Iraq

Spotlight on Iran (September 8, 2019 – September 22, 2019)

On September 16, the fifth round of talks between the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey concerning Syria’s future was held in Ankara. Dozens of Iranian companies participated in the fifth Damascus International Fair on reconstruction of the country, which was held in the Syrian capital in mid-September. Following attacks attributed to Israel against targets in western Iraq and ongoing escalation between Iran and the United States, Iran and the Shi’ite militias in Iraq are expanding their coordination. Iran rejected U.S. claims about its direct involvement is striking two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on September 14. Despite the responsibility claim by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the United States blamed Iran for the attack, which significantly disrupted Saudi Arabia’s oil output.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 12-18, 2019)

The unilateral ceasefire in the Idlib region declared by the Syrian army (August 31, 2019) was generally maintained and occasionally interrupted by Syrian (and possibly also Russian) airstrikes and artillery fire. In Iraq, ISIS’s terrorist and guerrilla activity continues. In the various provinces in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, ISIS’s “routine” attacks continued. Special attention should be paid to Al-Baghdadi’s calls on the organization’s operatives to attack judges, investigators and security personnel at prisons where ISIS operatives are incarcerated.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 5-11, 2019)

With the exception of several local shooting incidents, as at September 10, 2019, the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Syrian army in the Idlib area is being maintained. According to a report by the Turkish Ministry of Defense, as part of the first phase of the plan to establish the safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border, joint patrols by US and Turkish army forces along the Syria-Turkey border have begun. ISIS’s terrorist and guerilla warfare activities continued in Syria and Iraq. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued to carry out “routine” attacks. This week, attacks were reported in the Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Yemen.
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Spotlight on Iran (August 25 – September 8, 2019)

The responses of senior Iranian officials to the Israeli strike in Syria on August 24, which aimed to stop the launch of attack drones toward Israel, reflected a media strategy intended to prevent Iran’s implication in the operation. In the economic domain, Iran and Syria continue to expand their cooperation in the spheres of finance and trade. The Iranian consul in Erbil met with the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in northern Iraq and discussed ways to expand ties between Iran and the Kurdish region. A senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official declared in an interview with a Palestinian news website that his organization does not take orders, but only support, from Iran.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 29 – September 4, 2019)

On the morning of August 31, 2019, a unilateral ceasefire entered into effect in the Idlib area. The Syrian announcement of a ceasefire was preceded by the takeover of 10 communities, including the town of Al-Tamanah, east of Khan Shaykhun. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s intensive activity continues. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued to carry out “routine” attacks. This week, attacks were reported in the Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Chad, the Philippines, and Yemen.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 22-28, 2019)

During the past week, the Syrian army took over the entire rural area north of Hama. In the meantime, the Turkish force, which arrived in the region on August 19, 2019, continues to establish its presence on Highway M-5. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s intensive activity continues, as does the Iraqi security operation to mop up the northern and western parts of the country. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their “routine” attacks.
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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.