Tag Archives: Firas al-Absi

Death of a Caliphate Founder and the Role of Assad

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

Published at Middle East Eye.

Amr al-Absi on the left

Amr al-Absi on the left

Amr al-Absi, one of the most senior Islamic State (IS) leaders, was killed in an airstrike on 3 March, according to reports on social media and by the SITE Intelligence Group. Al-Absi—better known as Abu Atheer al-Absi or just Abu al-Atheer—exemplified several key dynamics at work in Syria.

Atheer was among the jihadi-Salafists released by the regime of Bashar al-Assad at the beginning of Syria’s uprising in an attempt to make self-fulfilling the regime’s claim that the opposition were terrorists, and was also a seminal figure in making Syria so dangerous for journalists that it allowed Assad and IS to shape the coverage as if Syria was a binary choice between them.

Atheer is among the longstanding ultra-extremists who shape and define IS spiritually, and he was crucial in more concrete terms in IS infiltrating and expanding in Syria, particularly by bringing in foreigners who are among the most ideologically driven category of IS members. Continue reading

WikiBaghdady Claims to Leak the Islamic State’s Secrets

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on October 8, 2014

Before the account, first published in April 2014, by an ostensible Islamic State (ISIS) defector, “Abu Ahmad”, there was the Twitter account @WikiBaghdady, which released a lot of information in the same vein about the alleged impiousness of the jihadist organization. @WikiBaghdady’s testimony, as collected by Yousef Bin Tashfin, is republished below, with some editions for transliteration and syntax, to ensure its preservation. Continue reading