Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

مقابلة مع قائد فيلق الوعد الصادق الشيخ محمد التميمي

إنّ فيلق الوعد الصادق هو فصيل من فصائل "المقاومة الإسلامية" في العراق وله تاريخ طويل حيث قام في أيام الاحتلال الأمريكي الذي أعقب الغزو الأمريكي في عام ٢٠٠٣، كما كان الفيلق من الفصائل العرافية التي قاتلت في سوريا الى جانب قوات الحكومة السورية. أمّا في الفترة الأخيرة، فبرز الفصيل مع اصدار بيان أقسم فيه أنّه سيواصل قتال الوجود الأمريكي في العراق، برغم اعلان كتائب حزب الله عن تعليق عملياتها ضد القوات الأمريكية على اثر مقتل ثلاثة جنود في مقر واقع على الحدود بين الأردن وسوريا، علما أنّه من المرجح أنّ الاعلان جاء نتيجة الضغط على الكتائب من قبل إيران والحكومة العراقية. واستنكر فيلق الوعد الصادق الضربات الأمريكية، قائلا بأنّها تشكل انتهاكاً للسيادة العراقية، كما اتهم الأردن بالمشاركة في الضربات، مما جعلها هدفاً "للمقاومة."

تسليطاً للضوء على تاريخ فيلق الوعد الصادق وموقفه من الأحداث الجارية في العراق والمنطقة، أجريت مقابلة مع قائد الفيلق الشيخ محمد التميمي.

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By أيمن جواد التميمي  |  Fri, February 9, 2024 7:15 PM  |  Permalink

Interview with Shaykh Muhammad al-Tamimi of Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq

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.'

To learn more about Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq's history and its perspective on current events in Iraq and the wider region, I decided to conduct an interview with its leader Shaykh Muhammad al-Tamimi, which is presented below. The interview is slightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, February 9, 2024 6:38 PM  |  Permalink

The Alawites of Iraq

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.

In Iraq, the Alawites have constituted one of the country's smallest minorities. What may constitute a surprise is that the Iraqi Alawites are not associated with the predominantly Shi'a regions of central and southern Iraq, but rather historically with the town of Anah in western Anbar, which is not too far from the border with Syria, is now known to have a predominantly Sunni Arab population, and unfortunately fell under the control of the Islamic State in 2014. It is also apparent that the Alawite presence in Anah was not a recent import from Syria but rather longstanding. Most notably, the renowned Islamic historian and jurist Ibn al-Sam'ani (d. 1166 CE) wrote in Kitab al-Ansab (a biographical dictionary) about the epithet al-Ani:

"This refers to Anah, which is a locality near Haditha of the Euphrates [also located in western Anbar]. Its people are Nusayris who believe in the divinity of Ali bin Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him). I heard our shaykh 'Umar bin Ibrahim bin Hamza al-Husayni in al-Kufa say: I entered Anah of the Euphrates while heading back from al-Sham [Syria], so they asked me what my name is. I said: 'Umar. So they attacked me and almost killed me because my name is 'Umar, until I said: I am an Alawi, Kufi and Zaydi man in terms of school of thought and lineage [i.e. the suggestion being that he has Shi'i credentials], from among the Ahl al-'Ilm [i.e. Islamic scholars], until I left that place."

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, February 5, 2024  |  Permalink

The Life of Muhammad 'Abd al-Majid Fa'ur from al-Fu'a

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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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, January 30, 2024  |  Permalink

سيرة المقاتل محمد عبد المجيد فاعور من بلدة الفوعة

تقع بلدة الفوعة في محافظة ادلب ومن المعلوم أنّ سكانها من المكون الشيعي أصلاً، إلا أنّ البلدة تحت سيطرة الفصائل المسلحة حالياً وهي اسكنت الناس من عدة المناطق وبعض "المهاجرين" (أي: الأجانب) في بيوتها.

ومن المعلوم أنّ اهالي البلدة وقفوا الى جانب الحكومة السورية اثناء الحرب ولهم الآلاف من "الشهداء،" بما في ذلك من ارتقوا في الضربات الإسرائيلية على سوريا. ولكنني اقدم في هذا المنشور سيرة مختصرة وبسيطة لمقاتل من مقاتلي الفوعة وهو ارتقى في السنة الماضية: واسمه: محمد عبد المجيد فاعور.

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By أيمن جواد التميمي  |  Tue, January 30, 2024  |  Permalink

Kata'ib Hezbollah Announces Suspension of Operations Against the U.S.

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.

In any event, it seems likely that Kata'ib Hezbollah had a role in the attack, but as noted previously, the group's involvement in operations against Americans poses a problem in that the Iraqi government still officially hosts American soldiers as part of combating the Islamic State, and yet Kata'ib Hezbollah has forces integrated into the Popular Mobilisation Commission, which is officially under the control of the Iraqi government.

Out of a supposed desire to avoid putting the Iraqi government in an embarrassing position, Kata'ib Hezbollah's secretary general has issued a statement announcing the suspension of operations against the Americans, while affirming that the group will pursue "other ways" to support the people of Gaza. Even so, it is possible that Kata'ib Hezbollah could be involved in creating a new front group that targets the Americans while denying involvement in that new front group, or the group could return to declaring operations against the Americans again.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, January 30, 2024  |  Permalink

The Islamic State's Attack on a Church in Istanbul

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.

