Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Debate over a Little Syrian Boy: Did He Join the Islamic State?

There is ongoing discussion and debate about whether a young Syrian boy, made homeless by the military bombardment of the regime of Bashar al-Asad, is the same boy, now slightly older, who reads a likely scripted statement in a recent video produced and published by the Islamic State's media apparatus in Wilayat Raqqa, Syria.

The boy originally appeared in a video posted to sites such as YouTube in 2012:

Here is the clip from the Islamic State video in which the little boy, now older, is said to appear:

Of course, it is difficult to know with absolute certainty if it is or is not the same boy. Twitter users, both affiliated or supportive of the Islamic State and others who are not connected but who are close watchers of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria at all have said it is, while others have said it is not. Regardless, the fact is that the environments and situations in Syria and Iraq have led many youth and others who would normally not join groups such as the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra (or other armed groups) to become gradually socialized to accept higher levels of violence and radicalism. This social effect has been seen in many other cases, such as the conflict in Northern Ireland.  Many "militants" are not born "militant" and extreme. They are socialized and shaped by the environments and situations in which they (are forced to) exist.

There are a couple other similar cases of young men who started out either not supporting the uprising or who went from supporting one of the Free Syrian Army(FSA) militias to more radical groups like Jabhat al-Nusra: (this young man later moved over to Jabhat al-Nusra)

The young man followed in this PBS Frontline documentary also goes from supporting one of the FSA militias to Jabhat al-Nusra over time:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NEW ARTICLE: The Life and Death of Al-Shabab Leader Ahmed Godane

On the night of Monday, September 1, 2014, a U.S. airstrike targeted two vehicles near a wooded area of Sablale district in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, an area used by the Somali militant group al-Shabab to train its military forces. The strike killed Ahmed Godane, the elusive amir of al-Shabab, upon whom the United States had placed a $7 million bounty in June 2012. The U.S. government officially confirmed Godane’s death on September 5, 2014.

Godane’s death, significant in itself, comes at a particularly sensitive time for al-Shabab. The group is facing a renewed offensive, Operation Indian Ocean, by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali federal government that aims to capture Baraawe, the last major port town that the insurgents still control. The internal dynamics within al-Shabab itself remain the subject of intense debate and speculation, although there is little hard, verifiable information about the current state within the group’s multiple leadership tiers, from the top level to the regional and district-level administrators and field commanders. The death of Godane, who only succeeded in consolidating his control of the group by killing or driving out his major critics and potential rivals last summer, has led to renewed predictions that al-Shabab will split into different factions bickering over power and control of the group’s remaining manpower, territories, and resources. Al-Shabab announced Godane’s immediate successor, Ahmad Umar, within a week of his death and a day after the Pentagon confirmed that al-Shabab’s leader had been killed. Known as Abu Ubayda, Umar reportedly played an instrumental leadership role in the purge of dissidents from the group in 2013.
This article examines Godane’s tenure as al-Shabab’s amir, paying particular attention to both the group’s period of expansion, followed by stalemate and beginnings of its decline, the strategic outmaneuvering of his critics and rivals, and the internal purge he and his loyalists enacted in 2013. It finds that Godane was a charismatic and multifaceted leader who demonstrated both organizational capabilities and media savvy, enabling him to oversee al-Shabab’s territorial and governing expansion between 2008 and 2010. His desire for sole power within al-Shabab, however, ultimately shattered the group’s internal cohesion and led a number of founding leaders and prominent members to break ranks and leave. The future of the group after his death will depend on the internal cohesiveness of the post-June 2013 version of al-Shabab.


Friday, May 30, 2014

IN PICTURES & VIDEO: Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, American "Martyrdom-seeker" for Jabhat al-Nusra

Abu Hurayra al-Amriki (the American) was killed participating in a joint attack launched by the Syrian jihadi-rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra in coordination with the Falcons of al-Sham Brigades on a Syrian government checkpoint in Idlib.  He was killed after detonating a 16-ton vehicle bomb on May 25, 2014.  He took his nom de guerre from Abu Hurayra ('Abd al-Rahman bin Sakhr al-Azdi), one of the prophet Muhammad's companions (Sahaba), as accepted by Sunnis, and a prolific transmitter of Sunni hadith.

