Since the start of 2020, ISIS has been mounting activities that suggest the group has reorganized its ranks after the defeats it sustained in the past few years on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi borders.
The Iraqi army, however, is showing no signs of concern over the growing activities of the terrorist group.
Military spokesman Yehya Rasool said ISIS no longer poses a threat to Iraq and that its cells are nearly completely destroyed and unable to threaten Iraqi towns and civilians.
The lack of public display of concern does not mean that Iraqi authorities aren’t taking the threats posed by ISIS seriously. In the last few weeks, dozens of security campaigns were carried out against ISIS hideouts across the country.
Rasool, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, clarified that these raids are preemptive and are based on intelligence reports.
This indicates that Iraqi security apparatuses own a substantial corpus of intelligence on ISIS cells, extracted from interrogating hundreds of the group’s operatives and leaders who were arrested during the course of the past years.
Other than Iraqi raids, the Arab- Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces have been mounting anti-ISIS campaigns with the aid of the US-led international coalition in Syria.
“Iraqi security forces, after defeating ISIS, intensified their intelligence effort and began preemptive operations and arrested many terrorist leaders and elements, as well as those who finance these terrorist gangs, especially in areas that were under the control of ISIS,” Rasool told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He added that one of the "most prominent terrorists arrested" is the “mufti of ISIS,” who was detained on January 16.
“Mufti of ISIS,” Shifa al-Nima, loomed large over ISIS as a religious figure who issued fatwas against several clerics who refused to swear allegiance to the group.
Al-Nima, whose actual name is Abu Abdul Bari, encouraged ISIS members to attack security forces and destroy historic sites during their reign over large swathes of Iraq and Syria.