The Factions of Raqqa Province

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Much has been noted of the presence of the Islamic State in Raqqa province, where the group controls all major urban localities (Raqqa city, Tabqa, Ma’adan, and Tel Abyad), as well as the Kurdish militias just west of Tel Abyad, from which town they were expelled back in August 2013 on […]

The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s dhimmi pact for the Christians of Raqqa province

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Traditionally, a ‘dhimmi’ in Islam is a Jew or Christian who agrees to live under the authority of an Islamic state, agreeing to pay a ‘jizya’ (poll tax) and enduring a number of discriminatory conditions in return for ‘protection’ from the state. The Qur’anic basis for this arrangement is 9:29. In […]

“Al-Qaeda’s Governance Strategy in Raqqa,” by Chris Looney

ISIS has employed a governance strategy in Raqqa that is focused on solidifying its rule through intimidation, creating an economy of dependence. Although ISIS may be focused on consolidating its rule locally and expanding its sway within Syria and Iraq for the time being, attacking the West remains a long term strategic objective.

Oil Wars—Nusra’s Expanding Reach—Syrian Taliban

By Matthew Barber and the Syria Video team This long post contains the following sections: The Defectors Defect Will EU Oil Purchases Finance al-Qaida? Al-Musareb: Al-Nusra Punishes a Village Regime-Style Syrian Taliban The Opposition’s Ambivalent Response to al-Nusra’s Affiliation with al-Qaida (and the Plan to Introduce an Alternative Islamic Law in Syria) Jabhat al-Nusra is […]

Islamic State Declared in Syria

by Matthew Barber   Al-Qaida and Jabhat al-Nusra have each declared an Islamic State in Syria, in their own way. And by the way, Jabhat al-Nusra is al-Qaida. The head of al-Nusra, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, finally confirmed the obvious through an official declaration of allegiance.   An Islamic State in Syria? For Real? Al-Qaida in […]