Iraq

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 >

Iranian sniper embedded in Iraqi militia killed near Mosul

The casket of an Iranian killed in combat in Iraq on February 25 was received in Tehran two days ago. The combatant’s funeral poster shows him wearing the arm patch of the Hezbollah Brigades, an Iraqi Shiite militia close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that has been designated by the US Treasury as a terrorist group. Read more >

Ex-Guantanamo detainee carried out suicide attack near Mosul, Iraq

A former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) launched a suicide attack with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) south of Mosul earlier this week. He is at least the second former Guantanamo detainee to launch a suicide attack in or around Mosul on behalf of the Islamic State and its predecessor organization. Read more >

US confirms death of high-profile Tunisian Islamic State assassin

The Defense Department has confirmed that Boubaker al-Hakim, a French-Tunisian Islamic State leader, was killed in Raqqa, Syria on Nov. 26. Al-Hakim had ties to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, an al Qaeda-affiliated group, before defecting to the Islamic State's cause. He admittedly assassinated one Tunisian politician in 2013 and knew the assailants responsible for a second slaying. Read more >

British captive John Cantlie appears in new propaganda video from Mosul

The Islamic State's Amaq News Agency has released a new video featuring John Cantlie, who discusses the destruction of four of the five bridges in Mosul. The US-led coalition destroyed or damaged the bridges in November at the request of the Iraqi government in order to interrupt the flow of suicide bombers driving vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). Read more >

Islamic State defends Mosul with dozens of suicide bombers

The Islamic State claims to have carried out 120 "martyrdom operations" in Iraq and Syria in October. Seventy-nine (79) of these suicide bombings were purportedly launched around the city of Mosul. The so-called caliphate has claimed 902 "martyrdom operations" in Iraq, Libya and Syria during the first ten months of 2016. If accurate, then the group is carrying out suicide attacks at a historically high rate. Read more >

Iraqi PMF attempts to cut off Islamic State in Mosul

Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) launched an operation in the western axis of Mosul on Oct. 30, and announced on Nov. 2 that they cut off the Islamic State's supply route from Mosul to Raqqa. The PMF is advancing towards the town of Tal Afar west of Mosul, which has Sunni Turkmen population. Read more >

Number of suicide attacks claimed by the Islamic State dipped in September

The Islamic State's Amaq News Agency claims that the so-called caliphate launched 53 "martyrdom operations" in Iraq and Syria in September. This is less than any previous month in 2016. But the Islamic State has claimed 782 suicide bombings in Iraq, Syria and Libya during the first nine months of 2016, for an average of 87 per month. If accurate, this is a historically high rate. Read more >

Emir of the Islamic State in Iran reportedly killed

An Iranian media outlet citing unnamed sources has claimed that security forces have killed the designated emir of the Islamic State in Iran. The narrative matches some of the accounts of an operation confirmed by authorities last month. Iranian officials and major news outlets, however, have not commented on the latest claims. Read more >

US-led coalition targets Islamic State’s leadership in Mosul ahead of ground offensive

The US-led coalition has killed 13 Islamic State leaders in and around Mosul, Iraq in the past month. Three of them were Chechens, highlighting the important role that foreign fighters play in the group's chain of command. According to Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Colonel John Dorrian, another fallen jihadist was responsible for manufacturing chemical weapons to be used in the defense of Mosul. Read more >

Iraqi militia leader receives warm reception in Tehran

Iraqi Shiite militia leader Akram al Kabi has met with top Iranian government official in Iran. Kabi, who is a member of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces that has become an official part of the Iraqi government, boldly proclaimed his allegiance to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Read more >

Zawahiri says jihadists should prepare for guerrilla war in Iraq

In the third episode of his "Brief Messages to a Victorious Ummah" series, Ayman al Zawahiri calls on "the mujahideen of the Levant" to help the jihadists in Iraq "reorganize themselves" for a "protracted" campaign of "guerrilla war." Zawahiri clearly expects the Islamic State's caliphate claim to be rendered moot and he wants jihadists to follow a new strategy in Iraq going forward. Read more >

Islamic State claims nearly 600 suicide attacks in first six months of 2016

According to statistics provided by Amaq News Agency, which is part of the Islamic State's propaganda machine, the so-called caliphate deployed 589 suicide bombers in Iraq, Syria and Libya during the first six months of 2016. The figures published by Amaq cannot be independently verified and other sources indicate the figure may be lower. But Amaq's aggregate statistics are generally consistent with the scale of the Islamic State's fighting. Read more >

Qods Force general vows to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last jihadist is killed

A senior advisor to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - Qods Force vowed that Iranian forces would continue to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last Islamic State and "takfiri" fighters are killed. The statement signals the entrenchment of Iranian military assets in Iraq and Syria and the two countries continue to be mired in civil wars. Read more >

The Islamic State’s prolific ‘martyrdom’ machine

Amaq News Agency claims that the Islamic State has carried out 489 "martyrdom operations" in Iraq, Syria and Libya during the first five months of 2016, with 119 in May alone. If Amaq's figures are accurate, then the Islamic State is executing more suicide attacks per month in 2016 than all terrorist organizations combined in 2015. Read more >