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ISIS growing strong again in Iraq and Syria

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

ISIS growing strong again in Iraq and Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:25 pm

ISIS growing strong
again in Iraq and Syria


The past couple of weeks have seen several reports of Islamic State (ISIS) resurgence in Iraq and Syria. The jihadis are apparently regrouping, taxing isolated rural communities, mounting a growing number of attacks (including one in which a US soldier was killed in Nineveh last week), and reorganizing for a guerrilla war as they did prior to 2014

A new report from the Inspector General of the US Department of Defense claims ISIS can still count on 14,000 to 18,000 fighters across Iraq and Syria. The report is scathing towards President Donald Trump’s decision to abruptly scale down the already limited number of US troops in Syria and to withdraw many diplomatic personnel from Iraq – blaming these moves for the resurgence.

When Brett McGurk, the American Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (the American term for ISIS), resigned in December following Trumps Syria withdrawal announcement, he warned his policies would lead to chaos and “an environment for extremists to thrive”. Other top officials also chose to resign over the move, including then-defense secretary Jim Mattis. All strenuously disagreed with Trump’s “mission accomplished” and “let’s move on” attitude.

Why is countering ISIS in Iraq and Syria proving so difficult?

In places like Afghanistan, with its rugged high mountains, low levels of development, and a population that is seventy percent rural, one can understand the serious challenges of counter-insurgency. Syria and Iraq, however, are comparatively much more developed and seventy percent urban. The areas where ISIS operates are also quite flat, depriving them of the rugged mountainous terrain that is so helpful to insurgents.

Nor does the United States always fail in establishing stability following a war. After World War II and the Korean War, the Americans retained a commitment to building new, functioning governments in Germany, Japan, and South Korea. Although they faced insurgent attacks (mainly in Germany) after these wars, they remained committed to rebuilding these post conflict societies and the resultant pro-American success stories they became.

In Iraq as well, the US decision in 2006 to foster and partner with allied Sunni forces – the Sahwa Awakening Councils or “sons of Iraq” Sunni tribal militia – ended the al Qaeda insurgency there. When the US abruptly withdrew in December 2011, however, the Iraqi government under Nouri al-Maliki quickly abandoned the Awakening Councils (ending their salary payments and failing to incorporate them or their communities into Iraq’s governing system) and even turned on the Sunnis in general. The result came just three and a half years later, with ISIS capturing Mosul and most of Sunni Arab Iraq.

Along with precipitous withdrawals, it is perhaps Washington’s insufficient commitment to supporting good governance, federalism, and power sharing in Iraq (and conceivably Syria) that accounts for a bigger insurgency problem than projected. Iraq in particular has revenue of its own, but without real power sharing that revenue and the ability to rebuild never makes it to the post-conflict areas that need it most.

Nineveh, Kirkuk, Saladin, Anbar, and other war-battered areas still lie in ruins. In Syria, the same is true of Raqqa and other former ISIS strongholds. In Syria, the Kurdish-led administration and its forces remain isolated, embargoed, and without any financial means to effectively administer the liberated areas. In Iraq, Sunni Arab areas still lack the autonomy of Kurdistan or a significant role in Baghdad, meaning they have little say over the institutions that administer them.

Especially in regions with many sectarian divisions, high levels of power sharing, decentralization and the financial means for local administrations to function well remain crucial for post-conflict reconstruction and stability. While not perfect, the Bosnian example shows that this approach remains viable.

Unless Washington commits more to northeastern Syria and pushes Baghdad to respect its own decentralizing and federal constitution, however, the hydra of jihadist insurgency and instability in general will keep haunting the area and calling America back.

The American commitment need not be on the scale of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe or the never-ending placement of troops in South Korea. It just needs to play smart and take its existing efforts a little more seriously.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/opinion/12082019
Last edited by Anthea on Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:36 am, edited 7 times in total.
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ISIS growing strong again in Iraq and Syria

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Re: BEWARE ISIS is making a comeback in Iraq and Syria?

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:21 am

Islamic State says will step up
fight against Syrian Kurds


The Islamic State group vowed to intensify its fight against the US-led coalition and Kurds in eastern Syria, in a video posted Sunday on its Telegram channel

“The fire of the battle between us and them has been reignited and will intensify,” the jihadist group said, addressing what it called “soldiers of Islam” and residents of the caliphate.

ISIS took swathes of oil-rich land in Iraq and Syria in a lightning 2014 offensive.

The Kurdish forces expelled the Islamic State group from its last patch of territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz in March 2019.

But ISIS retains sleeper cells and has orchestrated a series of car bomb and arson attacks in eastern and northeastern Syria since its territorial defeat.

In Sunday’s video — the second since the fall of Baghouz — ISIS accused coalition countries of having entrapped its local adversaries, including the Kurds.

“They have been thrown into the flames of a fierce war that will leave them without tail or head,” ISIS warned.

