Cameroon Requests Nigeria and Chad Prevent Boko Haram Border Attacks

Military vehicles of the BIR in Far Northern Cameroon 2019

“Officials in northern Cameroon have called on neighboring Chad and Nigeria to deploy additional troops to their border to counter attacks by the Islamist group.”

On 1 June, the French-language Cameroonian publication reported on Cameroon’s call for its neighbors, Chad and Nigeria, to bolster troop deployments to their mutual border with Cameroon to stop attacks from Boko Haram. This came after Cameroon’s Far North region governor claimed hundreds of Boko Haram members infiltrated the Cameroonian border. According to the article, Cameroonian President Paul Biya responded to the escalating Boko Haram attacks along Cameroon’s Lake Chad shoreline by ordering an emergency meeting of military and government officials in the country’s north to develop strategies to prevent further Boko Haram incursions.

The article claims that Boko Haram attacks in northern Cameroon are increasing. The group abducted six civilians in Amchidé and shot and wounded another civilian. The attack resembled those of the late Abubakar Shekau’s faction, which is notorious for harassing civilians even more than the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-affiliated faction.[i] History suggests attacks around Lake Chad will escalate without sufficient regional coordination to counter both factions.[ii][iii] The second excerpted article in Nigeria’s reported on 18 August a promise from Public Information Officer of the Multinational Joint Task Force. This force includes Nigerian, Cameroonian, Chadian, and Nigerien troops and is based in N’djamena, Chad. The officer asserted that the force’s resolve to combat Boko Haram would be enduring.


“Des responsables du nord du Cameroun auraient demandé à leur gouvernement et au Nigeria et au Tchad de déployer des troupes supplémentaires à leur frontière (Officials in northern Cameroon reportedly asked their government and Nigeria and Chad to deploy additional troops to their border),” (French-language publication covering Cameroonian affairs from a neutral perspective), 1 June 2023.

As Boko Haram attacks intensify, we have learned that officials in northern Cameroon have called on neighboring Chad and Nigeria to deploy additional troops to their border to counter attacks by the Islamist group. The governor of the Far North region of Cameroon, which shares a border with Chad and Nigeria, revealed that hundreds of heavily armed radical Islamists infiltrated the dangerous Lake Chad Basin region and attacked, looted, and spread fear. 

President Paul Biya ordered officials and troops in Cameroon’s Far North region to hold an emergency crisis meeting and to ensure that the armed Islamist extremists infiltrating the troubled Lake Chad region are thwarted. 

In context of this security threat, we learn that the leaders of northern Cameroon do not intend to remain only at their border but have asked the neighboring countries, Nigeria and Chad, to also deploy men at their border in order to capture the terrorists.

“MNJTF Eliminates Boko Haram Fighters in Cameroon Axis,” 18 August 2023, (Abuja-based publication noted for investigative journalism that is critical of the government)

On August 17, 2023, the troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Sector 1 in Cameroon successfully intercepted remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists who were scavenging for logistics in Hile Halifa on the fringes of Lake Chad, Far North Cameroon. This successful effort signifies another major setback for the terrorist group, which continues to threaten peace and stability in the regionThe MNJTF Sector 1 continues to strengthen its resolve in dismantling Boko Haram and restoring stability in the affected areas.


[i] Perhaps no one spoke in more detail about Shekau’s harming civilians than his own rival subcommanders. They accused him of, among other brutalities, killing displaced persons who had no other way of finding food or shelter but to seek the support of “Christian” aid organizations and the government in refugee shelters and camps. However, Shekau considered this to be “apostasy.” In addition, Shekau ordered the killing of anyone who opposed him or even disagreed with him, which earned him—and Boko Haram more generally—a notorious reputation among the civilians of northeastern Nigeria. This caused the group to lose support to the consternation of Shekau’s less radical subcommanders. See Nur, Mamman, ‘Exposé: An Open Letter to Abubakar Shekau’, in Abdulbasit Kassim, and Michael Nwankpa (eds), The Boko Haram Reader: From Nigerian Preachers to the Islamic State, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2018.

