The 304th edition of Al-Naba, the Islamic State’s (IS) weekly newsletter, published on 16 September, mostly consists of reports from the various wilayats (provinces) about military activities: at the Centre in Iraq and Syria, in Egypt, Nigeria, and even further south in Africa, in the Congo. Notably IS keeps quiet about Afghanistan in Al-Naba 304, perhaps related to the series of attacks by the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISKP) over the weekend: ISKP is often silent before planned attacks. Al-Naba 304 devotes pages ten and eleven to a profile of a veteran Iraqi jihadist, Abu Umar al-Khlifawi, who led the jihadists for a time in the final pocket of the caliphate at Baghuz, Syria, despite previous injuries that nearly cost him his hand and blinded him in one eye, before he trekked on foot for a month back to Iraq and ended his life as the military emir of Fallujah. A summary of that profile is below.
The 285th edition of Al-Naba, the weekly newsletter of the Islamic State (IS), released on 6 May, had a biography of Abu Muhammad al-Furqan, one of the most important IS leaders, the head of its Central Media Department and its operational ruler when he was killed in September 2016. Continue reading
There is now, with various caveats, a general agreement that the Islamic State (IS) is on the upswing—in Iraq, particularly, but also in the Badiya, the desert regions of eastern Syria, and more recently in the south of Syria around Deraa. Still, there have been some recent notable gains against the terrorist group. Continue reading
Earlier today, the Islamic State (IS) released a speech through Al-Furqan Media by its new spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi. The statement was brief, just under eight minutes, and entitled, “Whosoever Fulfils That Which He Has Promised God, On Him Will He Bestow A Great Reward” (drawn from Qur’anic verse, 48:10). Abu Hamza confirmed that IS’s caliph, Ibrahim al-Badri (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), was dead, killed in the American raid in Idlib in the early hours of the morning [Syria time] on 27 October, and that his predecessor, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, was also deceased, killed in an airstrike the day after Al-Baghdadi’s demise. The new IS leader was announced as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi. IS released a transcript of the speech, which is reproduced below with some editions for transliteration and interesting sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading
A lengthy document—roughly sixty pages and 12,000 words—was published online on 21 February 2019 containing biographies of twenty-seven senior Islamic State (IS) officials, past and more recent. Those bios that are dated were written between October 2018 and the time of publication, with one exception that was written in the summer of 2018. The author claims to be an IS veteran. While longevity is difficult to prove, the fact that the author provides heretofore unseen images of some of the IS leaders suggests that at a minimum he is an IS operative. Continue reading
Over the past week, two members of the Islamic State (IS) have been arrested—a rarity in itself during the Coalition campaign against the group—and both in different ways give a glimpse of archetypes that have made up the organisation, from its inception to its expansion into Syria. Continue reading
The first leader of the Islamic State (IS) after it was declared in 2006, Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), gave a series of twenty-three speeches until he was killed in April 2010. Al-Zawi’s speeches laid out the strategic and ideological vision of the movement. The fifth speech, “And If You Cease, It Will Be Better for You” or “Should You Desist [in attacking the Islamic State], Then That Is Better for You”, was given as an audio statement on 8 July 2007. An English transcript of the speech was released by IS’s Al-Furqan Media and is reproduced below with some important and interesting sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading
The first leader of the Zarqawi’ist branch of the jihadi movement in Iraq after the declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), gave his second speech on 3 February 2007, an audio statement entitled, “A Conquest From Allah and an Imminent Victory”. The speech attacks those Sunni Islamist insurgents who would be drawn into the American-backed, Shi’a-led Iraqi government and declares the Karama (Dignity) operation against such organisations and all other foes. Al-Zawi frames much of the speech in starkly sectarian terms and believes that ISI has annexed the anti-American cause. Al-Zawi also claims to believe that the U.S. is on the path to defeat; there is an admission that ISI is struggling, but a reassurance that it is worse for the Americans. An English-language version of the speech was released by Al-Furqan Media and is reproduced below. Continue reading