Iraq

Spotlight on Iran (January 7- January 21, 2018)

The intention of the United States to establish a military force, comprised of its allies the Syrian Democratic Forces. The fissures between Iran, Turkey and Russia over the settlement of the war in Syria are increasingly apparent. Iran is showing greater interest in Iraq, as the Iraqi political arena shifts gears ahead of the upcoming general elections, set to be held in May 2018.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 11-17, 2018)

In Syria, the fighting continued in the area between Hama and the Abu Ad-Duhur military airbase, the interim target of the campaign to take over the Idlib region. In Iraq, a multi-casualty suicide bombing attack was carried out in central Baghdad (26 killed, 95 wounded
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 4-10, 2018)

The Syrian forces, with Russian air support, continued the campaign to take over the Idlib area, which is controlled by the rebel organizations (under the leadership of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham). This week, ISIS’s Sinai Province released a video filmed in northern Sinai severely criticizing the “infidel” Hamas.
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In view of its financial problems, ISIS is selling coins that it minted at the time of the Islamic State. Payment for the coins is madevia an international clearing system.

On December 26, 2017, ISIS’s Haqq website published an article stating that coins minted by the Islamic State were being sold on “one of the sites on the Internet” (without mentioning the site’s name or address). The article states: “One of the news sites [on the Internet] published an advertisement [for] the purchase of every [type] of dinar currency minted by the Islamic State. The website notes that payment for the coins is via PayPal."
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Spotlight on Iran (December 24, 2017 – January 7, 2018)

The protests that erupted in Iran in late December brought to the surface, once again, the internal public criticism surrounding the immense investments of the Iranian regime outside of its borders. Following the failure of the referendum initiative in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran is moving to restore normality in its activities in northern Iraq. In the Palestinian arena, Iran is increasing its support for Hamas.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 28, 2017 – January 3, 2018)

In Syria, clashes continued in the eastern part of the Idlib Province between the Syrian forces and the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham. In ISIS’s provinces abroad and in other countries, attacks by ISIS operatives or those who identify with ISIS (ISIS-inspired attacks) continue. In ISIS’s provinces abroad and in other countries, attacks by ISIS operatives or those who identify with ISIS (ISIS-inspired attacks) continue.
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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.