In the 270th edition of Al-Naba, the Islamic State’s (IS) weekly newsletter, on 22 January, the main editorial on page three is entitled, “Towards A ‘Unified Syria’ Under the Rule of Unbelief!” The basic premise is that the United States is trying to orchestrate a reunification of Syria that keeps Bashar al-Asad in power, supported by Russia (with, curiously, no mention of Iran, not in the whole article); brings the PKK (“Syrian Democratic Forces”) home to Damascus; and reconciles the “Awakening” (rebel) forces supported by “secular Turkey” to this state system.
The editorial opens with Al-Naba saying, “These days, there is once again much talk about the Crusaders support for keeping the taghut Bashar al-Asad ruling over the Muslims in the Levant” and are encouraging “the Awakening apostates” to accept the regime and even to negotiate with it to try to win some concessions. The “Crusaders’ plan” includes “pressure on the Nusayri taghut” to pardon those who rose up against him and share power, either by granting the rebel leaders some responsibilities at the centre or allowing them to rule the areas they currently hold in the north of the country. And a “second track” would allow similar autonomy for the PKK in the east. The three parties would all participate in a unitary state under one constitution, but be able to enact and apply their own laws, says Al-Naba.
Al-Naba goes on: “The people of delusion/error (ahl al-dalal), among then the apostate Awakening and behind them secular Turkey, have begun promoting this option, presenting it as a victory for Islam and Muslims! Because, according to their claim, it will allow them control even a small part of the country in a way that prevents the direct rule of the Nusayri taghut and his intelligence services, and they have also been promoting the idea of ‘reconciliation’ with the Nusayri system, based on the model of what happened in the Horan region [Deraa], where the implementation was overseen by Crusader Russia and its army, which have destroyed the country and killed its people.”
“The American plan to get this proposition implemented is based on the principle of rapprochement between its allies, the secular Turks and the Kurds, i.e. the government of the apostate Erdogan and his enemies who are the apostate PKK”, Al-Naba says. The U.S. wants to compose the differences between Turkey and the PKK, then settle the differences between Turkey’s Arab proxies and the PKK and have them present a united front to negotiate integration into Asad’s state, Al-Naba goes on.
One of the sticking points, says Al-Naba, is that Asad and the PKK rule explicitly by blasphemous man-made laws, while the “Awakening” rebels include many who nominally want to rule by shari’a. The rebels would be required, with the PKK, to “be subject to the general constitution governing the entire country, which will compel the apostate Awakening to acknowledge their submission to the unified government [headed by Asad]. Thus, even if they claim that they will govern their areas of control by the shari’a of Islam, the unified constitution will dominate over the provisions of shari’a”. Al-Naba says that this kind of federalism has been tried elsewhere, from Nigeria to Malaysia, and “it is not only a mockery of religion; it is also completely absurd”, with the federal states able to intervene to suspend or overrule the shari’a at will.
“This scheme also requires that all the military forces present in the various regions of the country be part of a united army that is openly under the command of the Nusayri army”, writes Al-Naba, “even if it is divided into different military units, and therefore the fighters who wear the PKK insignia and the Awakening have no way to distinguish themselves from the Nusayri army! Perhaps the closest example of what will occur is what happened to the Awakening in Horan, where Russia formed the ‘Fifth Corps’ [that the ‘reconciled’ rebels joined, becoming] part of the Nusayri army, obeying its commands and fighting under its banner, at the same time they claim that they are still opposing [Asad’s] rule.”
Al-Naba closes out, somewhat self-pityingly, “In the end, the compact between the three sects (al-tuwayif) of apostates is sure to lead to of their agreement on fighting their common enemy, the Islamic State, which was, is and will remain—with the permission of God Almighty—in the fight against all of them and their sponsors from among the Crusaders and the tawagheet.” Al-Naba concludes with prayers to God for the victory of the Islamic State mujahideen over this united front of enemies it is convinced it faces.
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Most of the rest of Al-Naba 270 was reports on IS’s guerrilla and terrorist activity in the various zones where it has “wilayats” (provinces). The clear majority were from Iraq, with significant numbers from Syria and Egypt, and a continuation of the focus on Africa, both in the Maghreb—the front page was about massive raids in Nigeria and Niger—and in Sub-Saharan Africa, namely the Congo. In addition, there is a notable piece on page 8 about bombings and assassinations in “Khorasan” (Afghanistan).