ISIS still a threat; force ambushes Shiite-led Iraqi force, killing 27

Fighters belonging to the Islamic State ambushed an Iraqi Shiite-led militant force in recent days, killing 27 just two months after Baghdad declared victory over the group.

In a statement, the Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of mostly Shiite militias, said the attack took place southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk.

The paramilitary groups had been conducting nighttime raids in the region.

The ISIS fighters were disguised in army uniforms and manning a fake checkpoint. Reports said that some of the ISIS fighters were killed as well, while others fled the region.

ISIS claimed credit for the attack via a statement released by the group’s Aamaq news agency. [source]

Analysis: The Islamic State is a shell of its former self but obviously still a threat. This is partly why the U.S. is keeping troops in Iraq and Syria. Getting out too soon in the first place created a power vacuum that led to the rise of ISIS in the first place; the Trump administration doesn’t want to make the same mistake, and it’s still not clear the Iraqi army is up to the task of filling the current roles being played by the U.S. — though the U.S. military presence is declining. 

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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