Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 17-23, 2020)

In the Idlib region, there was an increase in the intensity of the incidents this week. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their routine activity. Syria – ISIS’s intensive activity continued in the Euphrates Valley and in the desert region to its east (activating IEDs, shooting at vehicles, targeted killings, attacking military facilities and positions). Iraq – most of the activity centered on the provinces of Diyala and Kirkuk (sniper fire, activating IEDs, attacking facilities and security forces). In the northern Sinai Peninsula, relative calm prevailed in the conflict zone in the Bir al-Abd-Rabi’a region. ISIS is using its media to leverage its achievements in northern Sinai. ISIS continued to carry out guerrilla warfare against the Egyptian army in the regions of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah.
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Spotlight on Iran (September 6, 2020 – September 20, 2020 )

The Adviser to the Speaker of the Majlis on International Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, declared that Syria continues to be a strategic matter for Iran, and that relations between the two countries are a “red line” that Iran will not allow anyone to cross. In mid-September, Iranian media outlets published the image of the Commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Esmail Qa’ani, during a prayer in Sayyeda Zainab south of Damascus. In mid-September, the former Iraqi Prime Minister and the Head of the State of Law Coalition, Nouri al-Maliki, arrived for a visit in Iran for medical treatment and meetings with senior Iranian officials, including the secretary general of the Supreme National Security Council, the adviser to the supreme leader on international affairs, and the speaker of the Majlis.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 10-16, 2020)

Syria: ISIS operatives ambushed an Al-Quds Brigade force carrying out searches in the desert region west of Deir ez-Zor. Many casualties were reported. Iraq: This is the second week that there has been a decrease in ISIS’s activity and an increase in the Iraqi security forces’ counterterrorist measures. Northern Sinai: ISIS continues its intensive activity against the Egyptian security forces in northern Sinai.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 3-9, 2020)

Syria: in the Idlib area, routine incidents continued, consisting mainly of exchanges of artillery fire between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations, chiefly the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham. In Iraq, the intensity of ISIS’s attacks this week decreased, after several weeks of intensive activity. However, the Iraq Province continues to be the epicenter of ISIS’s activity. In northern Sinai, the Egyptian army appears to have regained control of most of the area of Rabi’a. In Mozambique, the security forces of Tanzania and Mozambique failed to regain control of the port of Mocimboa da Praia, in the northeast of the country. According to ISIS, 20 Tanzanian soldiers were killed or wounded in the failed counterattack.
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Spotlight on Iran (August 23, 2020 – September 6, 2020 )

The deliberations concerning the settlement of the war in Syria have resumed as part of the ongoing Astana Process: a delegation headed by the senior adviser to the Iranian minister of foreign affairs, which visited Damascus in mid-August, met in Geneva with the Turkish deputy foreign minister, and with the special representative of the Russian president to Syria. In late August, the Iranian deputy of the minister of defense and executive director of the organization for social security of the armed forces of Iran visited Syria. The visit of the Iraqi prime minister to Washington, as part of the strategic dialogue between Iraq and the United States, aroused criticism in Tehran. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, lambasted the normalization deal reached between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, calling it “a betrayal of the Muslim world, the Arab world, the countries of the region and Palestine.”
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 27 – September 2, 2020)

ISIS's provinces in Asia and Africa continue their routine activities. ISIS continues its intensive attacks detonating IEDs, carrying out targeted killings, firing mortars and attacking posts and facilities of the Iraqi security forces. Egyptian security forces attacked ISIS operatives in the five villages in the Rabi'a area occupied by ISIS on July 21, 2020. ISIS operatives took control of an important port in the northeastern part of the country on August 12, 2020.
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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.