Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 31 – November 6, 2019)

On October 31, 2019, four days after the killing of ISIS leader Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS’s new spokesman officially announced the appointment of a new Caliph, codenamed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. An audiotape released by ISIS’s new spokesman calls on Muslims around the world to pledge allegiance to ISIS’s new leader and to rally around him. Even after the killing of Al-Baghdadi, ISIS’s intensive activity in Syria continues, mainly attacks against the Kurdish military force (SDF). The “routine” attacks in ISIS’s other provinces around the world continued this week, albeit at a relatively low level of intensity.
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ISIS announces appointment of new leader in place of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

On October 31, 2019, four days after the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS’s spokesman officially announced the appointment of a new leader (Caliph) for the organization, codenamed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. ISIS has refrained from revealing the real name and identity of the new leader, but in the ITIC’s assessment, he is an Iraqi senior ISIS operative. According to the spokesman, the decision on the appointment of the new leader was made the Shura Council, ISIS’s supreme institution which is authorized to make such significant decisions.
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Spotlight on Iran (October 20 – November 3, 2019)

The responses of Iranian official to the assassination of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, reflected an Iranian attempt to minimize the significance of the American action and attribute it to domestic political calculations in the United States. Iran welcomed the agreement reached between the Russian and Turkish presidents concerning the withdrawal of Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria. Following the protests in Lebanon and Iraq, Iranian officials, chief among them Supreme Leader Khamenei, blamed the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia for fomenting the protests. Against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to end the war in Yemen, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs met in Tehran the spokesman of the Houthi rebels in Yemen and discussed the latest developments in the country and ongoing political negotiations concerning the settlement of the war in Yemen.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 24-30, 2019)

The main event of the week was the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by an elite force of the US Army in northwestern Syria, near the border with Turkey. A few hours after the killing of Al-Baghdadi, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir was also killed. Even after the killing of Al-Baghdadi, ISIS’s routine activity on the ground continued in Syria and Iraq and in the various provinces in Africa and Asia.
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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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