Tag Archives: Atiya

Jihadi Clerics Dispute Legitimacy of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 30 April 2017

Abu Mahmud al-Filistini (@battar2812) is a London-based jihadi cleric, one of those to whom al-Qaeda’s loyalists look for guidance. An essay by Abu Mahmud, “An Indispensable Though Imperfect Unity,” has been put out defending Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the restructured al-Qaeda presence in Syria. Abu Mahmud writes mostly against those who are attacking HTS “from the Right,” the jihadists who believe that the rebranding and merging with groups of distinctly imperfect jihadi-salafist credentials like Harakat Nooradeen al-Zengi is a betrayal of the cause. Abu Mahmud writes specifically and harshly against Issam al-Barqawi (Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi), the Jordan-based cleric who is the leading light of the part of the jihadi world that did not go over to the Islamic State, without ever naming him. The essay is reproduced below with some interesting and/or important parts highlighted in bold, and some notes added. Continue reading

Yemen and Al-Qaeda’s Long-Term Strategy

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 10, 2016

During al-Qaeda's occupation of al-Mukalla, Yemen, April 2015 to April 2016 (source)

During al-Qaeda’s occupation of al-Mukalla, Yemen, April 2015 to April 2016 (source)

In Yemen, at the end of last month, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was cleared from al-Mukalla, their major urban stronghold. This ends a year of occupation and brings to a close what is effectively the third emirate or statelet AQAP has either set up or attempted to set up in Yemen since 2011. These projects offer some insights into al-Qaeda’s methodology in getting to an Islamic state, including its rebranding in opposition to the Islamic State (IS). Continue reading

Al-Qaeda Provides Evidence ISIS Was Its Iraqi Branch, Calls For It To Return

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 3, 2014

As-Sabah Media released a video on 3 May 2014 that contained a speech from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, responding to the ferocious statement by the spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which denied that ISIS was ever under al-Qaeda’s command and thus al-Zawahiri’s expulsion of ISIS from al-Qaeda in February was a meaningless gesture. Al-Zawahiri presents a compelling case to the contrary, drawing on documents sent by ISIS’s leaders, past and present, to al-Qaeda, some of which are public—taken in the raid that killed Usama bin Ladin. Al-Zawahiri concludes with a call for ISIS to return to the fold, to accept al-Zawahiri’s order that ISIS leave Syria and return to Iraq—even if they think it is unjust—for the sake of jihadi unity and avoiding the shedding of Muslim blood.  The speech is entitled, “Testimonial to Preserve the Blood of the Mujahideen in Syria,” and was translated by Pieter Van Ostaeyen at Flashpoint Partners. It is reproduced below with some minor editions and some important sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading