THE VIRUS + THE DESERT: Reasons why the Islamic State group is regrouping in Anbar

Attacks by the extremist group known as the Islamic State are accelerating in rural areas and at-risk provinces like Anbar. Locals are asking why.

By Kamal Ayash – Anbar

Those extremists still at large are fighting a kind of guerrilla war with local security forces, emerging from uncontrollable desert areas to attack and then fleeing back into the safety of the desert.

The impact of the coronavirus, Covid-19, and the resulting lockdown is only adding to these issues. According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the number of extremist attacks have increased every year since the extremist group was pushed out of Iraqi strongholds. There were “566 reported attacks in the first quarter of 2020 alone,” the Institute’s report concluded.

Locals are asking why the Islamic State, or IS, group is able to carry out attacks like this.

“Some of the decisions made by leaders in the security forces are not well thought out,” suggests Hamad Alwan, a senior, retired commander from the Iraqi military – he is using another name because he was not authorised to comment, given his former role.  For example, he says, the decision to swap out Major General Qassim al-Mohammadi, who headed the Al Jazeera operations command in Anbar. “He was an experienced and knowledgeable leader who had been able to establish a solid network and relationships in the Anbar desert area, ever since he took on the job in 2016. This is an important and sensitive command and his removal is seen as a golden opportunity for the IS group,” the retried soldier explained to Al Menassa.

Additionally, all Iraqi forces have been focused on the pandemic and this has come at the expense of local security.

“Iraqi military units have reduced the level of mobile checkpoints on the outskirts of the cities and in rural areas,” Iraqi security expert, Hisham al-Hashimi wrote recently for an Arabic-language website. “Instead they have focused on urban areas and inside cities so they can impose the pandemic-related curfews.”

The pandemic has also caused other problems that may benefit the extremists. Unemployment has been rising in Anbar thanks to the tight lockdown restrictions. Poverty, anger and unemployment make locals more susceptible to exploitation by the IS group, who often try to recruit fighters from these Sunni Muslim-majority areas and cities.

And there’s a further, longstanding problem in Anbar: The relatives and families of the local men who joined the IS group. Sometimes family members are also extremists, sometimes they are not – but most were forced into camps in Anbar anyway because of the way that local communities rejected them, and the IS group’s creed, after the extremists lost control of local territory.

“Another of the reasons for the rise in sleeper cells and attacks is the government’s failure, as well as the failure of local tribes, to rehabilitate these families and bring them back into their communities,” says Mustafa al-Issawi, an human rights activist in the Amiriyat Fallujah district, which houses one of the IS family camps.

Related Articles


  1. Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness in your post is just cool and i
    can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your
    permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  2. Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would value
    your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  3. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account
    it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!

    However, how could we communicate?

  4. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to
    get there! Cheers

  5. Hello everyone, it’s my first go to see at this site, and
    piece of writing is genuinely fruitful for me, keep up posting
    these posts.

  6. Hello there, just became alert to your blog via Google, and located that it’s really informative.
    I’m going to be careful for brussels. I will be
    grateful in case you proceed this in future. Numerous other folks will likely be benefited from your writing.

    My blog post … Summer Valley CBD Gummies

  7. Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance
    from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up
    your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions?

    Review my web site … Alpha Edge Pills

  8. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make
    a really good article? but what can I say? I put things off a
    whole lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

    Here is my web page … Janice

  9. Somebody essentially lend a hand to make seriously posts
    I would state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and up
    to now? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual submit
    amazing. Excellent job!

    Also visit my website – Optimum Keto Review

  10. This is a topic that is near to my heart… Many thanks!

    Where are your contact details though?

  11. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  12. Keep up the good work, I read few content on this website and I think that your weblog is very interesting and holds sets of fantastic information.

    Feel free to surf to my webpage :: Infinuity CBD

  13. Hello excellent blog! Does running a blog such as this require
    a lot of work? I have no understanding of computer programming however I was hoping to
    start my own blog in the near future. Anyhow, should you have any ideas or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off topic but I just needed to ask.
    Thanks a lot!

    Also visit my blog Pure Keto Burn Pills (;u=9518)

  14. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thank you!

  15. I have been checking out some of your articles and i must say pretty nice stuff.
    I will make sure to bookmark your site.

    Here is my homepage :: Cristine

  16. You actually make it appear really easy along
    with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be
    really something that I think I’d never understand. It
    kind of feels too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your subsequent publish, I will
    try to get the cling of it!

