Jund al-Aqsa

#Jund_al_Aqsa, also, #Jond_al_Aqsa, جند الأقصى، #جندـالأقصى  is a Jihadi group that operates in Syria, whose fame and influence had been growing recently.  Here are some points for discussion about this group:

1- al-Aqsa is a mosque in Jerusalem.  Jund al-Aqsa or Jond al-Aqsa claims to be fighting in Syria to be able to fight and liberate al-Aqsa Mosque.  One of the early names of the group is Saraya al-Quds.

2- The group is known to have come from the split between The Islamic State of al-Iraq wa-al-Sham (#ISIS) and Jabhat al-#Nusra.

3- Leadership:    Amongst the known leaders of Jund al-Aqsa are its founder Abu ‘Abd al-Aziz al-Qatari.  His name suggest that he is from Qatar, but, actually he is not.  He is a Palestinian, born in Baghdad in 1956 as Mohammad Yusuf Uthman.  He fought in many Jihadi fronts and ended up in Iraq in the 1990’s where he carried on a number of bombings against liquor stores.  He was caught and then imprisoned by Saddam Husayn, but was released in 2003 during the American invasion of Iraq.  He ended up fighting alongside Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi.  Some credit him with establishing with al-#Zarqawi Kata’eb al-Tawhid wa-al-Jihad, a group that predates that Islamic State of Iraq.  He was send with al-Julani to Syria where they established #Jabhat_al_Nusra.  But, when the Central Command in the Islamic State of al-Iraq wa-al-Sham wanted to control al-Nusra, al-Qatari took the high road and decided not to be a part of that fight.  He went to establish at that moment a group of those who did not want to be neutral.  al-Qatari was killed in Deir Sunbul January 2014, by a Syrian rebel group, #Jabhat_Thuwwar_Suria, led by Jamal Ma’ruf.  Abu Mus’ab al-Ansari is another known leader of the group.  He was also killed in action in  Saraqb/Syria.  Musa al-Ghanami, a Saudi who studies Islamic Groups in the Middle East, claimed in 2015 that Abu Dhurr al-Najdi al-Harithi, a Saudi militant who had spent time in Saudi Jails, is now the religious leader (Shari’ ‘Amm) for Jund al-Aqsa.  Another leader was Abu Ibrahim al-Jazairi, a French Algerian veteran of Jihad who fought in Afghanistan, then Iraq.  He was arrested in Syria in 2004 then given to France.  In 2012 he was able to escape his house arrest and join the fight in Syria.  He was said to be the leader of Jund al-Aqsa in the Syrian Coast.  He was killed there when the car he was in hit with a rocket coming from the sky.

4- They are active north of Hama, Idleb, South of Alleppo and a little in the Coastal Mountains.

5- Jund al-Aqsa is composed of mostly international Jihadis.  The percentage of Syrians amongst them is still unknown, but not more than %20-30, according to many.

6- They are one of the founding groups of #Jaysh_al-Fath, from which they withdrew late 2015 because they are not committed to fighting the “enemies of Islam.”

7- They have missionary work in the areas they are in.  They also run social services and act exactly like the Islamic State, for example, they have a Hisbah amongst them watching the daily lives of the people in the areas they are in.

8- Some say that many people joined the group because Jund al-Aqsa is viewed as one that has no connection to dirty states.  Other Jihadi groups like Ahrar al-Sham for example lost some of its fighters to Jund al-Aqsa when its actions on the ground were influenced by countries like Qatar, which is considered a bad player to be associated with.

9- In 2016 they are said to have closed a radio station operating since 2013 against Bashar al-Assad because this station airs music and employs women.

10- In February 2016 a number of the religious cadre of the group defected and joined Jabhat al-Nusra.

11- They join in attacks with the Islamic State, like the one they did in Feb 2016.  They also coordinate attacks with the Jihadis of Imarat al-Qawkaz.  Recently, they participated in an attack with al-Hizb al-Islami al-Turkistani against Khurbat al-Naqus south of Alleppo.  In March they waged an attack along al-Nusra against al-Assad’s positions.

12- In March 2016 Jund al-Aqsa soldiers went to the streets of Idlib looking for women with make up, nice hair and tight jeans…

13- Jund al-Aqsa is known to have carried stoning to death of two women accused of adultery.

