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

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

"In Loving Memory of the Shuhada"- Stories of Islamic State Male and Female 'Martyrs'

While the Islamic State has sought over the years to consolidate and streamline its official media output, the organisation does encourage supporters of the group to produce their own propaganda materials, seeing them as an important front in the media war for the cause. Occasionally, some material of historical value turns up in the realms of unofficial and supporting output.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Thu, March 16, 2023 10:20 AM  |  Permalink

viginti annis laboris in tromocratia impedienda et securitate expletis, femina Americana de mentis salute in labore monet

My friend Jasmine El-Gamal, who worked for twenty years in the realms of national security and 'counter-extremism,' has since transitioned to advising on and advocating for mental health awareness and care in the workplace, particularly in stressful environments. Not too long ago, she was profiled by Clara Galtier in the French newspaper Le Figaro. Besides editing the English translation of the article and translating it into Arabic, I also decided (as a novelty to mark her career transition) to render the French article into Latin, and the translation is presented below. Be sure to follow Jasmine as she recounts and intends to recount many of her interesting experiences from Iraq, Guantánamo Bay and Washington DC, among other places, while also hosting a podcast on mental health in the workplace that will feature some great interviews.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, March 14, 2023  |  Permalink

The Village of Dudyan in Aleppo: Interview

It has been more than a month now since the initial earthquake whose epicentre was in southern Turkey, causing widespread damage in the southern Turkey-northwest Syria border areas. The aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks are still being felt in the region. Among the affected localities is the village of Dudyan in north Aleppo province, presently located in the 'Euphrates Shield' zone controlled by 'revolutionary' factions supported by Turkey. The village is known for how it changed hands multiple times in the fighting between those factions and the Islamic State prior to the commencement of the Euphrates Shield operation.

To learn more about the village and its present situation following the initial earthquake, below is an interview I conducted with the deputy head of the local council of Dudyan (Malik Zariq al-Nu'aimi). This interview was conducted on 25 February, but the observations are still valid now for the wider region regarding the bad situation following the earthquake. The interview is edited and condensed for clarity.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, March 14, 2023  |  Permalink

"Jewish Christians" and Mu'awiya: A Story from Adomnán

When considering antiquity, late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, it is worth pondering the basis for terms we may regularly use in our narratives and analyses of those periods and whether they are used or reflected in the sources of those times. For example, to my knowledge, the exact formulation 'Western Roman Empire' (Latin: e.g. imperium Romanum occidentale) is not used in an ancient source from the time it existed (up to 476/480 CE). On the other hand, the term is suitable in describing the division of the realms of the Roman Empire in late antiquity into two imperial courts that were de facto independent of each other even as there was nominally still one empire.

Another term of interest to consider is "Jewish Christians." I came across this matter in an academic article I recently had to translate into Arabic. The article, published in 2021, entitled "The Deadlocked Debate about the Role of the Jewish Christians at the Birth of Islam" and written by the Spanish scholar Francisco del Río Sánchez, discusses some of the academic debate about whether "Jewish Christians" had an influence on the birth of Islam. He notes that there is no precise and agreed definition of this term but that it has been used to refer to those individuals or groups who believed Jesus was a prophetic, messianic or even divine figure but observed the Torah in part or in full.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, March 13, 2023  |  Permalink

The Chronicle of Victor of Tunnuna: Translation and Overview

Victor of Tunnuna was a bishop from North Africa (probably in modern-day Tunisia) who lived in the sixth century CE and firmly defended what he saw as proper Catholic orthodoxy, whether in affirming the proceedings of the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE) as a whole or in its particulars. As such, he was a staunch advocate of the conventional Christian view today that Christ had two natures in one person (a fully human nature and a fully divine nature). In addition, he espoused the orthodox view of the three persons of the Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) as co-substantial and co-eternal, contrasting with the Arian Vandals who dominated his region until being extirpated by the Byzantines.

In light of Victor's theological concerns, much of his chronicle, which represents a continuation of Prosper of Aquitaine's chronicle and spans a period of just under 125 years (c. 444-567 CE), consists of entries dealing with pushback against the Council of Chalcedon, foremost represented in Miaphysite and/or Monophysite trends (i.e. those who held there was a single nature of some sort in Christ rather than two natures), and later on the controversy over three particular chapters of the Council. For his defence of those three chapters in contrast to the Byzantine emperor Justinian's supposed opposition to them, Victor suffered repeated imprisonment, beatings and exile. He also appears to have died in exile.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Wed, February 22, 2023  |  Permalink

Relief Efforts in the Aftermath of the Syria Earthquake: Interview

While the recent earthquake primarily affected southern Turkey and northern Syria, civilians based in Syria's southern regions have organised efforts to help fellow citizens affected by the disaster, even with the intention of helping some of those in areas outside of the control of the central government. This has been the case for example in the primarily Druze province of al-Suwayda'.

The interview in this post was conducted with 'Abu Fahd,' a resident of al-Suwayda' province. He talks about efforts organised in the province to help the affected. He also has a message on the subject of sanctions and the debate on their impact on relief efforts. I personally have grave doubts on the efficacy of sanctions and have concerns about how 'overcompliance' can hinder relief efforts for the earthquake in particular and worthwhile initiatives more generally to improve services after more than a decade of war. In relation to problems of 'overcompliance,' it should also be noted that the U.S. government has broadened humanitarian exemptions to sanctions for a six-month period to allow "processing and transfer of funds" to Syria for earthquake relief. All this aside, some people from within government-held areas do support the sanctions, and their perspectives should be heard too.

