This week brought the news that 528 members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood would be executed by the “interim government” in Egypt, and Abdel Fattah as-Sisi finally said publicly what everyone has long known: he will run for the presidency in July. Continue reading
Given the increasing power of the Iranian theocracy in Syria on the Assad regime’s side, and the evidence of an overlap between the Assad regime and the Sunni jihadists who have descended on Syria, it is important to assess Tehran’s relationship with Salafi-jihadism.
There has long been speculation in Syrian oppositionist circles that the regime was colluding with the Qaeda-type forces in the insurgency, to shore-up its own base by frightening the minorities and to ward off external help to the rebellion from the West. Continue reading
In December 1991, the Algerian government—the military regime in power since the French were expelled—gave in to public pressure, which had already turned sanguinary, and allowed an election. It was quite clear that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), a fundamentalist party, would emerge victorious. To forestall the institution of a theocracy, in January 1992, the military launched a coup and shut down the final rounds of the election. A civil war erupted in which the jihadists sought to overpower the secular, if dictatorial, government. By the late 1990s, the jihadists’ savagery had meant their campaign had run aground; the vital centre in Algeria swallowed its misgivings and sought shelter behind the State. By 2002, the civil war was declared over: the jihadist revolt had been beaten.
That is the official story.
On February 3, 2014, Tanzim Qaedat al-Jihad (The Base of Holy War Organisation)—al-Qaeda—disowned ad-Dawla al-Islamiya fil-Iraq wa-Sham (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS), finally resolving the tortured question of the group’s “affiliation” with the terror network. Continue reading
The announcement of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in April 2013 saw the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) claim to subsume its Syrian branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, a move rejected by al-Nusra’s leader who then swore allegiance to al-Qaeda. Both ISI and al-Nusra were believed to be branches of al-Qaeda at the time, and al-Qaeda’s emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri, ruled that ISI should return to Iraq and al-Nusra should remain as al-Qaeda’s separate branch in Syria. ISI, keeping the ISIS name, dismissed this decision—and ISI(S)’s spokesman did so even more forcibly. After a year of turmoil, al-Zawahiri released a statement on February 3, 2014, disowning ISIS. Al-Zawahiri’s speech was translated by @IraqiWitness and is reproduced below. Continue reading