[ii] For more on regional cooperation to counter Boko Haram, see; Jacob Zenn, “Multinational Joint Task Force Lauds Counterterrorism Success Against Boko Haram,” OE Watch, 05-2023.    

[iii] The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) is the entity through which Lake Chad states, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, have intended to boost their “capacity by better sharing plans and intelligence, committing troops for longer operations and improving troops’ human rights compliance.” However, these states have resisted fully integrating their forces into the MNJTF, which may have contributed to the MNJTF’s lack of capacity to eliminate or significantly reduce Boko Haram attacks or border incursions around Lake Chad. See International Crisis Group, “What Role for the Multinational Joint Task Force in Fighting Boko Haram?,” Report  #291, July 7, 2020.

Image Information:

Image: Military vehicles of the BIR in Far Northern Cameroon 2019
Source: Moki Edwin Kindzeka (VOA),
Attribution: (CC x 2.0)

Iran Repositions Its Proxies in Syria as Russia Turns Focus to Ukraine

Syrian Democratic Force soldiers conduct a patrol during a joint operation with U.S. Army Soldiers in Syria on May 8, 2021.

Syrian Democratic Force soldiers conduct a patrol during a joint operation with U.S. Army Soldiers in Syria on May 8, 2021.

“…Iran will not miss this opportunity to consolidate and expand its influence in various sectors, taking advantage of the regime’s need for assistance and support…”

Local media reports indicate that Iran is “repositioning” in Syria, perhaps seeking to take advantage of the Russian military’s focus on Ukraine.  A late February report by Syria-focused Turkish think tank Jusoor Center for Studies speculates that Russia’s focus on Ukraine may detract from its involvement in Syria, “and Iran will not miss this opportunity to consolidate and expand its influence in various sectors.”   The report mentions several signs of Iran’s repositioning in Syria, including increased activities and weapons transfers by Iran-backed militias in regime-controlled areas of the Syrian desert and the Middle Euphrates River Valley, near the border with Iraq.  Tensions were rising between Russian and Iranian proxies in Deir Ezzor Province during the build up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the accompanying excerpt from the Syrian opposition media source Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions in the desert have declined substantially since the start of the war in Ukraine, even as the group has ramped up its attacks in the Syrian desert, according to a report from the pro-Syrian opposition Lebanese news website al-Modon.  The Quds Brigade, Russia’s key ally in anti-ISIS efforts in the Syrian desert, withdrew precipitously to Damascus.  Meanwhile, local media reports claim several Iraqi militias have returned to Iraq and Iranian proxies in the Fatemiyoun Brigade have redeployed in the area.  The logic behind these movements remains murky, but the accompanying excerpt from the Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat speculates that they relate to strengthening supply lines and transit corridors between Iran’s proxies in Iraq and Syria.


“6 مؤشرات على إعادة تموضع إيران في سورية

(Six indicators that Iran is repositioning in Syria),” Jusoor Center for Studies (Turkey-based think tank focused on Syria), 4 March 2022.

Since the beginning of 2022, Iran has begun to undertake a series of political, military, economic and security activities in coordination with the Syrian regime, which indicates its repositioning in Syria…

… the continuation of conflict in Ukraine may lead to a decline in Russia’s interest in Syria.  Iran will not miss this opportunity to consolidate and expand its influence in various sectors, taking advantage of the regime’s need for assistance and support…


“تصاعد ملحوظ في الحرب الباردة بين الجانبين الروسي والإيراني في محاولة لكسب ود أهالي القرى السبع شرقي الفرات

(Notable Escalation in the Cold War between Russia and Iran in an attempt to gain allegiance from the ‘Seven Villages’ east of the Euphrates),” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (Syrian opposition media source),, 16 February 2022.

Recently, the competition between Russia and Iran has escalated in the countryside of Deir Ezzor governorate, specifically in the so-called “seven villages” under the influence of the Iranians and the regime east of the Euphrates, and the corresponding areas on the western bank of the river…


“إيران تتمدد في سوريا..إثر تراجع النشاط الروسي

(Iran expands in Syria… following decline in Russian activities),” al-Modon (pro-Syrian Lebanese news website), 12 March 2022.