14- Mork, north of Hama is under their control.  They did not let civilians come back till they confirm with the religious ruling they want to be the norm.

 

Posted in al-Nusra, Alawites, Aleppo, Homs, Idleb, Islamic State, Jihad, Latakia, Sectarianism, Syria battles, Uncategorized, سوريا | Leave a comment

Top 5 Jihadi groups fighting in Syria 2016

Here is a list of the top 5 Sunni #Jihadi groups fighting in #Syria in the Summer of 2016.

1- The #IslamicـState (IS): leader: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Today the property of the Islamic State is decreasing in Syria compared to 2014, the year the Islamic State was “announced.”  This coming Summer of 2016 will see loses for the Islamic State in Syria.  They are losing north of Allepo and in many other battles.  They are not expanding, or making videos with hundreds of people getting executed.  The tide is changing, but still the Islamic State control lots of the Syria land in the East.  Their main property now are along the Euphrates river from al-Raqqa to al-Bukamal.  This summer will see the battles for the area under the control of the Islamic State north of Alleppo intensifies.  May be we are going to see the #Battle_of_Dabiq this summer.

2- #Jabhat_al_Nusra : Leader: Abu Muhammad al-#Julani.  Some theories say he is Usama al-‘Absi born 1981 in al-Shhayl in Deir al-Zur.  Went through al-Assad prison system as well Jihadi action in Iraq.  First he was sent to join the fight in Syria, but soon, this new group rose to fame causing the central command in ISIS to try and control this runaway franchise.  al-Nusra leaders claim to be al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, which gave them room to refuse going under the umbrella of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Today, al-Nusra controls areas in Idleb, Halab, Hama, Latakia’s mountains, Homs, Qalamun, Ghuta, Julan, and all of the South.

3- #Jund_al_Aqsa: This group was born from the split between al-Nusra VS. then, the Islamic State of Iraq wa-al-Sham, ISIS in 2013.  But, since this group showed its inclination to al-Qaeda Central Command, they aligned themselves with Jabhat al-Nusra.  But, this does not mean that many say that this group is aligned still with the Islamic State.  The first  known leader was Abu ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Qatari.  Most of the members of this group are non-Syrians.  They fight these days within Jaysh al-Fath.  They are active in the country side of Idleb, and in the northern country side of Hama and in the battles in the Southern countryside of Alleppo.  Estimates put this group between 1200-2000 fighters.  The sponsors are said to be from the Gulf States ( A Kuwaiti, as the open sources online puts it). There are rumors that Abu Dharr al-Najdi al-Harithi, a Saudi is their leader and Shari’i .

4- al#Hizb_al_Islami_al_Turkistani: Thousands of Turks came from parts of China and settled in Syria.  This group had been very active in the battle in the Latakia mountains, Idlib, Hama and South of Allepo.  The number of the fighters are in the thousands.  They fight with Jaysh al-Fath.

5- #Jaysh al-Muhajirin wa-al-Ansar:  This is an umbrella for a number of groups that fight together.  It includes fighters from outside of Syria, like #Ansar_al_Din and #Harakat_Sham_al_Islam.  Most of these groups were active in the Latakia mountains, and some are still there even though the territory under their control is shrinking.  They are also very in Idleb, and of course within Jaysh al-Fath.  Some of these groups join bigger ones, like #Jaysh_Muhammad which recently swore allegiance to al-#Nusra.

Posted in al-Nusra, Alawites, Aleppo, Homs, Islam, Islamic State, Jaysh al-Islam, Jihad, Latakia, Nusra, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uncategorized, اللاذقية, حلب, سوريا | Leave a comment

Syria’s hot Summer

Ten important battles that are happening these days predicting a hot summer in #Syria:

1- The battle for al-#Raqqa:  al-Assad’s troops are attacking from the west and south, the Syrian Democratic are not that far up north.  Suqur al-Sahra’ (#Desert_Falcons) are amongst the attackers.  They are almost at al-Rasafa putting them closer to al-#tabaqa_airport.

2- The battle of Manbej:  Today #Manbej is surrounded.  The #Islamic_State is inside the city claiming all things are normal, where in reality the #Syrian_Democratic_Forces are surrounding the city now threatening to storm it any minute.  The Islamic State is in a dire situation because their forces, and their families may be cut off.