First, observers should be cautious about overthinking and attaching some kind of rational 'strategy' to this sort of attack. Certainly, the Islamic State, in every claim of responsibility for an attack anywhere, wants to demonstrate that it is still a fighting force around the world, but as the 'Amaq News report notes, the attack comes within the context of the Islamic State's call for Jews and Christians to be targeted everywhere: in other words, a reiteration of spokesman Abu Hudhayfa al-Ansari's recent call for members and supporters to kill disbelievers wherever they find them. Two Islamic State members/supporters decided to conduct the attack on the church as an gathering place for 'disbelieving Christians' who do not submit to the Islamic State, and they were able to do so. There is no grand strategy here of trying to play off Turkey against another state, or targeting a church on Turkish soil because of a specific policy Turkey (regarded as an 'apostate' state) pursued against the Islamic State in northern Syria, and the group's members/supporters would ultimately seek to conduct such attacks regardless of Israel's military operations in Gaza.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, January 29, 2024 5:48 PM  |  Permalink

Anti-Jewish Polemic: Julian of Toledo's 'Concerning the Proof of the Sixth Age' (II)

Whereas the first book of Julian of Toledo's 'Concerning the Proof of the Sixth Age' primarily focused on the supposed prophecies of Christ's birth and coming contained in the books of the Old Testament, the second book focuses on the evidence contained in the New Testament, primarily highlighting the point that in nowhere in the New Testament is there a discussion of the number of years that have passed since the beginning of the world in order to assert or deny that Jesus is the Messiah. That is, those who bore witness to Jesus or advocated for him- such as John the Baptist, Paul and Peter- did not raise the issue of the number of years since the beginning of the world, nor was it invoked by the Jews denying Jesus' status as the Messiah. Nor did the priests consulted by Herod raise the matter when he inquired about the reported birth of the Messiah. In the end, Julian underlines that true faith requires believing in what one has not seen: while Christians alive today did not see Jesus in the latter's life on Earth, they believe that he was born as the Messiah, died and rose again from the dead, and they believe that he will come again to judge the world. This faith, in some instances, requires believing what cannot be comprehended by reason.

I would like to dedicate this translation and overview to my friend Nathaniel Rabkin, at whose house I had my practice viva voce for my PhD prior to the actual exam earlier this week. Nathaniel, an expert on Iraqi politics, is an excellent Arabic linguist and has always been very supportive of me and my work. I would of course be keen to know whether he finds Julian of Toledo's arguments here convincing.

Below is the text translated with annotations for Biblical references and other references, taken from the critical Latin edition of the text.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, January 26, 2024 3:18 PM  |  Permalink

The Fuero of Calatayud: Translation and Overview

A fuero, in brief, was a charter outlining statutes for a specific locality: in effect, a local form of governance that became established in medieval Iberia. The fuero that is the subject of this post and is translated here is the one that was given for the locality of Calatayud (located in the Aragón region of northeast Spain) by King Alfonso I of Aragón and Navarre, who died in 1134 and was nicknamed "The Battler." I have not chosen this fuero at random: rather, I decided to read it as I myself have visited Calatayud, as it is one of the notable towns in relative proximity to my village in Spain.

The most likely etymology for Calatayud is that it is a transcription of the Arabic قلعة أيوب (Qal'at Ayyub), which translates as "Ayyub's fortress." According to Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada in Chapter 9 of his Historia Arabum, it is said that Qal'at Ayyub was built by Ayyub bin Habib al-Lakhmi, who briefly served as governor of al-Andalus and was involved in the deposition and assassination of his predecessor Abd al-Aziz bin Musa (the son of the Muslim general Musa bin Nusayr, a key figure in the Muslim conquest of Spain). This assassination, according to Rodrigo, took place because of suspicion that Abd al-Aziz had converted to Christianity, since his wife Egilo (who is called Umm 'Asim in Arabic sources and was supposedly the widow of Roderic, the last Visigothic king of Spain) had persuaded him to wear a crown as the Visigothic kings did.

Regardless of whether Ayyub did in fact establish Calatayud, there is a very magnificent fortress that surveys the whole town, and I would recommend that you visit Calatayud and its fortress, especially since it is not such a familiar site for foreign tourists. Besides the fortress, there is also the remnant of the city's old Jewish quarter that is well worth seeing.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, January 23, 2024  |  Permalink

The Jordanian Airstrikes On Orman in Suwayda': Interview

As part of the wider normalisation between Syria and Arab states, one of the concerns raised by the latter has been the ongoing smuggling of drugs (captagon in particular) from Syria to the wider region. Of these Arab states, it is Jordan that seems most concerned about the matter, as its security forces have engaged in hostilities along the border to prevent captagon smuggling. In other words, the ongoing production and smuggling of captagon are seen by Jordan as a threat to its national security.

Demonstrating its commitment to combating the perceived threat, the Jordanians have now gone so far as to launch airstrikes on Syrian territory on more than one occasion, hitting targets allegedly involved in drug production and smuggling. The most recent of these incidents was an overnight strike on 18 January that principally hit the locality of Orman, which is located in the primarily Druze province of al-Suwayda', southeast of the provincial capital bearing the same name and quite close to Syria's border with Jordan.

As documented by local reporting not affiliated with the Syrian government, the casualties in this instance appear to have been civilians with no demonstrable connection to drug smuggling and production. Even so, several days passed with not a word from official Syrian state media (which nonetheless continually like to point to Palestinian civilian deaths and casualties resulting from Israel's ongoing military operations in Gaza).

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, January 23, 2024  |  Permalink

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