Iraq

Responses in Iran and Initial Assessment of the Impact of Eliminating Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

On January 2, 2020, American drones struck two vehicles in Baghdad ferrying senior commanders of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The strikes killed Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of the Qods Force, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Deputy Commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi (the pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias in Iraq) and several Qods Force and Hashd al-Shaabi members who were in the targeted convoy.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 26, 2019 – January 1, 2020)

The Syrian army’s attack against the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and other rebel organizations, which began on December 20, 2019, subsided this week and came to a (temporary) end on December 26, 2019. As a result of the Syrian army’s advance, residents of Maarat Nu'man and the surrounding rural areas have fled ISIS also carried out intensive activity this week in its provinces overseas, most notably in Borno State in northern Nigeria.
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Spotlight on Iran (December 15, 2019 – December 29, 2019)

Iranian-Israeli confrontation in Syria: Ali-Akbar Velayati, the Senior Adviser on International Affairs of the Supreme Leader of Iran, warned in an interview to a Following a pause lasting eight years, the Iranian Pilgrimage Organization renewed sending Iranian pilgrims to visits in the Shi’ite holy sites in Syria. Iran continues to try and influence the process of appointing a temporary prime minister in Iraq, in an effort to protect Iran’s interests in the country. The Spokesman of Iraq’s Joint Operation’s, that the security cooperation between Iraq, Iran, Russia and Syria is continuing at the highest levels in an effort to maintain stability along the Iraq-Syria border and to prevent ISIS from gaining a foothold in the region.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 12-18, 2019)

In the Syrian arena, ISIS continues its intensive activity, mainly in the area of Al-Mayadeen, in the Euphrates Valley. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS continues its intensive activity, with an emphasis on the Diyala Province north of Baghdad. At the same time, ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their routine activity.
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Spotlight on Iran (December 1 –15, 2019)

Iran is continuing to try to minimize the impact of the ongoing protests in Iraq on Iranian interests in the country, and particularly economic interests. Against the backdrop of ongoing Iranian efforts to entrench its foothold in Albu Kamal, on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Iraqi border, Arab media outlets reported about recent strikes carried out against targets linked to Iran and pro-Iranian militias. A Lebanese news website reported about an unusual deployment of Hezbollah and forces linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Qods Force near the town of Rankous on the Qalamoon mountain range, north of Damascus, ahead of a possible revenge attack in retaliation to IDF strikes in Syria.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 5-11, 2019)

In the Syrian arena, local clashes continued between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations in the Idlib region, accompanied by airstrikes and artillery exchanges, with no significant change in the situation on the ground. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS has continued its intensive activity, mainly in the Diyala Province, north of Baghdad. The most common attacks were mortar shell fire, activation of IEDs, light weapons fire and sniper fire.
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