Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 10-16, 2019)

The ISIS-controlled enclave on the east bank of the Euphrates River is gradually shrinking. The evacuation of the Kurdish and American forces from Manbij continued. In the Idlib area, the jihadi organization the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham continues to take over areas controlled by other jihadi organizations and rebel organizations affiliated with Turkey. The United States officially announced that it had begun withdrawing its troops from Syria.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 3-9, 2019)

Following is an overview of the situation on the ground in Syria, against the backdrop of President Trump’s announcement of the pullback of US military personnel: In the enclave controlled by ISIS on the east bank of the Euphrates River, fierce fighting continues between ISIS and the SDF forces (with US and Coalition air support). The city of Hajin, ISIS’s stronghold, has not yet been mopped up, and fighting is still ongoing there. Fighting also continued in the town of Al-Sha'fah, north of Albukamal. According to reports, the SDF forces took over half of the town and the fighting was still ongoing.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 27, 2018 – January 2, 2019)

Around two weeks after President Trump announced the pull-out of the American soldiers from Syria, the attention of the key players in the Syrian arena was diverted to eastern and northern Syria/ In the city of Hajin and its environs, the SDF campaign against ISIS continues. The Kurdish-controlled city of Manbij, is attracting considerable political and military attention in the wake of the Trump statement. In the Idlib area, incidents between the Syrian army and jihadi organizations continue. According to Arab media, the Americans have begun to evacuate their soldiers from Syria to the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
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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.