July 28, 2015

The Reemergence of Jaysh Muhammad in Bilad al-Sham

Jaysh Muhammad-run Shari'a Institute in Idlib city: lesson for children.

After many months of social media absence, the jihadi group Jaysh Muhammad in Bilad al-Sham under Abu Obeida al-Masri has recently advertised its presence in the city of Idlib city as part of the Jaysh al-Fatah jihadi-rebel coalition that conquered the city and other parts of Idlib province from Assad regime forces. On its official Arabic Facebook page, the group describes itself as "to support our people in al-Sham" (echoing the full name of Syria's official al-Qa'ida affiliate … [Read more...]

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: “Course in Monotheism”- Complete Text, Translation and Analysis

Excerpt from Islamic State (IS) training camp course book on tawheed/monotheism.

Preface and Commentary As mentioned in previous excerpt posts (here and here), the textbook "Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid" (Course in Tawheed/Monotheism) is the book that must be learned and understood by training camp recruits if they are to pass the recruitment and training processes. Written by the Bahraini cleric Turki Binali (who most recently appeared in official Islamic State propaganda giving a sermon in Raqqa province), it is issued by the Diwan al-Eftaa' wa al-Buhuth Committee that also … [Read more...]

The Coastal Shield Brigade: A New Pro-Assad Militia

Emblem of the Coastal Shield Brigade, a pro-Assad militia. In middle (with portrait of Bashar al-Assad): "Republican Guard. Knights of Assad." On bottom: "Syrian Arab Army."

Emblem of the Coastal Shield Brigade. On top: "Coastal Shield Brigade." In middle (with portrait of Bashar al-Assad): "Republican Guard. Knights of Assad." On bottom: "Syrian Arab Army." As the Syrian civil war has dragged on with no recent decisive breakthroughs for the Assad regime and the loss of many peripheral territories including all major towns in Idlib and Palmyra, the problem of avoidance of conscription into the regular armed forces has only become exacerbated. Thus, at this point, a … [Read more...]


Sign in Nabatiya, Lebanon, honoring Hizballah "martyrs" killed in Syria

This report--in part based on a two-week trip to Lebanon in April 2015--examines the role of Hizballah in the ongoing Syrian civil war, particularly its relation with the wider Shi’i jihadi militia efforts in support of the Assad regime. The article also examines “martyrdom” commemorations for Hizballah fighters killed in Syria, with a collection of tombstones and posters in a variety of locations throughout Lebanon examined in parallel with online evidence. HIZBALLAH AND THE SHI’I … [Read more...]

The Islamic State’s Diwan al-Rikaz in Mosul

Cola products from al-Basha, a Mosul-based drinks company. Compare the takeover and renaming with the reopened al-Waritheen hotel in Mosul.

As I have shown from prior documentary evidence, the Islamic State's Diwan al-Rikaz is a department of bureaucracy concerned with 'precious resources' primarily of two types: fossil fuels and antiquities. For instance, the Diwan al-Rikaz deals with crude oil purchase receipts, the leasing of gasoline stations, distributions of gas fuel for locals and permission slips for the excavation of (non-idolatrous) artifacts, which are then usually sold off on the black market. Below is Mosul-based Omar … [Read more...]

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: Course in Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence]

IS textbook cover

In previous posts I provided translated excerpts from one of the four main Islamic State training camp textbooks (in this case, the absolute prerequisite recruits must learn and master: 'Course in Tawheed'). I will post the remaining lessons from that textbook translated in due course. Meanwhile, here are the two opening sections from the second of the four main textbooks: Muqarrar fi al-Fiqh (Course in Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence]). Course in Fiqh for the Training Camps Al-Eftaa wa … [Read more...]

The Islamic State’s Services Department in Mosul and Ninawa Province

Islamic State services department

Introduction As I have explained in a previous post on Islamic State (IS) administration in Mosul and the wider Ninawa province (Wilayat Ninawa) in northern Iraq, the IS services department (as elsewhere in its territory) comes under the title of Diwan al-Khidamat, purporting to provide public services like electricity, water and road maintenance/renovation to the population. In reality, a considerable degree of parasitism exists in that the services' offices operating in IS-controlled … [Read more...]

The Islamic State One Year After the Caliphate Declaration

isis in anbar

As we pass the one-year anniversary since the announcement of ISIS's so-called "caliphate" demanding the allegiance of the world's Muslims and ultimately sovereignty over the entire world, much of the commentary has been far too ephemeral. The media has had a tendency to take whatever comes out immediately in the news -- such as the attack today in Sinai claimed by ISIS and its threat to Hamas in Gaza -- as indicative of long-term trends. This is true both on the ISIS home fronts in Iraq … [Read more...]

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: Part II

Extract of required reading Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid textbook for all Islamic State training camp recruits.

Following on from my post featuring the first lesson of the required reading Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid textbook for all Islamic State training camp recruits, below is my translation of the second lesson from that book. The three principles Which every Muslim and Muslim woman must learn. Knowledge vs. ignorance: definitively realizing what something is. Principles: plural of principle, and as a word: the foundation and basis of something. As a technical term: that on which something else is … [Read more...]

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: Excerpt and Analysis

Islamic State training camp textbook excerpt

As mentioned in my previous post on Islamic State [IS] training camps and military divisions, the work Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid (Course/Stipulations in Tawhid [Monotheism]) is a book written by IS cleric Turki Binali- issued in the name of the Diwan al-Eftaa wa al-Buhuth that also deals with IS fatwas- and is the key textbook for Shari'a education for recruits to the training camps, who must memorize and understand the book. Below is a translation of the first lesson in the book. Note in … [Read more...]