Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (14-18 September 2017)

Syrian forces are deepening their grip on the Deir ez-Zor region in an effort to encircle the ISIS operatives in the city and sever their logistic supply channels. In talks held in Astana between Russia, Turkey, and Iran another agreement on de-escalation was reached for the Idlib area. This week an IED was detonated on a passenger train in west London.
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Spotlight on Iran (September 10-17, 2017)

Iran, Russia and Turkey continue to hold deliberations concerning the settlement of the war in Syria. Iran is persisting in its intensive diplomatic and public relations offensive against the upcoming referendum on independence of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Iran and Syria signed several agreements on cooperation in the electricity sector, reifying the growing Iranian role in Syria’s economy.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (7-13 September 2017)

This week the battle against ISIS focused on Syria in the Deir ez-Zor area on two fronts concurrently. In Iraq the security forces are continuing their preparations for the taking of Al-Hawija, one of ISIS’ last strongholds in the state. The ISIS information bureaus in the various provinces are expressing the distress the organization is experiencing.
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Spotlight on Iran (August 27 – September 10, 2017)

Senior Iranian officials praised the lifting of the siege from the city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, defining it as “important and strategic”. Meanwhile, Iran is continuing to pursue its diplomatic work vis-à-vis Syria and Russia surrounding the negotiations process. The incoming Iranian Minister of Defense, Amir Hatami, declared upon assuming his position that Iran will continue to provide assistance to the “resistance front,” adding that Iran is capable of expanding the “advisory assistance” it has provided to its proxies.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 31 – September 6 2017)

ISIS continues its string of setbacks: In Syria - the SDF announced they had completed the capture of the Old City of Al-Raqqah. On 2 September 2017 the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the Syrian forces, supported by the Russian air force, completed the capture of Uqayribat. In Iraq, Iraqi Premier Haider al-Abadi announced that Iraqi forces have completed the capture of Tal Afar, ISIS’s last stronghold in northern Iraq. The international coalition fighting ISIS has been preventing, through air strikes, the transit of hundreds of ISIS operatives and their families from the Qalamoun area to eastern Syria.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (24-30 August 2017)

This week Islamic State (ISIS) suffered two more setbacks, tagged onto a string of failures: SIS was forced to agree to a ceasefire with Hezbollah, under which it evacuated its operatives from the West Qalamoun mountains The city of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, fell within a week into the hands of the Iraqi forces and the “Popular Mobilization” (Shiite militias sponsored by Iran).
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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.