Russian military activities throughout the Syrian territory have declined as the Russian attack on Ukraine enters its third week. At the same time, Iranian militias are sending military reinforcements to the city of Palmyra and its surroundings.

…“the Russian aerial bombardment on the Syrian desert is half of what it was before the war on Ukraine”…

On Friday, the Palestinian “Quds Brigade” militia withdrew from the city of Palmyra, located in the eastern countryside of Homs. Militia members left the city heading towards the governorate of Damascus. The motives for this withdrawal remain unknown and it is unclear whether they will return later. According to the sources of the Syrian Observatory, the Quds Brigade’s withdrawal came without prior warning or coordination with the regime’s security services located in Palmyra and its surroundings.


“مئات من ميليشيات إيران يغادرون سوريا إلى العراق 

(Hundreds of Iranian miliitas leave Syria for Iraq),” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 7 March 2022.

Syrian activists reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard began withdrawing a large number of militia members of the Fatemiyoun Brigade (Afghani) and Iraqi (Shiite) militias from military sites in the areas of Palmyra and Sukhna, east of Homs, into Iraqi territory, through unauthorized crossings. Other fighters from the (Afghan Fatemiyoun) Brigade were deployed to new camps east of Palmyra. The sites in Homs countryside and a number of military vehicles and equipment were handed over to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The development was described by activists in the region as “remarkable,” at a time when (ISIS) launched repeated attacks against regime forces and Iranian militias in the Homs desert and Deir Ezzor, incurring losses in life and equipment.

Image Information:

Image:  Syrian Democratic Force soldiers conduct a patrol during a joint operation with U.S. Army Soldiers in Syria on May 8, 2021. 
Source: Spc. Isaiah J Scott,
Attribution: Public Domain

Senegal and Algeria Opposed to Their Citizens Fighting in Ukraine

Ukrainian aviation unit. DR Congo.

Ukrainian aviation unit. DR Congo.

“Like their Algerian counterparts, the Senegalese authorities requested the Ukrainian embassy to immediately withdraw the call to recruitment without delay.”

Ukrainian soldiers have taken part in peacekeeping operations in Africa in recent years, and now Ukraine is urging African nationals to travel to Ukraine to fight Russian.  The excerpted French-language article in, which covers affairs in Francophone countries from an Algerian perspective, discussed the Algerian and Senegalese governments’ negative reactions to the prospects of their citizens fighting in Ukraine.  According to the article, the Ukrainian Embassies in Algeria and Senegal issued statements on Facebook calling on these countries’ citizens to join the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces to resist Russian aggression.  In response, the Algerian government demanded that Ukraine remove the post on grounds that it violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.  Senegal relayed the same message to Ukraine, while acknowledging that 36 Senegalese citizens had registered to fight.  Senegal is wary of foreign fighters given the experience of its nationals as foreign fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)., for example, reported in the excerpted passage from 2016 that Senegalese had become influential in ISIS in both Libya and Syria.  Although the circumstances and threats are different with the situation in Ukraine, Senegal, like Algeria, remains steadfastly against allowing the participation of its nationals in foreign conflicts.


“Le grave dérapage de l’ambassade ukrainienne en Algérie (The serious mistake of the Ukrainian embassy in Algeria),”, 4 March 2022.

To all foreigners “who wish to join the resistance to the Russian occupiers and protect world security,” Ukrainian leaders offer you “to come to our country and join the ranks of the Territorial Defense Forces…,” the appeal read. The message was taken down after the Algerian foreign ministry ordered the Ukrainian embassy to delete it.

This message was also relayed by the Ukrainian Embassy in Senegal. The Ukrainian ambassador in Dakar confirmed the existence of the call while confirming the registration of 36 volunteer candidates. Like their Algerian counterparts, the Senegalese authorities requested the Ukrainian embassy to immediately withdraw the call to recruitment without delay.

Source: “Who are the Senegalese men joining the Islamic State group?,”, 1 February 2016.

