Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 7-13, 2021)

Last week, ISIS published several infographics, summing up the activity of its provinces in Iraq and Syria in 2020. The Iraqi Province remains the epicenter of ISIS’s activity and reorganization. The Syria Province is in second place among the various provinces in the volume of attacks (593). The West Africa Province (Nigeria and its neighbors): This province ranks third among ISIS’s provinces in the number of attacks (385) and first in terms of the number of fatalities in these attacks. The Sinai Peninsula: In the northern Sinai Peninsula, ISIS operatives continued to carry out successful guerrilla attacks against the Egyptian security forces, which repeatedly failed to provide an effective response to ISIS’s activity. Afghanistan (Khorasan Province): In Afghanistan, ISIS recovered from the blow that it had suffered at the hands of the Afghan army with US support in the Nangarhar Province (southwest of Kabul).
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Spotlight on Iran (December 27, 2020 – January 10, 2021)

Over the past week, ceremonies to commemorate Qasem Soleimani were held in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Gaza. The anniversary of the killing of Soleimani, the Commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was used by Iran and its proxies to stress Iran’s support for the “resistance axis” and the central role Soleimani played in developing the military capabilities of Iran’s proxies in the region, particularly in enlarging and increasing the deadliness of their arsenals rockets and missiles.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 31, 2020 – January 6, 2021)

This year’s Christmas festivities throughout the Christian world, which were held on a limited scale due to the spread of COVID-19, passed without attacks by ISIS supporters, despite their public threats. Routine attacks continued in ISIS’s various provinces in Syria, Iraq and throughout Africa and Europe. Syria: ISIS operatives continued their intensive activity in the desert region west of the Euphrates Valley. Iraq: ISIS’s activity in northern and western Iraq focused on activating IEDs and sniper fire, and attacks on the Iraqi security forces, with no unusual incidents.
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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.