Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 5-11, 2019)

With the exception of several local shooting incidents, as at September 10, 2019, the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Syrian army in the Idlib area is being maintained. According to a report by the Turkish Ministry of Defense, as part of the first phase of the plan to establish the safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border, joint patrols by US and Turkish army forces along the Syria-Turkey border have begun. ISIS’s terrorist and guerilla warfare activities continued in Syria and Iraq. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued to carry out “routine” attacks. This week, attacks were reported in the Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Yemen.
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Spotlight on Iran (August 25 – September 8, 2019)

The responses of senior Iranian officials to the Israeli strike in Syria on August 24, which aimed to stop the launch of attack drones toward Israel, reflected a media strategy intended to prevent Iran’s implication in the operation. In the economic domain, Iran and Syria continue to expand their cooperation in the spheres of finance and trade. The Iranian consul in Erbil met with the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in northern Iraq and discussed ways to expand ties between Iran and the Kurdish region. A senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official declared in an interview with a Palestinian news website that his organization does not take orders, but only support, from Iran.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 29 – September 4, 2019)

On the morning of August 31, 2019, a unilateral ceasefire entered into effect in the Idlib area. The Syrian announcement of a ceasefire was preceded by the takeover of 10 communities, including the town of Al-Tamanah, east of Khan Shaykhun. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s intensive activity continues. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued to carry out “routine” attacks. This week, attacks were reported in the Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Chad, the Philippines, and Yemen.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 22-28, 2019)

During the past week, the Syrian army took over the entire rural area north of Hama. In the meantime, the Turkish force, which arrived in the region on August 19, 2019, continues to establish its presence on Highway M-5. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s intensive activity continues, as does the Iraqi security operation to mop up the northern and western parts of the country. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their “routine” attacks.
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Spotlight on Iran (August 11 – August 25, 2019)

In light on the ongoing escalation between Iran and the United States in the Persian Gulf, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, threatened that in the event of a military confrontation between Iran and the United States, Tehran will utilize proxies against the United States and its allies in the region. The spokesman of the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs labeled the understanding reached between the United States and Turkey concerning the establishment of a joint operations room near the Turkish-Syrian border “provocative and concerning.” He reiterated that there is no need for intervention of foreign powers to maintain security in northern Syria. The Iraqi Minister of Interior, Yassin al-Yaseri, visited Tehran in mid-August to discuss the coordination between the two countries ahead of the Arabeen ceremony, the pilgrimage to the Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq. The secretary general of the Iraqi pro-Iranian militia, Kataeb Hezbollah, visited Iran and declared that the Iraqi Shi’ite militias see the leadership of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, as a continuation of the rule of the Prophet Muhammad and the first Shi’ite Imam, Ali.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 15-21, 2019)

This week, the Syrian army forces completed the takeover of the rural area west and northwest of the city of Khan Shaykhun. In view of these developmentsTurkey sent a military convoy that included dozens of armored vehicles and tank transporters. The convoy was attacked from the air, reportedly by Russian and Syrian aircraft. The incident created the first friction of its kind between Turkey, on the one hand, and Russia and Syria on the other. In response to the airstrike, the Turkish foreign minister warned Syria “not to play with fire” In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s terrorist and guerrilla operations in the various provinces continued, in the form of sniper fire, IEDs, and mortar shells. This week as well, Afghanistan was the scene of many of the attacks carried out by ISIS operatives in its provinces in Africa and Asia.
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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.