With the current administration of President Donald Trump currently focusing on a number of urgent domestic issues, ranging from the upcoming presidential election campaign to the confrontation of the Corona pandemic, there is growing concern about ISIS operatives seeking to exploit the situation and rebuild their infrastructure across the Middle East.
British writer Con Coflin says that there are increasing signs in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya that the Islamic State leadership seeks to rise from what he described as the disastrous defeats it faced in recent years, and to rebuild its combat power.
Coflin, the editor of military and foreign affairs in the British Telegraph newspaper and a fellow of the American Gateway Institute, added that the greatest concern for Western security officials is the possibility of the Islamic State rebuilding its basic structure in Iraq, the country in which the former leader of the organization Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi publicly declared the establishment of his so-called succession June 2014.
By the time al-Baghdadi died during an American Special Forces operation northwest of Syria last October, the organization of the state had been wiped out as a result of the highly effective military campaign of Iraqi forces backed by the US-led coalition forces, which resulted in the destruction of " Succession "regulation.
Since that very poor state of state organization, Iraqi security officials have monitored the resurgence of activity in Iraq in recent months, with most of the activity concentrated in the governorates east and north of Baghdad. In April alone, the organization succeeded in conducting 108 attacks in Iraq, including one against an intelligence headquarters in Kirkuk.
In early May, ISIS militants killed at least 10 members of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces in a coordinated attack on their base in the central city of Samarra.
Coalition officials believe that there are similarities between the methods used by the organization in its current activities in Iraq and those used during the start of its campaign in northern Iraq in 2013, which ultimately resulted in its control of large areas of the country.
The growing confidence of the leadership of the Islamic State in Iraq is evident in an Internet message published by the new leader of the group, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, at the end of last March, in which he said, "What you are seeing these days in the region are only indications of the great changes that will provide us with more opportunities than they were." We have in the past decade. "
Iraqi security officials say that the number of ISIS fighters in Iraq now ranges between two and three thousand, including about 500 militants who made their way to Iraq after escaping from prisons in Syria.
In addition, the ability of the Iraqi security forces to deal with the threat of ISIS faces difficulties, after the Iraqi army’s strength decreased by 50% in the number of military personnel available as a result of the Corona pandemic.
This provided the organization with the ability to change the focus of its attacks from carrying out local intimidation against government officials to more complex tasks, including launching improvised explosive devices, and conducting shootings and ambushes against police and military personnel.
The growing ISIS force in Iraq has led coalition forces to resume air strikes against IS targets in the country. Last month, American and British warplanes carried out a series of attacks against a network of caves in northern Iraq, which were used by ISIS fighters as their base, and between 5 and 10 of them were killed.
Coflin says that Western security sources believe that there are a number of factors that explain the re-emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq. Regardless of the exploitation of the lack of manpower among the Iraqi security forces due to the Corona pandemic, the organization's leaders also took advantage of the political paralysis that the country witnessed in the wake of the recent waves of protests against the government.
Certainly, the resurgence of the Islamic State in Iraq should serve as a warning bell for the Trump administration, and it is reviewing the US military commitment to Iraq in the wake of the appointment of former Iraqi intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Kazemi as prime minister.
Coflin confirms that the reason for the ability of Iraq to hold elections is primarily due to the enormous sacrifices of American and other coalition forces after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, an achievement that the Trump administration cannot allow to harm through the resurgence of the Islamic State.