Islamic State Da'wa in Anbar: Sample Report of the Ramadi Belt
By  Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi 
The Islamic State's Diwan al-Da'wa wa al-Masajid (Da'wa and Mosques Department), as its name suggests, has been responsible for da'wa [proselytization/religious outreach] and control of the mosques in areas that came under the control of the organization... ...


Islamic State Advice on Attacks in "Enemy Abode"
Islamic State (IS) infographic - attacks on the West. By  Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi 
As the Islamic State goes into rapid decline as an entity controlling territory in Iraq and Syria, the overwhelming majority of its propaganda output has become dedicated to coverage of military operations against its enemies. Alongside that shift has come increasing emphasis on the idea that the Islamic State will still live on its 'soldiers' conduct operations in the heart of enemy territory. The latest issue of the Islamic State's al-Naba' newsletter (issue 105) contains the following infogra ...


Missiles Hit Riyadh: Iran’s Warning to the Gulf Countries
Emad an Iranian-designed, liquid-fuel, intermediate-range ballistic missile.This missile features a newly designed reentry vehicle with a more advanced guidance and control system, making it the country's first IRBM that is precision-guided (Author: Mohammad Agah, Source: Tasnim News Agency, WikiCommons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emad_missile_by_Tasnimnews_01.jpg.) By  Alex Grinberg 
Judging by recent events, Iran appears to be heading towards a new escalation with the Gulf countries.  The stalemate between the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition persists, as neither of the parties has managed to strike a decisive blow. However, the Houthis have discovered a weak point in the Saudi defense--the vulnerability of Saudi cities to Iranian missiles fired periodically by the Houthis onto Saudi territory. On November 4, 2017, an Iranian-made Burqan 2H (“vol ...


The Situation in the Mt. Hermon Area: Interview with the Hermon Regiment
An emblem for Quwat Ra'ad al-Deirkhabiya, which affirms the 4th Division affiliation. By  Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi 
The vicinity of Jabal al-Sheikh (aka Mt. Hermon), which lies at the intersection of Lebanon, Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, contains the last pockets of rebel-held territory in the southwestern Damascus countryside, centred around the localities of Beit Jann and Mazra'at Beit Jann. To clarify the difference, the former locality is the original one, whereas the origins of Mazra'at Beit Jann only date back to around the mid-20th century. Both Beit Jann and Mazra'at Beit Jann are Sun ...


Hashd Brigade Numbers Index
Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units Official Logo By  Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi 
The numerous militias operating in Iraq have broadly come under the moniker of the Hashd Sha'abi (Popular Mobilization) since 2014. The government body to which the militias should be affiliated is the Hashd Sha'abi Commission and in turn the prime minister's office. The head of this Hashd Sha'abi commission is national security adviser Falah al-Fayyad, while the deputy head is Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, who is closely linked to Iran. From the perspective of Iraqi prime minister Hayder al-Abadi, th ...


Saraya al-Wa'ad: Damascus Local Defence Forces Affiliate
Emblem of Saraya al-Wa'ad By  Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi 
I have covered the Local Defence Forces (LDF) in previous posts. In brief, the LDF is not to be confused with the more familiar National Defence Forces (NDF). The LDF, set up and supported by Iran, is considered an official part of the Syrian armed forces, whereas the NDF does not enjoy the same status. Indeed, administrative measures earlier this year stipulated that personnel in the LDF who would otherwise have been arrested for evading compulsory service, deserting the army or evading reser ...


Why Israel Is Giving Syrians Free Spaghetti (and Health Care)
An inflatable boat with Syrian Refugees just arrived safely to Skala Sykamias, Lesvos island, Greece (Source: WikiCommons, Ggia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20151029_Inflatable_boat_with_Syrian_Refugees_Skala_Sykamias_Lesvos_Greece.jpg) By  Neri Zilber 
As tensions escalate across the border, the Israeli military is trying to win over old enemies. GOLAN HEIGHTS – In the middle of the night in early 2013, seven injured Syrians dragged themselves to the border fence separating Syria from Israel, pleading for help. Israel, after deliberations that reached the highest levels of the military and government, decided to take in and treat the Syrians; they wouldn’t have survived otherwise. What started with this one isolated event has, over four y ...


Book Review: Beyond the Green Line, by Marc Goldberg
The Israeli Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, visited an exercise conducted today in the Golan Heights by the Python battalion, part of the Paratrooper's Brigade.
During his visit, Lt. Gen. Gantz heard briefings, watched the exercise, and talked with commanders and their soldiers.
The Python brigade conducted the exercise after successfully completing operational duties in southern Israel (May 18,  2011). (Source: WikiCommons, Israel Defense Forces, https://www.flickr.com/photos/idfonline/5733600997/) By  Jonathan Spyer 
Beyond the Green Line is Marc Goldberg’s account of his service in the IDF, during the latter phase  of the Second  Intifada.  Goldberg, a native of London, served with an elite unit of the IDF’s Paratroopers’ Brigade.  The book takes the reader through the author’s immigration to Israel, his enlistment in the paratroopers, and his various tours of duty in the West Bank. The ‘Second Intifada’ (2000-4) was an armed insurgency, in contrast to its earlier namesake.  From this poin ...


Baghdad and Teheran’s Goal: The Destruction of Kurdistan
Kurdistan Regional Government Emblem (Source: WikiCommons) By  Jonathan Spyer 
The advance of Iran-supported Iraqi government and paramilitary forces against their Kurdish opponents continued this week.  The Kurdish Regional Government, in a statement issued on the morning of October 25th, offered to ‘freeze’ the results of the referendum on independence conducted on September 25th, in light of what they called the ‘grave and dangerous circumstances’ currently prevailing.  The KRG proposed an ‘immediate ceasefire’ and a halt to all military operations in the ...


Iraqi Kurdistan's Crisis: A Failure of Strategy
The colors of the flag of Kurdistan on the road from Erbil to Kirkuk (Source: WikiCommons, Lamacchiacosta, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kurdistan_Erbil_to_Kirkuk.jpg) By  Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi 
As the war against the Islamic State as an entity controlling territory comes to a close in Iraq, control over territories disputed between the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government (KRG) has come to the forefront. Forces officially affiliated with the Baghdad government, as well as militias aligned with it on this issue, have taken control of several key disputed sites, including Kirkuk city and Sinjar, which were previously held by Kurdish forces. While it initia ...


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