Senegal is on edge after jihadist attacks have swept West Africa in the past few months, striking Mali in December 2015 and previously quiet Burkina Faso in January 2015. Senegal is worried that it might be the jihadists’ next target. In a sweep aimed at cracking down on insecurity, Senegal arrested 900 people in the cities of Dakar and Thies last month. Although most of these arrests were not on terror-related suspicions, the police said that the raids were carried out because of the terrorist threat.

Image Information:

Image: Ukrainian aviation unit. DR Congo.
Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Attribution: CC x 2.0

Uganda and Rwanda Target Militants in Congo

Ugandan soldiers on parade.

Ugandan soldiers on parade.

“In order to fight them more effectively, our two countries [Uganda and DRC] have recently agreed to pool their efforts in order to carry out joint operations against this common enemy.”

The first accompanying excerpt from the Rwanda-centric media outlet discusses the continued counterterrorism collaboration of Rwanda’s neighbors, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The cooperation is meant to combat militants loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the insurgent Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), based in the DRC.  According to the article, the two countries’ forces have opened a second axis for launching an offensive against the ADF.  The article notes that originally Uganda entered the DRC with the DRC government’s permission because the ADF conducted two bombings in Kampala, but Uganda has increased coordination with the DRC to more effectively combat the ADF.

The second accompanying excerpt from the Ugandan publication also emphasizes a retaliatory objective for Uganda’s latest troop deployment to the DRC.  Besides the ADF’s bombings in Kampala, the group also began attacking markets located near Uganda’s northern border with the DRC.  After the ADF stole food and medicine and retreated, numerous displaced people crossed into Uganda, which created an additional humanitarian crisis for Uganda.  Further, the article notes the Ugandan army suspected that ADF members were operating in Uganda by disguising themselves as refugees.  This incentivized Uganda to enter the DRC to push the ADF back from the border.

As the final excerpt from the pro-government Rwandan daily notes, there is a growing perception that the conflict in the DRC is now a regional affair.  According to the article, Rwandan President Paul Kagame is calling for collective regional military action to combat the ADF and the Rwandan government is opening lines of communication with Uganda to resolve their border issues as another means to address the ADF’s regional threat.  In addition, the article mentions Rwanda’s increasing collaboration with Burundi to target other militia groups besides the ADF, and with Mozambique to combat ISIS-loyal militants in that country.  This suggests that Rwanda is increasingly acquiring regional military influence.


“Uganda Sends More Troops To DRC,” (Rwanda-centric media outlet), 3 February 2022.

Uganda’s government says it has sent an extra number of troops into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo to bolster its fight against the Allied Democratic Forces rebels. Last year in November, thousands of [Ugandan] troops crossed into DRC on invitation by President Félix Tshisekedi to “fight against armed groups, in particular the Ugandan rebels of the ADF”. Uganda gladly accepted the invitation and responded by conducting aerial and artillery bombardment of ADF bases deep in the jungles of DRC.

The attacks in October and November [2021] prompted the Ugandan military to deploy in eastern DRC in late November to take on the Islamist fighters.

Source: “Thousands of refugees flee into Uganda after an ADF attack,” (Ugandan publication covering Ugandan affairs for a global readership), 7 February 2022.

Uganda’s Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Esther Anyakun, said that the ADF reportedly broke into pharmacies and shops as residents fled at their approach. The rebels allegedly made off with food and medicine. The refugees that crossed into Uganda were registered by Uganda Red Cross with the help of the Office of the Prime Minister and The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR. Only days before this fresh influx of refugees, residents in Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts were advised not to accommodate refugees fleeing battle in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These refugees, Ugandan authorities said, would have to be reported to the Refugees’ Reception Center and be registered.

Source: “Security problems in DR Congo affect the whole region,” (pro-government Rwandan daily), 8 February 2022.

President Paul Kagame has called for collective efforts by regional leaders towards the end of security challenges in the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly associated to armed militia groups based in the country. He said that Rwanda was ready to play her part in resolving the security challenges stemming from the neighbouring country. The head of state also weighed in on Rwanda’s ties with neighboring countries, which he said were on a promising trajectory.

