Two weeks before the anniversary of the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad, ISIS is releasing a new statement from the media outlet specializing in top leadership releases.

The new leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi has not yet made a public statement:…
ISIS releases a statement by its spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qurashi titled "So recount the tales"
In the first 5 minutes, he speaks about the Salafist tenet "obedience to rulers" and attacks it as un-Islamic. He also talks about clerics that preach against rebelling against rulers.

[A key part of why jihadism is part of a theological revolution, just a violent version]
He says these times are the "confusing times" predicted by Prophet Mohammed, in which "the liar is believed, and the honest is belied".
The ISIS spokesman rails against the UAE & Bahrain for normalizing with Israel or against Saudi Arabia for laying the groundwork for normalization. He says their clerics used to call ISIS an arm of the Jewish state in the region.
He says their clerics also once called us a tool for Iran but the Saudis have supported the Iranian-backed government in Baghdad, with millions of dollars in support to the prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
[These statements also come amid reporting in Arabic about Hillary Clinton's emails, with fake stories like how Obama, Maliki and Iran worked together to enable ISIS to seize Mosul to enable Iran to take over Iraq.]
The speech targets young people in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, in the context of normalization with Israel and Iran, selling ISIS as the only party resisting Iran and its allies in Iraq and Syria. Calls on followers to increase attacks, including in Africa.
After spending a considerable time on Africa, addressing followers, he turns to Afghanistan. He calls the Taliban a "democratic apostate" faction. He invokes the experience of Iraq to break jails and conquests.

Sinai too, against "the apostate Egyptian army"
While everywhere he praises the accomplishments of ISIS branch (Africa, Afghanistan, Sinai etc), ISIS spokesman offers condolences to the branch in Yemen. He sounds like admitting they're down in Yemen.
In Syria, he praises attacks against the SDF and "the tribal sheikhs" who work with the "atheists", the Syrian rebels in the north, and the Syrian army/regime/Russia.

Recent assassinations of tribal sheikhs in Deir Ezzor went unclaimed.
The spokesman passes a message to followers everywhere "to follow the example of your brothers in Khorasan", to do prison breaks and free jailed members.
"Prepare for the days to come. The course of events used to revolve around Iraq, Syria & some other areas. God enabled it to apply sharia there. Today, the whole world is facing changes, as God is preparing the land for something big. Brace yourself to seize opportunities."
ISIS spokesman ends the speech on talk that ISIS is finished, by repeating the words of the group's former leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi (2006-2010) when the group looked finished after the Surge. "Baqiya (not going away), because..."
Okay, I had no idea about this before?

The ISIS teasers from Furqan Media (which typically releases statements from either the leader or the spokesman, without mentioning who until release) have a color code:

Silver = the spokesman
Gold = the leader
I agree — the ISIS spokesman’s speech is well timed and is important. The region is pregnant with big events, and it’s just foolish again to count out.

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More from @hxhassan

17 Sep
Contrary to what we know, the current leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) was born NOT in Tal Afar, but in a village near Mosul.

An Arab, not a Turkoman.

You heard it here first. - Iraq sources.
Also the detail in my tweet below was going against the conventional wisdom of the Iraqi and the US intel about his ethnicity.

I based my conclusion on internal discussions within ISIS & my understanding of the tribal origins of this "Turkoman" tribe.
Until recently, the US, Iraq & the UN all thought the current leader (Hajji Abdullah or Abdullah Qardash) wasn't really a Quarashi, that he was a Turkoman, and that he was a 'placeholder' until ISIS would appoint an Arab of Qurashi origins per its ideology
Read 17 tweets
12 Sep
In ~5 years, and don’t hold any of this against me:

• Israel will have its 1st base in the Gulf
• Turkey will control a zone from northern Iraq to northern Syria
• Turkey will expand Libya presence
• Egypt & Sudan will form something along the lines of a “Nile Confederation”
A military base in the Arab side of the Persian Gulf.
The normalization with tiny countries in the Gulf may indeed seem to be non-events. But, in that bubble, I think this process will produce interesting changes in the future. Normalization will have a snowball effect that’ll drag with it both Saudi Arabia & Qatar as party to it.
Read 6 tweets
6 Aug
A groundbreaking detail buried deep in the lawsuit filed by former Saudi intelligence chief against the crown prince MBS in US courts:

MBS *encouraged* Vladmir Putin's military intervention in Syria in September 2015, which enraged then CIA chief John Brennan.
Truly amazing, those meetings happened at least two months before Russia's September 2015 intervention in Syria. At the time the US acted surprised by Moscow's decision to deploy forces to Syria, while Riyadh was supposedly helping the Syrian opposition:

Another crazy detail is that MBS was convinced that Aljabri was responsible for the CIA conclusion that MBS was directly responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Read 9 tweets
9 Jul
One thing I’ll always be proud of is that we provided Husham with the platform & resources to publish his work almost weekly. We had big plans, ideas for longterm projects & to publish more regularly. Others only used him for quotes, and ignored his published work.
He had so much to produce, he truly deserved a whole team dedicated to his work. You can find his work here…
Apart from the consistent scoop-based work @CGPdc published, the first major project he had submitted will be the first of its kind on Iraq. Watch this space.
Read 7 tweets
29 Jun
Details I obtained about the jihadist infighting in northwestern Syria, and about Ansar al-Islam's leadership and members (that ancient pre-ISIS Iraqi jihadi group.)

I checked with a few knowledgeable sources in Syria, about the general story I'm going to only sum up.

All sides of this infighting have made claims & counter-claims, so I won't get to those -- there is a summary of that in this earlier thread, if you want to catch up:

More interesting details about what really triggered this & how things stand today:
For chronology, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) learned that a group of al-Qaeda factions & allies were planning to form a coalition.

And here is the big one...

... the plan was for these groups to establish their control over the city of Idlib!
Read 24 tweets
25 Jun
Two very important statements issued by al-Qaeda and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in northern Syria. Both offer insights into the nature of the fighting between the two in the north, and a little about their "relationship".

Summary and commentary in this #thread.
Starting with the latest, just now. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra) issues a response to al-Qaeda, denying they initiated the fighting against the formal franchise of al-Qaeda known as Hurras ad-Din.

HTS's statement is issued by Abu Abdullah al-Shami.
Al-Shami says his group HTS and al-Qaeda's franchise had signed an agreement (after a period of fighting that followed the HTS breaking away from al-Qaeda) that regulated al-Qaeda franchise's work in the north. Those regulations include:
Read 13 tweets

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