Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 18-25, 2018)

The main event of the week was the expansion of the Syrian regime’s control over the Damascus region. On April 19, 2018, the Syrian army and the forces supporting it launched a campaign to take over the southern neighborhoods of Damascus, which are under ISIS’s control. The main event in ISIS’s provinces abroad this week was a multi-casualty suicide bombing attack in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 12-17, 2018)

With the takeover of the city of Duma and the evacuation of the last fighters from its territory, the Syrian army effectively completed the takeover of eastern Al-Ghouta. Now the Syrian army and the forces supporting it are shifting the center of operations to the Al-Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus. In Iraq, the security forces continued to operate against a number of areas where pockets of ISIS operatives remained. The Egyptian security forces, which have been working for around two months to eradicate the presence of ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, suffered losses in an attempt by ISIS operatives to infiltrate one of the army bases in Sinai.
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Spotlight on Iran (March 29 – April 15, 2018)

Seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) cadres, including a senior commander with the rank of colonel in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operation of the IRGC, were killed last week in an airstrike on the Syrian Air Force Base T-4. Bolstering of the Iran-Russia axis: Iran and Russia held discussions on the escalation in Syria. Iran stood by Syria following the chemical weapons attack on Douma by the Assad regime, and the United States’ threat to respond militarily to this attack. in a meeting with representatives of the electoral bloc formed by leaders of some of the Shi’ite pro-Iranian militias ahead of the elections. The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Javad Zarif, held a phone call with the Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, against the backdrop of the “Marches of Return” in Gaza. Zarif emphasized to Haniyeh Iran’s support for the Palestinians
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 22-28, 2018)

The Syrian forces took control of most of eastern Al-Ghouta and are completing its takeover from the rebel organizations. In the north, the Turkish army and the Syrian forces supporting it are completing the takeover of the Afrin enclave. In addition to the fighting being waged by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, its supporters abroad continue to carry out ISIS-inspired attacks in Western countries, proving that the jihadi ideology and the ISIS brand are still highly attractive.
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Spotlight on Iran (March 18 – March 28, 2018)

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, used his annual speech on the occasion of the Iranian New Year (Nowruz) to justify, once again, Iran’s regional involvement. The growing dissatisfaction in Iran due to the obstacles placed by Baghdad and Damascus, which are frustrating Tehran’s efforts to cement its economic influence in those countries, has now manifested in Friday sermons as well. Tehran continues to apprehensively monitor the improvement in relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of the looming visit of the Saudi crown prince to Baghdad.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 15-21, 2018)

In eastern Al-Ghouta, the Syrian army continued to attack the three enclaves of the rebel groups, whose territory is shrinking. According to Syrian sources, around 75% of the area of eastern Al-Ghouta has been taken over by the Syrian Army. On March 18, 2018, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the Turkish army and the Syrian forces cooperating with it had completed the takeover of the city of Afrin, in northwestern Syria. Kurdish fighters from the SDF forces have moved from the lower Euphrates Valley to the enclave of Afrin in order to take part in the fighting against the Turkish army.
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Iraq

The Republic of Iraq (الجمهورية العراقية – Al-Jumhūrīyya Al-‘Irāqīyya) borders with Turkey in the north, Syria and Jordan in the west, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the south, and Iran in the east. Iraq has a population of over 31 million, the vast majority of whom are Arabs (97% Muslim, 65% Shiite and 35% Sunni). In northeastern Iraq there is an autonomous Kurdish entity known as Iraqi Kurdistan. There are no relations between the State of Israel and Iraq, and Iraq refuses to recognize Israel.

After the Iraq war, the country was run by a coalition of countries that had invaded Iraq, headed by the United States. In 2005, civilian control was transferred to the interim Iraqi government that was appointed after a general election for a temporary parliament, which was held for the first time in the history of Iraq. In 2006, a permanent Shiite government was formed, and thus a change of government took place in Iraq, which had been in the hands of the Sunnis up to that time. In December 2011, the last American soldiers stationed in Iraq left the country.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, a branch of Al-Qaeda was established in Iraq, headed by Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi. This branch later evolved into ISIS. This branch, which enjoyed widespread support among the Sunni population in Iraq, carried out terrorist attacks directed against Shiite civilians and against the Iraqi regime. In 2014, in the city of Mosul, ISIS declared the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate and took control of vast areas in western and northwestern Iraq, with the intention of taking control of the Iraqi capital Baghdad as well. In the years that followed, through efforts by the Iraqi security forces and local militias supported by the United States, these areas were liberated and ISIS slowly began to lose its power.