ISIS’s current strategy: Relinquishing territorial control and focusing on intensifying local activity in the various provinces, mainly in Iraq

ISIS’s activity in the past year has been marked by efforts to recover from two severe blows that it suffered (the collapse of the Islamic State and the killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi). These blows damaged its military and financial capabilities, eroded the “ISIS brand” which had been cultivated for years, and forced it into a process of changing its operating methods and the goals that it had set for itself.

Spotlight on Iran (July 12, 2020 – July 26, 2020)

For the first time since signing an agreement for military and security cooperation with Syria on July 8, Iranian officials made comments with regards to the agreement. Under the deal, Iran will provide Syria with advanced air defense systems. The spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces threatened that if Israel persists with its “criminal acts,” it will experience Iran’s mighty response. At the center of Iranian political efforts over the past week were the first visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kazimi, to Tehran, and the visit of the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to Baghdad. The Israeli General Security Service (Shin Bet) uncovered and arrested a cell of the Palestinian Popular Front, which intended to carry out attacks with Iranian financing and involvement.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 16-22, 2020)

The ceasefire is being maintained in the Idlib region of northern Syria, apart from isolated incidents between the warring sides. This week, an outbreak of COVID-19 was reported in the Idlib region. The main terrorist attack in Syria was a car bomb explosion near the Syrian-Turkish border crossing. In the Iraq Province, low-intensity activity took place this week. In the Sinai Peninsula, a large-scale combined attack was carried out against an Egyptian army camp and checkpoint west of Bir al-Abd.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 9-15, 2020)

The ceasefire is being maintained in the Idlib region of northern Syria, but there has been an increase in the number and severity of local incidents between the warring sides. In the Iraq Province, ISIS’s main area of activity, ISIS’s attacks continued, mainly the activation of IEDs against the Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias (the Popular Mobilization). This week, Nigeria was the most active of ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia.

Kataeb Hezbollah: Profile of a Shiite-Iraqi militia handled by the Qods Force to promote Iranian interests in Iraq (Full Version)

Kataeb Hezbollah (“Hezbollah Brigades”) is a radical Shiite militia of a clearly anti-American nature with a Khomeinist ideology. It was established by the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in 2007 in southern Iraq with the objective of fighting against the US army and ousting it from Iraq. It is the most prominent among the Shiite militias handled by Iran, prioritized in military and financial support from the IRGC’s Qods Force.

Iran faces growing Challenges in Iraq but is determined to further Its vital interests

Iraq was and remains a particularly important arena for Iran’s regional policies and national security concerns. Iran shares its longest and most strategic border with Iraq, which Iran considers to be its “backyard.” Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Tehran has worked to ensure that its neighbor to the east maintains its territorial integrity, under Shia dominance, and under Iran’s sway. Iran sees its involvement in Iraq as a vital tool for preserving its influence in the country.

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