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

Latest Articles and Blog Posts

Jabhat al-Nusra: Breaking ties with al-Qaeda?

July 24, 2016 at 11:15 pm

When it comes to the Syrian insurgency, one of the biggest dilemmas facing its backers has been the role of al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. Despite its affiliations, the group has been widely viewed by the insurgency as an important military partner in many (but by no means all) of the zones of conflict since it first came on the scene publicly in 2012. Jabhat al-Nusra's fortunes have varied over time- for instance, it lost all of its assets in the oil-rich eastern province of Deir az-Zor to the Islamic State by summer 2014- but it has survived notions of a total collapse. Today, its main base is in the northwestern province of Idlib, and with the breakdown of the U.S.-Russia brokered 'cessation of hostilities' this year, Jabhat al-Nusra has played a leading role in fighting in Latakia and south Aleppo countryside, spearheading alongside Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham the coalition known as Jaysh al-Fatah, which was first set up in 2015 and led the routing of the Assad regime from Idlib province.

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Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi: A Syrian Hezbollah Formation

July 23, 2016  •  Syria Comment

An emblem of Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi (The Imam Mahdi Brigade): "Liwa al-Imam Mahdi: The Imam Ali Battalion. The Islamic Resistance in Syria." Note the classic extended arm and arm associated foremost with Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The quotation above the rifle reads: "Indeed the party of God are the ones who overcome" (Qur'an 5:56), a play on 'Hezbollah' (The party of God).

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Kata'ib al-Jabalawi: A Pro-Assad Militia from Homs

July 19, 2016  •  Syria Comment

Emblem of Kata'ib al-Jabalawi. The top reads: "Syrian Arab Republic." The bottom: "Katibat al-Jabalawi" (al-Jabalawi Battalion, interchangeable with Kata'ib al-Jabalawi). The person in the centre of the emblem is one Mazen Jabalawi, about whom more below.

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Observations on the new Islamic State video 'Structure of the Caliphate'

July 6, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Readers of this blog will have known that a long-standing interest of mine has been the structure of Islamic State (IS) administration, focusing primarily on internal documents. To mark the start of Eid, IS has released via its central media outlet al-Furqan Media a video on the very subject, entitled 'Structure of the Caliphate'. Below are some observations of mine:

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"The Dawla Has Arisen"- Nasheed from Ajnad Media

July 3, 2016 at 3:45 pm

'Qamat al-Dawla' ('The Dawla Has Arisen'- in reference to the Islamic State) was a nasheed produced by Ajnad Media and released in mid-January 2016. Whereas a number of Islamic State nasheeds use straightforward classical Arabic ('We will move forth to excellence' being a good example), this one is particularly interesting for what is often termed Bedouin Arabic in form and language: terminology used generically to refer to the Arabian Peninsula. A somewhat comparative case is the nasheed 'Oh Son of Yemen' that notably contains the phrase 'وش علامك' ('what you want/seek', in reference to the Houris of paradise).

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