AQ supporters assert that HTS’ leaders disobeyed Zawahiri and undertook steps without appropriate consultation. For example, prior to the formation of HTS in January 2017, Jabhat al-Nusra had rebranded itself as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in July 2016, which was presented to the media as some kind of breaks with AQ.
Results for Tag: Iraq
More aggressive to US enemies, arguably more erratic with US allies and with the financial benefit to the US at the centre of his foreign policy, Trump’s involvement in the Middle East has not been a stabilizing factor in one of the most turbulent periods of the region’s recent history. With at least two years left in the White House, it is too early to say what his lasting legacy in the Middle East will be, but the signs do not point to a positive one.
But the real question is, what will the Kurds do? Initially following Trump’s pull-out tweet, an SDF alliance with the regime of Bashar al-Assad and Russia seemed most likely. There were early signs of the SDF reaching out to both parties and protesting the US move. Within days, pro-al-Assad forces were reportedly moving into areas previously dominated by the SDF.
Today, Shiites are divided into numerous sects, the largest being Twelver Shiism. Shiites make up the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan; and they constitute significant minorities in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Since the fall of Mosul in July 2017, the capture of Raqqa has become ‘priority number one’ for the US military, although top generals have refused to put a timeline on the campaign. It took Iraqi forces more than eight months to free Mosul. More worryingly, however, in April 2017 a senior counterterrorism official in the Trump administration admitted that the White House has no long-term plan once Raqqa is freed.
The survival of IS’ media outlets will determine the capacity of the group to rebound from its losses in Iraq and Syria, rally its supporters and inspire continued allegiance. IS’ Amaq news agency remains active online, helping to spawn the lone wolf attacks that have plagued IS’ enemies from Australia to Brazil. These ardent followers represent a potent new global threat, one as difficult to calculate as it is to counter.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that in the short term, rebuilding will cost at least $1 billion. Lisa Grande, the United Nations Development Programme’s resident representative in Iraq, said it will take about $470 million to restore basic infrastructure including the power, water and sewer systems and to rehabilitate hospitals, schools and houses in the neighbourhoods with the most severe damage in western Mosul. At least another $237 million is needed for the more lightly damaged districts in western Mosul and a further $370 for rebuilding in eastern Mosul.