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

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

لماذا تم فرز قوات من الفرقة الرابعة الى دير الزور؟

في الأشهر الماضية الأخيرة شهدنا فرز قوات خاصة من الفرقة الرابعة التابعة للجيش العربي السوري الى مناطق دير الزور. ما كانت الأسباب الأمنية وراء هذا الفرز؟ وكيف تغير الوضع الأمني في المنطقة منذ فرز هذه القوات؟ من أجل نقاش هذه المسائل أقدم لكم مقابلة أجريتها مع القيادي فراس عيسى.

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By أيمن جواد التميمي  |  Sat, July 6, 2024 8:50 AM  |  Permalink

"They are part of us and we are part of them"- Islamic State Editorial on Attacks Around the World

Recently, there have been reports of some plots and attacks in various countries that are suspected as being linked to or inspired by the Islamic State, such as one in Dagestan in late June that targeted police posts, churches and a synagogue and killed at least 20 people. Most recently, a convert to Islam tried to attack the Israeli embassy in Serbia's capital Belgrade, and footage has emerged suggesting he was a supporter of the Islamic State.

It is most likely in light of these attacks that the Islamic State has released its latest editorial in its al-Naba' letter: "They are part of us and we are part of them." The editorial notably features a screenshot of the footage of the Belgrade attacker.

The editorial emphasises that an allegiance pledge to the Islamic State (i.e. to its 'caliph') does not necessarily mean a formal organisational connection with the Islamic State, but it is nonetheless a bond of faith and loyalty to Islam that can be best proven by conducting an attack in the heart of the 'abodes of disbelief' (e.g. targeting the capitals and embassies that belong to countries of 'disbelief') in the event that it is not possible to 'migrate' to the Islamic State and its various provinces around the world, continuing on an idea emphasised by the group's then spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in 2016. The editorial stresses that it is through conducting an attack and shedding one's blood that one can best demonstrate support for Islam and God's law.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, July 5, 2024 8:36 AM  |  Permalink

"The Brothers of al-Qassam"- A Nashid for the Islamic Group in Lebanon's Quwat al-Fajr

In a recent post I covered the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Islamic Group in Lebanon and the question of how its relationship with Hezbollah has fluctuated over the years, most recently taking the form of the revival of its armed wing Quwat al-Fajr ("Forces of the Dawn") and an alliance to confront Israel on the south Lebanon front with the goal of pressuring Israel over its military campaign in Gaza. As part of promoting the revival of Quwat al-Fajr, the Islamic Group in Lebanon's Sidon branch has recently released a nashid ('song') entitled "The Brothers of al-Qassam," which I have translated into English and Latin. While highlighting past credentials and precedents in resisting the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, the nashid emphasises the affinity of the Islamic Group and Quwat al-Fajr with the Muslim Brotherhood and by extension Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades, and that the Islamic struggle to liberate Palestine should transcend borders.

The language of the lyrics is influenced by Levantine Arabic. The song also contains some references and terms that require annotation in a commentary.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, July 2, 2024 8:34 AM  |  Permalink

The Fourth Division's Deployment to Dayr al-Zur: Interview

In recent months, forces from the Syrian army's Fourth Division have been deployed on assignments to the country's eastern province of Dayr al-Zur. What have been the security reasons for this deployment? What changes, if any, have these deployments led to in the region? To discuss these matters, I interviewed Firas Issa, a contingent commander within the Fourth Division. The interview was conducted on 30 June 2024 and is presented below.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, July 1, 2024 8:33 AM  |  Permalink

The Islamic Group in Lebanon and its Alliance with Hezbollah

Since the beginning of Israel's military campaign in Gaza, one of the Lebanese factions to have come to media prominence amid the flare-up of Israel's northern front with Lebanon is the Islamic Group (al-Jama'a al-Islamiya), a Sunni faction that is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and has an armed wing called Quwat al-Fajr ("The Dawn Forces"). Most recently of note, Israel appears to have assassinated a commander in the Islamic Group called Ayman Hashim Ghatma in the Beqaa region (photo below).

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, June 28, 2024 8:30 AM  |  Permalink

Imprisoned and Released by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham: Interview with Shaykh Abu Shu'ayb al-Masri

The protest movement in Idlib and its environs against the policies of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is still ongoing, focused on grievances such as arrest and detention of critics and opponents of HTS by its 'public security apparatus,' which is only nominally independent. Any gestures by HTS to conciliate protestors, such as release of some detainees, have seemingly proven ineffective in significantly reducing the scope and scale of protests. One person released recently by HTS is the Egyptian cleric Abu Shu'ayb al-Masri, who was previously affiliated with HTS and then became a strong critic of the organisation as he saw the group as deviating from Islamic principles. Abu Shu'ayb ended up being abducted by HTS in July 2023 in the north Aleppo countryside, in an area officially outside the control of HTS. Abu Shu'ayb's release appears to have come only as a result of popular pressure on the organisation.