His death was announced on May 27 by Abu Sulayman al-Muhajir, an Australian member of Jabhat al-Nusra's shari'a committee via his Twitter account as well as in an official communiqué from Jabhat al-Nusra.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

جبهة النصرة – البيان رقم (492)

الهجوم على مراكز الجيش النصيري في جبل الأربعين بـ 4 عمليات استشهادية في إدلب

الحمد لله الذي وعد المجاهدين في سبيله الحسنى وزيادة، وشرع لنا تحريض المؤمنين عبادة، والصلاة والسلام على من بُعث بالسيف بين يدي الساعة، وعلى آله وصحبه أولي النهى والسيادة، أمَّا بعد؛

جهز مجاهدو جبهة النصرة بالاشتراك مع ألوية صقور الشام (الجبهة الإسلامية) ما استطاعوا من عدة وعتاد لدك النظام النصيري في قمة الأربعين والتي تعدُّ آخر القمم التي يسيطر عليها النظام في إدلب فأعدوا 3 سيارات مفخخة مجهزة بأطنان من المتفجرات ومدرعة BMP محملة بـ 6 أطنان.
وفي الساعة السادسة من صباح يوم الأحد 26 من رجب 1435هـ، الموافق 25/ 5/ 2014 انطلق الأخ أبو هريرة الأمريكي -تقبله الله- بشاحنته المفخخة بـ 16 طنًا ليدكّ بها مطعم الفنار وهو أحد أهم نقاط تمركز الجيش النصيري في الجبل، لينطلق بعده الأخ أبو تراب المهاجر -تقبله الله- لدك مبنى القيادة في شارع الغار بشاحنته المحملة بـ 6 طن، ثم ينطلق الأخ دادا الله المهاجر -تقبله الله- ليدك حاجز الشامي بشاحنة تزن 7 طن من المتفجرات. أما العملية الرابعة فكانت تزن 1.5 طن وانطلق بها الأخ أبو الريش الأنصاري ليدك مبنى العرم فاستطاع ركنها -بفضل الله- وانحاز إلى إخوانه.
وبعد تنفيذ العمليات الأربع بدأت مجموعات الاقتحام تتقدم باتجاه أهدافها وما لبث المجاهدون أن مشَّطوا مبنى الفنار والبنايات الشرقية ومبنى السبع طوابق ومبنى الخمس طوابق وأحكموا الحصار على مبنى القصر الكويتي حيث قُتل عدد كبير من جنود الجيش النصيري، ولكن نتيجة القصف العنيف الذي تعرضت له المنطقة من معسكر القرميد ومعسكر المسطومة وحاجز جسر (أريحا - إدلب) بالدبابات والمدافع والرشاشات الثقيلة، فاضطر الإخوة إلى الانحياز عن المناطق التي تم تمشيطها وذلك نتيجة تهدمها بشكل شبه كامل جراء العملية الاستشهادية الأولى والقصف العنيف من النظام.
وبعد الانحياز بدأ دك المنطقة من قبل المجاهدين بالهاونات والرشاشات الثقيلة ومدفع جهنم ويستمر الرباط إلى لحظة كتابة هذا البيان على جميع نقاط التماس مع العدو النصيري.

{ وَاللهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَى أَمْرِهِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ }

(( جَبْهَةُ النُّصْرَة ))
|| مؤسسة المنارة البيضاء للإنتاج الإعلامي ||

لا تنسونا من صالح دعائكم

والحمد لله ربِّ العالمين

تاريخ نشر البيان: يوم الثلاثاء 28 من رجب 1435 للهجرة، الموافق 27/ 5/