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Friday, July 27

"Trump’s got mother of all migraines coming on: ISIS is back in Iraq" Well, time to ring up Iranian militias.

By Martin Jay *
July 26. 2018
RT

[...]

In recent weeks, a number of respected journalists and commentators in Iraq are talking about how ISIS is anything but destroyed – but in fact, regrouping and on the rise.

ISIS is hitting back again

After about three years of ISIS controlling almost a third of the country, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadideclared victory in December 2017 against the terrorist group, as well as declaring that the war was over. Analysts though, at the time, warned that many extremists had merely gone underground or had scattered, and would return. These warnings were not taken seriously, but in recent weeks, Western journalists in Iraq are reporting an alarming return to the battlefield, which is going to give Trump a number of sleepless nights, wrangling over a conundrum he alone is unlikely to resolve.

According to the Washington Post, the battle has shifted into a central zone of Iraq with ISIS now adopting more nefarious, if not theatrical, tactics, leaving many civilians saying that the declaration of victory was premature.

“Over the past two months, dozens of people, including local government officials, tribal elders, and village chiefs, have been abducted and killed or ransomed by fighters claiming affiliation with the Islamic State,” the paper claimed recently.

“Electricity infrastructure and oil pipelines have been blown up. Armed men dressed as security forces and manning fake checkpoints have hijacked trucks and robbed travellers, rendering the main Baghdad-Kirkuk highway unsafe for a period of weeks.”

It’s a horrendous account of Iraq today, with ISIS adapting to new surroundings and, according to the Post, using more and more local people to help with their heinous work. The speed also is worrying some.

“It was inevitable that the Islamic State would attempt a comeback after its crushing defeat,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi counterterrorism expert who advises the government. “They are returning faster than I anticipated. That they have returned this fast is very dangerous.”

[...]

* "Martin Jay is an award winning British journalist now based in Beirut who works on a freelance basis for a number of respected British newspapers as well as previously Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle TV. Before Lebanon, he has worked in Africa and Europe for CNN, Euronews, CNBC, BBC, Sunday Times and Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRJay "

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