3- The Battles south of Allepo: Anti #Assad #Nusra, #Ahrar, #Jund al-Aqsa, al-Turkistani plus an assortment of other Jihadi troops battling al-Nujaba’ in a back and forth endless bloody mess.

4- The battles in Deir al-Zur:  IS made some advances of late.

5- The Battle of Mare’:  North of Allepo between the Islamic State against an assortment of anti Assad groups.

6- The battles in the Golan near al-Qunaytara: This front started seeing action of late.

7- Daria: al-Assad’s troops tried few times to enter.

8- The battles to encircle Aleppo: Between al-Assad against

9- The Coast battles between al-Assad who is still trying to get al-Haddadeh and Kabani in the East and Ein Eesa in the North.  Recently al-Assad took few villages north East of Latakia in the Ein Eesa village vicinity.

10- The battles in the desert East of Homs, between the Islamic State and al-Assad.

 

 

 

Posted in al-Nusra, Alawites, Aleppo, Islamic State, Jihad, Nusra, Syria, حلب, سوريا | Leave a comment

Top 5 Jihadi Songs of the year 2015

Intro:

Here are the top #Jihadi songs of 2015 based on their usage, popularity, and appearance in top media releases by Jihadi groups.  Remember that the Islamic State alone released 58 Jihadi songs in the year 1436 (October 2014- October 2015).

 

Here are the top 5 songs:

1- #Qariban Qariban by Abu Hajar al-Hardrami، قريبا قريبا ترون العجيب

This Nasheed first appeared with the video release Shafa’ al-Sudur, which was made to include the burning of the Jordanian air force pilot Mu’az al-Kassasebeh.  This Nasheed/song appeared in tens of videos released by the Islamic State or its affiliates.  Videos from Siani, Libya, Syria, and Iraq include it especially with their most impressive military victories.  The lyrics of this Nasheed are about threatening the enemies of the Islamic State with the violence that is going to be taking place in their homeland.  This video of course, appeared with the latest Paris attacks.

 

2- #Lana al-Murhafatu

This song/Nasheed first appeared with the video Fa-Shared-Bihim-Min-Khalfihim that was made when the Islamic State took over al-Tabaqa airport in Syria (August 2014).  This video was introduced into the world with the fighters of the Islamic State shooting hundreds of fleeing pro Assad soldiers, later to be executed.  The video gave the song an edge over any song in the world.  None was introduced with this blood bath.  This song was used later in tens of videos.  It is still in heavy rotation.

3- #Saleel al-Sawarem by al-Munshid Abu Yaser

This song/Nasheed became very famous this year because of it international fame.  This fame started with a teen ager from the Western World made a video of himself lip synching without knowing the language (Arabic) of the song.  This video went viral, with the Islamic State itself including it with its video to show the spread of their influence into the teens in the Western World.  It is the Nasheed that was made into a joke by the tens of people.  Many people made joke videos about Saleel al-Sawarem.

 

4- #Qad Azamna..

This is a new production by #Ajnad Production, the song production unit of the Islamic State.

 

5- #Dawlata al-Islam Suli wa-Idhari

This get-up and let-us-fight them pep song was used heavily in the last year.

 

(This article is a work in progress)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Jihadi Song of 2015

 

First Draft:

Amongst the way-too- many Jihadi Nasheeds/songs released in the year 2015,  #Qariban_Qariban, released by Mu’assasat#Ajnad, the main audio production arm of the Islamic State, stands out for many reasons as the top Jihadi Song/Nasheed of 2015

This super aggressive Jihadi anthem first appeared in the video Shafa’ al-Sudur in which the Islamic State burned to death the Jordanian Royal Airforce pilot Mu’az al-Kasasebeh.  It is the habit of the Islamic State to release its best produced Nasheed for the video with utmost shock value.

For the longest time, no one knew who is the Munshid/singer of this anthem, but lately, a link to the words of this Nasheed claimed it was #Abu Hajar_al-Hadrami, a very well known Jihadi killed recently in a drone strike in Yemen.

