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

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

"Declare that you are resistance"- New Nasheed from the Muqawama Suriya

The pro-Assad militia Muqawama Suriya (profile here) is one of the most prolific producers of nasheeds (songs) among pro-Assad factions. Below is my translation of the group's most recent production (original lyrics here). The particular emphasis on victory and martyrdom may relate to the recent losses of the regime and the Muqawama Suriya in Idlib and Homs provinces to the rebels and Islamic State respectively.

Muqawama Suriya logo with familiar pro-regime hashtag: "Our army is our hope."

"Raise your voice high and declare that you are resistance.
Be loyal to truth, and do not be content with bartering.
We are seekers of martyrdom.
We go forward on the path of God.
Our land is the land of martrydom.
At your service, oh Syria.

We are the roaring sea, the traitor does not double-cross us.
We are the conquering army, victorious by God's aid.

We are seekers of martyrdom.
We go forward on the path of God.
Our land is the land of martrydom.
At your service, oh Syria.

Raise the banners of the right path, support whoever defeats the enemy.
Raise the voice and repeat: our victory is coming by God's aid.

We are seekers of martyrdom.
We go forward on the path of God.
Our land is the land of martrydom.
At your service, oh Syria.

We are not the one who fears perdition, we go forward to the day of sacrifice.
Our voice and echo are on high: my homeland is Syria and we sacrifice for it.
We are seekers of martyrdom.
We go forward on the path of God.
Our land is the land of martrydom.
At your service, oh Syria."

Update (28 July): The nasheed itself is hardly original: it is largely based on this Hezbollah nasheed.

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, July 28, 2015 9:17 AM  |  Permalink

The Reemergence of Jaysh Muhammad in Bilad al-Sham

After many months of social media absence, the jihadi group Jaysh Muhammad in Bilad al-Sham under Abu Obeida al-Masri has recently advertised its presence in the city of Idlib city as part of the Jaysh al-Fatah jihadi-rebel coalition that conquered the city and other parts of Idlib province from Assad regime forces.

Jaysh Muhammad-run Shari'a Institute in Idlib city: lesson for children.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, July 27, 2015 7:36 PM  |  Permalink

The Islamic State's Diwan al-Rikaz in Mosul

As I have shown from prior documentary evidence, the Islamic State's Diwan al-Rikaz is a department of bureaucracy concerned with 'precious resources' primarily of two types: fossil fuels and antiquities. For instance, the Diwan al-Rikaz deals with crude oil purchase receipts, the leasing of gasoline stations, distributions of gas fuel for locals and permission slips for the excavation of (non-idolatrous) artifacts, which are then usually sold off on the black market. Below is Mosul-based Omar Fawaz's account of the Diwan al-Rikaz. Perhaps the most important observation to draw here is the Islamic State's co-optation of existing factories and production facilities for a variety of products (not just oil and gas, but also e.g. soft drinks, cement and plastic) under the Diwan al-Rikaz, likely on the same pattern as the Diwan al-Khidamat's co-optation of services offices whereby employees are compelled to return to work under threat of confiscation of homes. Indeed, the production of ice in factories (mentioned below) has been advertised elsewhere in official Islamic State propaganda, without mention of the Diwan al-Rikaz.

Below is the account translated by me.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, July 6, 2015 9:15 PM  |  Permalink

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: Course in Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence]

In previous posts I provided translated excerpts from one of the four main Islamic State training camp textbooks (in this case, the absolute prerequisite recruits must learn and master: 'Course in Tawheed'). I will post the remaining lessons from that textbook translated in due course. Meanwhile, here are the two opening sections from the second of the four main textbooks: Muqarrar fi al-Fiqh (Course in Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence]).

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, July 6, 2015 2:05 PM  |  Permalink

The Islamic State's Services Department in Mosul and Ninawa Province


As I have explained in a previous post on Islamic State (IS) administration in Mosul and the wider Ninawa province (Wilayat Ninawa) in northern Iraq, the IS services department (as elsewhere in its territory) comes under the title of Diwan al-Khidamat, purporting to provide public services like electricity, water and road maintenance/renovation to the population. In reality, a considerable degree of parasitism exists in that the services' offices operating in IS-controlled territories in Iraq already existed under the authority of the Baghdad government, which still pays the workers their salaries, but IS has compelled the employees to work under the name of the Diwan al-Khidamat primarily under threat of confiscating their property.

That said, the Diwan al-Khidamat does appear to have some constructive initiatives. Further, the IS emphasis on compulsion to work and its hardline anti-corruption stance in this regard mean that in some respects, services may be better than before (particularly so in Syria, where prior ruling factions might have allowed workers to stay home in return for a slice of their salaries; also applying in a similar way in Iraq, where corruption has been rampant since 2003). Below is an account of its activities in Mosul and Ninawa Province given by pro-IS source Omar Fawaz, who has also been in contact with other government departments of IS in the area (cf. overview of training camp procedures and military divisions).

