Analysis: Qatar’s ill-timed hostage deal increases pressure on Washington
US: Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s ‘close associate’ killed in special operations raid
Taliban assaults Afghan Army corps headquarters in west
Pakistani Taliban faction claims spokesman was captured in Afghanistan

Qods Force commander to advance Tehran’s influence as ambassador to Iraq

An Iranian general from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) this week began his new position as Tehran’s ambassador to Iraq. The selection of Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, the senior adviser to the commander of the IRGC extraterritorial branch the Qods Force, highlights Tehran’s strategy to assert itself as the dominant foreign power in its western neighbor following the Mosul campaign. Since 2003 all Iranian ambassadors to Iraq have been Qods Force officers. Read more →

Pakistani Taliban faction claims spokesman was captured in Afghanistan

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said that Ehsanullan Ehsan was captured on Mar. 7 by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate along with three others and subsequently turned over to the Pakistani military. The group's claim contradicts the Pakistani military's version of events. Earlier this week, Pakistani officials said Ehsan had voluntarily turned himself in. Read more →

Ohio man pleads guilty to terror charges after posting Islamic State hit list

The Department of Justice announced yesterday that a 24 year-old Ohio man, Terrence J. McNeil, has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. Prosecutors charged McNeil with soliciting the murders of American servicemen after he republished an Islamic State "hit list" online. The list was first compiled by Junaid Hussain, an Islamic State operative who was subsequently killed in a drone strike in Raqqa, Syria. Read more →