Tag Archives: Amn al-Kharji

The End of the Line for “The Beatles” of the Islamic State

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 9 February 2018

El Shafee Elsheikh (image source) and Alexanda Kotey (image source)

Last night, The New York Times reported and Reuters confirmed that two British Islamic State (IS) jihadists, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, both of them designated terrorists by the United States, have been arrested in Syria. Kotey and Elsheikh, along with the late Mohammed Emwazi (Abu Muharib al-Muhajir) and Aine Davis, formed a four-man cell that has become known as “The Beatles”—hence Emwazi being near-universally known as “Jihadi John”—that guarded, abused, and murdered hostages for IS from before the “caliphate” was founded in 2014. Continue reading

Islamic State Claims the Failed Paris Attacker: Salah Abdeslam

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 8 February 2018

Salah Abdeslam in prison, April 2016 (image source)

In the 118th edition of Al-Naba, the Islamic State’s newsletter, there was an acknowledgment of Salah Abdeslam as a “brother”. Abdeslam is a Belgian citizen of Moroccan extraction, who acted as a logistician and facilitator for the 13 November 2015 massacre in Paris, though failed on the night to carry out his own part in the atrocity. Abdeslam is one of the few conspirators involved in the Paris attacks and the subsequent bombing in Brussels on 22 March 2016 who is still alive.[1] The significance of this is that IS has generally ignored its operatives if they end up being arrested, and Abdeslam is an acute case of this: he has never been acknowledged in IS’s propaganda since the Paris attack, notably being excluded from the twelfth issue of IS’s Dabiq magazine released on 18 November 2015 that named the Paris attackers and described how the operation was carried out. The Naba article is reproduced below. Continue reading

Another Product of “Londonistan”: Abdullah Ibrahim al-Faisal

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 8 December 2017

Abdullah al-Faisal

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Abdullah Ibrahim al-Faisal (born: Trevor William Forrest), a Jamaican cleric who supports the Islamic State (IS) on 5 December. This was long overdue. Al-Faisal’s record of disseminating jihadist ideology, and influencing and/or interacting with terrorists, goes back several decades. And since 2014, al-Faisal has been one of IS’s influential English-language propagandist-recruiters. Continue reading

A Defection and the Dictatorship in Syrian Kurdistan

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 17 November 2017

Talal Silo

It was announced on 15 November that Talal Ali Silo, the official spokesman of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), had fled to the EUPHRATES SHIELD zone in northern Aleppo, run by rebels operating under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) brand that are dependent on Turkey. The SDF is the partner force in Syria for the U.S.-led Coalition against the Islamic State (IS). Though the SDF presents itself as a multi-ethnic coalition of Kurds and Arabs, it was initiated as a front for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). By attaching non-Kurdish units to a PKK core and using the SDF banner, it circumvented various legal and political obstacles for Coalition states. But all real power has remained in the hands of the PKK, which has systematically purged all genuinely independent power centres within the SDF. Silo, a Turkoman, helped further the narrative of the SDF’s ethnic inclusivity, and his defection underlines the reality of the organization’s political exclusivity. Continue reading

Coalition Kills Two Islamic State Weapons Engineers in Syria

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 8 September 2017

The U.S.-led international coalition launched airstrikes into eastern Syria on 4 September 2017 that killed “two senior ISIS leaders” involved in “weapons engineering activities” and the external operations wing of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), according to a statement from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) yesterday.
Continue reading

America Sanctions the Islamic State’s Intelligence Chief

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 3 September 2017

The U.S. State Department on 17 August sanctioned two Islamic State (IS) operatives, Ahmad al-Khald (or Ahmad Alkhald), who was involved in the November 2015 terrorist atrocities in France and the March 2016 bombings in Belgium, and Iyad Hamid Mahl al-Jumayli (Abu Yahya al-Iraqi), IS’s internal security chief. Continue reading

The Coalition Targets Islamic State Propagandists and External Terrorists

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 29 July 2017

Baraa Kadek (Riyan Meshal) [image source]

The United States announced on 27 July that it had killed seven “senior ISIS propagandists and facilitators in Iraq and Syria” since late March. The removal of these terrorists takes from the Islamic State “extensive experience and training, and degrades ISIS’s ability to plan and conduct attacks on civilian targets in Iraq and Syria, as well throughout the region and in the West,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said. The geographical pattern of the strikes that killed these men allow some conclusions about IS’s current situation on the ground, and the information provided by CENTCOM underlines IS’s will and capacity, even as it loses its caliphate, to conduct external operations. Continue reading