Alwaght- While the coronavirus outbreak since 2019 caused wide-ranging psychological and political crises and pressures, the ISIS terrorist group has recently begun new moves on the Iraqi borders that can be marked as the new age of the extremist group’s military and political activism. Although ISIS seeks to revive its power exploiting the coronavirus crisis, regarding its revival new theories should be considered.
Washington’s new conspiracy in Iraq
Over the past few weeks, the Americans trumpeted loudly that they are evacuating some of their military bases as they retreated from some of their small bases in some of the Iraqi provinces. Shortly after evacuation, Americans announced that the main aim of their relocation was to amass their so-called anti-ISIS forces at the two large bases of Ein Al-Asad in Al-Anbar province and Harir in the Kurdish region's capital Erbil.
Then the Western media reported that the US has plans for attacks in Iraq and that relocation to the two major bases will on the one hand help it protect its forces and on the other hand enable it to strike the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a voluntary force established in 2014 in opposition to ISIS. The US also deployed Patriot missile defenses Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) systems to the two military bases.
All these developments were reflected in a way by the media to give the sense that the US has an invasive approach behind its moving of forces and weaponry. The stances by the American officials over the past few years show that Washington struggles for continued military presence in Iraq that would enable it to influence the course of regional developments as Iraq is a connecting point, especially ground connection, between Iran and its ally Syria.
The US finds it vitally important to cut off this connection. The importance is so big for the White House that the US fighter jets several times bombed Iran-led Axis of Resistance forces where they were pressing to obliterate the terrorists of ISIS on the Iraqi-Syrian borders. Even two years after the defeat of ISIS, the major US air raids on the Resistance camp’s forces are carried out in these regions.
The re-emergence of ISIS in Iraq and intensification of the insecurity there first can support the US justification for the military presence and second can engage the PMF in the renewed battle against the terrorists, something distancing the voluntary force from its current key focus of expulsion of the American troops from the country.
US the main culprit behind ISIS revival
The Iraqi political community is now focusing on the US as politicians believe that after the frequent defeats in the country’s equations Washington has embarked on rebuilding ISIS in Iraq. Qusai al-Anbari, the head of Badr Organization’s office in Al-Anbar has recently revealed the new American moves in the Iraqi-Syrian border regions. He said that over last week, US patrols have been activated on the borders, mainly moving back and forth between Syria’s Abu Kamal and Iraq’s Rabiya border towns. The Iraqi official claimed that these new moves are part of the American plans to refuel insecurity in the border regions and thus ripen the opportunity for ISIS to resume its terrorist actions in Al-Anbar.
Mohanad Najim Aleqabi, PMF’s press secretary, in an interview with Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news network said after its crime of the assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani and Iraq’s Abu Majid al-Muhandis in early January, the US strongly feels damages to its position in Iraq and appears to have instructed ISIS to restart its activities in Iraq.
All say no to Washington
Iraq's developments disclose the ever-growing anti-American sentiments among the Iraqi society and politicians. As it is now happening, the expulsion of the American forces is a pre-condition for any prime minister choice by President Barham Saleh. Saad al-Saadi, a senior member of the Fatah parliamentary coalition, has asserted that one of the main missions of the PM-designate Mostafa al-Kadhimi after gaining the lawmakers’ vote of confidence is to execute the parliament’s bid to expel the foreign forces from Iraq. To put it differently, the parliament bid that mainly targets the American forces is a bail in return for getting the vote of confidence.
For the Iraqi political parties, the expulsion of the American troops is very much binding and no PM, be it al-Kadhimi or another one, can leave it unimplemented, especially that it is strongly supported by the public.
What does the US want?
The US movement on the border between Iraq and Syria comes as Russia in mid-March accused the American military of sending military equipment to the anti-Damascus terrorists in the Rukban refugee camp on the Syrian-Iraqi border under the cover of humanitarian aids to the refugees.
This accusation seems to be close to reality when we know that over the last two weeks the ISIS fighters ratcheted up their moves against Iraqi forces and even inflicted damages on them on several fronts.
Three aims may drive the US to help ISIS re-emerge.
1. Washington leaders intend to prolong the security and political crisis in Iraq. As the Iraqi politicians step closer to a consensus on a new PM, the US predicts that the calls for it to leave the country will be repeated shortly. The only crisis that presently can help postpone these calls is the reactivation of terrorist factions, on top of them ISIS.
2. Also, Americans intend to stay much longer in Iraq under the excuse of fighting ISIS. Combating ISIS in 2014 provided the White House and its Western allies a pretext to deploy forces to Syria and Iraq. Now, the Americans count on the same excuse for long-term stay in Iraq.
3. The bigger intention behind helping ISIS reorganize in Iraq has to do with aims beyond Iraq borders. By throwing its weight behind ISIS for revival, Washington wants to hold the West Asia region in a critical situation and at the same time use the terrorist organizations instrumentally to pressure its regional opponents and rivals.