Alliance between ISIS and Old Baʿthists under the Leadership of ʿIzzat Ibrāhīm al-Dūrī? – Some Reflections on the Propaganda during the current Iraqi Crisis:

The Alliance between ISIS and Old Baʿthists under the Leadership of ʿIzzat Ibrāhīm al-Dūrī – Some Reflections on the Propaganda during the current Iraqi Crisis:

After the devastating onslaughts by insurgents of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) on Mosul one week ago, the International Press started to report, that ISIS might not be the only force fighting against the Iraqi troops of Nūrī al-Mālikī. One of the first articles was an interview with Jürgen Todenhöfer in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger in which he claimed that the major force behind this attack indeed was a „National, Pan-Arabic, and Islamic Resistance“ (NPIR) under the leadership of the former vice-president and deputy chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) under Ṣaddām Ḥusayn, ʿIzzat Ibrāhīm al-Dūrī:

ʿIzzat Ibrāhīm al-Dūrī

ʿIzzat Ibrāhīm al-Dūrī

He further claims, that ISIS just plays a minor role (about 5%) inside a wider military alliance with NPIR during this Sunni resistance movement against the Shīʿī dominated regime of Mālikī. While ISIS is interested in establishing a Taliban-like Islamic State in accordance with their puritan interpretation of the sharīʿah, NPIR wants, according to Todenhöfers questionable statement, to build up a secular democracy (http://www.ksta.de/politik/-terrororganisation-isis–nur-scheinbar-die-groesste-rolle-,15187246,27499174.html). Meanwhile, further news agencies followed with similar stories about an alleged alignment of ʿIzzat Ibrāhīm al-Dūrī with ISIS and go as far as claiming his secret leadership behind the current events in Iraq. But does this make sense at all? Let us have a closer look at some aspects of the ongoing propaganda of the different fighting factions in Iraq dominating the Iraqi as well as the International Press at the moment:

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A list of German jihadists killed in Syria

In December 2013 the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) published a new estimate of foreign fighters in Syria. Based on more than 1,500 sources the ICSR estimates that – from late 2011 to 10 December 2013 – between 3,300 and 11,000 individuals from various countries have gone to Syria to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. For Germany the number of fighters ranges from 34 to 300. At least around 16 German jihadists are said to have been killed in the conflict until now.

Hence, I compiled a list of German fighters (or fighters from Germany) who died in the Syrian civil war. The following list almost certainly is not complete and to most of the dead fighters only scarce information is available.

Update November 2015: Due to the high number of German jihadists who traveled to Syria and Iraq in the last months I was unfortunately unable to keep the following list updated. German officials estimate that until now 760 Germans have left the country to join jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq. 120 are believed to have died in the conflict. With the conflict in Syria and Iraq intensifying day by day, groups like ISIS don’t even publish eulogies or obituaries for their killed „martyrs“ anymore. Observers of the conflict assume, that the badly trained foreign fighters simply serve as cannon fodder in combat. This is one reason why it is currently nearly impossible to get any useful information on killed jihadists from Germany.

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Die al-ʿAbbās-Brigade und die Rollen des Irans und Iraks – Schiitische Milizen II

Bereits im ersten Teil dieser Artikelserie wurde am Beispiel der Brigade Zulfiqar gezeigt, dass auf der Seite des syrischen Präsidenten Bashar al-Assad schiitische Milizen im syrischen Bürgerkrieg aktiv sind. Die wohl bekannteste dieser Organisationen ist die so genannte Liwāʾ Abū l-Faḍl al-ʿAbbās li-l-difāʿi ʿan maqām as-Sayyida Zaynab, übersetzt „Brigade Abū al-Faḍl al-ʿAbbās zur Verteidigung des Schreins von Zaynab“ (LAFA). Sie hat sich – wie auch die Brigade Zulfiqar, nach eigenen Angaben zum Schutz des Grabes von Zaynab im Süden von Damaskus gegründet, das sie durch sunnitische Islamisten bedroht sieht. Im Folgenden wird nicht nur die LAFA dargestellt, zudem soll auf die Rollen des Irak und des Iran in Bezug auf schiitische Milizen sowie auf die Interessenskonflikte der beiden Staaten untereinander eingegangen werden.

liwaabulfadlalabbas

Logo der LAFA

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„Join the caravan of Jihad!“ – Video message by a German jihadist in Syria

As the civil war in Syria rages on, more and more militant Islamists from around the world are gathering mainly in the northern parts of the country to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad. German intelligence agencies estimate the number of German jihadists in Syria around 200, at least ten of whom died in their fight against the government forces.

AbuUsama

German Jihadist Philip B. calling himself „Abu Usama“

By the end of November 2013 a video message allegedly released by sources near to one of the most dangerous jihadist groups, the so called “Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria” (ISIS) appeared on social media websites. It featured a young German speaking man armed with an AK-47 on his shoulder, who called upon German Muslims to “join the caravan of Jihad”. In the video he describes his own way from his conversion to Islam four years ago, to his emigration to Syria in order to “make the word of God the highest”, that is to fight the government of al-Assad and to establish a state based on the Sharia. The identity of the young German calling himself “Abu Usama” in reference to notorious terrorist Usama bin Ladin, was revealed a few days later. According to the German newspaper „Die Welt“ the young jihadist is 26 year old Philip B. from Dinslaken, a town in North Rhein-Westphalia. The former pizza delivery driver and some fellow Islamists which he knew from school traveled to Syria by car and joined ISIS. In the following I’d like to highlight some parts of the German jihadist’s video statement.

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Zwischen Himmel und Hölle – Deutsche Salafisten gegen Mouhanad Khorchide

Als am vergangenen Donnerstag Mouhanad Khorchide, Professor für Religionspädagogik an der Universität Münster, den Bundespräsidenten Joachim Gauck zu einem Besuch am Zentrum für Islamische Theologie (ZIT) empfing, da schien es fast so, als sei nun endlich der ideale Kandidat für die Ausbildung der künftigen Lehrer des islamischen Religionsunterrichts an deutschen Schulen gefunden. Diesen Posten hatte Khorchide im Juli 2010 angetreten, nachdem sein Vorgänger Sven Kalisch, wegen dessen umstrittener Infragestellung der Existenz des Propheten Muhammad, von der Lehrerausbildung entbunden wurde. Doch der Schein trügte. Nur wenige hundert Meter von dem Ort entfernt, an dem sich der Bundespräsident mit dem liberalen Reformtheologen Khorchide traf, machten dessen Kritiker mobil.

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Schiitische Milizen in Syrien I – Brigade Zulfiqar

Die Brigade Zulfiqar (arab. لواء ذو الفقار) ist eine schiitische Miliz, die im syrischen Bürgerkrieg auf der Seite des Präsidenten Bashar al-Assad aktiv ist. Nach eigenen Angaben hat sich die Gruppe gegründet, um die Grabstätte Zaynabs, der von vielen Schiiten verehrten Prophetenenkelin, im südlichen Damaskus vor Angriffen syrischer Rebellen zu schützen. Ihr arabischer Titel lautet Liwāʾ Ḏū l-Fiqār al-mukallaf bi-ḥimāyat maqām as-Sayyida Zaynab, was mit „Brigade Zulfiqar zum Schutz der Grabstätte Sayyida Zaynabs“ übersetzt werden kann.

Zou-Alfikar

Logo der Brigade Zulfiqar

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