Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 15-21, 2021)

Syria: Idlib region – 10 soldiers were killed and several others were wounded in exchanges of artillery fire between the Syrian army and the rebels. Iraq: One noteworthy attack this week was a deadly attack carried out by ISIS operatives on the eve of Eid al-Adha in a crowded open market in a Shiite neighborhood in east Baghdad. Africa: ISIS announced the resumption of hostilities between its operatives and the joint forces of Mozambique, South Africa and Portugal in the Palma region, northeast of Mozambique. Afghanistan: ISIS operatives continued to attack government and Taliban targets.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 8 –14, 2021)

Syria: In the Idlib region, several wanted ISIS operatives were arrested as part of a counterterrorism operation carried out by HTS, the dominant organization in the rebel enclave. Iraq: This week, ISIS’s activity focused on the electricity infrastructure as part of what it calls its economic war. Africa: Most ISIS’s activity this week focused on Nigeria. Afghanistan: The Taliban movement continues to take over large areas of the country following the pullback of the international forces from the country and the weakness of the local government. The battle for hearts and minds: This week, the main article in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly dealt with the failure of the International Coalition against ISIS to defeat the organization, against the backdrop of the June 2021 summit in Rome.
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Spotlight on Iran (June 24, 2021 – July 8, 2021)

The President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, spoke on the phone with Iranian President-Elect, Ebrahim Raisi, and wished him success in his role. The two stressed the need to bolster cooperation between the two countries and to maintain coordination between them. In light on the ongoing confrontation between the United States and Shia militias along the Syria-Iraq border, the commander of Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), condemned the American presence in the region. The Iranian embassy in Beirut issued a statement insisting that the arrival of oil tankers from Iran to Lebanon does not require approval by the United States. In a TV interview, the former head of Hamas’ Politburo, Khaled Mashal, confirmed once again that Iran provides Hamas with weaponry and technology. He added, however, that Hamas is interested in also improving its ties with Saudi Arabia.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 1-7, 2021)

Syria: In the Idlib region, exchanges of fire continued between the Syrian army and the rebels. In one incident (July 3, 2021), eight people were killed by Syrian army gunfire. The fatalities included six children and one woman. Iraq: This week as well, ISIS operated in the various provinces in Iraq, but there has been a decrease in the number of attacks. The Sinai Peninsula: According to Gazan sources, a Palestinian from Rafah who joined ISIS several years ago was killed in an exchange of fire with Egyptian soldiers in the Bir al-Abd region.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 24-30, 2021)

Syria: The exchanges of artillery fire between the Syrian army and the rebel forces in the Idlib enclave continued this week. Iraq: ISIS continued to attack targets of the Iraqi security forces. Sinai: The province's activity against the Egyptian security forces was relatively limited this week. In one noteworthy attack, two soldiers were killed by an IED south of Bir al-Abd, in northern Sinai. In Africa, the relative downtrend in ISIS’s activity continues. Afghanistan: ISIS’s activity continued, mainly against Afghan government targets. One noteworthy incident this week was an attack on economic targets (an oil tanker and a high-voltage pylon) as part of what ISIS calls its economic war.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 17 – 23 2021)

This week, ISIS’s activity in the various provinces continued at a "routine" level: Syria: Tension returned to the rebel enclave in Idlib after the Syrian army intensified its artillery fire, possibly in preparation for a ground attack. Iraq: ISIS has stepped up its activity in what it calls its economic war. As part of this activity, ISIS operatives targeted high-voltage pylons and refineries. Sinai: In the Sinai Province, ISIS has stepped up its activity against the Egyptian army. Afghanistan: ISIS’s activity in Afghanistan continues. Africa: The downtrend in ISIS’s activity in Africa continues. The battle for hearts and minds: On June 21, 2021, ISIS’s Al-Furqan Media Foundation released an audiotape of the speech by ISIS Spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qurashi.
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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.