Image Information:

Image: Ugandan soldiers on parade.
Photographer: Master Sergeant Carlotta Holley
Attribution: CC x 2.0

Southeast Asia Sees Decrease in Terrorism

DSA 2016 - Close Quarters Battle.

DSA 2016 – Close Quarters Battle.

“The government-imposed lockdowns have forced people to spend more time online, raising the likelihood of vulnerable individuals being exposed to radical ideologies in the cyber domain.” 

On 10 January, Malaysian business news outlet covered a report from a Singaporean think tank, Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis, at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.  According to the article, the report indicated that terrorism was decreasing in Southeast Asia due to factors associated with COVID-19.

The article noted lockdowns forced militants, like all citizens in Southeast Asia, to reduce their activities, but it also noted that the lockdowns may have produced longer-term security risks.  During the lockdowns youths spent more unsupervised time online and could have been exposed to radical ideas as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continued its online recruitment efforts.

In Peninsular Malaysia itself, the article noted that there were no terrorist arrests at all in 2021, which is consistent with the trend line of reduced terrorism in the region.  In Sabah of Malaysian Borneo there were 15 terrorist arrests in 2021, roughly one-fifth the number of arrests there in 2019.  As reported in Singapore’s Straits Times, the terrorist arrests in Sabah relate to Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf’s maritime activities, including piracy and kidnapping, that are carried out between the borders of the Philippines and Malaysia and also involve Indonesian militants.  The article attributed the reduction in terrorism in the Philippines to the army’s capturing of militant bases in southern Mindanao.

As for Indonesia, the article suggested Jamaah Ansharut Daulah’s stagnation since 2020 and Mujahidin Indonesia Timor’s decline was caused by increased cost of movement, a result COVID-19 travel restrictions.  The only country that saw similar numbers of violence in 2020 as 2021, according to the article, was Thailand, where an insurgency has festered for more than a decade in the country’s majority Muslim south.  In general, however, the article points to the combination of COVID-19 travel restrictions and successful counter-terrorism operations to arrest militants as key factors behind the downturn in militancy in Southeast Asia.


“Terrorist threats in South-east Asia decline in 2021, according to Singapore report,” (Malaysian business news outlet), 10 January 2021.

Terrorist threats in South-east Asian countries declined in 2021, a Singapore think-tank said in its annual threat assessment. There were fewer terror-related incidents in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines as governments battled Covid-19. In Thailand in 2021, meanwhile, violent incidents connected to an insurgency in the far south were similar to those in the previous year, the researchers found.

The report specifically linked the Covid-19 pandemic to the drop in terror activities in Malaysia last year. Authorities made no terror-related arrests in Peninsular Malaysia last year, but made about 15 in Sabah between May and September. The government-imposed lockdowns have forced people to spend more time online, raising the likelihood of vulnerable individuals being exposed to radical ideologies in the cyber domain. Around the region, groups such as IS have increased their recruitment and radicalisation efforts through social media during the pandemic.

Elsewhere, the armed forces of the Philippines drew praise for retaking terror bases in the southern region of Mindanao.

Source: “Malaysia’s Sabah is South-east Asian terrorists’ preferred transit point: Experts,” (Singapore based news outlet), 5 September 2021.

As security threats posed by extremists rise in South-east Asia, Malaysia’s Sabah state has emerged as a preferred route for Indonesian militants to enter the southern Philippines to carry out their terrorist activities, according to a regional intelligence source.

Sabah appeared to be a transit point for Indonesians who want to join terror groups or learn to make IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in the Philippines, according to the source.

Source: “Annual Threat Assessment,” (Singapore based think tank), 1 January 2021.

Whilst this reflects a continuous declining trend of attacks and plots compared to the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 terrorist landscape was particularly marked by aggressive counterterrorism (CT) operations that hauled in more than three hundred terrorist suspects – the largest figure since 2018 – including key militant group leaders.

Image Information:

Image: DSA 2016 – Close Quarters Battle.
Source: Rizuan
Attribution: CC x 2.0

ISIS Ramps Up Attacks in Iraq’s “Disputed Territories”

Disputed areas in Iraq.