Since its appearance in the video of the burning of the Jordanian air force pilot, this Jihadi anthem appeared in videos with utmost brutality, and exhibition of violence.  The last two important videos of the year 2015 in which this song/Nasheed appeared were one related to the Paris attack entitled La France A Genoux, and the other video was done by a Syrian militant group Liwa Shuhada’ al-Yarmuk in which they blew to pieces two hapless prisoners of their rival Nusra group.

قريبا قريبا ترون العجيبَ…..صراعاً رهيبا وسوف ترى
بعقرِ ديارك تكون المعارك…..لأجلي دمارك حسامي انبرى

مشينا بسمرٍ لجزٍ ونحرٍ…..بسكين ثأرٍ سمت من حرى
بأشباح ليلٍ وفتيان هولٍ…..وتفجير ويلٍ لكي يدحرى

بدأتم قتالي بحلف الضلال…..فذوقوا وبالي اذا اسجرى
طويلاً ستبقى بحربي ستشقى…..بماذا ستقلى فتىَ كبرا

اذا الخيل جالت وشالت وصالت…..لهذا استحالت لظاً مسعرا
تلظى الرصاص وجاء القصاص…..فأين المناص شرار الورى؟

إليكم سنأتي بذبحٍ وموتِ…..بخوفِ وصمتِ نشق العرى
فشلتم جهارا فذوقوا الخسارة…..وعودوا فرارا بليل السرى

اذا الكفر ماج وأرغى وهاج…..ملئنا الفجاج دماً احمرا
بسمر الحراب بضرب الرقابِ…..لجمع الكلابِ اذا عسكرى

اتينا اتينا بعزم مضينا…..بجدٍ سعينا لشُمِ الذرى
نخوض الحتوفَ نرص الصفوفَ…..نموت وقوفَ كأسد الشرى

Soon, soon, you will see wonders….A fierce conflict and you will see.
In your heartland, there shall be the battles…..for your destruction, my sword has been drawn.

We have marched with swords to cut and behead…..By the knife of revenge, targeting those who deserve it.
With the specters of the night and the youth of terror…..and an explosion of woe, that he may be defeated.

You have begun to fight me, with the coalition…..So taste my fury, when it fires up.
For long shall you remain, in my war shall you lose…..With what shall you meet, a youth chanting the takbeer?

When the steed roams, raises its head, and leaps forth…..Thus it becomes a lighted blaze.
The bullets have blazed, and the revenge has come…..So where is the escape, O the most evil of the creatures?

Unto you we will come, with beheading and death…..With fright and silence, we will tear the bonds.
You have failed publicly, so taste the loss….and go back fleeing, a nightlong run.

When disbelief gets agitated, froths, and stirs up…..We fill the roads, with red blood;
By the stabbing of the bayonets, by the striking of the necks…..on the assembly of the dogs, when they marshal.

We have come, we have come; we have set off with determination…..In earnest we have proceeded, to the peak of the peaks.
We dive into deaths, we close the ranks…..We die standing, as lions of courage.

 

 

 

 

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Fares al-Zahrani (Abu Jandal al-Azadi) 1977-2016 The top al-Qaeda theorist in the Arabian Peninsula

Fares al-Zahrani was one of the 47 men who were executed by the Saudi Authorities on January, 2nd, 2016.  He was of great importance for many reasons.  Of course, much will be written about him in the days to come.

Here are some points explaining his life and importance:

1- Personal life and education:

Fares bin Ahmad Al Shuwayl al-Zahrani فارس بن أحمد آل شويل الزهراني ، was born in 1977 in a al-Jawfa’ الجوفاء village in Bilad Zahran in southern Saudi Arabia.  His tribal affiliation is Azd, from which he brought his nick name that he was known afterwards (Abu Jandal al-Azadi).  His family moved to a nearby al-Nu’us  النعوص village from which Fares would graduate his elementary school.  Later he would pass high school in the same village in 1996 with high grades.  Where Fares went to college differed amongst the many articles/news/message boards.

Here are a list of schools that he was said to have been in:

-Kulliyat ‘Ulum al-Quran in al-Madina, for one semester.   كلية علوم القرآن في المدينة المنورة.

-The University of al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud al-Islamaiyah in al-Qasim, جامعة الإمام محمد بن سعود الإسلامية في القصيم

-The University of King Khaled in Abha (From here he got a BA in 2000 according to some sources).

