February 28, 2015

Naqshbandi Army Statement: Condemnation of the Burning of Muadh al-Kasasbeh: Translation & Analysis

Jordanian F-16s, similar to those operated by al-Kasasbeh, in October 2009 (Credit: Caycee Cook, U.S. Air Force - http://www.defenseimagery.mil; VIRIN: 091019-F-9119C-102)

Intro and Analysis This latest statement from the Ba'athist-Sufi Naqshbandi Army [Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqat al-Naqshbandia: JRTN] condemning the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh follows the usual pattern of condemning Islamic State [IS] excesses without mentioning IS by name: compare with the destruction of religious sites in Mosul and attacks on minorities in Ninawa province like the Yezidis and Christians, also condemned by the Naqshbandi Army without explicit mention of … [Read more...]

ISIS and Syria’s Southern Front

Pair of armed anti-American insurgents from northern Iraq.

Analysis of Syrian civil war dynamics tends to draw a sharp contrast between the southern front, referring to the southernmost provinces of Deraa, Quneitra, and Suwayda, and the north. Analysis of Syrian civil war dynamics tends to draw a sharp contrast between the southern front, referring to the southernmost provinces of Deraa, Quneitra, and Suwayda, and the north. Most observers point to the south, in contrast to the north, as lacking a significant Islamic State (ISIS) presence. How true … [Read more...]

Islamic State Justification for Burning Alive the Jordanian Pilot: Translation and Analysis

Islamic State (IS) billboard in Raqqa, Syria, "Traitors to Islam are collaborators of the West against Muslims."

Below I have translated the document circulated by the Islamic State's al-Eftaa wa al-Buhuth committee on the subject of the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot. This committee is responsible for providing Islamic textual justifications for various decrees on the acceptability of certain acts. This latest example is perhaps the most notorious. It is important that these documents be brought to light because as the corpus of Islamic texts- whether verses of Qur'an, the ahadith and acts from … [Read more...]

Review of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror

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.

ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan £5.99; 1169p. (I-Phone Reading)   The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, subsequently calling itself just "The Islamic State" since the Caliphate declaration of 29 Jun 2014) across Iraq and Syria will naturally provoke much questioning as to how this phenomenon came to such prominence. Overall, this book ably accomplishes the task in a concise manner, and is a valuable, compelling read for … [Read more...]

Archive of Islamic State Administrative Documents

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

My recent series on IS administration in Ninawa province focused on education, public services and religious life using numerous specimen IS administrative documents from that province. This post aims to provide an archive of similar translated IS documents in other provinces, and will be continually updated. Specimen A: Childbirth Operations in Deir az-Zor Province Islamic State State of the Caliphate Wilayat al-Kheir Medical Administration In view of what the land is going through … [Read more...]

Jabhat al-Nusra and the Druze of Idlib Province

1926 of a meeting of Druze leaders in a ceremonial tent in the Jabal al-Druze (The Druze Mountain) region in southern Syria. The settlement of the Druze in the Lega region of Hauran (Bashan) followed the battle of Ain-Dara, east of The village of Sofar in the Mount of Lebanon in 1711. The battle was the culmination of the struggle for power between the Qaisyyoun faction (The Maan and The Shihab Clan) and the Yemenite faction (Imad al-Din Clan). The defeated Yemenites migrated to the sparsely inhabited Al-Lega region, known today as the Druze Mountain. (Source: http://mideastimage.com/result.aspx; Author: Luigi Stironi)

While most analysis of the Druze in Syria focuses on their positions in Suwayda province- where they constitute the majority of the population- as well as Jabal al-Sheikh in Damascus/Quneitra provinces, it should be remembered that there is also a Druze community in the Jabal al-Samaq area of Idlib province, more widely known as Jabal al-Zawiya. This community consists of numerous villages, whose names can be found here. Unlike their co-religionists in the south, these Druze have no capacity … [Read more...]

Aspects of Islamic State (IS) Administration in Ninawa Province: Part III

Prayers by the banks of the Euphrates in Raqqa, next to an IS da'wah vehicle.

Parts I and II of this series looked at the system of education and other public services implemented by IS in Ninawa province. What then of religious life and public morality under Shari'a? Diwan al-Hisba The Diwan al-Hisba has IS' "Islamic police" under its wing and is responsible for the enforcement of public morality. It is one of the more familiar departments of IS administration: for example, if someone is caught in possession of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, then that person is to … [Read more...]

Aspects of Islamic State (IS) Administration in Ninawa Province: Part II

City market in Mosul, Iraq

Part I of this in-depth examination of IS administration in Ninawa province touched on the realm of education, as one can find a large number of IS documents on that matter. This part looks primarily at service aspects of IS governance in Ninawa province. Diwan al-Khidamat The Diwan al-Khidamat ('Services Administration') is officially responsible for provision of basic public services to locals, most notably electricity, sanitation, water and construction work. However, there is a clear … [Read more...]

Aspects of Islamic State (IS) Administration in Ninawa Province: Part I

"Together we cultivate the tree of the Caliphate." A slogan used on IS billboards and murals elsewhere.

A key aspect of IS' self-presentation is its claim to be an actual state (dawla), and not a mere group or organization (jamaat/tanẓim). As part of this presentation, the dawla sets up supposed state administration departments to regulate life in areas under its control. Ninawa province, which remains completely out of Baghdad government control, presents an ample range of purported aspects of IS governance. This series consists of a selection of translated IS documents from Ninawa province … [Read more...]

“The Land of Sinai”- New Islamic State [IS] Nasheed from Ajnad Media

"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]."

Concomitant with the transformation of Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis into 'Wilayat Sinai' ('Sinai Province') following the allegiance to IS in November 2014, here comes an official IS nasheed to add further recognition to the extension of the IS provinces. Here is my preliminary translation: "Oh soldiers of God, go forth and defeat the damned kufr [disbelief/disbelievers]. Oh soldiers of God, indeed we have built an edifice of tawheed. We have dwelled in the land of Sinai, we have rejected … [Read more...]