Monthly Archives: April 2014

Syria, Chemical Weapons, and the Kremlin’s Defeat of Obama

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 11, 2014

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That Barack Obama’s indecision on Syria is final there has been no doubt for some time. But it is worse than that. When the subject comes up in the Situation Room, President Obama could be found “disengaged …, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.” Continue reading

Book Review: Cruelty and Silence (1993) by Kanan Makiya

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 7, 2014

 

Kanan Makiya is of that very small school of Arab writers—Fouad Ajami, Ali Allawi, and Said Aburish about the only others—who write as if the Arabs had any agency at all in the decline of their world. The first part of the book deals with the cruelty of the Arab world in general but the Saddam Hussein regime in particular, Continue reading

ISIS’s Spokesman Attacks Al-Qaeda’s Ruling That ISIS Should Leave Syria

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 4, 2014

The spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, made a speech on 19 June 2013, a transcript of which is reproduced below. Al-Adnani’s speech was entitled, “Leave Them Alone with their Fabrications”. Continue reading

ISIS Rejects Al-Qaeda’s Command To Return To Iraq

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

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The emir of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released an audio message on 14 June 2013, “Baqiya fil-Iraq wa-Sham” (Remaining in Iraq and Syria),[1] rejecting al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s decision to send his group back to Iraq and to leave ISI’s Syrian branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, in Syria as al-Qaeda’s branch in that country. A translation of al-Baghdadi’s speech was released by his group and is reproduced below. Continue reading

Al-Qaeda Rules on the Dispute Between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra

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

Ayman al-Zawahiri, September 2013, AFP/Getty Images

Ayman al-Zawahiri, September 2013, AFP/Getty Images

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the then-Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), released an audio statement on 8 April 2013 asserting his authority over Jabhat al-Nusra, which was set up as the Syrian wing of ISI. Al-Nusra’s leader, Abu Muhammad al-Jolani, rejected al-Baghdadi’s hostile takeover on 10 April and swore allegiance—renewed, in his telling—to al-Qaeda. The leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, ruled on this matter in a letter dated 23 May 2013, which was released to, and translated by, al-Jazeera, on 9 June 2013. Al-Zawahiri’s letter is reprinted below with some editions for clarity and some important sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading

Jabhat al-Nusra Rejects the Islamic State of Iraq’s Takeover

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 2, 2014

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On 10 April 2013, Jabhat al-Nusra’s leader, Abu Muhammad al-Jolani, put out a speech, published by al-Manara al-Bayda, entitled, “About the Fields of Syria”. In the speech, al-Jolani rejected the statement from thirty-six hours earlier by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which revealed officially that al-Nusra was a front-organization for the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), and then al-Baghdadi asserted his authority publicly over al-Nusra, dissolving ISI and al-Nusra into a new group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This dispute would ultimately lead to ISIS being expelled from al-Qaeda’s network after it refused the orders of al-Qaeda’s leadership to return to Iraq and leave al-Nusra as al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. A translation of this speech by jihadology.net is reproduced below with some minor editions for clarity and some interesting sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading

The Announcement of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 2, 2014

Al-Qaeda expelled the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from its ranks on February 3, 2014. This was the culmination of a dispute that broke into the public eye with ISIS’s declaration in April 2013, an effort by ISIS’s emir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to formally subsume the secret Syrian wing of the then-Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), known as Jabhat an-Nusra, under his own banner, and the rejection of both al-Nusra’s leadership and al-Qaeda’s to this move. In truth, the schism between ISIS and al-Qaeda has its roots all the way back to the beginning, when ISIS became al-Qaeda’s Iraqi branch, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia (AQM), in 2004.

Below is the transcript of the audio address by al-Baghdadi, released by al-Furqan on 8 April 2013, entitled, “Give Good News to the Believers: The Declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”. Some transliterations have been altered, the syntax has been cleared up, and some interesting or important sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading