Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 19-25, 2020)

In the Idlib region, exchanges of artillery fire continued between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations, mainly Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their routine activity. Noteworthy examples: Syria: This week, ISIS’s intensive activity in the desert regions of eastern Syria continued. Iraq: A police officer with the rank of colonel was ambushed and killed along with nine other policemen in the Salah al-Din Province.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 12-18, 2020)

In the Idlib region, routine incidents continued between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations, chiefly Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The incidents included artillery exchanges, Russian airstrikes, and sniper fire. One noteworthy attack by ISIS’s provinces this week was the detonation of an IED at a cemetery in Jeddah during a memorial service commemorating the end of World War I. ISIS continued its routine activities in its other provinces in Asia and Africa.
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Spotlight on Iran (November 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020)

The Senior Adviser to the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali-Asghar Khaji visited Damascus and met with President Assad and discussed the ongoing negotiations process concerning the settlement of the war in Syria, regional developments and bilateral relations. The Iranian deputy minister of defense visited Baghdad at the helm of a delegation made up of senior military and security officials, and met with high-ranking Iraqi officials, chief among them the national security adviser and the Iraqi minister of interior. Growing Iranian concerns about efforts to stymie its economic activity in Syria and Iraq. Iranian media outlets reported that the agreement, reached during the visit to Iraq of the governor of the Iranian Central Bank concerning the release of Iranian funds frozen in Iraqi banks, is gradually being implemented.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 5-11, 2020)

In the Idlib region, exchanges of artillery fire continued between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations, mainly Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). ISIS continues its routine activity in the various provinces. At the propaganda level, ISIS’s campaign for terrorist attacks against the West in general, and France in particular, continues. This included posters on Instagram in Arabic, English and French, showing Europe/the West going up in smoke and the Eiffel Tower in ruins.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 29- November 4, 2020)

The main event of the week was a shooting attack in the Vienna city center, carried out by a young ISIS supporter of Albanian descent who grew up in Austria. In addition, two terrorist attacks were carried out in France this week, as part of the wave of jihadi terrorism following the beheading of a history teacher. Concurrently with the wave of jihadi terrorist attacks, ISIS is conducting a media campaign calling its supporters to carry out terrorist attacks against Western countries in general and France in particular. As part of this campaign, ISIS supporters were called on to carry out attacks in every possible way: using bombs, knives, bullets, vehicles “and even kicking or punching.”
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Spotlight on Iran (October 18, 2020 – November 1, 2020)

The new Iranian trade center was officially inaugurated in Damascus. The Representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader to Syria, Abolfazl Tabatabaei Ashkezari, completed his tenure in Syria and was replaced by Hamid Saffar Harandi. The U.S. Treasury Department announced the imposition of sanctions on the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi. In late October, the secretary general of the Iraqi Shia pro-Iranian militia, Harakat al-Nujabaa’, visited Tehran and met with senior Iranian officials. Iran appointed - for the first time after five years - Hassan Eyrolou, its new ambassador to Yemen.
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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.