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

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

Iraqi Refugees in North Aleppo Countryside: Interview

The north Aleppo countryside, in particular the Azaz area near the border with Turkey, has long been a 'safe zone' to which displaced persons have come, not only from Syria but also from neighbouring Iraq. The Iraqi refugees come from predominantly Sunni areas that were previously controlled by the Islamic State. These refugees made a difficult journey in coming to the north Aleppo countryside with hopes of entering Turkey. While many have entered Turkey, some still remain in the north Aleppo countryside (presently the 'Euphrates Shield' zone under Turkish occupation). Below is an interview I conducted recently with an Iraqi refugee from Mosul who resides in the al-Sina'a camp in the Azaz area.

This interview was conducted on 13 February 2019 CE and has been condensed . Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sun, February 17, 2019 8:56 PM  |  Permalink

لواء الطفوف: مقابلة

لواء الطفوف هو اللواء ١٣ في هيئة الحشد الشعبي وهو تابع للعتبة الحسينية في كربلاء رسمياً. وأقدم لكم مقابلة مع حسين أحمد جمعة من لواء الطفوف. حسين من مواليد ١٩٩٥ ووُلد في كربلاء. كان حسين طاباً قبل إصدار فتوى السيد السيستاني من أجل الدفاع عن العراق. ومع إصدار الفتوى وسيطرة داعش على مدينة جرف الصخر التي هي قريبة من مدينة كربلاء, ترك حسين دراساته وحمل السلاح, وكان عمره ١٧ سنة في ذلك الزمان. وقبل إلتحاقه بلواء الطفوف كان حسين في لواء علي الأكبر وهو اللواء ١١ في هيئة الحشد الشعبي ويتبع للعتبة الحسينية أيضاً.

الجدير بالذكر انه تم تأسيس لواء الطفوف في آب ٢٠١٦.

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By أيمن جواد التميمي  |  Fri, February 15, 2019 11:41 AM  |  Permalink

Liwa al-Tafuf of the Hashd: Interview

Liwa al-Tafuf, formed in August 2016, is the 13th brigade on the registers of the Hashd Sha'abi Commission and is formally affiliated with the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala'. Below is an interview I conducted with Hussein Ahmad Jum'a of Liwa al-Tafuf. Born in Karbala' in 1995, Hussein was a student prior to the issuing of Sistani's fatwa to defend Iraq in June 2014. In light of the fatwa and the fact that the Islamic State had seized the town of Jurf al-Sakhr that is near Karbala, Hussein quit his studies and became a fighter. He was 17 years old at the time. Prior to joining Liwa al-Tafuf, Hussein was in Liwa Ali al-Akbar, the 11th brigade of the Hashd Sha'abi Commission and also affiliated with the Imam Hussein shrine.

This interview was conducted on 9 February 2019. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, February 15, 2019 10:33 AM  |  Permalink

أحجية إنكيليزية قديمة

يوجد في النصوص الإنكيليزية القديمة عدد كبير من الأحاجي. أنا ترجمت أحجية من الأحاجي في <<كتاب إكزتر>> وهو مخطوط قديم يحتوي ٩٤ أحجية.

سؤال أيها القارئ الكريم: من هو الحيوان الذي يصف نفسه في هذه الأحجية?

من يجب ويصب, فسوف أذكر إسمه على هذه المدونة.

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By أيمن جواد التميمي  |  Thu, February 14, 2019 6:58 AM  |  Permalink

An Anglo-Saxon Riddle (Arabic Translation)

See the link for more.

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, February 14, 2019 6:36 AM  |  Permalink

The Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham-al-Qaeda Dispute: Primary Texts (XIII)

For prior parts in this series, see here.

The primary text here is a response by two members of the al-Qaeda loyalist Hurras al-Din to Abu Hussein al-Urduni of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Urduni apparently made some serious allegations against Hurras al-Din in words that were addressed to members of HTS and then came to public light. For this reason, the two Hurras al-Din members say they have been compelled to respond in public. The two men were previously officials in Jaysh al-Badiya and Jaysh al-Malahem. These two groups had a document presence on the ground prior to the announcement of Hurras al-Din's existence at the end of February 2018. The two groups then declared that they were joining the al-Qaeda loyalist outfit after Hurras al-Din's existence was declared.

Below is my translation of the text, which is largely self-explanatory in comparison with prior texts in this series. Parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sun, February 10, 2019 10:06 AM  |  Permalink

A Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham Perspective on Democracy

Rejection of democracy is a common thread running through jihadist groups. The Syrian group Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which evolved out of former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, is no exception. Indeed, rejection of democracy is among the key principles of HTS. It is worth, however, exploring HTS' rejection of democracy in more detail. The commentary below was published on the channel of Abu Abdullah al-Shami (Abd al-Rahim Atoun: a leading figure in HTS) and shared on other channels of HTS leaders (e.g. al-Zubeir al-Ghazi and Abu Mariya al-Qahtani). It is a commentary on the mentioning of democracy in a recent civil society initiative in Idlib city (which is controlled by HTS) that featured participation from many associations and bodies, including those from the Turkish-occupied north Aleppo countryside- an area whose dynamics differ considerably from Idlib and its environs.

