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

Latest Blog Posts

The Life of Abu Muhammad al-Furqan: Head of the Media Department of the Islamic State (Part One)

May 6, 2021 at 9:57 pm

The Islamic State's weekly al-Naba' newsletter normally has a lead editorial. This week's issue, however, features a special extended biography of the group's former media department head 'Abu Muhammad al-Furqan' (real name: Wa'il al-Ta'i), who was a paediatrician by background and a veteran of the Islamic State and its predecessors from the days of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, having joined Zarqawi's al-Qa'ida in Iraq organisation after defecting from the Ansar al-Sunna group in whose establishment he had participated. Note that al-Furqan's death was announced by the Islamic State in October 2016.

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The Life of Abu Abd al-Birr al-Iraqi: Shari'i Official for Jabhat al-Nusra

April 30, 2021 at 7:32 pm

The writer 'Abu al-Waleed al-Hanafi' who is active on Telegram has been producing a series of lives of various figures he considered to be the prominent 'martyrs' of the Syrian revolution/uprising. The latest biography he has produced is of a person called Abu Abd al-Birr al-Iraqi (who, as his nickname suggests, was originally from Iraq). According to Hanafi, who primarily relies on the testimony of three individuals who knew the sheikh, Abu Abd al-Birr was a strong opponent of the Islamic State, denouncing it as an organisation of Khawarij. He ended up becoming the general Shari'i official for Jabhat al-Nusra (which was then Syria's al-Qa'ida-affiliate) in the 'north sector' (i.e. north Aleppo countryside). Interestingly, he made 'hijra' ('migration') to Syria twice: the first time he joined Jabhat al-Nusra in al-Tabqa in Raqqa province, but then he returned to Iraq. He then went back to Syria after connecting with someone on Twitter and arriving in north Aleppo countryside via Turkey, with the ease of crossing the border at the time being noted. Abu Abd al-Birr opened a Shari'i institute in Raqqa and was supposedly known for his piety, command of standard Arabic (fusha), and his keenness to participate in fighting. He was eventually executed by the Islamic State on 31 May 2015 CE in Raqqa after being captured in fighting in north Aleppo countryside between the rebel factions and the Islamic State. He had supposedly turned down the Islamic State's offer for him to go back on his stance against the Islamic State. However, to conclude, the author notes the limitations of his own biography in terms of sourcing and amount of information: most of those who knew Abu Abd al-Birr well inside Syria are now dead, and he could not contact the man's contacts and family in Iraq.

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New Video from the Ansar Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Squadron

April 27, 2021 at 6:35 pm

The independent jihadist group called the Ansar Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Squadron, which focuses on attacking the Turkish army in the region of Idlib and its environs in northwest Syria, has released a new video featuring an operation against the Turkish army. It is the second video released by the squadron (for the first video, see here). The video is entitled 'Revenge Expedition for the Sister Shu'a' Nu'ama' and dated Tuesday 15 Ramadan 1442 AH.

The video includes the following opening description:

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Education in Jabal al-Summaq: Interview

April 27, 2021 at 4:50 pm

How does the education system work in the areas of Idlib and its environs in northwest Syria? Officially, education in these areas is overseen by the Education and Teaching Ministry of the Salvation Government, which is backed by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham. Have the curricula changed substantially? What are the main problems facing education in the areas of Idlib and its environs?

To learn more about the issue of education in these areas, I conducted an interview with a source involved in education in the Jabal al-Summaq area of north Idlib countryside. The source requested anonymity as regards to his name, his precise location in the area and his precise role in education. This interview was conducted on 26 April 2021.

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'From Baghdad to Africa': Editorial in Islamic State's al-Naba' Newsletter

April 25, 2021 at 12:44 pm

When the Islamic State controlled substantial territory in Iraq and Syria at the height of its power, the group's messaging very much focused on this aspect of its success and the resulting implementation of Islamic law on the ground. Today, the messaging focuses on the global reach of its affiliates, highlighting in particular the newer affiliates across Africa and their operations against the armies and security forces of various countries in that continent (including Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique). This week's editorial in the group's newsletter al-Naba' epitomises this messaging shift. The affiliates of the Islamic State around the world are portrayed as a unified front ideologically speaking, bound by a single creed and goal despite the different ethnicities and languages. That goal is to establish Islamic law and remove idolatry. Certainly also, in cultivating affiliates through interaction from its central hub in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has sought to instruct in its ideology those who have pledged allegiance to it, and that ideological aspect should be taken seriously, rather than merely dismissed as a banner.

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