US Department of State: Iraq still one of the "safe havens" for terrorism

US Department of State: Iraq still one of the "safe havens" for terrorism

Shafaq News / The annual report of the US Department of State on terrorism revealed that Iraq continues to be classified as one of the "safe havens" for extremist organizations. It accused Iran of continuing to support "terrorist" activities in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

The report stated that "Washington and its allies successfully continued their efforts against terrorist organizations in 2022. The Global Coalition, led by the United States, gathered more than $440 million in commitments for stabilization efforts. Meanwhile, terrorist threats persisted in several conflict regions."

It highlighted that the United States pledged $107 million to support infrastructure and vital projects in Iraq and northeastern Syria. The United States and the United Kingdom co-hosted a donor conference with 14 governments and numerous UN and humanitarian organizations to discuss enhancing security and humanitarian conditions at the Al-Hol displacement camp in northeastern Syria.

Despite significant successes in counterterrorism, the report emphasized that terrorist groups remained active and determined to launch attacks. ISIS maintained a global agenda, promoting widespread terrorist campaigns across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Throughout 2022, Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups continued their activities even after the death of leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in July. In Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda elements, ISIS, and regionally focused terrorist groups remained active.

The report highlighted Iran's continued role as a state sponsor of terrorism, facilitating various terrorist activities and illicit operations worldwide.

In the regional context, Iran supported terrorist acts in Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen through proxies and partner groups like Hezbollah. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were identified as primary actors in recruiting, funding, and conspiring with terrorists across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Regarding Africa, the report indicated that terrorist-affiliated groups aligned with Al-Qaeda and ISIS targeted civilian infrastructure and populations, including humanitarian workers and government officials. These attacks resulted in casualties, injuries, kidnappings, property seizures, and destruction across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

Terrorists routinely exploited interfaith conflicts to garner support for their operations, according to the report.

In East Asia and the Pacific, the threat to governments in the region from foreign-designated terrorist organizations and ISIS-inspired extremists decreased. However, regional security forces continued to pressure the leadership structures of several ISIS-affiliated terrorist organizations in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Most terrorist incidents by ISIS-affiliated groups in 2022 involved attacks against military or police targets. Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia reported the repatriation of some foreign terrorist fighters or their families in 2022.

In the Middle East and North Africa, terrorist organizations continued to operate and maintain safe havens in 2022. ISIS, its affiliates, Al-Qaeda, and Iran-backed groups posed significant terrorist threats to the region.

These groups notably expanded their activities in conflict-affected areas, such as Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. However, both ISIS and Al-Qaeda suffered major leadership losses during the reporting period, including the deaths of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

Iran continued its extensive support for terrorism in 2022, using the Quds Force, its proxies, and partners to destabilize the region and enhance its influence ab…

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