Research on the Islamic State, Syria, and Iraq

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum’s Jihad Intel project, writes extensively about the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and other armed groups in Syria and Iraq.

As his writings and translations tend to be too detailed for a general readership, we periodically compile links and summaries for those wishing to learn about the groundbreaking work of this prolific researcher.

Research on ISIS
Profile of a relatively obscure pro-regime militia, Al-Muqawama al-Wataniya al-Souriya: Liwa Khaybar (The Syrian National Resistance: Khaybar Brigade), drawing on the author’s interview with its leader, known as Abu Ja’afar (aka The Scorpion). Drawing its mostly Shia members largely from Homs and its environs, Liwa Khaybar says it operates on fronts throughout northern Syria. However, it has claimed only 32 “martyrs” thus far, suggesting it is “a minor player in the Syrian conflict.”

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A discussion of IS transportation and migration across the Syria-Turkey border, drawing on IS documents captured by Kurdish YPG forces after expelling IS from the town of Tel Abyad in northern Raqqa province in June. The documents illustrated “what can be most charitably described as negligence towards the problem of IS and border movement in the period from 2013 until early 2015.” But following the fall of Tel Abyad and IS-linked terror attacks on Turkish soil, it is “undeniable that Turkey has made an effort to tighten border security” in areas where IS operates, notes Jawad al-Tamimi, though it is even tighter for border areas controlled by Kurds.

Translation of a eulogy for Abu Nabil al-Anbari, an IS leader in Libya killed in a U.S. drone strike in November 2015. An Iraqi national involved in jihadist activities there since 2004, Anbari was dispatched to Libya in September 2014 to lead the nascent IS branch in the country. Excerpt: “The bloodshed that he caused the Rafidites [Shi’a], apostates, and Crusaders in Iraq did not suffice for him. He mounted the excellence of death that took him to the enemies of his Lord in Libya.”

Translation of a detailed history of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi published in a long series of tweets by Abu al-Waleed al-Salafi (whose history of Jamaat Ansar al-Islam the author previously translated). Includes details on a variety of others who have occupied leadership positions in IS and its predecessors.

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