Below is the interview, which was conducted on 10 February and has been edited and condensed for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own:

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Sat, February 11, 2023  |  Permalink

Islamic State Infographic on the Turkey-Syria Earthquake

The Islamic State attempts to leap on the bandwagon of media attention given to the aftermath of the earthquake that has afflicted southern Turkey and northern Syria, covering the matter in its weekly newsletter al-Naba'. The al-Naba' infographic for this week features a general view of earthquakes, God's wisdom behind them and what Muslims should do when they occur. Translation below.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Fri, February 10, 2023  |  Permalink

An Account of the Islamic State's 'Offices' for Geographic Regions and Internal Disagreements

Since the fall of the Islamic State's territorial caliphate in Iraq and Syria nearly four years ago, detailed information on the inner workings of the organisation has unsurprisingly become harder to come by, and this problem has only become more apparent over time.

One source claiming to offer detailed accounts of how the organisation currently works is an account on TamTam and other social media applications (e.g. Rocket Chat) calling itself "Channel to Expose the Servants of Baghdadi and Hashimi." The account seems to portray itself as being run by a defector (/defectors?) from the organisation, and it publishes a variety of testimonies and claimed internal Islamic State documents (some of which have already been published on the Internet, whereas others have .

I have known of this channel for some time and expressed my reservations about its reliability before in conversations with my friend Tore Hamming. On the other hand, it is also true that the account leaked information about the death of the group's previous leader Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi just before the Islamic State itself announced his death- which suggests that the account is unlikely to be pure disinformation, despite its clear agenda. I think therefore the best approach is to make readers and observers aware of its content, and let them adopt and discuss their own opinions on its information, which is likely a mixture of truths, inaccuracies and disinformation whose strands are often not easy to distinguish for the time being.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, February 7, 2023  |  Permalink

The Impact of the Recent Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: Interview

A powerful earthquake whose epicentre was near the city of Gaziantep in southern Turkey has had devastating impacts in Turkey and Syria, leaving thousands dead and causing much damage. As part of awareness-raising, I feature an interview here with a friend originally from Bakh'a (one of the Western Neo-Aramaic speaking villages in the Qalamoun region of Syria), but now living as a displaced person in northwest Syria. Here he briefly speaks about the impacts of the earthquake and how people can help. This interview is featured in Western Neo-Aramaic, Arabic and English. In the meantime, I encourage people to do all they can to donate and get in touch with local NGOs and big and small aid organisations working on relief efforts. Here is one example provided below by my friend:

Khatab al-Shami: +963 936 726 579
Little Hearts Foundation: https://www.facebook.com/littleheartscuoricini

حصل زازال قوي في الفترة الأخيرة وكان مركزه قريباً من مدينة عنتاب في جنوب تركيا، وأدّى الى تخريب كبير في تركيا وسوريا، حيث سقط آلاف بين قتيل وجريح وصار الكثير من الدمار. ومن أجل التوعية أقدّم لكم مقابلة أجرياتها اليوم مع صديق من بخعة أصلا (علما أنّ بخعة من القرى المتحدثة باللغة الآرامية الغربية المعاصرة في منطقة القلمون بسوريا) وهو نازح حالياً في شمال غرب سوريا. يتكلم هنا بشكل مختصر عن آثار الزلزال وكيف أنّه يمكن الناس ان يساعدوا المتضررين. واقدم لكم المقابلة في الآرامية الغربية المعاصرة والعربية والانكيليزية، في حين أنّ أدعو الناس الى بذل أقصى جهودهم في التبرع والاتصال بالمنظمات والجمعيات الكبيرة والصغيرة العاملة على الاغاثة. واليكم مثال من صديقي::

خطاب الشامي:


جمعية القلوب الصغيرة:


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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Tue, February 7, 2023  |  Permalink

A Short Chronicle of Vandal Kings of Africa: Translation and Overview

The following work that is the subject of this post was edited by the German classicist Theodor Mommsen in 1898 under his Chronica Minora ("Minor Chronicles"). The work amounts to a short chronicle of the kings of the Vandals from the time they entered Carthage in 439 CE and established their realm in the Africa region centred on Carthage (modern-day Tunisia), until the demise of their kingdom in 533/534 CE at the hands of the Byzantines, who incorporated the territory into their empire and held it until the time of the Islamic conquests. Mommsen's attempt to reconstruct and edit this chronicle is primarily based on two recensions out of a total of five manuscripts. One of those two recensions is named as the "Augiensis," while the other is a recension from a Madrid manuscript he put under the title of "Hispani," where the parts of the text Mommsen extracted for his addition are interlaced with lines from the chronicle of Prosper of Aquitaine, which represented a continuation of Saint Jerome's Universal Chronicle.

Mommsen dubbed this chronicle the "Laterculus Regum Vuandalorum et Alanorum" ("Laterculus of the Kings of the Vandals and Alans"), with a laterculus being a chronology or chronicle in this context. Yet it is important to note that there is no evidence that the work Mommsen constructed actually had this title. It therefore cannot be used as evidence for the fact that the Vandal king styled himself as "King of the Vandals and Alans"! There is nonetheless other evidence that this styling was used throughout the period of Vandal rule in Africa: for instance, in his contemporary account of the persecution of Catholics under the Vandals' realm (Historia Persecutionis Africanae Provinciae 2.39 and 3.3), Victor Vitensis quotes documents of the Vandal king Huneric where this title is used. It is similarly attested in an inscription of the time of the last Vandal king Gelimer.

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By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  Mon, February 6, 2023  |  Permalink

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