Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 5-11, 2018)

The Syrian army is recording achievements in the campaign for the takeover of southern Syria: These steps by the Syrian army were carried out as part of the Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement with the rebel organizations, which was achieved on July 6, 2018. The ceasefire agreement applies to the Daraa area and does not include the Syrian Golan Heights. The military and political moves currently taking place in southern Syria have long-term significance, because they reflect a process of shaping the nature of the borders of the Syrian state vis-à-vis Jordan and Israel
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Spotlight on Iran (June 24 – July 8, 2018)

The campaign in Syria continues to exact a price from Iranian forces. As reports emerge about negotiations between the United States and Russia concerning Syria’s future and military operations intensify in the country, Tehran and Moscow continue to deliberate concerning developments in Syria. While negotiations concerning the establishment of a new government in Baghdad continue apace, the National Security Adviser of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Faleh Fayyad, visited Tehran and met senior Iranian officials. Internal public criticism of Tehran’s policy of investing beyond the country’s borders, and in particular the support for the Assad regime, Hezbollah and the Palestinians is growing in Iran, as Iranian citizens face a worsening economic crisis.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 28 – July 4, 2018)

The main event of this past week was the progress of the Syrian army in the eastern enclave of the rebel organizations (east and northeast of Daraa) with the support of the Russian and Syrian air forces. The Syrian army is supported by Iraqi Shiite militias handled by Iran, but their weight in the Syrian order of battle participating in the campaign appears to be insignificant. In the wake of the fighting, there is a mass exodus of an estimated 270,000 displaced persons (UN website, updated to July 2, 2018).
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 21-27, 2018)

The battle in southern Syria has begun: After a few weeks of preparation, the Syrian army launched an attack against the rebel organizations in southern Syria. The attack is concentrated on a rebel-controlled enclave northeast of Daraa, extending from the Syrian-Jordanian border to a distance of about 70 km northwards. The objective of the attack, in the ITIC’s assessment, is to divide the enclave by taking over the village of Basr al-Harir (located around 40 km from the Syrian-Jordanian border).
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 14-20, 2018)

The Syrian army continued reinforcing its troops in the Daraa region and preparing for an attack in southern Syria. On June 18, 2018, an airstrike was carried out near the city of Albukamal against Iraqi Shiite militias - handled by Iran on Syrian soil. ISIS continued its intensive terror and guerrilla activity in Afghanistan
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Spotlight on Iran (June 10 – June 21, 2018)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asserted once again that Iran’s military presence in Syria is limited to that of “advisers” alone. The Commander of the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, labeled the results of the latest elections in Lebanon “a great victory” for Hezbollah. Iran continues to maintain political and security coordination with its partners in the campaigns in Syria and Iraq.
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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.