News Agency, which covers services provision and civilian life in Islamic State territories, military operations and even Islamic State terrorist attacks around the world, but has not been formally acknowledged to be a part of the Islamic State's media apparatus. In origin, Amaq News Agency is the foremost example of what was envisioned as an 'auxiliary' media agency for the Islamic State.

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ISIS' Female Suicide Bombers Are No Myth

September 22, 2017  •  Foreign Affairs

In recent months, a controversy has emerged among outside analysts regarding the role of women in the Islamic State (or ISIS), especially after unconfirmed reports from the battle for Mosul suggested that the group had begun using large numbers of female suicide bombers. Some analysts, such as the terrorism researchers Charlie Winter and Devorah Margolin, argue that ISIS' position on women in combat has recently evolved from prohibition to encouragement—as illustrated by some writings in the group's official magazine, Rumiyah, and newsletter, al-Naba, which in their view call on women to take up arms. On the other hand, Mia Bloom and Simon Cottee argue that this is a misreading of the relevant passages and that ISIS has consistently prohibited women from fighting and continues to do so.

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