Iraq

Spotlight on Iran (November 4, 2018 – November 18, 2018)

Diplomatic efforts concerning the settlements of the Syrian war continue. In the military domain, on November 9, Syrian sources reported that special forces of the Syrian military in collaboration with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) carried out a raid against a position of the Syrian rebel groups Jaysh al-Izza near Lataminah. A growing Iranian role in religious and economic affairs in the region. Iranian media provided extensive coverage of the events of the past week in the Gaza Strip
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 8-14, 2018)

In the Idlib area, there was an increase in the intensity of the incidents between the Syrian army and the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and other jihadi organizations (dozens of fatalities on both sides). Around the world, terrorist attacks inspired by ISIS or carried out by its operatives continue. In Australia, a stabbing attack was carried out in the city of Melbourne by a member of a Somali immigrant family (one dead passerby and two wounded).
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 1-7, 2018)

Russian spokesmen and the Turkish foreign minister announced that the implementation of the Sochi Agreement was proceeding as planned, without significant interruptions. In ISIS’s former “capital” Al-Raqqah, which was taken over by the SDF about a year ago, ISIS has started increasing its activity. This week as well, showcase attacks continued in ISIS’s provinces outside Syria and Iraq
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Spotlight on Iran (October 21– November 4, 2018)

In a meeting with families of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fighters killed in Syria and Iraq, the Supreme Leader of Iran once again justified Iran’s military involvement in the region. Senior IRGC commanders condemned the decision of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to designate the IRGC. Iranian, Russian and Turkish delegations met in Moscow for another round of talks concerning the settlement of the war in Syria. A Syrian opposition website reported that Iran began the construction of a military base in the Lajat region in Daraa governorate, intended to serve pro-Iranian militias in the region.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 25-31, 2018)

In the Idlib enclave there is still no progress in the establishment of the demilitarized zone. Local clashes occur between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations. In eastern Syria strong fighting continues in the ISIS enclave in the Euphrates Valley. In the al-Ghurabaa’ region fighting was renewed in the al-Safa enclave after a ceasefire which was used for the exchange of prisoners (abducted Druze women in return for the wives of ISIS operatives).
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ISIS’s use of drones in Syria and Iraq and the threat of using them overseas to carry out terrorist attacks

During the years in which it was active in Syria and Iraq, ISIS made extensive use of drones, both for offensive and defensive purposes. It handled the drones to carry out attacks (“explosive drones”), to collect intelligence, and even for propaganda purposes (documenting attacks by suicide bombers in order to disseminate the photos through ISIS’s media foundations).
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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.