Disputed areas in Iraq.

“… there is a 100% likelihood that ISIS will launch more attacks on the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army in the coming period…”

Recent ISIS attacks in northern Iraq’s “disputed territories” have raised concerns that the group is ramping up disruptive activities and seeking to re-emerge as a key player in the country.  The “disputed territories” lie at the edge of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and control over them is contested by the Erbil-based KRG and the Baghdad-based central government.  When it comes to these territories, the absence of effective security coordination between the two parties has created a security vacuum that ISIS fighters are exploiting, according to several media reports.

The attacks, which have mostly targeted Kurdish villages and Peshmerga checkpoints, have prompted high-level meetings and promises of better coordination between the KRG and the central government.  Kurdish leaders have criticized central government forces for failing to provide them with proper support and equipment, most notably surveillance drones, as noted in the accompanying excerpt from the Saudi news website Independent Arabia.  A second article from Independent Arabia details how the attacks have exposed fissures between the KRG’s two main political factions, one based in Erbil and the other in Sulaymaniyah.  Further entrenching the security vacuum, as explained in the accompanying excerpt from the pan-Arab daily al-Quds, is the likelihood of Shiite factions linked to Iran obstructing central government-KRG coordination, for reasons of their own.  Meanwhile, a Peshmerga official, cited in the excerpted article from the Kurdish media outlet Rudaw, claimed that ISIS is receiving unspecified “financial and logistical support from abroad” and that 200 militants had recently entered Iraq from Syria to carry out attacks on the group’s behalf.

These events are unfolding as Iraq’s political factions continue to squabble over the results of the recent, low-turnout parliamentary election and as the US-led anti-ISIS coalition completed its transition from a combat to an advisory role at the end of 2021.  The uptick in ISIS activities also coincides with the four-year anniversary of what may prove to be a premature declaration of victory over ISIS in Iraq, made by then-president Haidar al-Abadi in December 2017.


“داعش يصعد هجماته ضد الأكراد 

(ISIS Increases Attacks Against Kurds),” Independent Arabia (Saudi news website), 2 December 2021.

Peshmerga Minister Shorsh Ismail…criticized the performance of the federal army, saying that “its very slowness in taking measures gave ISIS an opportunity to reorganize itself. The army is unable to fill this vacuum, and the Peshmerga alone is unable to uproot ISIS, as it lacks aerial surveillance capabilities to monitor the group’s movements and the federal state will not provide us with the drones that we have been requesting for a long time, nor will the United States due to the federal government’s rejection.”


انقسام كردي حول أسباب خسائر البيشمركة أمام هجمات “داعش”

(Kurdish Divisions on Peshmerga Losses from ISIS Attacks),” Independent Arabia (Saudi news website), 7 December 2021.

Representatives and officials from the two parties that govern the semi-autonomous region, the “Democratic” party led by Massoud Barzani and the “Patriotic Union” led by the late President Jalal Talabani, disagreed on the nature of the problem in military coordination and different decisions, due to conflicting political orientations. The commander of the Patriotic Union Party organizations in the Qarachogh area of Makhmour district accused Barzani’s party of openly “cooperating with ISIS” by “publicly providing supplies to its gunmen,” as he put it, noting that “there are federal forces in Qarachogh Mountain and about a brigade of the Peshmerga led by Sirwan Barzani at the top of the mountain. This prevents any other force from coming to the area. ISIS fighters can be seen comfortably roaming around, and they go to the surrounding villages, despite the presence of 35 mounds held by the brigade there. When the attack occurred, they did not respond, or provide assistance, except for the regiment consisting of locals”… For years, Washington has been leading mediation efforts to unify the divided Peshmerga forces between the two parties, who had concluded an agreement in 2006 to unify the Erbil and Sulaymaniyah administrations, after they fought a civil war, and are still facing difficulties in implementing the terms of the agreement…

According to Kurdish leaders, ISIS militants have recently begun to change their fighting methods and expanded the scope and type of their attacks, moving beyond the stage of just planting explosive devices, killing individuals and displacing others, and now engaging in military operations aimed at asserting their presence, following the recent arrival of a group of fighters coming from Syria, calling themselves “Jund Allah,” which swore allegiance to ISIS.


