Iraq

Spotlight on Iran (December 16, 2018 – December 30, 2018)

The decision of United States’ (U.S.) President Donald Trump to withdraw American forces from Syria was met in Iran with surprise and satisfaction by most senior officials and commentators. The news of the U.S. withdrawal reverberated in Iraq as well, where the Iranian ambassador declared that his country ended its military presence in Iraq. In late December, a delegation of Hamas’ political bloc in the Palestinian parliament, headed by the senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, visited Tehran/
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 20-26, 2018)

The most important event of the week was the US announcement that it intended to pull out its military personnel from Syria. An ITIC analysis of ISIS’s situation in Syria, Iraq, and the various provinces abroad shows that the organization has not been defeated, even though it was weakened following the collapse of the Islamic Caliphate. After the Caliphate collapsed, ISIS once again changed its methods and adapted itself to the changing realities.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 13-19, 2018)

In eastern Syria, the SDF forces, with Coalition air support, managed to take over most of the city of Hajin (ISIS’s main stronghold in the enclave under its control east of the Euphrates River). ISIS continues its terrorist attacks and guerrilla warfare in in the various provinces in Iraq, despite the preventive actions of the Iraqi security forces.
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Spotlight on Iran (December 2, 2018 – December 16, 2018)

Iran is keeping a low profile with regards to the “Northern Shield” operation carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to destroy Hezbollah tunnels along Israel’s border with Lebanon. The Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)’s Qods Force, Qasem Soleimani, visited Iraq and met with the country’s grand mufti. An extraordinary commentary published in the reformist Iranian paper harshly criticized Hamas
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 6-12, 2018)

In eastern Syria, SDF forces, with massive air and artillery support from the Coalition countries, launched an attack on ISIS in the city of Hajin, ISIS’s stronghold in the enclave north of Albukamal. In the Idlib area incidents continued, consisting mainly of exchanges of artillery fire between the Syrian army and the jihadi rebel organizations. On December 12, 2018, a shooting attack was carried out in the Christmas market in Strasbourg, France. Four people were apparently killed and around 12 wounded
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 29 – December 5, 2018)

In the Idlib area, clashes continued, mainly between the Syrian army and the jihadi organizations. In eastern Syria, the fighting continued between the SDF and ISIS. In Iraq, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) captured Jamal al-Mashhadani, a senior ISIS operative who had held a number of senior positions in Iraq and Syria, and served, inter alia, as governor of the North Baghdad Province and the Kirkuk Province.
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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.