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

Latest Articles and Blog Posts

A 13th-Century Text Teaches Us About Arabs and Europeans

May 13, 2022  •  Newlines Magazine

There has been much interest in the depiction of Arabs in contemporary Western culture and literature, whether in popular movies, newspapers or books. Concerns about negative depictions in earlier centuries, too, led to the term "Orientalist" being widely seen as pejorative. What if, however, we try to go even further back? In fact, how far back can we go? What was the earliest Western book focused specifically on Arabs and their history?

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The Clashes Between the Sinjar Resistance Units and the Iraqi Army: Interview

May 11, 2022

From the middle of April until early May, there was an escalation in tension between the Iraqi army and the Sinjar Resistance Units (commonly known by the abbreviation of YBŞ deriving from the Kurdish name of the group). This escalation arose because the Iraqi army (embodied in the West Ninawa operations command) has sought to impose greater central government authority and security control over the area, through building a partial border wall between Iraq and Syria in the Sinjar area, setting up additional bases in the Sinjar area, and trying to take over checkpoints that have been run by the Asayish Izidkhan, which functions as the internal security wing of the 'autonomous administration' project in the Sinjar area (whereas the YBŞ is the military wing of that project), which seeks to create a special autonomous region in Sinjar. It was the Iraqi army's attempted move against Asayish Izidkhan checkpoints in particular that sparked the recent clashes on repeated occasions between the Iraqi army and the YBŞ.

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The Military Structure of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham

May 6, 2022 at 6:33 pm

Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, the dominant insurgent organisation in northwest Syria, shifted its primary military structure from four main 'armies' named for the Rashidun caliphs to multiple brigades. I have already alluded to these brigades previously and how there appear to be at least ten brigades named for the ten companions of the Prophet promised Paradise (I had first heard of this concept from a source who says he is in one of those brigades, having previously served in the 'Red Bands' special formation).

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The Islamic State's "Revenge Raid for the Two Sheikhs": Infographic and Translation

May 6, 2022 at 6:32 pm

In April, the Islamic State released a speech by its new official spokesman Abu Omar al-Muhajir, who replaced Abu Hamza al-Qurashi following the latter's killing in otherwise unknown circumstances. In the speech, Abu Omar announced a "revenge raid for the two sheikhs": referring to the group's previous leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, who was killed in a U.S. raid in Idlib in February, and to the aforementioned Abu Hamza al-Qurashi.

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The Baniyas Massacres Nine Years On

May 6, 2022 at 11:46 am

The issue of massacres committed during the Syrian civil war recently came to prominent public attention again with the leaked video footage of a massacre committed by Syrian government forces in the Tadhamun neighbourhood of Damascus city back in 2013. While the details and footage are horrific, it is important that this kind of material be made public for the sake of historical remembrance, and in the hope of accountability and change. Indeed, there has been talk that the Syrian government has been reviewing the Tadhamun massacre, and it is possible that the recent releases of detainees and government decree of an amnesty for non-lethal 'terror' offences have some link with the publicity surrounding it. Even if the latter is not the case, however, there is nonetheless a public interest served in preserving and publicising the memory of massacres, regardless of which side perpetrated them. For instance, I have similarly covered in the past massacres committed by insurgents in Ishtabraq (2015), Qalb Lawze (2015) and Latakia countryside (2013). Of course, there should also be documentation of ongoing violations, such as the hundreds of assassinations in the southern Deraa province since 2018.

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