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The Islamic State in Libya – When Libyan Tribes Pledge Allegiance to the Khalifah

The coming Battle for Sirte to defeat the Islamic State in Libya is principally seen from the perspective of the struggle between the U.N.-backed new government supported by some militias including Misrata, and those who refuse that government’s legitimacy, such as nationalist Haftar (e.g. “The scramble for Sirte”, The Economist, 14 May 2016. In the meanwhile, the Islamic State becomes an insignificant threat. Similarly, the situation on the ground, notably the tribes and related politics, are quasi ignored. Yet, it is crucial to have an understanding of what is happening, which goes beyond a top-down approach, and to consider also the perspective of the enemy, through red team analysis for example, as we are doing here. The consequences for not doing so may be deleterious, […]

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The Islamic State in Libya – Force, Fighters and Tribes

What is the current state of play for the Islamic State in Libya, and, most importantly, how can it evolve? The question is increasingly relevant considering the rising possibility of an international intervention in Libya against the Islamic State, a complex matter considering notably the questioned domestic legitimacy of the new U.N.-prompted Government of National Authority (GNA) (e.g. APA, “Libya unity gov’t approval postponed indefinitely“, 19 April 2016), despite strong pressure imposed on Libyans to recognise it, such as the U.S. President “Executive Order — Blocking Property And Suspending Entry Into The United States Of Persons Contributing To The Situation In Libya” (White House, 19 April 2016). Is the Islamic State’s threat in Libya hyped and “not a realistic fallback” for a Khilafah, furthermore […]

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The Islamic State and Terrorist Attacks: License to Kill

As the Islamic State loses ground in Mesopotamia, in the west in Syria with the defeat in Palmyra (e.g. Adam Withnall The Independent, 27 March 2016), in the north with an increasingly large territory recaptured by the Kurds (e.g. Avi Asher-Schapiro, Vice News, 22 Dec 2015) and in the east in Iraq, first with the battle of Ramadi (“Battle of Ramadi (2015–16)“, Wikipedia) and now with the start of Iraqi “Operation Conquest” to free Mosul (Paul D. Shinkman, US News, 24 March 2016), it could be tempting to discard the Islamic State and its Khilafah as a bygone threat and a now inconsequential enemy  . If this string of victories against the Islamic State is definitely important and crucial in the war against the Khilafah, […]

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An Updated Guide to the Islamic State Psyops

 last update: selected 10 videos… updated dates for all the latest issue of magazines, Amaq in Bengali, al-Bayan in Bengali. The defeated attack by the Islamic State on Ben Guerdane in Tunisia on 7 March 2016 probably indicated a worrying shift in tactics and strategy, which must be considered (e.g. Vanessa Szakal, “Mainstream Media on Ben Guerdane: victory and foreboding in Tunisia“, Nawaa, 11 March 2016). This attack may be seen as having been heralded by a significant call made by the Islamic State to the Islamic Maghreb through five psyops videos published over two days (19-20 January 2016). In parallel, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb started  to copycat the Islamic State’s type of videos (Andrea Spada, “Al-Qaeda tries to imitate Daesh in new threatening […]

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Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Wilayat and Wali in Yemen

When we started our series to better understand the Islamic State system, we identified the wilayat (“what is taken charge of”, “what is ruled”) as unit of analysis and as a system, which can then be monitored to foresee and warn about the overall developments of the Islamic State (see Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Structure and Wilayat, 4 May 2015). Since then, evolution has taken place on the ground, while the body of knowledge gathered by students of the Islamic State has grown. This is notably the case for Yemen. Back in May 2015, our understanding, grounded in the evidence available then, was that there was one wilayat in Yemen, wilayat Sanaa, loosely categorised as part of those wilayat where fighting was preeminent and only extremely […]

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At War against a Global Islamic State – The Fall into Extreme Sunni-Shi’ite Tensions

In this series, which emphasises some of the major strategic dangers related to the war against the Islamic State, we focused first on geographical risks resulting potentially from a narrow understanding of the Islamic State’s implantation and outreach. We thus moved from a Mesopotamian theatre of war  to a regional one (“From Syria to the Region“), then to the necessity to also incorporate all global operations of the Islamic State in the strategy, explaining how operations in one area could impact operations elsewhere as well as the overall war (“A Global Theatre of War“). We notably took as examples, beyond the obvious case of Libya, Somalia (“Facing a Strategic Trap in Somalia?“), Bangladesh, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia (“From the Philippines and Indonesia to Bangladesh“). The strategic challenges presented […]

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At War against a Global Islamic State – from the Philippines and Indonesia to Bangladesh

As the noose seems to be slowly tightening around the Islamic State in Mesopotamia, it is even more important to consider the global dimension of the Khilafah. It is indeed likely that all geographical components will be used by the Islamic State in its will to counter-attack and survive. A strong indication confirming the global […]

At War against a Global Islamic State – Facing a Strategic Trap in Somalia?

The Islamic State’s actions are continuing globally, unfortunately illustrating the points made previously in “A Global Theatre of War” (23 Nov 2015), with the San Bernardino attacks in the U.S. on 2 December 2015 (BBC News, 7 Dec 2015) and the stabbing of three people in the tube station in London on 5 December 2015 (e.g. The Telegraph, 7 dec 2015). Meanwhile, and despite setbacks in Mesopotamia where the Islamic State is besieged in Ramadi, where it lost Sinjar to the Kurds and Yazidis, but immediately reopened a new route between Mosul and Raqqa, the Khilafah continues its strategy to call to new people, for example with the publication of a first Nasheed in Mandarin likely aimed at the Hui, Chinese Muslims, however unlikely the Hui as a group may […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 2 (1) – The Joint Arab Force Takes a Side

After having examined the first scenarios – diplomatic negotiations between the Council of Representatives (COR) and General National Congress (GNC) towards peace – with this article we shall begin detailing a second set of scenarios focusing on external intervention and evaluating their likelihood. The organization of the whole series for the future of Libya can be found here. This scenario and its sub-scenarios are grounded in the premises that despite the advocacy of external actors to avoid foreign involvement in Libya’s civil war, consideration of intervention increases as Libya heads closer to a failed state, and as Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida affiliates expand their areas of operation. In our first intervention scenarios category, external actors decide to intervene in […]

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At War against the Islamic State – A Global Theatre of War

Even though the capabilities of the Islamic State have now, in November 2017, changed and been seriously reduced , the understanding and fundamental underlying dynamics at work are still valid and must be considered. Lately, the world has been shaken by large attacks carried out by the Islamic State. On 31 October 2015, Islamic State’s fighters destroyed a Russian plane over the Sinai: “According to our experts, on board an aircraft in flight, an improvised bomb exploded capacity of up to 1 kg of TNT, resulting in an explosion of the aircraft in the air, which explains the spread parts of the fuselage of the aircraft at a distance. We can definitely say that this is a terrorist act” stated officially Alexander Bortnikov, director of Russia’s […]

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