Iraq

The Collapse of the Islamic State: What Comes Next?

On the ground, the Islamic State no longer exists as a functioning territorial entity. It has lost almost all of its territories, including its "capital cities" of Mosul and Raqqa, as well as its core territories along the Euphrates in Iraq and Syria. Apparently, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's vision of an Islamic Caliphate has come to an end, at least for the time being, although ISIS still maintains a presence in Syria and Iraq, and will continue to exist.
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Spotlight on Iran (October 29 – November 12, 2017)

Iranian reactions to the resignation of the Lebanese prime minister. In light of the Assad regime’s gains in the campaign against ISIS, Iran is persisting with its effort vis-à-vis the leaderships of Syria and Russia to shape the Syrian arena. In Iraq, Iran has intensified its efforts to increase its economic foothold in the post-ISIS era.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 26 – November 1, 2017)

A ramming attack was carried out this week in New York City (Lower Manhattan) on a bicycle path, by means of a rented pickup truck. In Syria and Iraq, Syrian and Iraqi forces are advancing in the Euphrates Valley in order to take over the last remaining “core areas” along the Euphrates River still under ISIS’s control, in the area between Rawa and Al-Qaim (Iraq) and Abu Kamal (Syria). In the ITIC’s assessment, the return of the foreign fighters to their home countries is expected to pose a serious security problem.
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Spotlight on Iran (October 15-29, 2017)

At the center of events of the past two weeks was the visit to Syria of the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri. Alongside its military effort, Iran is acting to increase its reliagious influence in Syria. The visit of the Commander of the Qods Force of the IRGC, Qasem Soleimani, to the Kurdish region in northern Iraq was at the center of events in Iraq.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 19-25, 2017)

The predominantly Kurdish SDF officially announced this week that the city of Al-Raqqah had been fully liberated. The United States and the Kurds are trying to enlist the Saudis to assist in the rebuilding of Al-Raqqah. This week, around 200 ISIS operatives were evacuated from the town of Al-Qaryatayn, southeast of Homs.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 3-18, 2017)

Over the past week, the rapid collapse of the Islamic State, which is about to lose its last remaining strongholds in Syria and Iraq, has accelerated. In the face of ISIS’s defeats in Syria and Iraq, the operational capabilities of ISIS’s Sinai Province are noteworthy.
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Previous years bulletins

2017

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.