Mosul- The intensity of the attacks carried out by the Islamic State in Iraq is increasing day after day, especially as it has become qualitative according to many observers, given that it has left dozens of civilians and Iraqi security forces dead and wounded.
The last of these bloody attacks was last Friday in Al-Azim district, Diyala province (east of the country), when militants from the organization attacked the headquarters of the Iraqi army, killing 10 soldiers and a lieutenant who was in command of the targeted regiment.
Why do the attacks continue?
With the acceleration of security events and this coincided with the political tension in the country, Iraqis are wondering about the reason for the escalation of attacks and the extent to which ISIS is able to repeat the 2014 scenario and its control over entire cities in Iraq, especially after the organization’s qualitative attack on Ghweran prison in the Syrian city of Hasaka, which includes thousands of ISIS members.
In this regard, security expert Ahmed Al-Sharifi explains that what is happening in Iraq is due to the internal political crisis in the country, and the regional crisis that has to do with the Iraqi-Syrian borders, noting that what is happening is not a result of regional imbalances, and the attempt of certain parties to expand on third party account.
Al-Sharifi, in his speech to Al Jazeera Net, points to many reasons, perhaps the most important of which is the security shortcoming represented in the leadership of the security establishment, the absence of follow-up and strategy, and the tactical openness to the organization, which led to a decline in the capabilities of the security forces in responding to attacks.
As for the strategic researcher, Sarmad Al-Bayati, he enumerates other reasons, among them is that the ISIS fighters in Iraq have returned to guerrilla warfare, coinciding with the weakness of the aerial intelligence effort, which led to the exposure of the military units.
Al-Bayati continues in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net that despite the use of thermal cameras by the Iraqi forces to monitor the movements of the organization in remote areas, these cameras do not fulfill the required purpose unless the Iraqi army strengthens its efforts with the use of drones, which have the ability to stay in the air for long hours in order to monitor a target Certain ground forces incapable of.
He pointed out that the organization’s fighters are taking the mountainous areas with difficult terrain and deserts as a safe haven, in light of the difficulty of the ground forces with their vehicles reaching those areas, and therefore the organization cannot be completely eliminated in Iraq if the Iraqi forces continue to adopt the same traditional methods.
For his part, military expert Ihsan Qaisoun believes that the political instability reflected on the security situation and paved the way for the organization to exploit it, pointing out that if the Iraqi military institution is not liberated from political and sectarian quotas, Iraq will lose other convoys of martyrs.
Not only that, but Qaisoun explained – in his speech to Al Jazeera Net – that the past five months have witnessed 3 specific operations in Salah al-Din, Kirkuk and Diyala, and therefore there is a clear defect in military plans and in the boundaries between military leaders in various cities and governorates.
He pointed out that Iraq must develop fighting methods, as the Iraqi forces are still fighting the organization in the manner of the regular army, while the field reality needs proactive qualitative operations, not for the Iraqi forces to react to the attacks of the organization.
He added, “The intelligence services lack the strategic tools and capabilities to gather information about the organization’s movements and presence in the security-soft areas, and Iraq still needs the coalition forces that have integrated systems to confront the guerrilla war, with their satellites, drones, and a capable air force.”
Will the 2014 scenario be repeated?
Despite the current data, al-Bayati does not see the possibility of repeating the 2014 scenario, as well as the impossibility of the organization’s ability to control any site for long hours, explaining that the situation, despite its current security indicators, is fundamentally different from the previous ones.
And goes in this direction, a member of the Security and Defense Committee in the former Iraqi parliament and the current deputy, Kamal Khorshid, who confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net that the current situation in the country is completely different from the previous one, especially since the organization no longer has a popular incubator in the Sunni-majority provinces that it controlled between the years 2014 and 2017.
He added that despite the current complications in the political situation, it is not compared to the previous situation, and that the Iraqi forces have acquired great capabilities and a continuous rush towards areas that witness security breaches, unlike the previous ones.
For his part, Munqith Dagher, director of the Middle East Program at the American research group Gallup, believes that the organization of the state is a socio-political phenomenon despite its religious dress, indicating that it is active when the political and social circumstances are ripe for it.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Dagher details that “the organization’s capabilities in the past are different from the current situation, as it has lost the popular incubator that has become generally rejecting it, and the organization is now working as a subcontractor in the political sense, not in the economic sense, as it benefits from the main political players even if They didn’t realize it.”
What are the future scenarios?
As for Qabil Al-Ayyam, Dagher believes that ISIS is currently unable to pose the same danger as the previous one, but the possibilities of developing its capabilities are serious, pointing out that the sectarian dispute that some have come back to brandish will accelerate the organization’s capabilities in the future, if political differences and military mistakes continue.
As for Al-Sharifi, he believes that the continuation of attacks in the future is related to the type of the next government, and its ability to control security in the country, and to address the shortcomings in the security file, expecting the country to witness more specific attacks in the coming months.
This proposition is consistent with what was stated by the military expert Ihsan Qaisoun, who believes that the organization will continue its operations in the future in light of the Iraqi plans remaining as they are, noting that Iraq witnessed a security slowdown after the restoration of its lands in 2017, which paved the way for the organization to rearrange its cards.
What are Iraqis’ concerns about prisons?
After ISIS fighters in Iraq launched an attack in Al-Azim district last Friday, the Syrian territories witnessed another attack by the organization by storming Gwiran prison in Al-Hasakah and trying to release its prisoners amid fierce battles that lasted for several days.
Iraqis fear this scenario, especially since Iraq witnessed a similar event in 2013 when the organization managed to smuggle hundreds of its prisoners months before it took control of many Iraqi provinces.
In this regard, security expert Ahmed Al-Sharifi denies any possibility for the organization to repeat its attacks on Iraqi prisons, stressing that the situation in Iraq is controlled through security reinforcements for prisons following the attacks of Syria.
The strategic expert Sarmad Al-Bayati confirms that the Iraqi border guards control the entire Iraqi-Syrian border, except for a weak security area in the Iraqi-Syrian-Turkish triangle, characterized by its mountainous terrain, and therefore there is a real fear that any fugitives from Ghweran prison will enter Iraq.
Regarding the link between the escalation of ISIS attacks and the Iraqi political situation, al-Bayati clarified that it has nothing to do with the attacks, especially since the organization’s attacks witnessed an escalation several months ago and before the last legislative elections were held on the tenth of last October.
For his part, military expert Ihsan Qaisoun confirms that the possibility of ISIS carrying out attacks on Iraqi prisons is highly unlikely, but he clarified that the defect in the Iraqi security system lies in another reason represented in the different ideologies of the military units on the ground, which vary between the army forces, the federal police and the mobilization forces. Popular.