Tag Archives: Steven Sotloff

The Man Who Made Crime Pay For the Islamic State

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 9 September 2018

The United States has launched at least five raids into Syria to date, all of them against the Islamic State (IS).[1] The second such raid, on 15 May 2015, killed Fathi al-Tunisi (Abu Sayyaf al-Iraqi), who oversaw critical revenue-generating criminal schemes for the group. Al-Tunisi was primarily responsible for the oil industry in eastern Syria, in which capacity he collaborated with Bashar al-Asad’s regime, and he worked as head of the Antiquities Division of IS Diwan al-Rikaz, which translates literally as the “Department of Precious Things That Come Out of the Ground”, usually given as the “Department of Natural Resources”. Al-Tunisi was what is sometimes termed a “middle manager”: the connective tissue between the most senior levels of the leadership and local administrators, ensuring smooth coordination between the two by inter alia keeping the books. In short, the kind of terrorist operative that keeps an organisation going. Continue reading

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

Qatar and the Gulf Crisis

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 30 November 2017

I released a report today, published by the Henry Jackson Society, Qatar and the Gulf Crisis. The intent was to examine the charges made against the Qatari government by its Gulf neighbours with regard to the funding of terrorism, the hosting of extremists, the dissemination of hate speech and incitement, among other things. Having separated fact from fiction with regards to he accusations against Qatar, the report proposes how Britain might proceed in such a way as to press Doha on issues of concern, while avoiding being drawn into the middle of the Gulf dispute, and trying to foster reconciliation between allies, especially at a time when a united front is necessary to oppose the far larger challenge of the Iranian theocracy.  Continue reading

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Terror Attacks in Australia, Canada, and America

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 21, 2014

The Islamic State released the fifth edition of its English-language propaganda magazine, Dabiq, on November 21, 2014. In it, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks: in Australia by Numan Haider on September 23, in Canada by Martin Couture-Rouleau on October 20 and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on October 22, and in America by Zale Thompson on October 23. The Islamic State says these attacks were in response to the call on September 22 by the organization’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. The article is reproduced below with some minor editions for transliteration and some important sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading

Do Not Let The Murder of James Foley Distract From The Assad Regime

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on August 20, 2014

James Foley

James Foley

Last night the Islamic State released a revolting video in which they beheaded the American journalist James Foley, who has been missing since Thanksgiving Day (November 22) 2012. Continue reading