Iran has its tentacles all over Iraq, and the United States has no one to blame but itself. It is a bipartisan failure dating back to the March 2003 invasion. The seeds of this failure can be seen in the interrogation transcripts of Qayis Khazali, the leader of the Mahdi Army’s Special Groups and Asaib Ahl al Haq.
The press release that announced Orakzai’s death said that he “is the third Islamic State – Khorasan chief killed in 25 months.” However, that is incorrect. The US military has announced the death of four Khorasan province emirs since July 2016.
A newly released interrogation report shows that Qayis al-Khazali identified Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani as the two individuals Iran trusted “the most with attempting to implement the Iranian agenda in Iraq.” The pair went from being marginal players shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003 to leading the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, one of most powerful and influential military organizations in Iraq.
Despite official Lebanese claims to the contrary, the photos recently released by Hezbollah offer more evidence of how its forces coordinated with the Lebanese military in last year’s battle near Arsal.
On Aug. 24, the US Treasury Department designated three Islamic State recruiters as terrorists. The trio appeared in a June 2016 beheading video that was used to recruit fighters from Southeast Asia. The new designation is the latest in a series of moves taken by the US government to target the Islamic State’s global network with financial sanctions and other measures.
Bajauri’s death is likely to be touted as a strategic blow to Khorasan province. However, the US military has killed the three previous leaders in the span of 25 months, and yet the group has expanded its operations.
At a Pentagon press conference, General Nicholson again gave a Pollyannish assessment of the state of Afghanistan. He claimed the peace process is working and the Taliban’s offensive is failing, and took credit for a Taliban victory over the Islamic State.
An assailant stabbed a small number of people in Trappes, west of Paris, earlier today. The Islamic State quickly claimed via its Amaq News Agency that the attacker was one of its “fighters.” Authorities are investigating the incident, and the possibility it was a family dispute turned violent. Some reports say the two people killed were the “attacker’s mother and sister.”