Iraq – During the early start of 2014 reports that terrorist’s were in control in the Anbar Province in Iraq have been aired. For some time the terrorists in Iraq have had the upper hand and been able to operate without hindrance from either the government or its security forces. This has been seen in the north of the country in Mosel and Kirkuk. Many analysts have written about the situation in the country and criticised the two for not been proactive in the response to the terrorist threat. Now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have been able to take control of the towns Fallujah and Ramadi. These two cities were infamous in the past for putting up fierce resistance to the coalition forces that on a couple of times had to send forces in to remove the terrorist elements that were in control. Now because of a dithering government who will not put their differences aside and come together to make a strong political force have placed more lives at risk. Local Sunni’s had been demonstrating for months against the Shiite led government as to what it sees as a one sided government and not listening to the grievances of the Sunni minority. On the 30 Dec 13 clashes erupted after Iraqi soldiers were ordered to clear a protest camp. The soldiers did as they were tasked but when they left their positions on the 31 Dec 13 and placed the police in charge the terrorists came out and attacked police stations freeing prisoners and taking weapons. On the 1 Jan 14 the Iraqi Prime Minister reversed the decision and told the security forces to return which is where the battles began. The PM also offered tribal leaders money and weapons in return for support and to combat the terrorists a move that the Americans did whilst they were in the country, with a great deal of success.
Israel – Israeli authorities announced on the 15 Jan 14 that they have successfully thwarted a plot by imprisoned Palestinians to establish a terror cell to carry out a kidnapping plot against Israelis in the West Bank. The latest terror plot was exposed in Dec 13, but only cleared for publication on the 15 Jan. Muhammad Bel, 24, who has been imprisoned since 2008, recruited two other Palestinian prisoners, Ali Harub and Rajab Salah al Din. Bel was also reportedly in touch with Amr Mustafa Khalil Qassem, a Gaza-based operative in the Holy Warriors Brigades. Harub, is currently imprisoned for being part of a terror cell, planning attacks, and manufacturing explosives, among other offenses. Rajab Salah al Din, 53, is said to be a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and has been imprisoned since May 12 for attempted abductions of Israelis. According to the Shin Bet, the plot directed by the three Palestinian prisoners was linked to a Hamas-affiliated group called the Holy Warriors Brigades (Kataib al Mujahideen). The Palestinian terror group previously separated from Fatah's al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and has adopted radical Islamist characteristics. The Holy Warriors Brigades, which has previously boasted about conducting joint operations with Hamas, is headed by Asad Attiyah Ibrahim Abu Sharia, 36. The Shin Bet declared that "the Holy Warriors Brigades is a Hamas front group in every way." The Holy Warriors Brigades seeks to expand its presence in the West Bank in support of "its master" - Hamas. According to the security agency, Hamas is using groups such as the Holy Warriors Brigades to conduct activity in the West Bank to maintain the façade that it is abiding by the ceasefire agreement reached with Israel in Nov 12. Over the past year, Hamas terror activities, in particular abduction attempts, have been on the rise in the West Bank. In March, the Shin Bet charged that Hamas' Interior Minister Fathi Hammad has been at the forefront of the terror group's efforts to carry out attacks in the West Bank, including kidnappings, suicide bombings, and rocket attacks. More recently, Israeli officials have cited the role of Turkey-based Hamas operative Saleh Aruri. A founder of Hamas' Izz al Din al Qassam Brigades in the West Bank, Aruri is currently believed to be in charge of coordinating
Lebanon – A Vehicle bomb exploded on the 2 Jan 14 in the countries capital Beirut southern suburbs which is a stronghold of Hezbollah. The bomb exploded in the Haret Hreik district destroying vehicles and killing and injuring people. The explosives were thought to have been in a four wheel drive and human remains found near the car suggested that the explosion was a suicide attack and not a remote controlled device. This may have been a retaliatory attack for the murder of the former Lebanese minister Mohamad Chatah who opposed President Bashar al-Assad and was killed in the latter part of 2013. Although Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem has called for the formation of a new government as the country has had no government since the resignation Mr Mikati’s administration in Apt 13. Hezbollah could be using the bombings to their own advantage and hope to be called forward to create a new administration. Hezbollah will not be pleased that the Saudi government has given the Lebanese government $3 billion to help strengthen the countries armed forces and purchase weapons from France. This donation will counter the balance the funds that Hezbollah receives from Iran and could be speculation that Saudi Arabia is meddling in Lebanese affairs from Iran. However, Hezbollah is more loyal to Iran than its own country and would no doubt like to see the whole of the country under a government led by Hezbollah.
Significant attacks in Lebanon:
- 9 July2013: Car bomb wounds dozens in Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut
- 15 Aug: Car bomb kills 27 people and injures hundreds more in a Shia area of south Beirut
- 23 Aug: More than 40 people killed and 400 injured in two blasts outside Sunni mosques in Tripoli
- 19 Nov: 22 killed and more than 140 injured in double suicide bombing outside Iranian embassy in Beirut
- 4 Dec: Hezbollah commander Hassan Lakkis shot dead in Hadath, near Beirut
- 27 Dec: Car bomb kills former Lebanese minister and opposition figure Mohamad Chatah in central Beirut
- 2 Jan 2014: At least five killed by car bomb in southern Beirut
Saudi Arabia – On the 13 Jan 14 it was reported that German diplomats had survived a shooting in Saudi Arabia. The authorities were investigating the incident, which took place near the eastern town of Al Awamiya in the Qatif region, where most of the country's Shia Muslim minority lives. The two diplomats were fired at and their vehicle was set on fire. It is unsure who and why this attack happened at the time of writing.
Syria – For some time now there has been a great deal of infighting within the groups opposing the Assad government. This has weakened their stance to create an Islamic state out of Syria once the fighting has stopped and for them to attempt to have a stable location in order to continue their fight against other Arabic nations who they see as living immorally and away from pure Islam that they seek to create. The rebels also need this base in order to carry out their secondary idea of attacking targets in the west and those who support other Arabic countries. With the fighting against opposite terrorist groups this will only assist the Assad regime along with Hezbollah and Iranian forces. Abu Mohammad al-Golani, head of the al-Nusra Front has proposed a ceasefire which was reported on the 7 Jan 14 although he has placed the blame for the infighting on the other al-Qaeda linked group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.