May 27, 2015

“We have the Swords”- Nasheed from Islamic State’s Ajnad Media

The ISIS-run Osama bin Laden Mosque in Tel Abyad, Raqqa Province. ISIS also runs at least one school and training camp each named after OBL.

One of the "darker" nasheeds of the Islamic State, similar in tone to "We have come as soldiers for God": We have the raging, smiling [gleaming] swords, We have the cry of truth when the clash takes place. We are the defiant, raging lions, Breaking iron with strong determination, Breaking iron with strong determination. When war comes with the melody of bullets, We descend on disbelief, desiring retaliation. They nourish death: for there is no escape, While we nourish guidance from … [Read more...]

Interview with the leader of Harakat al-Nujaba: Translation and Analysis

Harakat Hizballah al-Nujaba (HHN: The Movement of the Party of God of the Outstanding)

Harakat Hizballah al-Nujaba (HHN: The Movement of the Party of God of the Outstanding) is one of the major new Shi'a political and militant organizations to have emerged in Iraq, first coming to the fore in 2013 with its deployments to Syria in the form of multiple front groups, such as the Liwa Ammar ibn Yasir. Like Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata'ib Hezbollah and the Badr Organization, the group openly identifies with Iran ideologically, regularly featuring the portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader … [Read more...]

Muqawama Suriya Statement: Loss of Jisr al-Shughur: Translation and Analysis

Bashar al-Assad

The Muqawama Suriya, as I have profiled previously, is a pro-Assad militia led by Turkish born Alawite Ali Kayali, who prior to the Syrian civil war had been focused on bringing the Sanjak of Alexandretta in Turkey under Syrian rule. Though the group is primarily based in Latakia, it also had considerable influence in Idlib province, including in Idlib city and Jisr al-Shughur, both of which recently fell to rapid rebel offensives spearheaded by jihadist forces, including Jabhat al-Nusra and … [Read more...]

Jamaat Ansar al-Islam: Eulogy to Abu Ahmad of Mosul: Translation and Analysis

A woman walks through her village outside of Mosul, Iraq on Jan. 4, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kieran Cuddihy)

This latest statement from Jamaat Ansar al-Islam is intended to commemorate Abu Ahmad of Mosul, a leading figure in Jamaat Ansar al-Islam's Iraq branch who was reportedly killed by the group's traditional rivals the Islamic State, whose claim to a state/caliphate it has officially rejected. However, on account of ideological overlap in that Jamaat Ansar al-Islam is also aspiring to a caliphate and the overwhelming power of the Islamic State [IS] inside Iraq, the overwhelming majority of … [Read more...]

Is ISIS Islamic, and Other “Foolish” Debates

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria.

"Do they think we are Jewish now? lol," responded one ISIS fighter in Syria when asked for his thoughts on the current public debate about whether the Islamic State is actually Islamic. He went on to make an argument, as many of these fighters often do when interviewed, that not only is the Islamic State Islamicbut it is the purest and most pristine form of Islam, the kind most in line with what God and His Prophet had intended all along. Another ISIS fighter from South Africa, when asked how … [Read more...]

Review of ISIS: The State of Terror

ISIS: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern & J.M. Berger (Ecco, 2015)

The ISIS phenomenon that has swept Iraq and Syria with global repercussions has produced a demand for information on the origins, rise, operations and future of arguably the most brutal jihadist movement yet. Following on from "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror," Berger and Stern's book is the second major title to come out on the subject. In 11 chapters, the authors begin with the origins of ISIS through Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and his predecessor groups in the days of the Iraq War, with the … [Read more...]

The Islamic State and Its “Sinai Province”

"Wilayat Sinai: By God's permission not a drop of gas will reach the state of Jordan until permitted by the Amir al-Mu'mineen [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the proclaimed Caliph]."

In November 2014, the Gaza-Sinai jihadist group Jamaʿat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis(JABM: "Supporters of the Holy House," i.e. Jerusalem) pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS). The IS's Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi officially acknowledged JABM's pledge as the creation of a new "Sinai Province" (Wilayat Sinai),alongside other recently proclaimed IS provinces in Yemen, Libya, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia. The IS leadership's acknowledgment of these pledges of allegiance and annulment of the groups' … [Read more...]

“Oh Son of Yemen”- New Nasheed from the Islamic State’s Ajnad Media

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria.

This is the latest nasheed to be released by the Islamic State's Ajnad Media. Similar to its the nasheed 'The Land of Sinai', this represents an elevation of the importance of the fight in Yemen to the Islamic State's international expansion. One should compare with the statements the Islamic State distributed on the ground in Yemen (here and here) promising bloodthirsty attacks on Houthis prior to the bombings in Sanaa: though the U.S. may be mentioned briefly as a force of evil, the focus … [Read more...]

Archive of Jabhat al-Nusra Billboards and Murals

On right: quotation of Qur'an 28:83. On left, partial quotation from Qur'an 2:197: "And take provisions, but the best provision is fear of God."

The Islamic State [IS] has become well known for its elaborate murals and billboards in keeping with its state building project (e.g. see my posts here and here). However, Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been increasingly building up its own proto-Islamic emirate project in northwestern Syria partly to rival IS, has also been putting up plenty of billboards and murals to advertise its presence. Reflecting that phenomenon are the photos below, most of which date from the last 4 months or so, by … [Read more...]

Hamas Condemns Islamic State Tunisia Terror Attack

Hamas mural in West Bank

From Voice of al-Aqsa (Arabic): "The Hamas movement condemned on Thursday the incident of the attack on tourists in the Bardo museum in Tunis that killed more than 20 people and wounded around 50 of the innocent, describing it as a 'criminal' deed. The movement said in a summary statement: 'This criminal deed against civilians is a crime against human values, against glorious Tunisia in its people and leadership who have outlined a shining example of democratic operation, peaceful … [Read more...]