Analysis & Commentary


13th May 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: Shabaab advertises its al Qaeda allegiance

Thomas Joscelyn

Since late April, Shabaab has released a series of videos emphasizing its place in al Qaeda's global network. Two of the videos were recorded by the group's emir, Abu Ubaydah Ahmad Umar, a normally reclusive figure. Abu Ubaydah refers to the Taliban's emir as the "Commander of the Faithful"...

7th May 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State continues to battle Assad regime, allies

Thomas Joscelyn

Since mid-April, the Islamic State and the Assad regime have been engaged in an intense battle in the southern neighborhoods of Damascus. ISIS claims to have killed or wounded hundreds of Assad's soldiers, but its figures cannot be independently verified. Meanwhile, the so-called caliphate...

24th April 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: Islamic State spokesman says ‘new phase’ of jihad has begun

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State’s Al-Furqan Media released a lengthy speech from its spokesman, Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, on Apr. 22. In the 49-minute message, titled “So Follow Their Guidance,” al-Muhajir summarizes his organization’s war against its many enemies, both in the region and abroad....

17th April 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State propagandists seek to undermine rival jihadists in Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State's propagandists continue to take aim at rival jihadists, including al Qaeda and Hay'at Tahrir al Sham (HTS). A recent Islamic State video calls upon HTS fighters to defect to the so-called caliphate's cause.

6th April 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

US-led coalition says ‘much work remains to defeat’ to ISIS

Thomas Joscelyn

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which oversees the coalition to defeat the Islamic State, warned today that “much work remains to defeat” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in Iraq and Syria. The US-led coalition’s statement is at odds with the...

6th April 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: A premature declaration of victory in Syria?

Thomas Joscelyn

The White House declared on Apr. 4 that the "military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed." But ISIS continues to operate in several areas of Syria, as well as in Iraq, which wasn't even mentioned in the White House's...

26th March 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Jihadists in Syria denounce US designation of Uzbek group

Thomas Joscelyn

Jihadists and Islamists in Syria have denounced the US government's decision to designate Katibat Imam al Bukhari (KIB) as a terrorist organization. The KIB's own statement on the designation includes misleading claims and some of those defending the group have their own al Qaeda links.

24th March 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Al Qaeda again addresses factional infighting in Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

The latest edition of al Qaeda's Al-Nafir news bulletin addresses the jihadists' infighting in Syria. Al Qaeda has been forced to comment on the disputes multiple times over the past year.

22nd March 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

US designates ISIS chemical weapons expert from France as terrorist

Thomas Joscelyn

The State Department announced today that Joe Asperman, a French national, has been designated as a terrorist. Asperman works as "a senior chemical weapons expert for ISIS" and "oversaw chemical operations production within Syria for ISIS and the deployment of these chemical weapons at the...

22nd March 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

US designates ISIS chemical weapons expert from France as terrorist

Thomas Joscelyn

The State Department announced today that Joe Asperman, a French national, has been designated as a terrorist. Asperman works as "a senior chemical weapons expert for ISIS" and "oversaw chemical operations production within Syria for ISIS and the deployment of these chemical weapons at the...

16th March 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

US military helicopter crash in western Iraq kills all aboard

Bill Roggio

The helicopter that crashed is used to conduct search and rescue as well as Air Force special operations missions.

12th March 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Turkistan Islamic Party highlights joint raids with the Afghan Taliban

Bill Roggio

The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), a largely Uighur jihadist group that is affiliated with al Qaeda, released a new video over the weekend highlighting its joint operations alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.

10th February 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

US terror designations expose 3 international facilitators for Islamic State

Thomas Joscelyn

The US Treasury Department has further exposed the Islamic State's international network by designating three facilitators as terrorists. The men have operated in the Philippines, Somalia, Turkey and elsewhere. One of them operates a business in Turkey that has acquired drone components for...

26th January 2018 - FDD's Long War Journal

Al Qaeda head blames Islamists for failure of Arab uprisings

Thomas Joscelyn

In a newly-released audio message, Ayman al Zawahiri blames Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt for the failure of the Arab uprisings to deliver sharia-based governance.

18th January 2018 - Quoted by Louis Jacobson - PolitiFact

Fact-checking Donald Trump’s ‘results’ from his fake news awards

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

As part of his much-hyped "fake news awards," President Donald Trump offered 10 pieces of news he said the media was ignoring. "While the media spent 90 percent of the time focused on negative coverage or fake news, the President has been getting results," he wrote.

19th December 2017 - i24 News

The Rundown

Emanuele Ottolenghi

FDD's Emanuele Ottolenghi discusses Iranian attempts to evade US sanctions on i24's The Rundown.

15th December 2017 - Quoted by Jennifer Rubin - The Washington Post

The problem with Trump’s Middle East policy: He doesn’t have one

Eric S. Edelman

Eleven months into the Trump presidency, our Middle East policy amounts to a series of stunts — an isolated retaliatory attack on Syria for use of chemical weapons, “decertifying” the Iran deal (to the consternation of those egging on the administration, hoping that the European Union...

6th December 2017 - Quoted by Daniel Byman - Lawfare

An al-Qaeda Setback in Syria?

Thomas Joscelyn

Unheralded amid the recent political chaos in Washington and upheavals in the Middle East was a potential bit of good news: revelations that the al-Qaeda core’s split from its Syrian affiliate did not resemble a gentle parting but rather an acrimonious divorce. The revelations, which...

6th December 2017 - Quoted by Eleena Frisco - Tribu Magazine

Damascus accuses Israel of coordinating airstrikes with ‘terrorists’

David Adesnik

Arab media reported that Israeli warplanes struck the Jamarya military installation and research center on the outskirts of Damascus overnight; this, just days after the destruction of an Iranian weapons facility near the Syrian capital was attributed to Israel.

5th December 2017 - Quoted by Matthew R.J. Brodsky - The Weekly Standard

With Syria Strikes, Israel Atempts to Send a Message to Trump and Putin

Tony Badran

When it comes to Syria, Israel has a message and the government hopes a wider audience is listening. It was delivered in the form of two strikes inside Syria over the last week. By itself, an Israeli strike inside Syria is nothing extraordinary.

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