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, July 3, 2015 1:35 AM  |  Permalink

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: Part II

Following on from my post featuring the first lesson of the required reading Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid textbook for all Islamic State training camp recruits, below is my translation of the second lesson from that book.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, June 30, 2015 11:00 PM  |  Permalink

"Our Shari'a"- Nasheed from Islamic State's Ajnad Media

My translation below. One can listen to the nasheed here.

Our Shari'a is the minaret and model,
And a lamp-stand for the ayat [signs] and the perfection.
It is the truth that has made darkness die,
And thus has the exposed disbelief run away in its disgrace. [chorus]

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, June 29, 2015 10:05 PM  |  Permalink

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: Excerpt and Analysis

As mentioned in my previous post on Islamic State [IS] training camps and military divisions, the work Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid (Course/Stipulations in Tawhid [Monotheism]) is a book written by IS cleric Turki Binali- issued in the name of the Diwan al-Eftaa wa al-Buhuth that also deals with IS fatwas- and is the key textbook for Shari'a education for recruits to the training camps, who must memorize and understand the book. Below is a translation of the first lesson in the book. Note in particular the extensive quotation of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabi trend in Islam, as well as the appeals to more classical theology and jurisprudence in the citations of the likes of Ibn al-Qayyim and Imam al-Ajurri.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, June 29, 2015 12:29 AM  |  Permalink

Islamic State Training Camps and Military Divisions

Though much news coverage of Islamic State (IS) focuses on developments on the battlefronts between IS and its enemies in parallel with ephemeral assessments claiming IS is either winning or losing, little is known about the training camp processes and the army-like divisions. This post, translating and analyzing the testimony of a pro-IS source in Mosul called Omar Fawaz, aims to remedy this deficiency.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, June 24, 2015 12:42 AM  |  Permalink

Jamaat Ansar al-Islam: Fighting in North Aleppo Countryside: Translation and Analysis

Jamaat Ansar al-Islam's (JAI) surviving Syria branch has unsurprisingly issued a statement denouncing its long-standing rival the Islamic State (IS) for its latest offensive in north Aleppo countryside on rebel-held towns and villages pushing towards the town of Azaz near the Bab al-Salama border crossing. JAI is primarily based in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, participating in the recent rebel offensives in the latter province that culminated in the capture of Idlib city, Jisr al-Shughur and al-Ariha. The new IS offensive on north Aleppo countryside can only be seen as a distraction from rebel efforts to replicate the successes of Idlib in Aleppo province.

Jamaat Ansar al-Islam claims to find Masonic symbols on Alawite homes in the village of Ishtabraq near Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib

The wider context to what IS is doing is that since August 2014, when IS seized Dabiq, Akhtarin and other north Aleppo countryside towns, the frontline between IS and the rebels remained largely static with no more than the occasional exchange of gunfire and mortar rounds as IS focused its military efforts elsewhere, such as on the Kobani front. In its calculations IS knew that the rebels maintaining these north Aleppo countryside frontlines (e.g. the Sawran-Ahtimilat frontline manned by Northern Storm) were relatively poorly armed and unable to launch offensives to retake territory from IS, indeed vulnerable to a serious IS offensive. This partly explains why so many rebel reinforcements have had to be called up in a bid to repel the latest offensive, including Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Sham.

The new IS offensive has also forced some Aleppo-based groups that had been officially neutral towards IS to take a stance as the IS push now threatens their holdings. The most notable case-in-point is the jihadi group Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya, which is part of the 'third-way' jihadi coalition Jabhat Ansar al-Din. This group, which acknowledges its prior "positive/affirmative stance of neutrality," has released a new statement denouncing IS on the grounds of its takfiri approach of 'whoever is not with us, is against us,' besides deriding it as a supposed combination of "the Ba'athist deep state in leadership and administration" and Islamic slogans tainted with extremism. Further, the group attacks IS' alleged hypocrisy on accusations it makes against other groups, even going so far as to give credence to conspiracy theories claiming Edward Snowden had exposed how IS is a creation of the West/Israel.

In practice, members of Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya did not like IS anyway, but official neutrality policy of Jabhat Ansar al-Din has prevented until now open expression of this dislike. For comparison, a Jabhat Ansar al-Din media office member I knew put it this way with regards to IS when I interviewed him (NB: he was a member of Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya): "We don't fight them and they don't fight us." After leaving behind Jabhat Ansar al-Din and Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya (eventually leaving for Adana in Turkey), he became openly critical of 'Da3esh'. It is notable that so far Jabhat Ansar al-Din has not advertised the statement denouncing IS on its Twitter feed, and it will be interesting to see if this remains the case: could it signal dissension within Jabhat Ansar al-Din? If not, then it will represent the first official denunciation by Jabhat Ansar al-Din of IS, breaking with the prior anti-fitna stance which has in reality always been incoherent.

In any case, here is the more predictable Jamaat Ansar al-Islam statement denouncing IS:

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, June 3, 2015 8:52 AM  |  Permalink

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