“معلومات استخبارية: 200 مسلح لداعش تسللوا إلى الأراضي العراقية قادمين من سوريا

(Intelligence: 200 ISIS militants infiltrated Iraqi territory from Syria),” Rudaw (Kurdish media outlet), 30 November 2021.

The official of the Qarah Tapah – Hamrin II axis of the Peshmerga forces, Major General Mardan Jawshin, announced that they had received intelligence information that a force calling itself “Guardians of Religion,” consisting of 200 militants, “has pledged allegiance to ISIS and infiltrated into Iraqi territory coming from Syria”… regarding the recent increase in ISIS activities… he said that that ISIS is reorganizing its ranks and did not hide his belief that the organization “receives financial and logistical support from abroad,” referring to information that says that “the organization pays salaries to its militants and also pays salaries to the families of its dead…”  Major General Jawshin pointed to the security vacuum between the Iraqi army and the Kurdistan Peshmerga forces as “the reason for the increase in ISIS attacks”… He noted that the ISIS threat had reached a very high level, especially after the arrival of the aforementioned 200 militants from Syria, and said that there is a 100% likelihood that ISIS will launch more attacks on the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army in the coming period.


“تعاون بغداد وأربيل ضد «داعش» بين الضرورة وفقدان الثقة

(Baghdad-Erbil Cooperation Against ISIS Between Cooperation and Loss of Trust),” al-Quds (pan-Arab daily), 11 December 2021.

On the fourth anniversary of Baghdad’s declaration of the elimination of ISIS in 2017, Iraqis are following with concern the resurgence of attacks in many Iraqi provinces, despite all the security campaigns to hunt down the group’s remnants… observers fear that the state Shiite forces, which thwarted the Baghdad and Erbil agreement on the normalization of the situation in Sinjar, west of Mosul, will obstruct the agreement to deploy the Peshmerga in the disputed areas. This is especially true given that [Prime Minister] al-Kazemi, who was committed to concluding those agreements with the regional government, may not retain his post in the next government.

Therefore, the mutual accusations of exploiting terrorist organizations such as the Turkish Workers’ Party and ISIS and supporting their presence on Iraqi soil to achieve local and regional political agendas are not limited to Kurdish parties on the one hand, and the Shiites and Turkmen on the other hand, but rather also extends to leaders of the al-Fateh Alliance, which includes pro-Iranian factions, and which considers that the recent attacks in Kirkuk were intentional and motivated by political agendas aimed at providing justifications for the presence of US forces in Iraq, which are scheduled to depart at the end of this year. They also accuse the Kurdish leadership of fabricating or exploiting ISIS attacks in order to seek to restore the region’s control over Kirkuk and the areas disputed between the Baghdad and Erbil governments, after the expulsion of the Peshmerga from those areas in 2017, following the referendum on secession from Iraq.

Image Information:

Image:  Disputed areas in Iraq.
Source: Rafy,
Attribution: CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Kremlin Kontrol: Russia’s Political-Military Reality (Timothy L. Thomas)

(Click image to download book.)

Authoritarian regimes are, by their very nature, insecure. They tend to view Western democracies as an existential threat to their way of rule and they fear the development of any type of opposition or protests in the streets. In Russia’s case, the latter fear of protests leading to a “color revolution” often appears as important as the ISIS threat to its southern border. Lacking political legitimacy, they rely on two factors to sustain their leadership, patriotism and control. This study discusses the latter issue from both a civilian and military point of view. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative, is all about control. In his excellent book The Invention of Russia, Arkady Ostrovsky recounted one conversation about Putin: “Anything you control is safe. Anything you don’t control by definition represents a threat—that is their mental framework, and a KGB officer is always a KGB officer.”

This work is divided into two parts. Part One looks at the system of control that Putin has either continued or developed anew in his twelve years as president. Part Two is focused on several military aspects of control. These include not only command and control issues but also the methodical manner in which Russian military analysts establish control parameters over their environment.