Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Home  |  Bio  |  Mobile Site  |  Follow @Twitter
Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

سيرة ابو قسورة كناكري: مسؤول في جيش خالد بن الوليد

لكي يتذكر من يقرا هذه المقالة: جيش خالد بن الوليد هو التنظيم المرتبط بالدولة الاسلامية ومقره في حوض اليرموك جنوب غرب محافظة درعا وتقع المنطقة على الحدود مع الجولان السوري المحتل. ونظرا لاهمية الاساس العشائري في درعا, من الممكن ان يفكر المحلل ان جيش خالد بن الوليد يمثل عشائر حوض اليرموك فقط وطبعا كان اساس لواء شهداء اليرموك الذي كان اكبر جماعة ضمن تشكيل جيش خالد بن الوليد في عشيرة البريدي التي عناصرها اصحاب الاراضي في الحوض

ولكنه يوجد عدد من المسؤولين في جيش خالد بن الوليد اصلهم من مناطق خارج حوض اليرموك وسيطرة التنظيم. ومن بين هؤلاء الغرباء الامير الحالي للتنظيم ابو تيم انخل (يتضح في كينته انه من مدينة انخل في محافظة درعا) وجميع الامراء للتنظيم الذين قتلوا قبله: ابو هاشم الشامي (من ادلب) وابو محمد المقدسي (ليس المفكر الجهادي المشهور) واخيرا ابو هاشم الرفاعي (من تل شهاب). وفي هذه المقالة اكتب سيرة مسؤول مهم اخر في التنظيم كان اصله من خارج حوض اليرموك والمناطق تحت سيطرة التنظيم: وهو ابو قسورة كناكري

Continue to full text of posting...

By ايمن جواد التميمي  |  Sat, August 12, 2017 3:27 PM  |  Permalink

The Life of Abu Qasura Kanakari of Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed

To recall, Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed is the Islamic State (IS)-linked organization based in the Yarmouk Basin of southwest Deraa province on the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In light of the importance of clans in Deraa, it may be tempting simply to equate Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed with the clans of the Yarmouk Basin. Indeed, the initial roots of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade- the largest constituent group that came to form Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed in May 2016- lie in the land-owning al-Baridi clan of the Yarmouk Basin.

However, a number of key people who have been involved in Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed have actually come from areas outside the Yarmouk Basin and Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed's zone of control. Among these outsiders are the current amir of the group (Abu Tayyim Inkhil, whose name indicates he is from the Deraa town of Inkhil) and all three of his deceased predecessors, beginning from the group's first leader: Abu Hashim al-Shami (from Idlib), Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (not to be confused with the well-known jihadi ideologue) and finally Abu Hashim al-Rifa'i (from Tel Shehab). In this post I consider the life of another key figure in Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed who was from outside the Yarmouk Basin and Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed's zone of control: Abu Qasura Kanakari.

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, August 12, 2017 12:51 PM  |  Permalink

Suqur al-Furat: A Pro-Assad Sha'itat Tribal Militia

In my profile of Quwat Muqatili al-Asha'ir (Forces of the Fighters of the Tribes), a militia affiliated with the military intelligence and promoted by Russia, I noted that the group and similar tribal militias would likely come to greater prominence with the regime offensives to push eastwards and claim areas of Raqqa, Homs and Deir az-Zor provinces from the shrinking Islamic State. Sure enough, Quwat Muqatili al-Asha'ir, under Turki Albu Hamad, who is originally from Raqqa province, has played a notable role in the regime's current offensive in the south Raqqa countryside. Further to the south in the Homs desert, the appearance of Suqur al-Furat (Falcons of the Euphrates) is another case of the rise of tribal militias as the regime and its allies seek to retake areas where the concept of the tribe plays an important part in society.

As a prefatory note though, the Suqur al-Furat under discussion in this article must not be confused with other formations bearing similar name. One group, called al-Muqawama al-Suriya: Suqur al-Jazira wa al-Furat (The Syrian Resistance: Falcons of the Jazira and Euphrates) is officially affiliated with the Syrian Resistance of Ali Kayali (aka Mihrac Ural) that is primarily based in Latakia. However, as Ramy Mahmoud Mahmoud of the Syrian Resistance pointed out to me, Suqur al-Jazira wa al-Furat- which has been trying to recruit Deir az-Zor natives for the campaign to retake Deir az-Zor province including through attempts to win over those in the ranks of the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces- acts as virtually independent on account of the 'distance and difficulty of connection.' The group has claimed to have conducted security operations inside Islamic State territory in Deir az-Zor province. In addition, a group bearing the name 'Fawj Suqur al-Jazira wa al-Furat' is affiliated with the Syrian Hezbollah group called the National Ideological Resistance primarily based in Tartous, though little information exists about its activities.

