Spotlight on Iran (October 1, 2020 – October 18, 2020 )

Negotiations are continuing apace between Iran and Russia concerning the war in Syria: following the visit of the Iranian minister of foreign affairs to Moscow in late September, the Iranian ambassador met with the Russian deputy foreign minister and discussed developments in Syria. The bodies of eight fighters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who were killed in the vicinity of the town of Khan Touman southwest of Aleppo city, were identified as part of ongoing efforts of the IRGC in Syria to identify the location of dozens of Iranian fighters who have gone missing in action during the Syrian civil war. Media sources in Iraq reported that the Commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, Esmail Qa’ani, arrived for a visit in Baghdad and met with senior commanders of the Shia militias, as part of ongoing discussions between the Iraqi government, the Shia militias and the Iranian regime.
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Bahrain as an Arena for Iran Subversion and Terrorism

Iran has been a permanent threat to the stability of the Bahraini regime since the country declared independence. Iran's fundamental antagonism is based on a combination of geopolitics, history and the Iranian regime's regional interests: Bahrain is located in the heart of the Persian Gulf, where Iran seeks hegemony; the American army's largest naval base in the Persian Gulf is in Manama, the capital of Bahrain (where the Fifth Fleet is anchored); and Bahrain's internal politics are based on a Sunni minority ruling a Shi'ite majority which mostly has an Iranian orientation.
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Spotlight on Iran (September 20, 2020 – October 1, 2020)

On September 23, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, arrived for a visit in Moscow and met with his Russian colleague. The Iranian minister of energy conducted a video call with the Syrian minister of water, during which the two agreed to establish a strategic committee to facilitate the implementation the bilateral cooperation agreement in the water sector, which was signed last year by the two countries. On September 26, the Iraqi foreign minister arrived for a two-day visit in Tehran, during which he met with senior Iranian government officials. At the same time, a military delegation headed by the deputy Iranian Chief of Staff for International Affairs arrived for a visit in Baghdad.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 1-14, 2020)

In the Idlib area, there was an increase in the intensity of the incidents between Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Syrian army in the first half of October 2020. At the same time, HTS is carrying out intensive military activity against rival jihadist groups with the aim of strengthening its control in the Idlib region. Routine activity continued in ISIS’s various provinces. The Syrian Democratic Council, the civilian wing of the SDF, announced (October 5, 2020) its intention to release 25,000 wives and children of ISIS operatives detained in the Al-Hawl camp. The intention is to release them gradually.
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ISIS gaining in strength in the Iraqi arena

Following the collapse of the Islamic caliphate, ISIS is undergoing a process of change, being transformed from a state-like entity, which in its heyday (2014) controlled vast territories in Iraq and Syria, to a terrorist and guerrilla organization. In the ITIC's assessment, about 5,000-6,000 operatives are active in ISIS’s Iraq Province furthering processes of rehabilitation and reorganization (which are still ongoing).
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Law, politics and Terrorism: Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri – the verdict and its weaknesses

On February 14, 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated by a truck bomb detonated near his convoy on the Beirut promenade. The blast left 22 people dead and more than 200 wounded. Blame was directed at the Assad regime (which was in control of Lebanon at the time) and Hezbollah, its political ally, both of which had a clear interest in eliminating Hariri, a prominent opponent of the “Syrian order” in Lebanon and of Hezbollah. Hariri’s assassination led to political turmoil in Lebanon.
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The COVID-19 Infection in Lebanon

Until recently the number of reported cases was stable and it seemed that the spread of the disease was under control. Even locations that were potential hotspots, such as the Palestinian refugee camps, reported only isolated cases. However, this past week there was a rise in the number of infections detected, raising concern over a second outbreak, and prompting the Lebanese government to impose a four-day general lockdown on the entire country.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 24-30, 2020)

In the Idlib region, the incidents continued, consisting mainly of exchanges of artillery fire between the Syrian army and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their routine activity. One noteworthy attack this week was carried out by West Africa Province operatives who attacked a convoy of the Nigerian security forces escorting residents returning to their homes, killing dozens of soldiers and policemen.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 17-23, 2020)

In the Idlib region, there was an increase in the intensity of the incidents this week. ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia continued their routine activity. Syria – ISIS’s intensive activity continued in the Euphrates Valley and in the desert region to its east (activating IEDs, shooting at vehicles, targeted killings, attacking military facilities and positions). Iraq – most of the activity centered on the provinces of Diyala and Kirkuk (sniper fire, activating IEDs, attacking facilities and security forces). In the northern Sinai Peninsula, relative calm prevailed in the conflict zone in the Bir al-Abd-Rabi’a region. ISIS is using its media to leverage its achievements in northern Sinai. ISIS continued to carry out guerrilla warfare against the Egyptian army in the regions of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 5-11, 2020)

