These operations come in light of what a security expert and political analyst from Iraq described as a development in intelligence work, security cooperation between Baghdad and Erbil, and the fruits of previous operations that accumulated important information about the terrorist organization's leaders and the places of spread of its cells and "lone wolves."

According to what was published by the Iraqi news agency "INA" about these operations against ISIS:

  • On Tuesday, the Directorate of Military Intelligence announced in a statement the arrest of a leader of ISIS terrorist gangs in Anbar province (west), or the so-called military commander in Anbar province, after setting up a tight ambush in the Rutba district.
  • This terrorist leader was issued a warrant in accordance with the provisions of Article IV of the Anti-Terrorism Law, and he was duly handed over to the requesting party.
  • On Monday, the Security Media Cell announced in a statement the arrest of the so-called commander of the foreign battalion of the terrorist ISIS in Kirkuk (north), called "Abu Bukhari"
  • The order was carried out through "a precise intelligence operation and continuous follow-up carried out by the detachments of the Counter-Terrorism Service in coordination with the Asayish Operations Department of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq."
  • The arrest took place in conjunction with the destruction of two rest-houses belonging to ISIS terrorist gangs in Salah al-Din province (center).

Proactive process

Security expert Mukhled Hazem al-Darb described the capture of the foreign battalion commander as "a successful and qualitative pre-emptive operation that adds to the work of the security services another success".

Al-Darb explains some details of the operation, including that this foreigner is an Uzbek national, and was reached after obtaining information, some of which were from elements and leaders who had previously been arrested.

Regarding his presence in Kirkuk, he pointed out that the cities of Kirkuk, Salah al-Din and Diyala are "ISIS's area of movement because there is a political defect in this area".

According to the Iraqi expert, this intelligence work depends on accumulated information obtained from other operations, and the successful operation is the result of continuous work and monitoring by the security services, especially the Counter-Terrorism Service, with sometimes cooperating with the international coalition forces to combat ISIS in monitoring and following up the threads of these gangs even outside the borders.

Lone wolves

In an interview with the Emirati newspaper "The National" on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said that ISIS has become weak and poses little threat to security, in the context of his talk that his country no longer needs the presence of foreign combat forces.

In this regard, Mukhled al-Darb said that the terrorist organization's current presence is limited to cells operating under the "lone wolf" system, decentralized in the fighting, and intensifying strikes is one of its goals to thwart any pre-emptive operations that these sleeper cells seek to carry out.

"Lone wolves" is a term that has emerged with the expansion of terrorist operations in the world, and it means that a person carries out a terrorist act in his personal capacity, influenced by the ideology and ideas of a terrorist organization, but without necessarily being a member of it or receiving direct support from it.

Positive development

Political analyst Yassin Aziz praises the cooperation between the central federal security services and the counter-terrorism agencies in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (which is administered by the autonomous system in the north of the country), which contributed to the success of the Kirkuk operation.

"Any positive development in the field of intelligence and security coordination between the specialized institutions between the region and the federal side leads to positive results and achievement on the ground," he said, stressing that this type of intelligence operations leads to the weakening of ISIS and increases the amount of information from its remaining cells.

There are some economic and political crises between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, especially regarding the distribution of the budget and oil revenues, but there are efforts by the government to resolve them and not reflect them on cooperation in combating terrorism.