Iraq

Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 23-29, 2020)

The Syrian forces, with Russian air support, took the initiative once again and carried out attacks in the Idlib region this week. ISIS continued its activity in the Euphrates Valley and the Al-Hasakah region in eastern and northeastern Syria. This week, ISIS carried out intensive activity in the provinces outside its core countries, i.e., Iraq and Syria. The most prominent attacks were carried out in northern Sinai and Africa (mainly in northeastern Nigeria and in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo). On January 27, 2020, ISIS’s new spokesman released an audiotape which included an unusual and explicit call on ISIS operatives in Sinai and Syria to attack Israeli communities
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Profile of Haji Abdullah, who succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as ISIS’s new leader

British daily The Guardian has recently disclosed the identity of ISIS’s new leader who succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (who died in a targeted killing by the United States on October 27, 2019). According to The Guardian, the new leader’s name is Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, and his codename is Haji Abdullah or Abdullah al-Qardash (The Guardian, January 20, 2020).
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Spotlight on Iran (January 12, 2020 – January 26, 2020)

il Qa’ani was officially appointed as the new commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) instead of Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated on January 3. Iranian-Syrian deliberations: in mid-January, a delegation headed by the Syrian Prime Minister, Imad Khamis, visited Tehran and met with senior Iranian regime officials, chief among them the president of Iran. A Syrian opposition website reported that the IRGC recently established a new military base in the Albu Kamal region near the Iraq-Syria border. The Iranian ambassador to Iraq met with the head of the supreme political council of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in northern Iraq and discussed political developments in Iraq and the region.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 16-22, 2020)

In the Idlib region, fighting resumed on the initiative of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham, after a three-week hiatus (despite the ceasefire agreement reached by Russia and Turkey on January 12, 2020). In the Euphrates Valley, ISIS has continued its intensive activity against the Syrian army and the SDF. The most noteworthy event was the killing of 15 soldiers in a Syrian army convoy ambushed by ISIS operatives.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 9-15, 2020)

January 12, 2020, a ceasefire agreed upon between Turkey and Russia entered into effect in the Idlib region. Even after the ceasefire was declared military friction continued between the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and the Syrian forces. In Iraq, there was a meeting of senior commanders from the Popular Mobilization which examined the continuation of the campaign against ISIS following the killing of Qassem Soleimani and of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization). In Niger, ISIS operatives attacked a Niger army base near the border with Mali. The Niger army sustained about 100 fatalities.
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Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, profile of an Iraqi Shiite militia handled by the Iranian Qods Force

Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”) is an Iraqi Shiite militia handled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force. It is one of the three most important Shiite militias which are prioritized by the Qods Force in terms of military and financial support. The two other militias are the Hezbollah Battalions (Kataeb Hezbollah) and the Nujaba Movement (Harakat al-Nujaba or Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba). These three militias played a key role during the fighting against the US forces while they were deployed in Iraq. They consist of commanders and operatives who had acquired extensive fighting experience and maintain particularly strong ties with the Qods Force. In recent years, these militias were handled by Iran in various missions promoting Iranian interests, including support of the Syrian regime, fighting against ISIS, and the suppression of protesters against the Iraqi regime. The US has imposed sanctions on all three militias.
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