2- The Spotlight

There is no clear date on when did Fares al-Zahrani became a militant wanted by the authorities.  But one can trace he started writing under his two identities online.  But, what is a fact that after a series of deadly clashes between the Saudi government and Jihadis in 2003, a list of 26 people came out in November with the name Fares al-Zahrani on it.  Before this no one knew of him.  After this date, things became different and he came out in the open with his real name.

Fares al-Zahrani was active under the two names he used online: al-Mutaharek المتحرك, and abu Jandal al-Azadi أبو جندل الأزدي, the name he wrote under his first few books, which appeared only online and gained immediate popularity because of its timing and topic.

Amongst the message boards Fares, aka Abu Jandal al-Azadi, was active in was Minbar al-Jihad wa-al-Tawhid: a very active blog/message board dealing with Jihad related issues.  The same blog interviews Fares al-Zahrani later, which is probably the only in depth talk ever made with him, where he responded to people’s questions.

3- The many important books:

Fares al-Zahrani’s first important book was : al-Baheth ‘Ann Hikm Qatl Afrad wa-Dubat al-Mabaheth, which could be translated into English as : [For those who are looking for the Rule to kill the police members and officers].  This book came after a series of deadly confrontations with the Saudi police.  It was written under the name Abu Jandal al-Azadi.  The importance of this book comes from the fact it contained an attempt to find religious approval for the killing of the police officers.  Fares was able to make the links between al-Quran, al-Hadith, some militant thinkers, namely Sayyid Qutb and Abu Qutadah, to justify the act of killing.  This was something new, especially the whole book came online, and as a product of many online arguments on the Jihadis blogs.

Fares al-Zahrani has another important book regarding the sanctity of violence entitled: Tahrid al-Mujahidin al-Abtal Ala Ihya’ Sinat al-Ightiyal, which could be translated into English as: Encouraging the hero Mujahidin to revive the sanctioned practice: Assassination.  The title tells what is in the book.  Assassinations were to be made, and the religious Fatwa was provided by al-Zahrani.

Other important books:

a- al-Ayat wa al-Ahadith al-Ghazirah fi Kifr Quwat Rad’ al-Jazeerah

b- Nusus al-Fuqaha’ Hawl Ahkam al-Gharah wa-al-Tatarrus.

c- Usamah Ibn LAden Mujadded al-Zaman wa-Qaher al-Amrican

d- Wujub Istinqaz al-Mustdafin min Sujun al-Tawagheet wa-al-Murtaddin

e- Allahu Akbar Kharabet Amrica

f- Qissas Tarikhiyah lil-Matlibin

3- His very important audio messages

Fares al-Zahtani made many important audio messages, the most known  is the one entitled: “Your citizenship is under my feet.”  In this message, he denounced his Saudi citizenship.

This speech was quoted in the year 2014 by Saudi fighters in the ranks of the Islamic State when they tore into pieces then burned their Saudi Passports in a famous videos. In this audio message, Fares al-Zahrani speaks in clear terms of the Muslim Ummah that does not recognize any of the borders/nationalities we have today.

Other important audio messages:

a- Risalah ila- Askar

b- His message to his son and daughter.

 

(This article is a work in progress…..)

 

Posted in al-Nusra, Islam, Islamic State, Jihad, Saudi Arabia, Uncategorized, Zahrani | Leave a comment

al-Jazeera’s interview of al-Julani 5/2015

5 quick points about #al-Jazeera‘s interview with #al-Julani, the leader of #Jabhat al-Nusra

1- al-Julani does not understand history that much.  His explanations regarding the way states function show a lack of education.  As simple as that, al-Julani showed he is a simple man trying to explain a very complicated matter.

2- The host did not question anything of al-Julani’s claims, except when al-Julani started questioning the Muslim Brothers, a group al-Julani does not respect that much because they participated in modern political systems.

3- al-Julani is fabricating things about the Iranians, their history and aspirations.  His claims show a very naive understanding of the world.

4- al-Julani has intentions to settle all the foreign fighters who fight with Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.

5- al-Julani’s model of a society is unpractical like the outfit al-Julani was wearing in the interview.

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