The Six Words You Need to Know to Be a Successful Jihadi and Establish Your Own Caliphate

by Mohammad D for Syria Comment   Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the newly minted caliph of the “Islamic State,” chose the first Friday of Ramadan to make his first public appearance—ever. Until now he has worked outside the limelight, and the almost complete absence of his image in public media had generated a sense of mystique […]

The Future of ISIS and the Sectarian Response: ISIS has Picked a Fight it Cannot Win

The Future of ISIS in Iraq and the Sectarian Response – by Joshua Landis   A Washington policy analyst asked me what chances I gave to the possibility that Prime Minister Maliki will try to divide Sunnis and isolate ISIS by teaming up with moderate Sunnis. He raised the possibility of Maliki creating a government […]

New ISIS Leaks Reveal Particulars of al-Qaida Strategy

by Matthew Barber A new Twitter account that appeared last month is making waves within the jihadi community and rebel groups of Syria. It has not yet been noticed by the international media, but if the author’s claims are legitimate, it may significantly help to shape our understanding of ISIS. The author of the @wikibaghdady […]

Recapitalising the Syrian Banking System: Costs and Challenges

by Andrew Cunningham with Darien Middle East It is hard to think about reconstructing Syria and its economy at a time when there is so much uncertainty about how the civil war will develop in the months ahead, but, as the fiasco of Iraqi “reconstruction” in the months following the overthrow of Saddam Husain has shown, […]

Problems for Syrians in Egypt; News from Kurdish North; Looting & Oil; Round-up

by Matthew Barber The scale of this propaganda piece is impressive: An ISIS billboard in Raqqa promoting shari’a law. The yellow text at the top says “The state’s civil law is contrary to the religion of Allah,” followed by a verse from the Qur’an (3:83 “Do they, then, seek a religion other than Allah’s, while […]