  17. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am
    impressed! Very useful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much.
    I was looking for this particular info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  18. I have to show my gratitude for your kind-heartedness giving support
    to folks that require help with that area. Your real dedication to passing the message across has
    been surprisingly helpful and has without exception helped women just like me to realize their goals.
    Your new helpful recommendations signifies so much a person like me and further more to my colleagues.
    Regards; from each one of us.

    My web blog … Wawza Gummies Reviews

  19. hey there and thank you for your info ? I?ve definitely picked up anything new
    from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this web site, as I experienced to reload the web site lots of times previous to I could
    get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your
    web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if advertising
    and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS
    to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective intriguing content.

    Make sure you update this again soon..

    Feel free to visit my web page; NatureFused Cream

  20. I precisely needed to say thanks all over again. I’m
    not certain what I might have made to happen in the absence of the entire
    tactics contributed by you about such concern. It had
    become an absolute traumatic setting in my position,
    however , witnessing the specialised avenue you solved the issue took me to weep with
    happiness. I’m grateful for your support and as well , have high
    hopes you are aware of a great job your are accomplishing teaching
    the rest through the use of your web blog. I am certain you have never come across all of us.

    Also visit my site – Dermal Pearle

  21. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire
    someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got
    this from. thanks a lot

    my web blog: Brilliance Keto

  22. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    Also visit my website … True Keto 1800 Reviews

  23. Hi there, You’ve done an incredible job.
    I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  24. Thanks a ton for being my own coach on this matter.

    My spouse and i enjoyed your article very much and most of all favored the way in which you handled the
    aspect I regarded as being controversial. You’re always really kind
    towards readers like me and aid me in my living. Thank

    my homepage :: Maximum Recall Review

  25. Wonderful post! We will be linking to this great content on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

  26. Wow, awesome weblog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you made running a blog glance easy. The total glance of your website is fantastic, let alone the content!

  27. Thanks a lot for being my tutor on this subject matter.
    My partner and i enjoyed your current article a
    lot and most of all preferred how you handled the areas I regarded as being controversial.
    You’re always quite kind to readers really like me and help me in my existence.
    Thank you.

    My website … VirgoFX Male Enhancement

  28. If you are going for best contents like I do, only visit this site everyday
    because it offers quality contents, thanks

  29. Hey I am so excited I found your site, I really found you by mistake,
    while I was browsing on Bing for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would
    just like to say thanks for a marvelous post and a all round
    interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time
    I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome jo.

  30. excellent submit, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists
    of this sector do not realize this. You should
    proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers’ base

  31. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your site in web
    explorer, may check this? IE nonetheless is the market leader and a good
    part of other folks will omit your wonderful writing because
    of this problem.

    My blog post … Max Keto Fuel

  32. This piece of writing will assist the internet visitors for setting up new webpage or even a
    weblog from start to end.

  33. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog
    and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost
    a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100%
    certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    my webpage … Viking XL Keto

  34. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed
    surfing around your blog posts. After all I
    will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you
    write again soon!

  35. It’s really a great and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Thanks a lot for giving everyone remarkably special chance to read articles and blog posts from this blog.
    It really is so cool plus jam-packed with fun for me personally
    and my office acquaintances to search your blog at a
    minimum thrice every week to read the new secrets you will have.
    And of course, I’m also at all times happy with all the eye-popping methods you serve.

    Selected 3 ideas in this article are in fact the very best I’ve had.

    my homepage – Clean Cut Keto Pills

  37. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am
    impressed! Very helpful information particularly the last part
    🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a
    very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Here is my blog: Natural Burn Keto Pills

  38. Hi there, I found your web site by way of Google even as looking for a comparable topic, your site came up, it seems great.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, simply become alert to your weblog thru Google,
    and found that it’s really informative. I’m
    going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate should you proceed this in future.
    A lot of people might be benefited from your writing. Cheers!
    scoliosis surgery scoliosis surgery

  39. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I to find this matter to be really something which I feel I’d never understand.
    It sort of feels too complex and very large for me. I am looking forward in your subsequent put up, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!
    cheap flights cheap flights

  40. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Firefox.

    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to
    let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Thanks quest bars quest bars

  41. Thanks for your own labor on this blog. Betty delights in setting
    aside time for investigation and it’s simple to grasp why.
    We all know all relating to the dynamic tactic you present important items via your blog and even strongly
    encourage participation from some other people on the area of
    interest then our simple princess has always been being
    taught so much. Take advantage of the rest of the new year.
    You’re carrying out a wonderful job.[X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]I’m
    really inspired along with your writing abilities as neatly as with the structure for
    your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself?

    Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing, it’s uncommon to
    peer a great weblog like this one nowadays.

    Review my site – Vern

  42. Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds
    me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he
    will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

    My site Libido Build Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button