Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

Brief Note on Fighting in Fallujah and the Periphery

When it comes to analysis of Iraq's Sunni insurgency, one of the most important questions is trying to determine which groups are in what area, particularly regions out of government control. One pattern that emerges is that the Islamic State (IS) comes to assert itself in the main urban area, and other factions, if they survive, end up fighting on the periphery of the city and/or disperse into nearby villages and countryside of the wider district.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, September 18, 2014 5:49 PM  |  Permalink

Jamaat Ansar al-Islam: Tribute to Ahrar al-Sham: Translation and Analysis

The latest statement from Iraqi jihadi group Jamaat Ansar al-Islam (JAI: which expanded into Syria once unrest broke out there), extending tribute to the leaders of Ahrar al-Sham recently slain in a bomb attack, actually comes as no surprise, especially when one considers my prior scoop on the life of Abu Muhammad al-Muhajir- one of the founders of JAI's Syria branch- and the close ties he is said to have forged with Ahrar al-Sham in particular. The fondness of JAI for Ahrar al-Sham should be noted despite the latter's more recent attempts under the deceased Hassan Abboud to exhibit a more 'moderate' face in the face of fragmentation and declining outside support. Considering that JAI's Syria presence has now been reduced to Idlib and Aleppo provinces, ongoing coordination seems likely. One should also note that Ahrar al-Sham, like other Islamic Front groups, was keen to show it was not anti-muhajireen in general when infighting broke out with ISIS in January of this year, and the relationship with JAI is likely to have figured in the rationale for such a public stance.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sun, September 14, 2014 10:54 PM  |  Permalink

Ahrar al-Sham Nasheed: "Woe upon you"

This nasheed for Ahrar al-Sham [H/T: Hans Scholl], which I have translated below, will perhaps be of interest in light of the wiping out of a substantial portion of the group's leadership in a bomb attack, including the overall leader Hassan Abboud. The nasheed is most notable for emphasizing a transnational outlook, with explicit reference to the establishment of the Caliphate. This contrasts somewhat with Hassan Abboud's attempt to emphasize a national framework, and points to the diversity of the Ahrar al-Sham movement.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, September 10, 2014 9:11 PM  |  Permalink

Islamic State "Euphrates Province" Statement: Translation and Analysis

The Islamic State [IS]'s "Euphrates Province" (Wilayat al-Furat) is the group's newest administrative division, most notably encompassing the localities of al-Qa'im in Anbar province on the border with Syria and Albukamal in Deir az-Zor province on the border with Iraq, together with some neighboring contiguous territory. With the creation of this new entity, IS is partly intending to reinforce its narrative that it has 'broken the Sykes-Picot borders'.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, September 10, 2014 5:04 PM  |  Permalink

Naqshbandi Army Nasheed: "Oh Baghdad"

This nasheed is one of the more well-known Naqshbandi Army [JRTN] songs, whose first-line refrain ("Oh Baghdad, we've brought huge armies") could often be heard at the protest sites organized by JRTN's activist wing Intifada Ahrar al-Iraq (e.g. Fallujah February 2013, Tikrit). Reflecting JRTN's desire to espouse Iraqi nationalism, the song is heavily imbibed with Iraqi dialect (e.g. 'ihna, Iraqi 'we', for standard Arabic nahnu; lach, 'for you' feminine singular vs. laki; dhawla, 'these', instead of ha'ula'i).

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, September 8, 2014 7:31 PM  |  Permalink

Al-Boraq News (Islamic Army of Iraq) Interview

In the previous post I featured an interview I did with an Islamic Army of Iraq [IAI] online media activist: Abo Zakaria al-Sufyani. One arguable limitation of this research into the IAI's outlook is that such a person's views cannot be taken as necessarily representative of the organization (indeed, besides adding some additional supporter testimony, note I have edited the post to remove the description of him as a 'member' lest it be thought that he actually engages in fighting on the ground for the group).

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, September 6, 2014 3:29 PM  |  Permalink

Islamic Army of Iraq Interview

To recap, the Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI: more accurately, 'in Iraq'- reflecting the Arabic 'al-Jaysh al-Islami fil Iraq', which I will discuss below), as I have outlined before, is a Salafi nationalist insurgent group that dates back to the days of the Iraq War, having fought against both U.S. troops and the Iraqi government's forces. The group saw a significant number of its members and commanders become part of the Sunni 'Sahwa' forces that pushed back against what was then the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) from 2007 onwards. Following the U.S. withdrawal, the group demobilized and set up an activist front- the Sunni Popular Movement- that aimed to push for a Sunni federal region, participating as a subsidiary within the "Herak Six Provinces" movement of the Sunni Arab protests of 2013. This year, the IAI has returned to full-blown militancy. From the evidence that can be gleaned, the group has been primarily operating in Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces, with some activity also in Anbar and north Baghdad provinces.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, September 4, 2014 10:04 PM  |  Permalink

Saraya al-Khorasani 31 August Statement: Translation and Analysis

Intro and Analysis
Saraya al-Khorasani ("Khorasani Brigades") is an Iraqi Shi'a militia that has appeared in both Iraq and Syria. As is apparent from even a cursory glance at the group's own output, it identifies with Iran's ideology of wilayat al-faqih and its current representative for that system: namely, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sun, August 31, 2014 9:10 PM  |  Permalink

The Life of Abu Muhammad al-Muhajir: A Founder and Commander of Jamaat Ansar al-Islam in Bilad al-Sham

Intro and Analysis
Jamaat Ansar al-Islam (JAI)- a jihadi group most well known in its history and prior incarnations for operating in Iraq- expanded into Syria in under a contingent called "Ansar al-Sham" (more formally, 'Jamaat Ansar al-Islam in Bilad al-Sham'), claiming to have participated in the siege of Mannagh airbase in Aleppo province that eventually fell to an offensive led by the Islamic State (IS). As I documented in a post yesterday, though JAI's Iraq branch has not been pledged allegiance to IS, it has been significantly weakened by defections particularly in Ninawa province- facilitated by IS displays of power and ideological overlap between the two groups. Indeed, one JAI source described to me the situation as follows: in Mosul, JAI has a presence but "has no ability to operate because of IS." Similarly in Tikrit, where JAI assisted IS in a subordinate role in the insurgent takeover of the town, IS quickly asserted its authority, arresting and killing members of JAI, such that JAI (the same source relates to me) has been forced to go underground in the area.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, August 30, 2014 8:32 PM  |  Permalink

Latin Translations of the Qur'an: A Brief Intro

[NB: All translations from Latin and Arabic here are my own]

The Western experience of translating the Qur'an dates back nearly 900 years, beginning with one Robert of Ketton in the 12th century CE. The translation had been organized in Christian Spain as part of a wider Arabic-Latin translation project by Peter the Venerable (of the Cluny Abbey in eastern France), who wrote in a letter in Latin to Bernard of Clairvaux Abbey (also in France) regarding the endeavor vis-à-vis Islamic texts:

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, August 28, 2014 11:47 PM  |  Permalink

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