WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has reconstituted as a professional military force and its new “Soldiers’ Harvest” campaign aims to gain control of key terrain and discredit the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), according to a new study by the Institute for the Study of War’s Research Director, Jessica Lewis.
On July 29, 2013, AQI announced a new campaign, "The Soldiers' Harvest," immediately after the Abu Ghraib prison attack. The goal of this campaign was to expand territories under AQI control and to target Sunnis who cooperate with the government. AQI's activity has been particularly noticeable in Ninewa Province, especially in the major northern city of Mosul.
This new study offers a detailed analysis of AQI’s goals and operations through the 60 days since their new campaign was announced. It identifies the areas in which AQI seems to be asserting control over terrain and challenging the Iraqi state.
The study also points to possible opportunities for the Iraqi government to achieve gains against AQI in several regions and recommends reinitiating outreach to the tribes in Ninewa to achieve their cooperation. The study questions whether current ISF operations along the Iraq-Syria border will be sufficient to address this threat.
A full copy of Ms. Lewis’ study can be found at http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/aqis-soldiers-harvest-campaign.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization. ISW advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation's ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. Visit us at www.understandingwar.org.