The Islamic State remains a huge threat with nearly 20,000 members
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: iraq;
The Islamic State (IS) remains a serious threat to the region and entire world as it has more members now than it had in 2014 when it founded the self-proclaimed caliphate, Masrour Barzani, the Prime Minister of Kurdistan Region, said in an interview with The Atlantic.
Barzani, who previously served as the Chancellor of Kurdistan Region Security Council and a key figure to the US-led Global Coalition against the Islamic State, said that the jihadist group has nearly 20,000 members now after it lost the entire territories in once held.
“ISIS is still very much intact,” Barzani said, using a different acronym for the Islamic State. “Yes, they have lost much of their leadership. They have lost many of their capable men. But they’ve also managed to gain more experience and to recruit more people around them. So they should not be taken lightly.”
IS is still managing to carry out 60 attacks a month in Iraq alone against the security forces and local rivals, Barzani said, as it regroups around a core of hardened fighters.
Commenting on the recent tensions between Iran and the US in the wake of latter’s killing of Qasem Soleimani, Barzani said any confrontation would adversely impact the war against the Islamic State.
“This confrontation definitely will have a negative effect on the fight against terrorism and ISIS, which should be the priority for all of us,” Barzani said.
Furthermore, the Kurdish PM explained that the root causes which led to the emergence of IS are still there, which could pave the way for group’s resurgence in the future. Among the many reasons which allowed the birth of IS, according to PM Barzani, are the ongoing chaos in Syria and a sectarian governance in Iraq which left people without a hope for a better future.
“If people are jobless, if people are hopeless, if people have no security, if people have no opportunity, if there is no political stability, it’s always easy for terrorist organizations to manipulate local populations,” the Kurdish leader said.
“ISIS is a by-product. So as long as these factors are still valid, there will always be either ISIS or something similar to ISIS.”