Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 8-14, 2019)

Following the collapse of the ceasefire in the Idlib region, the Syrian army launched a series of ground attacks in several zones. In the Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria, ISIS continues its increased activity in the area of Al-Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor–Al-Mayadeen. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s terrorist and guerrilla activity in the various provinces continues, as does the widespread operation by the Iraqi security forces to mop up northern and western Iraq. On August 3-11, 2019, ISIS carried out its Raids of Attrition Campaign, which is intended to encourage ISIS’s supporters and to reinforce the message that ISIS is enhancing its presence and activity around the globe.
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Spotlight on Iran (July 28 – August 11, 2019)

In late July, the Commander of the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, visited the Albu Kamal crossing connecting Syria and Iraq and met with commanders of pro-Iranian militias in the region. In the economic sphere, Iran is preparing to participate in the international fair set to be held in Damascus soon. In early August, a delegation of high-ranking commanders of the Iraqi Shi’ite pro-Iranian militia, Harakat al-Nujaba’, visited Iran. Recent reports about the visit of the Hamas delegation to Tehran at the end of July indicate that during the visit, the representatives of Iran and Hamas agreed to expand cooperation between them. These reports indicate that Iran promised Hamas to advocate on its behalf with the Syrian regime, to allow Hamas’ leadership to return to Damascus and improve relations between the Palestinian faction and the Syrian leadership, after the rift emerged between the two sides following the outbreak of the civil war in Syria.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 1-7, 2019)

On August 2, 2019, the Syrian army announced a ceasefire in the Idlib area following the statement that was made by participants of the Astana meeting (August 1, 2019). The Astana statement called for a calm on the ground in the Idlib area based on the implementation of the Sochi Memorandum The ceasefire lasted four days until the Syrian army announced the resumption of military activity. Following the Syrian army’s announcement, exchanges of fire in the Idlib area resumed. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s intensive activity in the various provinces continues. On August 3, 2019, ISIS renewed its Raids of Attrition campaign in Syria, Iraq and the various provinces around the globe. Intensive activity in Afghanistan was the major part of ISIS’s attacks around the globe. In addition, “routine” attacks by ISIS operatives continued in the Sinai Peninsula, Nigeria, Niger, Mozambique, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Yemen.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 25-31, 2019)

The Syrian army managed to record an achievement in the Idlib area after many weeks of being bogged down. At the same time, ISIS’s process of recovery in Syria continued. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS continues its intensive terrorist and guerrilla activity in the various provinces. ISIS’s routine activity in the various overseas provinces and regions continued
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Spotlight on Iran (July 14 – July 28, 2019)

The former commander of Iranian forces in Syria revealed for the first time details from the meeting between the Commander of the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, and Russian President Putin in the summer of 2015. In mid-July, the Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs to the Chairman of the Majlis, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, paid a visit to Syria and Lebanon and met with senior officials from both countries. On July 22, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, arrived for a visit in Tehran and met with President Rouhani. The spokesman of the Popular Mobilization Units (al-Hashd al-Shaabi), the pro-Iranian Iraqi militias, denied the reports about presence of Iranian forces in the Amerli base in northern Iraq. A senior delegation of Hamas officials, led by the Deputy Head of the Political Bureau of the organization, Saleh al-Arouri, visited Tehran and met high-ranking Iranian officials.
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Syria is preparing to open the new, upgraded Albukamal Border Crossing with Iraq, with Iran support. The crossing is expected to serve as an Iranian land bridge through Iraq to Syria and from there to Lebanon.

The Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese media recently reported that preparations were made to open the Albukamal border crossing between Syria and Iraq. So far no formal statement has been issued regarding the date of its opening. According to a number of reports the crossing is supposed to open within two months. The preparations included security coordination meetings held in Damascus and attended by high-ranking Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian military commanders.
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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.