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Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq ("The True Promise Corps") is an Iraqi 'Islamic Resistance' faction with a long history, having emerged in the days of the U.S.-occupation of Iraq following the invasion in 2003 and being one of the Iraqi groups that have fought in Syria. Most recently, the group has come to some prominence for issuing a statement in which it vowed to continue fighting the U.S. presence in Iraq despite Kata'ib Hezbollah's announcement of a suspension of operations against American forces in the wake of the killing of three U.S. soldiers at a base on the Jordan-Syria border- an announcement that likely involved Iranian and Iraqi government pressure on Kata'ib Hezbollah to take a step to de-escalate. Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq also denounced retaliatory U.S. strikes as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, accusing Jordan of participating in the strikes and saying that Jordan had now become a target for the 'resistance.'
Iraq is known to have a variety of religious minority communities, including more familiar ones such as Yezidis (who gained worldwide attention because of the Islamic State's attempted genocide against them in 2014) and Christians, and less familiar ones such as the Kaka'is. Arguably among Iraq's least known religious minorities are the Alawites, a Shi'a-offshoot who are also known as Nusayris. The designation of Nusayris is often considered derogatory when used by non-Alawites. The Alawites are much more readily associated with Syria where they are far more numerous, even though the sect's origins ultimately go back to Iraq. In this post I present a brief overview of this community.
The recent drone attack that hit U.S. forces stationed in Jordan on the border with the U.S.-controlled Tanf pocket in Syria and killed three personnel has prompted calls for major American retaliation either against militant groups backed by Iran or against Iran itself. A statement issued on the day of the attack by the 'Islamic Resistance in Iraq,' an umbrella front group that includes Kata'ib Hezbollah, included mention of targeting the U.S. presence in Tanf, and it must be inferred that this is referring to the attack that hit the Jordan-Syria border outpost. Contrary to what has been frequently asserted in commentary on the incident, this attack should not necessarily be seen as 'escalatory.' The fact that personnel were killed this time, and so close to the Jordan-Syria border, is really more a matter of luck for the 'resistance' axis.
The originally Shi'i locality of al-Fu'a in Idlib province (presently occupied by insurgents who have settled displaced Sunnis in the homes of the original inhabitants) is known to have thousands of 'martyrs' on the government side of the Syrian civil war, including individuals who have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Syria. One of those 'martyrs' (though not killed by the Israelis) is Muhammad 'Abd al-Majid Fa'ur, whose life I document briefly here.
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Yesterday, masked assailants carried out an attack on a Catholic church in Istanbul, killing one person. The Islamic State has credibly claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing both a report under its 'Amaq News agency featuring a photo of the assailants and a statement issued in the name of the "Turkey wilaya" (Turkey province). These are translated in this post below. There are a couple of observations to make about this attack and the Islamic State's responsibility for it.