Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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General Military Council Operations: 22nd July

July 22, 2014 at 7:32 pm

The General Military Council is arguably the main new name in the Iraqi insurgency to have emerged in 2014. Though there is an official claim to separation from the Naqshbandi Army (JRTN), the distancing, as I have outlined before, needs to be treated with the same caution as the Kurdish PYD's official distancing of the YPG militias, and the Syriac Union Party's distancing of the Syriac Military Council as "independent."

I translate below a sample of their daily operations, this one from 22nd July.

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Reflections on Methods

July 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Over the course of the past year or so, I have intensely tracked the jihadist group the Islamic State (formerly ISIS). I did this on both Twitter and in my analytical articles, such that I attracted the attention of primary sources in my role of what the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization would term a 'disseminator'. To gain the confidence of these circles, I feigned sympathy for their views and adopted a 'jihadi persona' in communications with them. While this indeed garnered some valuable information (eg it helped me first identify Moroccan ex-Gitmo detainee Muhammad Mizouz and his presence in Syria), it was also unethical, pure and simple. Not only that, but the jihadi persona and a desire to seem humourous on Twitter led to other unethical actions, such as a silly tweet in December 2013 calling for JM Berger's account to be reported, even as I quickly deleted it.

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The Poetry of Rutilius Namatianus (Part 3)

July 16, 2014 at 2:55 am

I had begun translating and commenting on Rutilius Namatianus' poetry while at university, though other commitments impeded the completion of this project (see prior parts here and here). Below is the next part, in praise of Rome's aqueducts, palaces and with renewed hopes that the city may rise again following the sack of 410 AD.

Lines 94-154

"The gleaming temples confound the wandering sights,
I should believe that the gods themselves thus live there. [1]
What am I to say of the streams hanging on the bronze vault,
where Iris might scarcely raise the rain-bearing waters? [2]
You may rather say that these mountains grew to the stars.
Such massive work does Greece praise. [3]

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Iran And ISIS – Convenience Is The Enemy Of Research

July 14, 2014  •  Bellingcat

Two weeks ago in Foreign Policy published an article entitled "Trust Iran Only as Far as You Can Throw it," in which the author alleged a damning charge: that the Islamic State (IS') rapid growth in Iraq is funded, supported, and facilitated by the Iranian government. This is symptomatic of a growing movement within some analysis circles—most notably in a much shared think-piece by Pinhas Inbari for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs entitled "ISIS: Iran's Instrument for Regional Hegemony?" published but four days before the FP piece—pushing for acceptance of some vast regional conspiracy, led by Iran to seed discord within the Middle East using ISIS as a knowing or unknowing agent to fulfill Iran's secret master-plan.

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The 1920s Revolution Brigades

July 14, 2014  •  Bellingcat

Logo of the 1920s Revolution Brigades. The slogan on the black flag reads: "Victory is from God and conquest is near."

The 1920s Revolution Brigades is one of the traditional insurgent brands dating back to the days of the Iraq War. As its name implies, referring to the Iraqi nationalist revolts against British imperial rule in the 1920s, the group espouses a nationalist outlook, albeit tinged with Sunni Islamist language. In the latter regard there is undoubtedly influence from the growth in religiosity among Sunni Arabs in the last decade or so of Saddam's rule, partly encouraged by his regime and analogous to the trends in Syria under Bashar al-Assad in the decade preceding the current civil war.

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