Iraq

Spotlight on Iran (August 27 – September 10, 2017)

Senior Iranian officials praised the lifting of the siege from the city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, defining it as “important and strategic”. Meanwhile, Iran is continuing to pursue its diplomatic work vis-à-vis Syria and Russia surrounding the negotiations process. The incoming Iranian Minister of Defense, Amir Hatami, declared upon assuming his position that Iran will continue to provide assistance to the “resistance front,” adding that Iran is capable of expanding the “advisory assistance” it has provided to its proxies.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 31 – September 6 2017)

ISIS continues its string of setbacks: In Syria - the SDF announced they had completed the capture of the Old City of Al-Raqqah. On 2 September 2017 the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the Syrian forces, supported by the Russian air force, completed the capture of Uqayribat. In Iraq, Iraqi Premier Haider al-Abadi announced that Iraqi forces have completed the capture of Tal Afar, ISIS’s last stronghold in northern Iraq. The international coalition fighting ISIS has been preventing, through air strikes, the transit of hundreds of ISIS operatives and their families from the Qalamoun area to eastern Syria.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (24-30 August 2017)

This week Islamic State (ISIS) suffered two more setbacks, tagged onto a string of failures: SIS was forced to agree to a ceasefire with Hezbollah, under which it evacuated its operatives from the West Qalamoun mountains The city of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, fell within a week into the hands of the Iraqi forces and the “Popular Mobilization” (Shiite militias sponsored by Iran).
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Iran in the Post-Islamic State Era: Aims, Opportunities and Challenges

The “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria is undergoing a process of disintegration and ISIS will return to its “natural state” of a jihadist terror organization, not a “state” with territorial borders. The defeats experienced by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, central among them the loss of Mosul, the battle in Raqqa and the advances of Syrian forces in Deir Ezzor, create new opportunities for Iran to increase its influence in Syria, Iraq and the entire Middle East.
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Spotlight on Iran (August 13 – 27, 2017)

As part of the growing Iranian involvement in Syria’s economy, about 30 Iranian companies took part in the international trade fair, held in mid-August in Damascus Iran continues to watch the upcoming independence referendum in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Tehran continues to warily monitor the efforts of Saudi Arabia to improve its relations with Iraq and senior Shi'ite leaders, chief among them the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who visited the kingdom in late July.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 17 – 23, 2017)

ISIS, which is facing growing pressure in Syria and Iraq, claimed responsibility for three terrorist attacks this week. It is unclear whether there is a connection between the attacks in these countries. On the ground, the pressure on ISIS continues.
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