Iraq

Iran’s Qods Force chief calls Iraqi militia commander a ‘living martyr’

At a July 10 ceremony commemorating a Revolutionary Guard commander recently slain in Iraq, Major General Qassem Soleimani hailed victory in Mosul against the Islamic State. Addressing the crowd with the flags of the Islamic Republic, Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestine and Iraq draped behind him, the Qods Force chief praised Iraqi actors, as well as Iran’s material and combat support to Iraq during the war. Read more >

Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces an ‘important and blessed phenomenon,’ Khamenei says

Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder al Abadi arrived in Tehran today to met with senior Iranian government officials, including Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is an “important and blessed phenomenon,” Khamenei said. “The reason the Americans oppose the popular forces is because they want Iraq to lose its important factor of strength," he added. Read more >

Iran tests the US in southeastern Syria

Major powers involved in the Syrian war are racing to maximize gains from the crumbling Islamic State in southern and eastern Syria. The continued advancement of pro-Syrian regime forces and Iranian-backed militias toward the US-held Tanf base – as well as the potential advance of both sides toward the Iraqi border area - raise the risk of further clashes that may draw in the US and Russia, though the latter has been unwilling to challenge US strikes against a pro-regime convoy and Syrian warplanes this year. Read more >

CENTCOM: Three senior Islamic State foreign fighters killed

CENTCOM announced today that "three senior foreign fighters" in the Islamic State were killed in recent weeks. Two of them were reportedly involved in the group's "external operations" and one of them was a trainer in the "Cubs of the Caliphate" program, which indoctrinates youth. The third jihadist helped oversee the Islamic State's use of small drones. Read more >

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 >