Iraq

The significance of the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Initial assessment)

The killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdad by an elite American force is a serious blow to ISIS. A charismatic, authoritarian leader, he was the dominant figure in the ISIS leadership. His uniqueness was his unsuccessful attempt, the first of its kind, to establish an Islamic Caliphate, here and now, which would restore to Islam the glory of its beginnings.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 7-23, 2019)

On October 9, 2019, the Turkish army and the rebel organizations that it supports launched a large-scale operation in northeastern Syria. The Turkish invasion is expected to increase the scope of ISIS’s activity in the Syrian arena, with emphasis on the Kurdish-controlled areas. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS resumed its attacks after a brief lull (October 5-15, 2019). The reasons for the lull are still unclear. The attacks focused on the Diyala Province, and most of the activity took the form of detonating IEDs and sniper fire. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their “routine” activity.
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Spotlight on Iran (October 6, 2019 – October 20, 2019)

Iran condemned the Turkish invasion of northern Syria and demanded that Turkey halt the operation. Iranian officials and media have been presenting the wave of protests that rocked Iraq in early October as a sign of a “Western plot” and blamed the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Western media for fanning the flames of the protests. In mid-October, over three million Iranian pilgrims arrived in Iraq to mark the ‘Arbaeen holy day, which marks the end of the 40 mourning days of the death of the Shia Imam Hussein (marked on the ‘Ashoura holy day).
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Iran’s Conduct in Recent Months Indicates a Shift to Direct Military Action over Use of Proxies

Since abandoning its “strategic patience” policy in May 2019, which Iran adopted following the announcement by U.S. President, Donald Trump, in May 2018, to withdraw from the JCPOA and re-impose sanctions against it, Tehran initiated a number of offensive operations in the Persian Gulf region
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 26 – October 6, 2019)

The unilateral ceasefire in the Idlib region declared by the Syrian army continues. Intensive guerilla activity by ISIS continues in the Euphrates Valley, in the area of Al-Raqqah and in the area between Deir ez-Zor and Albukamal. In the northern Sinai Peninsula, ISIS continues its high-intensity terrorist and guerrilla activities against the Egyptian security forces and local residents who collaborate with them. Apart from Egypt, noteworthy activity took place in two provinces: In the states of Borno and Yobe, in northwestern Nigeria and Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan,
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Spotlight on Iran (September 22 – October 6, 2019)

Recently, the official website of the Supreme Leader of Iran uncharacteristically published photos documenting a meeting of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, and the Commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani. Iranian media reported extensively about the re-opening of the Albu Kamal-al-Qaem border crossing between Iraq and Syria. The Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi, threatened that Iran will strike American forces stationed in Iraq if the U.S. carries out an attack against it. The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Mohammad Baqeri, confirmed that Iran is providing assistance in the form of military advice to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. He denied, however, the allegations that Iran is transferring missiles to Yemen.
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