The video includes decapitations and the shooting to death at close range of people presented as kidnapped Kurdish fighters.

ISIS released a video in late April — shortly after claiming deadly attacks in Sri Lanka — in which leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi purportedly appeared, pledging vengeance and a “long battle” ahead.

A US Defence Department report said this month that ISIS was “resurging” in Syria, while it had “solidified its insurgent capabilities in Iraq”.
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Re: ISIS is becoming strong again in Iraq and Syria?

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:31 am

Iraqi counter-terror force kills
10 ISIS militants in Anbar


Ten Islamic State (ISIS) militants were killed and five others arrested in Anbar province, western Iraq on Tuesday night, Iraq's Counter-Terror Service (ICTS) announced, as operations aiming to quell the threat of the group's resurgence in the country continue

"As the First Tactical Unit from the Counter-Terrorism Service, and in coordination with the [US-led] coalition's airpower, we carried out [operations] in Wadi Hauran desert areas in Rutba, western Anbar," read a statement from the ICTS on Tuesday.

Wadi Hauran is on the outskirts of the town of Rutba, 420 kilometers from Baghdad.

The overnight operation was launched following the collection of "accurate intelligence," and used "multiple air strikes" to "track down the remnants of the ISIS terrorist gangs," the statement added.

Two of the ten militants killed were wearing explosive belts, and several hideouts were destroyed, the statement detailed.

According to a US Department of Defense report to US Congress published in early August, ISIS are “working to rebuild their capabilities” in western deserts of Anbar and other parts of Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi troops recently launched a string of operations across several provinces to quell the ISIS resurgence.

The third phase of Operation Will of Victory, targeting ISIS remnants in Diyala and Nineveh provinces, ended on August 9, while a one-day sweep of the southern Kirkuk region, dubbed "New Dawn," took place on August 4.

An ISIS commander alleged to have committed "heinous crimes" against civilians was captured by Iraqi forces in southwestern Kirkuk on Monday night, it announced, along with six other militants.

ISIS seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014. Although Iraq’s former prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the group defeated in Iraq in December 2017, ISIS remnants and sleeper cells remain active, returning to their earlier insurgency tactics.

Their resurgence has been particularly apparent in areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, where contention over control of territory has created security vacuums open to exploitation.

“ISIS is rebuilding in remote territory, which is hard for Iraqi forces to secure,” the report to Congress said, and is “able to recruit in these areas [Iraq’s northern and western provinces] using family and tribal connections.”

Despite warnings of a fierce resurgence, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said on Friday that Iraqi forces have yet to encounter “real resistance” from ISIS militants in recent operations.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/14082019

Exactly how many innocent people did they kill during their multiple air strikes to kill a mere 10 ISIS members?

As we all saw in Mosul, when it comes to the coalition air strikes on ISIS, the cure is often worse than the cancer of ISIS

I was brought up to believe that 2 wrongs can never make a right
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Re: How many innocent people died in latest anti ISIS bombin

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:42 pm

Terrified by ISIS resurgence
Daquq villagers appeal to Baghdad


A group of Kurdish villagers from Daquq, southern Kirkuk headed to Baghdad last week to demand government action to protect them from the Islamic State (ISIS) resurgence underway in their province. One week on and little has changed

“We visited the interior minister and Iraqi president in Baghdad. We told them that if they do not find a solution for us we will abandon our villages. We also told them that people – young and old – are terrified,” said Aziz Abu Khanjar, a resident of the Kakai village of Topzawa who was part of the delegation.

The delegation of villagers called on Baghdad to protect them or else allow them to protect themselves. Villagers who spoke to Rudaw say they have not yet given up hope of Iraqi officials delivering on their promises to help.

Iraqi President Barham Salih formed a committee to visit these villages and prepare a report for him, according to Dilan Ghafour, a Kurdish lawmaker in Baghdad who accompanied the delegation. The findings of the committee are yet to be published.

There was no statement from Iraqi Presidency regarding the visit.

ISIS appears to be specifically targeting the Kakais, who have 15 villages in Daquq. The Kakais are a Kurdish ethno-religious group concentrated in Daquq, Khanaqin, and Nineveh. They protected themselves against an ISIS offensive in 2014 after Iraqi troops fled the area.

Saeed Hawaz is a resident of the Kakai village of Saeed Walla in Daquq. He says they abandon their villages during the night, fearing ISIS attack.

“We have livestock and farms here. We come to work on these in daylight but we cannot stay for the night because it is not secure,” Hawaz said.

ISIS seized control of swathes of territory across in Iraq 2014. The group was declared defeated by former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi in December 2017. However, remnants of the group have returned to earlier insurgency tactics.

The group has attacked security forces in Daquq four times in two weeks, planting roadside bombs and firing mortars at villages.

One Wednesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for Monday’s killing of four Iraqi policemen in Daquq. Federal police have only confirmed the death of one, named as Yasir Mohammed.

