Iraq

“Neo-Terrorism”: The mutation of Al-Qaeda into the Islamic State

By Roy Murray @sykes_picot
Elijah J Magnier @Ejmalrai, AL RAI Chief International Correspondent, contributed to this report.

One of the suboptimal habits of humans is to compare different things, expect them to behave similarly, and treat them the way we are ‘used to’. So, when the “Islamic State” (IS) debacle began, the world’s intelligences agencies did what they were used to – tracking jihadists back home. Since Al-Qaeda attacked the western home front, IS must have similar ambitions. They attempted to identify the jihadists, tracked their footsteps to the conflict, then they waited back home, ready to pounce on them with decades of counter terrorism experience. The hysteria grew, with ever more resources ploughed into it, augmented by vast media accounts of the threat the “Islamic State” (IS) of Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi poses to our ‘home front’.

It became a dangerous addiction which distracted us from the real “neo-terrorism” threat. By tracking Baghdadi’s returning jihadists, the west is effectively acting as his military police, locking up his deserters – after all, jihad is a lifelong adventure. He couldn’t care less.  In fact, our actions morphed into a powerful propaganda tool for the ‘terrorist extraordinaire’ –   feeding his propaganda narrative that Muslims were being oppressed around the world, and must rise up against their “tyrants” and establish a great Islamic State. Focusing on the home front, The West left him alone in the Middle East, free to stir chaos, establish, and expand his ‘Caliphate’. With just 10,000 of his Jihadists and other allies, (more…)

Iraq: “The nail in the coffin” of the Syrian Revolution – Part II

In our article ‘Iraq – The nail in the coffin of the Syrian Revolution’, we discussed some of the general repercussions of ISIS’s adventures in Iraq. Here, we discuss the repercussions on the military situation on the ground.

Following the disastrous performance of the Iraqi army in Mosul, the overwhelming majority of which was Sunni, the government in Baghdad realized that under the current status quo, it cannot rely on Sunni men to fight for its cause. Instead, it needs to mobilize heavily indoctrinated Shi’ite militias, eager to fight ISIS, unafraid of death. However, building up effective militias is not a task that is feasible overnight – it takes months of selecting, arming, and training. Iran, being an expert in such operations, knows this; as such, there can be no immediate successful counter attack against ISIS.  Even if the militias were ready, regaining a city from an insurgent force is a far cry from losing it. Just ask Assad – it took him three months to dislodge a well-trained insurgent force from an area in which the odds were heavily stacked against them. Further, Assad already had the passionate, trained, and experienced fighters at his disposal. Maliki should take stock of this and beware that hot headed attempts to quickly reverse the ISIS gains could prove disastrous.

The strategy that Iraq will more than likely engage in is (more…)