The Security Media Cell in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior has announced the launch of the fifth phase of Operation Swords of Truth, with the aim of pursuing ISIS remnants in areas of common security interest between the center and the region.
A statement of the Security Media Cell, reported by the Iraqi News Agency (INA), stated, “According to the directives of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, the fifth phase of Operation Swords of Truth was launched, based on intelligence information in Diyala, Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk, to pursue the remnants of ISIS terrorist gangs in areas of common security interest between the center and the region.”
According to the statement, the security operation involved the army forces, the Peshmerga forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), with the support of the Air Force, Army Aviation, and technical detachments from the Director of Military Intelligence, and other support and service categories, in the presence of the Army Chief of Staff and the Deputy Commander of Joint Operations, indicating that the security operation was planned by the Joint Operations Command.
Iraqi military expert Alaa al-Nashu said in exclusive statements to the Reference that the fifth phase of Operation Swords of Truth includes a series of multiple military operations that have been going on since 2017 after the announcement of the final victory over ISIS, and during that period of time exceeding more than five years, the Iraqi forces, with all their divisions, have been carrying out these operations, and on the military scale, this indicates that there are complex matters and issues that the military commands in the sectors of operations hide from the higher commands, because it is impossible to repeat and renew the operations that bore several names, and if there were accurate statistics on what ISIS incurred according to the statements of the Joint Commands of the Armed Forces, “we would find that we are fighting large armies and not a terrorist organization run by hundreds or thousands of terrorists.”
Nashu noted that this operation was determined to move within the governorates of Diyala and Kirkuk and an eastern part of Salah al-Din governorate, in which the operations commands in both governorates are based, in addition to the support legions of the PMF and the Peshmerga forces represented by the 731st Brigade, the 9th Brigade, and the 17th Brigade, along with factions affiliated with the Intelligence Directorate. The brigade commanders stated that they found equipment and machinery of the terrorist organization, but they did not find people present in these areas. Many questions arise here, such as why were terrorists not found in areas where their equipment was located? And why did the terrorist organization leave this equipment without hiding it so that these forces could be kept from knowing the organization’s pockets?
Regional relations of ISIS
The answer, according to Nashu, is that the ISIS elements either work within an intelligence system that is stronger than the attacking Iraqi forces, or that the terrorist organization has influential regional relations in the Iraqi intelligence circles and is informed in advance of these operations.
He explained that the operation was unified between the center and the region to address the security gaps between them, and this is important in dividing responsibilities and duties on the one hand, as well as strengthening the authority of the state and the law, given that all forces are subject to supreme joint orders. This process organizes the partnerships that bind all parties.
Nashu considered that if the timing was appropriate and correct, the forces would have been able to arrest even one terrorist in the area of operations, but these operations and their timing are subject to the political and media factor.
Nashu concluded his statements to the Reference by saying that the military operation is no different from its predecessor, even if the Peshmerga forces are involved, because it does not include its pillars in correct and serious military contexts in necessary and urgent solutions between the parties that need to be coordinated at a high level of responsibilities.