Suqur al-Furat fighters

Suqur al-Furat's basis lies in Sha'itat tribesmen from Deir az-Zor province. The Sha'itat tribe came to prominence in 2014 when the Islamic State massacred hundreds of members of the tribe who rose up in revolt against its rule. The fate of the tribe has been split: a few were already part of the Islamic State and participated in crushing the revolt, others underwent 'repentance' to return to their homes, others fled to rebel-held areas, but others still have sided with the regime, which maintains outposts in Deir az-Zor province's capital and military airport that are still besieged by the Islamic State. At the head of Suqur al-Furat are Aamer al-Aboud al-Bahr and Ghazi Ibrahim al-Dair.

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, August 10, 2017 9:24 AM  |  Permalink

Documents of the al-Qasimiya Court in West Aleppo Countryside: Translation and Analysis

In the northern rebel-held areas of Syria in particular, the notion of judicial independence tends to be elusive. The Dar al-Qada, for instance, has been officially characterized as independent but is widely acknowledged to be in reality the judicial wing of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham and prior to that its main predecessor Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and in turn Jabhat Fatah al-Sham's predecessor Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria's al-Qa'ida affiliate. The Islamic Commission, another judicial body, is noted for its links to Ahrar al-Sham.

The documents translated for this post come from a judicial body called the Supreme Judicial Council, which, as I noted in a previous entry, announced the beginning of its operations on 30 July 2015 with a number of branches in Aleppo province, including the west Aleppo countryside locality of al-Qasimiya that is the focus of this post. Though the Supreme Judicial Council, like the Dar al-Qada, is officially proclaimed to be independent, its branches are linked to the factions that administer the areas in which these branches operate. Thus, in Azaz, where a branch of the Supreme Judicial Council existed, the court was de facto affiliated with the Shami Front, the main faction in control of Azaz. In al-Qasimiya, the court is de facto affiliated/linked with the faction administering the locality: Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki, which had previously signed up to Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, only to split from it in light of the recent infighting in Idlib where Ahrar al-Sham suffered major defeats at the hands of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham.

To sum up Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki: it has always been an Islamist but not jihadist group, while also gaining notoriety for corruption/criminality and adopting a 'go with the strong horse' policy as regards the relations it developed with Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham and its predecessors, combined it seems with a naive belief that a merger in Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham could somehow uphold the interests of the 'revolution.'

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, August 1, 2017 11:12 PM  |  Permalink

Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki Splits from Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham

Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki (The Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement: NZM)- an Islamist faction originating from Aleppo that once received support from the CIA's program of backing 'vetted' Syrian rebels that now seems set to be phased out- gained a widespread reputation as being representative of the 'not-so-moderate rebel' trend in Syria when a video emerged from Aleppo last year of some members beheading of a youth accused of being a fighter for the regime. While a beheading in itself is not so indicative of ideological 'moderation' considering how widespread war crimes and brutality are in Syria, a legitimate concern was NZM's close working relationship with Jabhat al-Nusra/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which was probably a key reason why the group was cut off in 2015 from the program of support for 'vetted' groups.

The reputation of being 'baddie rebels' was compounded by NZM's subsequent joining of the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham merger in January 2017, which came amid infighting in Idlib and Aleppo provinces that saw a number of factions join Ahrar al-Sham in seeking protection from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. NZM had been touting the idea of of a grand merger between Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham, but as became apparent from comments from Turki Abd al-Hameed, a member of NZM's political office, the support for a merger was not indicative of a supposed NZM ideological affinity with jihadism. Rather, the merger hopes came from a belief that Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in particular was an effective military actor that in a merger initiative could help uphold the interests of the 'revolution' militarily and politically in a stage of crisis following the regime's recapture of Aleppo in December 2016. NZM's hopes were likely derived from the close working relationship it had developed with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. Ahmad Hamamer of NZM explained to me the rationale for joining Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham as follows:

"The necessity of the stage [of the 'revolution'/civil war] required the existence of a strong body in all its components, and Ahrar al-Sham was among those to merge but it withdrew in the last period before the announcement of the merger."

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, July 20, 2017 1:04 PM  |  Permalink

"I am your brigade, oh Ruqayya"- New Nasheed for Liwa al-Sayyida Ruqayya

Readers may recall my previous posts on the Syrian Shi'i militia Liwa al-Sayyida Ruqayya, also known as the Ja'afari Force. Named for the Sayyida Ruqayya shrine in Damascus, the group is officially considered an independent formation though the links with Iran are clear. Most recently, the group has been participating in the broader campaign by the regime and its allies to control the Syrian badia areas to the east of Damascus, pushing towards the wider east of the country and the borders with Jordan and Iraq. The group also appears to maintain a presence in Jobar in Damascus.

Below is a translation of a new nasheed released for the group: "I am your brigade, oh Ruqayya." Note the Arabic word liwa' can mean both 'banner' and 'brigade' so it can have an important double meaning in this sort of context.

At every moment in time or place,
We will sacrifice our lives for a place to remain.
In it is a fragrance from Karbala',
From Hussein.
Neither Zaynab nor Ruqayya shall be taken captive twice. [1]

No! Impossible for us to be content with humiliation and degradation.

I am your brigade, oh Ruqayya.
We are the Ja'afari Force.