The argument for rejecting democracy (namely, that it contradicts Islam because it entrusts rule to someone besides God) is a familiar one. However, the commentary also argues that when most Muslims advocate democracy, they do not do so knowing that it contradicts Islam but rather because they erroneously think it concords with Islam. For instance, they think the mechanisms of democracy are in accordance with the Islamic principle of Shura (consultation). In addition, many erroneously pose a dichotomy of democracy vs. dictatorship, and equate democracy with freedom, not opposed in spirit to Islam when contrasted with dictatorship.

As such, the commentary suggests that the way forward is not to be harsh with the Muslims who advocate democracy, but rather to educate them with mildness and gentleness. In other words, one can see this commentary as advocating a generous 'excuse in ignorance' approach towards Muslims who advocate democracy despite the fact that it contradicts Islam. Further, the commentary warns against thinking that the administration of society is like the administration of a battalion or group based around one ideology. Instead, the existing Islamic instinct as in the 'liberated' areas of northwest Syria must be cared for and nurtured over time.

Below is my translation of the commentary. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, February 9, 2019 9:24 AM  |  Permalink

The Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham-al-Qaeda Dispute: Primary Texts (XII)

For prior parts in this series, see here.

The document that is the subject of this post is a joint statement by two al-Qaeda loyalists: Abu Muhammad al-Sudani and Abu al-Qassam al-Urduni (the latter a familiar figure in these disputes). The statement is mostly self-explanatory. Like other al-Qaeda loyalists in this dispute, the two men call for arbitration of the dispute on weapons etc. through Islamic scholars. In addition, the statement repeats the loyalists' charge about Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) proposals for the military council and opening up an important highway. Finally, a short account is offered of the agreement that was struck between HTS leader Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani and Abu Humam al-Shami. This account draws in particular on Sudani's testimony.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, February 7, 2019 8:26 AM  |  Permalink

The Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham-al-Qaeda Dispute: Primary Texts (XI)

For prior parts in this series, see here.

This piece is a refutation of Abd al-Rahim Atoun's "The Six Issues" by al-Qaeda loyalist Sami al-Oraidi, who makes the following key criticisms:

- Atoun is actually the one acting like the Islamic State's leaders in his threatening language.
- Atoun is inconsistent and contradicting himself on multiple issues. For instance, his logic on the military council goes against past behaviour when e.g. Jabhat al-Nusra rejected joining the Islamic Front coalition in 2013 and withdrew from the north Aleppo countryside in rejection of fighting against Islamic State with direct Turkish backing alongside Syrian rebels.
- Abu al-Khayr al-Masri did not rule that the weapons belong to Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Even if he did, the appropriate action is to resort to independent arbitration. HTS' leaders have the relevant documentation.
- After al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's message had come in which he affirmed his rejection of the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham project (the immediate predecessor to HTS), HTS leader Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani (who then led Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) apparently pledged to cease proceeding on breaking ties and pledged to take any further steps only after referral to the al-Qaeda leader and obtaining his agreement.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, February 6, 2019 12:21 PM  |  Permalink

The Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham-al-Qaeda Dispute: Primary Texts (X)

For prior parts in this series, see here.

Although there is much discussion of the 'Syrian' character of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) as opposed to the al-Qaeda loyalists, it should be noted that one of HTS' principles is the protection of muhajireen (foreign fighters) and not using them as a bargaining chip to be handed over to 'disbelievers'. There are many muhajireen inside Syria who support HTS and its overall strategy. These muhajireen have now issued a statement in defence of HTS.

Of the various signatories, some are formally affiliated with HTS (e.g Abu al-Fatah al-Farghali, who is of Egyptian origin, and Abu al-Zubeir al-Ghazi). The Turkestan Islamic Party is the largest officially independent entity to have signed the statement and it is a well-known ally of HTS. While its foundation is Uyghur, the group has also recruited muhajireen of other nationalities in addition to Syrians. The Sham al-Islam group is Harakat Sham al-Islam, which was founded by Moroccan ex-Guantanamo detainees. The group eventually became part of Jabhat Ansar al-Din, which joined HTS. However, the component of Jabhat Ansar al-Din led by Dr. Abu Abdullah al-Shami broke off from HTS.

Below is my translation of the statement. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, February 6, 2019 8:06 AM  |  Permalink

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