On March 5, 2020, an agreement was signed in Moscow between Russia and Turkey, which is intended to end the fighting in the Idlib region. In the ITIC’s assessment, this is a shaky ceasefire (like its predecessors). In the Euphrates Valley, ISIS’s intensive attacks continued, mainly in the form of activating IEDs. In Iraq, ISIS’s activity consisted mainly of activating IEDs, sniper fire and targeted killings. With regard to noteworthy ISIS activity abroad, the Khorasan Province recently resumed its activity and carried out two showcase attacks in the capital Kabul
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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 4 – 10, 2020)

This past week the Gaza Strip was relatively quiet. A stabbing attack was attempted at the Nablus Gate in the Old City in Jerusalem. A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority (PA) government announced that so far 26 people infected with the coronavirus have been identified, most of them in Bethlehem. In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continue throwing stones at Israel vehicles driving on the roads
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 6-12, 2020)

This week, the Syrian army, with Russian air support, continued its attack on the Idlib region and managed to take over the city of Saraqib The Syrian army is now preparing to take over the city of Idlib. Violent friction continues between the Syrian army and Turkish forces in the area where the Syrian forces operate. The Syrian General Staff announced that the Turkish attacks would not prevent the Syrian army from continuing its military operation in the Idlib area and Aleppo. This week saw decrease in its activity in the Iraqi arena. Outside of these two “core countries,” ISIS’s Sinai Province carried out intensive activity.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 30 – February 5, 2020)

The Syrian army, with Russian air support, continued to advance towards Idlib. The Syrian army’s operation in an area where there are Turkish observation posts, and hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled from the battle zones (some towards the border with Turkey), have created friction on the ground and diplomatic tension between Turkey and Syria (which enjoys Russian support). On February 2, 2020, a Muslim terrorist, a released prisoner with a jihadist ideology, carried out a stabbing attack in south London
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Wave of orchestrated ISIS terrorist retaliation attacks around the globe: overview and assessment

During four days, between April 8 and 11, 2019, the various ISIS provinces in Syria, Iraq and around the globe carried out a wave attacks in retaliation for the blow ISIS suffered in Syria. ISIS reported that eight of its provinces carried out more than 92 attacks in more than 80 areas. The attacks were accompanied by a media campaign and claims of responsibility entitled "Battle of vengeance for blessed [Province of] Sham" [Syria].
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (19-27 September 2017)

The Islamic State is disintegrating in Syria and Iraq. Its territorial areas of control Iraq are falling to the two anti-ISIS coalition forces one after another, although in some important strongholds ISIS operatives continue stubborn fighting.
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Germany outlaws Hezbollah, joining other countries which designated it as a terrorist organization

On April 30, 2020, Germany banned Hezbollah from operating on German soil and designated it as a terrorist organization. Immediately after doing so, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer instructed the security forces to conduct searches in mosques, in gathering places of Hezbollah followers and in a number of suspects’ homes in several cities (including Berlin, Bremen, Münster and Dortmund).
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Strong condemnation of Iran for its support of terrorism and calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization at an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo

On November 19, 2017, the Arab League's foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Cairo at the request of Saudi Arabia. The meeting focused on Iranian intervention in the internal affairs of the Arab states. Saudi Arabia complained of the launching of an Iran-manufactured ballistic missile into Saudi territory by the Iranian-supported Houthis.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (July 23-29, 2020)

The ceasefire is being maintained in the Idlib region of northern Syria, but there has been an increase in the intensity of the incidents between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations. On July 22, 2020, ISIS launched a synchronized wave of attacks known as the Raids of Attrition, (which has not yet ended). The most notable was a large-scale combined attack in the northern Sinai Peninsula, near the village of Rabi’a, west of Bir al-Abd (near the coastal highway, about 30 km from the Suez Canal). Another notable attack carried out as part of the Raids of Attrition was the killing of a senior Syrian Military Security operative in Daraa by an ISIS suicide bomber.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (May 21-26, 2020)

The synchronized wave of attacks known as the Raids of Attrition, which began on May 14, ended on May 24, 2020. Over a period of 10 days, more than 100 attacks were carried out, the vast majority in Iraq (about 40) and Syria (about 30). After them, by a wide margin, are Nigeria (8 attacks) and other provinces in Africa and Asia (a few attacks in each province). Hence, an analysis of the current wave of attacks indicates an improvement in ISIS’s operational capability, mainly in the Iraqi arena and to some extent in the Syrian arena as well, in contrast with ISIS’s other provinces around the world.
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