Abu Shu'ayb, whom I have interviewed before, speaks to me exclusively for the first time regarding his detention and release. Owing to the current situation, it is not possible for me to put to Abu Shu'ayb all the questions I would like to ask him about his experience.

[Update: 23 June 2024: Abu Shu 'ayb has reportedly been rearrested by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham. Other figures have also been arrested, such as al-Zubayr al-Ghazi who was involved in the 'Wage Jihad With Your Wealth' campaign].

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, June 22, 2024 12:15 PM  |  Permalink

Islamic State Report and Infographic on Recent Operations in the Congo

Alongside the editorial in this week's issue of al-Naba' on the Islamic State's 'jihad in the Congo,' the same issue has also published a report and an infographic on the group's recent operations in the Congo. These operations follow the exact same formula as what the group does in Mozambique: namely, targeting Christian villages because of their religious identity, killing and displacing the inhabitants while burning some property and seizing others. In addition, the group characterises the national army as 'Crusader'. As in Mozambique, this ideological framing of the insurgency needs to be taken seriously and not dismissed as a propaganda cloak.

Below are the translated report and infographic. Parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, June 21, 2024 12:13 PM  |  Permalink

Islamic State Editorial: 'Jihad in the Congo'

In recent years, and as we approach the tenth Gregorian anniversary of the announcement of the Islamic State's Caliphate project (29 June 2014), it is clear that the main area of concern about the group's activity now lies in its African affiliates. While the group has not achieved anything in those African affiliates that quite resembles the territorial success and state project it realised in the lands spanning the borders of Iraq and Syria in 2014-2015, the African affiliates have nonetheless managed to seize territory in some places and have proven to be a growing problem for many governments and their security forces in the continent, especially in the Sahel, West Africa (northern Nigeria and its environs), the Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Mozambique. Naturally, this provides great propaganda for the Islamic State's media, which have encouraged supporters around the world to migrate to areas where the group's African affiliates operate.

The latest editorial in the group's weekly al-Naba' newsletter concerns the group's efforts in the Congo region (the 'Central Africa province') and how the efforts of the Congolese army and its allies have failed to quell the Islamic State insurgency.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, June 21, 2024  |  Permalink

The Island of Sark (Post in Western Neo-Aramaic)

I have recently had the great fortune of visiting the island of Sark, one of the Channel Islands located between England and France. Here, cars are banned. There are also no street lights, meaning that there is very little light pollution. On a clear night with no moon, it is possible to discern the Milky Way.

I long ago took an interest in the island not only because of its lovely rural environment and natural beauty, but also because of its dialect of the Norman language, dubbed Sarkese or 'patois' among the locals. Unfortunately, Sarkese is moribund. While recent media reports have noted that there were three native speakers remaining, it turns out that one of them (Esther Perrée) died only a few weeks ago. The island's oldest inhabitant- Nellie Le Feuvre, currently aged 97 and whom I have met- does not speak the language though says that she understands it. Fortunately, a Czech linguist called Martin Neudörfl has been doing vital work to preserve and codify the language in written form from remaining speakers and 'rememberers' of the language. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Martin via phone contact, and his own efforts reminded me of my work to preserve written examples of Western Neo-Aramaic. Accordingly, below is a short description of the island of Sark in Western Neo-Aramaic, written in the most endangered dialect (that of Bakh'a) and with Arabic and English translations. I also include some photos of the island.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, June 7, 2024  |  Permalink

المظاهرات في إدلب

ليست الحكومة السورية الجهة الوحيدة التي تشهد مظهرات مستمرة ضد حكمها، بل قامت مظاهرات كبيرة ضد سياسات هيئة تحرير الشام في مناطق ادلب وما حولها على مر الأشهر الثلاثة الماضية. يذكر أنّ الهيئة هي الفصيل المهيمن في هذه المناطق وتسلط عليها من خلال قواتها العسكرية ومؤسسات مستقلة شكلياً مثل حكومة الانقاذ وجهاز الأمن العام. واستمر هذا الوضع في مناطق ادلب وما حولها منذ عام ٢٠٢٠ بسبب وقف اطلاق النار الذي توافقت عليه تركيا وروسيا.

في اي مناطق انتشرت المظاهرات؟ ما هي أسباب المظاهرات؟ وما هي المظالم والمطالب؟ وكيف ردت الهيئة على المظاهرات؟ من أجل تسليط الضوء على هذا الموضوع اقدم لكم مقابلة أجريتها مع أبي محمد نصر وهو من حلب أصلا وينتقد سياسات قائد هيئة تحرير الشام أبي محمد الجولاني. ويقول أبو محمد نصر إنّه "ثائر من ثوار حلب."

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By أيمن جواد التميمي  |  Sat, June 1, 2024 5:40 AM  |  Permalink

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