We are here in the war. No no, we will not leave.
The determination in us is from Hussein, oh Yazid. [2]
We are your brigade, oh Ruqayya, we will not bow down.
In us runs the blood of the descendant and the protector.
By our bullets and our blood, victory is coming.

No! Impossible for us to be content with humiliation and degradation.

I am your brigade, oh Ruqayya.
We are the Ja'afari Force.

Da'esh will not remain in the land of al-Sham, no.
For in our brigade are the qualities of Karbala'.
We protect Ruqayya and al-Aqila, [3]
Bearing our banners in them, and we have come as avengers.
By our arms and by our brigade,
The call to prayer goes on high.

No! Impossible for us to be content with humiliation and degradation.

I am your brigade, oh Ruqayya.
We are the Ja'afari Force.

In every war we wear the garments of the shroud,
We are a brigade who do not mind, oh time.
Those soldiers in the covers [4] at the front,
Whoever wishes to fight them shall definitely not sleep.
For our men and our brigade love paradise.

No! Impossible for us to be content with humiliation and degradation.

I am your brigade, oh Ruqayya.
We are the Ja'afari Force.

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sun, July 16, 2017 7:41 PM  |  Permalink

After the Caliphate: Interview with Omar Fawaz

Readers of my blog may recall Omar Fawaz al-Shammary, a resident of Mosul who did some media work covering life under the Islamic State (IS). On multiple occasions in 2015 (e.g. here) I used his posts to illustrate certain aspects of IS administration in Mosul, and he was the one who posted the basic theology textbook for training camp recruits: Course in Monotheism, issued by the Diwan al-'Iftaa wa al-Buhuth.

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, July 8, 2017 6:07 PM  |  Permalink

The History of the Rapid Intervention Regiment: Interview with a Commander

The Rapid Intervention Regiment (Arabic: Fawj al-Tadaxul al-Sari') was one of the Iraqi Shi'i militias operating in Syria that emerged in the 2013 period. Originally, the Rapid Intervention Regiment operated under the moniker of Afwaj al-Kafil ("The Guarantor Regiments"), a collection of formations that were intended to protect the Sayyida Zainab shrine in Damascus. Besides the Rapid Intervention Regiment, the two other groups within the Afwaj al-Kafil conglomeration were Fawj Ansar al-Haq ("Supporters of Truth Regiment") and Fawj Batl Khaybar ("Hero of Khaybar Regiment").

From the beginning, the Rapid Intervention Regiment, which had also used the name Fawj Tawari' al-Sayyida Zainab ("Sayyida Zainab Emergency Regiment"), was led by Ahmad al-Hajji al-Sa'adi. He was in the original Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas, whose origins lie within the National Defence Forces (NDF) in the Sayyida Zainab area. The NDF, it will be recalled, was set up in late 2012 in order to organize better- through Iranian and Hezbollah training and help- the numerous pro-regime popular committees that had sprung up from the outset of the civil war.

The original Afwaj al-Kafil

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, June 28, 2017 7:16 PM  |  Permalink

Fawj Ra'ad al-Mahdi: East Aleppo Militia Expansion

The Local Defence Forces network, set up and supported by Iran, has tens of thousands of people under its wing in Syria, going by the numbers given in internal documents. The statistics indicate that the network is most prominent in Aleppo province, where there has also been the most social media publicity for the Local Defence Forces. As the regime has expanded its control through the Aleppo countryside, most notably seizing large swaths of the rural eastern areas from the Islamic State (IS) that has culminated in IS' expulsion from its last notable Aleppo town holding of Maskanah earlier this month, so too has the Local Defence Forces network expanded. Indicative of this expansion of the Local Defence Forces is the creation of a new unit called Fawj Ra'ad al-Mahdi (The Thunder of the Mahdi Regiment), also known as Fawj Asha'ir Manbij (Tribes of Manbij Regiment).

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sun, June 18, 2017 10:10 PM  |  Permalink

Katibat Dir' al-Watan Nasheed: Translation and Analysis

Following on from my report on the new Syria-Lebanon border militia outfit called Katibat Dir' al-Watan, here is a nasheed from the group. The melody and performance are by Ghassan Ja'afar, whom I characterized in the original piece as a second deputy. Ghassan however, who was born in 1988, has one child and is a cousin of al-Hajj Muhammad Ja'afar, formally distances himself from Dir' al-Watan, describing himself to me as "independent" and affirming the following: "I am not affiliated with Dir' al-Watan." In any case, he is on the right of one of the photos below that is from Tartous province (note al-Hajj Muhammad Ja'afar is just to the left of the centre), which Ghassan explained as follows: "I was only accompanying al-Hajj because he is close to me."

Ghassan Ja'afar, who styles himself as a munshid (nasheed singer).

Continue to full text of posting...

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, June 17, 2017 2:41 PM  |  Permalink

Archive Listing

home   |   biography   |   articles   |   blog   |   media coverage   |   spoken   |   audio/video   |   mailing list   |   mobile site