Islamism and Extremism

  • The Nusra Front’s Trap for the Syrian Opposition

    On July 31, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front) launched the battle to break the siege on Aleppo with two suicide bomb operations, a common tactic for the extremist group that, though costly, has won it many battles and the support of other groups. That same day, Abu Yusif al-Muhajir, Ahrar al-Sham’s spokesman, announced that they the battle to break the regime’s siege on Aleppo had begun. Six days later, the opposition forces had broken the siege and seized 25 areas from regime forces.

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  • How Syrians View Nusra’s Split from al-Qaeda

    On July 28, the Nusra Front, one of the most powerful jihadist groups in Syria, announced its split from al-Qaeda and the formation of a new group named Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Front for the Conquest of the Levant). In a short video, the group stated that it aims to establish God’s religion and Sharia law and will work towards unity with all groups in Syria. Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the group’s leader, also stated that this new formation is a national movement with no ties to any foreign party, so as “to remove the excuse used by the international community—spearheaded by America and Russia—to bombard and displace Muslims in the Levant.” However, it is still not clear what impact the split will have on the relationship between Nusra and the Syrian opposition bodies and armed groups.

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  • Behind the Nusra Front’s Name Change

    On July 28 the Nusra Front changed its name to the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and its commander, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, showed his face for the first time on television and laid out five priority points for the group: establishing God's religion and the Sharia, uniting the opposition to liberate Syria and destroy the regime, protecting the Syrian jihad, serving Muslims and alleviating their suffering, and realizing peace, security, and stability in Syria.

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  • The Evolution of Global Jihadist Ideology

    On Thursday last week, the Nusra Front seceded from its parent organization al-Qaeda and rebranded under the name Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, a move many experts labeled as merely a name change. However, the change, sparked by the organization facing growing external and internal pressure, indicates the preeminence of local interests over global ideology as the al-Qaeda jihadist narrative continues to evolve.

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  • The Truth of the Islamic State’s Governance

    By building its own state, the Islamic State (ISIS) seeks to make a mark for itself by transforming from a group of gangs roaming the desert to a modern state larger than Great Britain that extends across Iraq and Syria. It has possession of major sources of funding from both its manufacturing and underground resources, including oil, agriculture, and dams; however, the group has struggled with administrative issues since it first gained control over its territory, relying on a policy of intimidation in which it resorts to executions, decapitations, crucifixions, and amputations of hands and legs.

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  • How ISIS Describes its Government Structure

    Recently, the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video describing how it sees its government structure. Whether or not it has achieved this structure, the fact that ISIS is envisioning its government’s structure shows how far it has progressed compared to other terrorist groups. Whereas the Nusra Front, for instance, is still struggling with its relationship to al-Qaeda and lacks the resources to enforce its version of Sharia in the areas where it has a presence, ISIS is describing offices particular to its mode of operation.

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  • Alami Featured as Expert to Watch on Syria's Islamist Groups by News Deeply


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  • What the Suicide Bombings in al-Qaa Tell Us about Terrorist Tactics in Lebanon

    On Monday June 27, Eight suicide bombings struck the predominantly Christian town of al-Qaa on the Lebanese border with Syria. Lebanese security officials believe the attacks to be the work of the Islamic State (ISIS), though the terrorist organization has not claimed responsibility. Whether or not ISIS is responsible, the attacks reflect a shift in terrorist tactics in Lebanon.

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  • Hellyer in CNN: Don't Ignore Threat of Extremist Nationalism


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  • Nusra Front Accuses US of Betraying Syrian Revolution, Calls for Continuing Jihad

    In a video recording released by the Nusra Front yesterday, titled Advancing in Your Victory, Sheikh Abdallah Atwan, nicknamed Abu Abdallah al-Shami and member of the Nusra Front’s Shura Council, accuses the United States of betraying the Syrian revolution and changing its attitudes toward the Assad regime and its allies. This article reviews the most important statements in this recording.

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