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

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Archive of Jabhat al-Nusra Dar al-Qaḍa Documents

March 3, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Over the past several months, the contrast traditionally drawn between the Islamic State's (IS) hardline stance against power-sharing with rivals and Jabhat al-Nusra's (JN) more conciliatory approach has become blurred as JN has sought to build up its 'proto-emirate' project after losing out to IS in eastern Syria. One of the most notable developments in this regard has been the establishment of the Dar al-Qaḍa designed to assert JN judicial monopolies in areas where the group has presence, differing from the prior willingness to share Shari'a committees with other factions- particularly of the Islamic Front- and work to gain control of them gradually. In the east, that approach had some success: for example, in the town of Albukamal on the border with Iraq, JN controlled the Shari'a committee and so arguably was the most influential group in Albukamal despite the presence of several other factions.

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Some Evidence for the Islamic State's Presence in Yemen (Part 2)

March 3, 2015 at 7:58 am

The previous post on the Islamic State (IS) presence in Yemen looked at a sample 'Shari'a Committee' document from a declared Wilayat Shabwa, reflecting on the activist nature of the IS presence. Other documents that have emerged from IS declared provinces in Yemen bear similar implications. Note that the next statement below from 'Aden Province' (not marked with a shadowy 'Shari'a Committee' label), while pointing out the vast array of enemies (including the Yemeni national army), focuses primarily on the sectarian dynamic of the perceived Houthi [Shi'a] threat to Sunnis. The statement explicitly draws an analogy with the notion of protecting Sunnis in Iraq and that narrative Abu Mus'ab Zarqawi had in mind in aiming to provoke Sunni-Shi'a sectarian civil war. There is indeed little hint of the issue of American drone strikes, which, of course, have targeted IS' rivals in al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and so are a grievance for AQAP to play on. With AQAP's lengthy rationale for rejecting the Caliphate declaration, there is also no notion of common solidarity with AQAP in the face of the drone strikes and other threats to jihadis.

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Some Evidence for the Islamic State's Presence in Yemen (Part 1)

March 2, 2015 at 10:52 am

In November 2014, the Islamic State's [IS] leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the acceptance of pledges of allegiance from Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Sinai to herald the creation of new IS 'provinces' (wilayat) ostensibly on the model of administration in the wilayat of Iraq and Syria, which have seen regulations from education to sanitation and real estate. Of these external 'provinces', Libya has thus far shown the most promise for the growth of the IS brand abroad, foremost exemplified in the IS presence in the eastern city of Derna. The 'Sinai' province has some potential too on account of the pledge of allegiance of Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. In contrast, the IS presence in Algeria is limited to a small and rather insignificant break-off from al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb known as Jund al-Khilafa, whose only notable act to date has been the murder of a French hostage. In Saudi Arabia, the tight security apparatus that has hindered al-Qa'ida activity means that open manifestations of the IS presence would be difficult to realize.

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The U.S. Anti-ISIS Strategy's True Cost

March 2, 2015  •  The Daily Beast

On Monday the Iraqi military launched its largest operation to date against the self-declared Islamic State (IS), also called ISIS, to retake control of the city of Tikrit. Alongside the Iraqi military the coalition fighting IS in Tikrit includes Kurdish and Sunni tribal forces, but it leans heavily on Iranian backed Shia militias and reportedly includes a contingent from Iran's revolutionary guard. The urgent question now as the battle against IS intensifies is whether any US policy to defeat IS in Iraq can achieve its aim without ceding the country as a base for Iranian expansionism.

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Readings from Anglo-Saxon Prose: Ælfric's Preface to the Latin Grammar

February 18, 2015 at 9:30 am

Following on from my post on Anglo-Saxon medicinal recipes, here is another small excerpt from the corpus of Old English/Anglo-Saxon literature. Ælfric was an abbot of the late 10th century who produced numerous works in Old English, including a translation of a Latin grammar by the Late Antique writer Priscian. Below is my translation from the original Old English of Ælfric's preface to that work, including commentary notes.


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