(New York, N.Y.) — Iraq is working closely with Kurdish forces as concerns amongst authorities increase about a resurgence of ISIS militants in the country. In July 2021, officials from the U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq warned ISIS continues to regroup in Diyala province, and both Iraqi Intelligence officers and local tribal leaders warned ISIS is also regrouping in the disputed Kirkuk region in Iraqi Kurdistan. The U.S. Department of State attributes many of the 10 percent year-over-year increase in terrorism-related fatalities around the world in 2020 to the expansion of ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates.
Between December 5 and December 7 alone, ISIS claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in Iraq that killed at least nine and wounded dozens. On December 5, ISIS attacked the villages of Qara Salem and Luhaiban, taking control of Luhaiban until Iraqi and Peshmerga forces recaptured it the following day. ISIS is continuing to target areas formerly under its control, while its affiliates wage attacks around the world. On December 17, U.S.-supported Moroccan security forces foiled an attempted ISIS attack. In Afghanistan, ISIS continues to lead a violent insurgency while targeting innocent Afghan civilians, particularly the country’s Shiite minority.
After the U.S. ended its combat mission in Iraq on December 9, 2021, U.S. officials said they would keep approximately 2,500 U.S. forces in Iraq in a training and advisory role. Both Iraqi and Kurdish authorities agree that despite its reduced presence, the U.S. retains an important role in mediating between them. John Godfrey, the U.S. acting coordinator for counterterrorism and special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, has warned ISIS remains a “determined and dangerous enemy.”
To read Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Iraq, please click here.
To read CEP’s resource ISIS, please click here.