According to recent leaks, #ISIS's evolved administrative structure is ruffling some internal feathers in the #MiddleEast.

The crux of internal tensions lies in the increasingly blurry lines of authority over operations, leadership succession & resource use in #Iraq & #Syria.
Leaks claim #ISIS's "Ardh al-Mubarakah" office manages operations in #Syria, #Lebanon & #Turkey, while the Bilad al-Rafidayn office runs #Iraq.

The latter was also running ops in #Iran -- until recently at least, when #Iran was folded into the #Afghanistan "Al-Siddique" office.
These recent leaks - from normally reliable sources - claim Abu al-Hassan's succession in March 2022 was decided by the Ardh al-Mubarakah office, without any consultation with the Bilad al-Rafidayn office in #Iraq.

He then risked locating to #Daraa, also without any consolation.
An intriguing element in the leaks is over the issue of #ISIS detainees in NE #Syria -- [10,000] men and [56,000] women & children.

The goal to free them has purportedly been assumed/directed to the authority of the #Iraq (Bilad al-Rafidayn) office, not #Syria.

= trouble.
The leaks claim the Jan 2022 assault on al-Sina prison in NE #Syria was planned & conducted by the #Syria office & took the #Iraq office by surprise.

Multiple attempts were made afterwards to re-clarify lines of responsibility, but the #Syria office has failed/refused to do so.
The leaks imply -- but it's not completely clear -- that frequent reports of #ISIS militants infiltrating al-Hol is the result of actions undertaken by #Iraq office operatives.

Yet their brazen violence has triggered #SDF-US raids that have hit #Syria office cells (= tensions).
My comment: it's hard to know how seriously to take these leaks, but they sound feasible.

It's probably most reflective of #ISIS's current status as a dispersed insurgency, but one growing in reach & attack capability. That's likely to cause areas of overlap & contradiction.

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More from @Charles_Lister

Feb 3
أمر ما يجب أن نقدّمه لسوريا -- 13 عاما من الأزمة المستمرة تتجه نحو انهيار حتمي

- مقالتي الجديدة في @ForeignPolicy:

* (عربي)

*… (الإنجليزي)
الأزمة #السورية ستدخل عامها الـ 13 في مارس/آذار القادم، ورغم أن مستوى العنف في جميع أنحاء البلاد منخفض الآن نسبيا مقارنة بالسنوات الماضية، فإن الأزمة ما زالت بعيدة جدا عن نهايتها، وفقا للأكاديمي تشارلز ليستر:
نشرت مجلة "فورين بوليسي" مقالا لمدير برامج #سوريا ومكافحة الإرهاب والتطرف في معهد الشرق الأوسط ،(@MiddleEastInst) تشارلز ليستر، قال فيه إن الوضع الراهن في البلاد غير مستدام على الإطلاق وسيتغير لا محالة.…
Read 4 tweets
Jan 26
Yesterday saw an intriguing incident outside al-Bab in northern #Aleppo:

- A prominent member of a pro-#HTS [semi-breakaway] wing of Ahrar al-Sham, Saddam al-Mousa (Abu Uday) was killed outside his home in what was described as a "drone strike."
Abu Uday had become notorious for facilitating #HTS's advance into northern #Aleppo in Oct 2022 -- & in its wake, he secured control of the valuable al-Hamran crossing (to #SDF areas) & agreed to share its revenue streams with #HTS.

He was also a known player in the arms trade.
Abu Day's stubborn refusal to back down & turn al-Hamran back to the Syrian National Army (SNA) had become a source of acute frustration for #Turkey -- both #TSK & MIT.

Numerous attempts were made to evict him, by force & negotiation & their failure was grating Turkey-SNA ties.
Read 6 tweets
Nov 30, 2022
NEW - #ISIS announce the death of leader Abu al-Hassan al-Qurashi -- "killed in action," but no details as to when or where.

His replacement is named as Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini.
Lots of rumor swirling re. #ISIS's leader's death.

- Some (linked to #SDF) say he was killed in a joint US-SDF raid in NE #Syria.

- Some (linked to opposition) say he was killed in #Idlib, either (a) Nov 19 during a reported #HTS SSG raid, or (b) Nov 26 in an unreported op.
- And still others (mostly observers) think this is all a ruse & #ISIS leader Abu al-Hassan is still alive.

As always with #Syria, it'll take time for reality to emerge. Time to do some digging.
Read 6 tweets
Nov 29, 2022
As with most things @BBCRosAtkins, this was good.

One thing — as @GaryLineker admits, the @BBC (& the West writ large) failed to hold #Russia to account in ‘18 (amid FAR worse crimes/abuse). Time to acknowledge there’s probably a reason why. Nobody’s willing to go there, though.
@BBCRosAtkins @GaryLineker @BBC A tale of double-standards:

2018, batting away criticism of #Russia:

- "Who are we to start getting judgmental on who should have the World Cup?"

2022, on #Qatar:

- "It’s the most controversial World Cup in history.. corruption.. migrant workers.. women's rights.. LGBTQ.."
@BBCRosAtkins @GaryLineker @BBC And now news that @GaryLineker was paid ~$2 million by #Qatar for coverage of the Champions League until 2012 -- including *after* #Qatar won the World Cup bid and before any of the reforms that followed.

Some consistency would be nice.…
Read 5 tweets
Nov 11, 2022
The @UN's Alena Douhan (from #Belarus) just wrote a 6,500-word report on sanctions & human rights in #Syria.

She visited #Syria for 12 days -- but only spent time in #Assad-held areas.

Her conclusion?

Lift all sanctions. Finance reconstruction. Nothing was the regime's fault. Image
@UN That the @UN calls Douhan an "independent human rights expert" is staggering.

She made no effort to visit areas not controlled by #Assad's regime & goes out of her way to thank the regime for how "transparent & constructive" it was during her visit.

Yes, I bet they were. Image
@UN Throughout her 6,500-word report, the @UN's "expert" makes repeated citations to "data & reports received during my visit."

Guess what? All that "transparent" data blames #Syria's ills on foreign powers. There's a surprise.

But our "expert" doesn't question that. Of course not.
Read 10 tweets
Nov 10, 2022
It is clear that 2022 has seen a surge in momentum, particularly amid Western governments, on repatriations from al-Hol & al-Roj in NE #Syria.

BUT, 519 in 2022 represents just 4% of the third country women & children in the camps. And we're starting with the easy caseload first.
Increasing momentum on NE #Syria repatriations is welcome news -- but to take full advantage of it, the repatriation process needs to be made much easier.

Most cases, from start to finish, can take 12-18 months, which is far too long -- most of the obstacles are in NE #Syria.
There's also a clear need for more centralized multinational leadership on the al-Hol/Roj crisis -- the @ICRC have established a special coordinator's office & the US Govt now has a senior inter-agency working group.

But there's no international leader to better coordinate.
Read 7 tweets

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