ISIS upsurge during Ramadan in Iraq: Political inertia, geopolitics, and coronavirus
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The period of Ramadan often witnesses a spike in Sunni Islamic terrorism and this year is no different. However, when it comes to ISIS (Islamic State – IS) then this is more worrisome because of the sheer brutality of this terrorist group. Therefore, news coming out of Iraq is raising fears of an increasing re-grouping of ISIS in northeastern Iraq.
However, this year, the situation is paving the way for ISIS to challenge the armed forces of Iraq and anti-ISIS militias. Hence, from appearing reduced to minor pockets in Iraq, it suddenly seems that more areas are being used in northeastern Iraq to launch attacks.
Thus, the international coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, internal political inertia, increasing geopolitical tensions between America and Iran, growing discontent against political cronyism, poverty, and other important areas are boosting ISIS. Equally, America and Iran have major problems with coronavirus while the fear of this virus persists in Iraq.
The religious fervor of Ramadan, the killing of apostates, and hatred of non-Muslims are all being whipped up by ISIS leaders in Iraq. After all, in the eyes of Sunni Islamists, the Shia and loyal Sunni Muslims opposed to their worldview are deemed to be apostates.
It is known that at least 18 people have perished in recent attacks by ISIS. Areas of conflict are increasing in Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salahuddin. Indeed, reports state that several clashes happened at the weekend in Diyala.
The BBC reports, “The spike in attacks coincides with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when jihadists typically step up their activities; movement restrictions and economic pressures linked to the Covid-19 pandemic; constraints on the deployment of US troops connected to health and political issues; and the ongoing political wrangling over the new Iraqi government.”
ISIS propaganda in al-Naba, the weekly publication, stressed the downsizing of American forces in Iraq. Likewise, information released by ISIS highlights the international impact of coronavirus. Implying that nations are distant from events on the ground in Iraq because of being overstretched by the coronavirus crisis.
Overall, endless internal political inertia, the coronavirus crisis, mass discontent, geopolitical tensions between America and Iran, cronyism, unemployment, poverty, and other important factors, are all being exploited by a rejuvenated ISIS in Iraq. Therefore, while ISIS is still a pale shadow of its past power in Iraq and Syria, it is still a force to be reckoned with and it will exploit all respective weaknesses.
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