Iraqi forces launched an operation against the group following the incident.

A Pentagon report in early August warned that “ISIS is rebuilding in remote territory, which is hard for Iraqi forces to secure,” and is “able to recruit in these areas [Iraq’s northern and western provinces] using family and tribal connections”.

Iraqi security forces have launched several operations to eradicate ISIS remnants and sleeper cells in areas bordering Syria and Kurdistan Region.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/150820194
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Re: ISIS is regrouping NO surprise camps full of ISIS suppor

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:51 pm

The coalition were only interested in bombing where the thought ISIS might have been

The coalition's practise of ad hoc bombing has slaughtered many thousands of people

Bomb everyone and let God sort them out, is NOT a good policy

It certainly does not win friends and influence people

I have a great deal more respect for the Kurds than any of the coalition - the Kurds were generally within viewing distance of ISIS and far less likely of killing innocent people

I expect that the destruction of property and needless slaughter of innocent people by the coalition, has won ISIS support

The fact that coalition countries were only interested in killing and have taken no part in rebuilding and making habitable that which they helped to destroy has probably lost them local support

Look at the poor Yazidis =((

The coalition waited until thousands had already been already been killed before it rushed in to bomb the area to oblivion

And even now the coalition has FAILED to donade the cost of even one bomb to the rebuilding of that which they helped to destroyed

The Yazidis still live in fear and the coalition have turned their backs on them
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Re: ISIS is regrouping NO surprise camps full of ISIS suppor

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:17 pm

Five years after Yazidi genocide
US warns ISIS is rebounding


ISIS is trying to make a comeback in Iraq and Syria

It has established a more stable command network in Iraq, and is trying to exploit divisions on the ground and the absence of security forces in border areas and at camps in Syria for internally displaced persons (IDPs), according to a new U.S. report.

The troubling news comes on the fifth anniversary of ISIS’s worst crimes, carried out in August 2014, when the Salafi jihadist militant group kidnapped and murdered thousands of Yazidis in northern Iraq.

In 2013 and early 2014, members of the Islamic State seemed to simply emerge from the desert of Iraq and Syria to threaten both countries. By the summer of 2014 they had taken control of major cities such as Mosul and Raqqa and, five years ago this month, began a targeted genocide of the Yazidi minority.

What lessons have been learned in five years of war? And can a war-weary America still do what may be necessary to support minorities in Iraq, such as the Yazidis, to recover from ISIS?

The Department of Defense Lead Inspector General report, released Aug. 6, shows that ISIS is trying to lay the groundwork for another resurgence. Genocide survivors are warning that this must not be allowed to happen. Nadia Murad, who was kidnapped by ISIS in 2014, was in Washington in July to press for more support for survivors and her Yazidi community.

This was in the context of the gathering of representatives from 106 countries in the U.S. as part of the administration’s commitment to religious freedom, at which Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. is committed to defending religious freedom at home and abroad.

Such a commitment creates a complicated challenge for the U.S. role in Iraq and Syria. Because the U.S. wants to withdraw from Syria in the long term, it is trying to reduce its military footprint while training local security forces. They now number around 100,000 and the U.S. hopes that number will rise to 110,000 by the winter. Most of these are members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) or local security forces affiliated with them.

However, their numbers are still not strong enough to fully secure detention camps where many ISIS supporters ended up after ISIS was partly defeated in March when the anti-ISIS coalition took back the terrorist group’s land. Around 10,000 ISIS fighters are being held in Syria, 2,000 of them foreigners. Yet there are an estimated 15,000 ISIS fighters still at large in Syria and Iraq, according James Jeffrey, the U.S. anti-ISIS envoy.

ISIS uses border areas of Iraq and Syria to move in small groups and it exploits divisions, between Kurds and Arabs and between states and regions, to find places it can establish bases. Of concern, the Pentagon report says that Iraq’s fleet of drones is mostly inoperable because of needed maintenance and other problems, reducing its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance ability in areas where security forces are not present.

Five years after the world woke up to the horrors in Sinjar, where ISIS was massacring men and kidnapping women and children, the necessity to counter ISIS remains. An estimated 3,000 women and children are still missing.

The situation was brought into stark contrast by a crisis this month between the U.S. and Turkey that threatened to upend U.S. policy in Syria. A tenuous agreement to forestall a Turkish operation in Syria, which would have distracted the SDF from anti-ISIS operations, was put together on Aug. 7.

This fall represents a clear crossroads in the U.S. desire to see the total defeat of ISIS. With a commitment of limited forces, ISIS mostly has been defeated. But the lesson of 2014 resonates — that is, ISIS can reorganize quickly and burst onto the scene if security forces in Iraq and Syria, partnered with the U.S., don’t keep constant tabs on enemy movements and its attempts to regroup.

https://thehill.com/opinion/internation ... rebounding
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