Security Brief: CENTCOM Week of MARCH 28, 2022
Updated: Apr 5
March 27-30, 2022 | Issue 1
Giorgio Tiberio, Ashani Wijesuriya, Elizabeth Leoce, Alberto Suárez Sutil, Marco Parks, Mohammad Ali, Muskan Muskan
Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff
Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
Date: March 27, 2022
Location: Hadera, Israel
Parties involved: Israel; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); Israel Defense Forces (IDF); Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ); SITE Intelligence Group; Bahrain; Morocco; Egypt; United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The event: On Sunday, March 27, two Arab gunmen opened fire on a main street in Hadera, killing two police officers. The gunmen were killed by two Israeli police officers dining in a nearby restaurant. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack the following day on its Telegram account, which marks the first time ISIS officially claimed an attack in Israel since 2017. The two attackers, who are Arab citizens of Israel, hail from the city of Umm al-Fahm. The attack occurred as Israel hosted a summit in Negev with the US Secretary of State and the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, and UAE to discuss matters related to the environment, energy, and security in the Middle East.
Analysis & Implications:
Similar lone-wolf attacks are likely to continue in Israel as these are easily adaptable to different locations, require little financial resources, and can be organized with minimal time. The rise in small-scale attacks in Israel very likely indicates a shift in ISIS' “near enemy” strategy. There is a roughly even chance that this shift suggests ISIS seeks to expand its attacks to other places around the world, such as Israel, rather than stay near its common regional targets.
The attack in Israel is likely to be a recruiting technique for Palestinian individuals to join ISIS. The new leader of ISIS, Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, and ISIS members are very likely trying to emphasize the organization's capabilities by expanding its global Jihad. ISIS very likely claimed responsibility for the attack to demonstrate that ISIS continues to have a presence in Israel.
Palestinian citizens and militant groups, such as PIJ, likely praised ISIS in supporting the condemnation of the occupation. IDF will likely retaliate by raiding and arresting Palestinian residents in the city of Umm al-Fahm and other Palestinian-majority areas. The increasing suspicion of the Jewish community towards the Israeli-Muslims will likely further intensify the tensions between both communities.
As Passover, Easter, and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan occur next month, Israel will likely see a surge in violence by ISIS and Islamic Jihad. Violence is very likely to break out during these respective festivals, as these events will likely draw global attention, allowing attacks to reach a larger audience. The government will likely increase the level of alertness throughout the country and tighten its security defenses considering the upcoming religious holidays.
The summit is likely to forge new partnerships in the Middle East and cause a shift in the power dynamics among states. Regional cooperation against Iran will likely strengthen. Israel, Bahrain, Morocco, and the UAE will very likely seek to exert influence over the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by discouraging the US from removing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps off the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.
Date: March 31, 2022
Location: Northern Pakistan
Parties involved: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP); Pakistani Armed Forces; Afghan Taliban
The event: The Taliban has sought to reduce the presence of Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) in Afghanistan, despite their common roots. TTP announced that it will launch attacks against Pakistani forces if they refuse to allow members of the organization back into Pakistan from Afghanistan. According to the TTP, possible retaliation will begin on the first day of Ramadan, which will include ambushes, suicide bombings, targeted attacks, and shootings.
Analysis & Implications:
TTP will very likely ambush isolated military convoys or patrols alongside the Afghan-Pakistani border, where the group operates. They will very likely target isolated military outposts, as these are unlikely to receive quick support from other units. Ambushes and IEDs will very likely compromise road traffic security and cause collateral damage to civilians. Security forces will likely place checkpoints near military bases and large cities.
To counter attacks from TTP, the Pakistani Armed Forces will likely expand their operations through surveillance and counterterrorism raids. An escalation of attacks on both sides will likely prevent a future ceasefire.
Date: March 27, 2022
Location: Northwest Iraq
Parties involved: Iraq; Syria; ISIS
The event: Iraq is constructing a concrete wall along its 600-kilometer-long border with Syria to stop ISIS jihadists from infiltrating the country. In 2018, Iraq initiated the construction of a fence along the Syrian border for the same reason. The first stage of the new project will see the construction of a 12 kilometer (7 miles) long and 3.5 meter (11 feet) high wall in Nineveh Province. As of now, the exact length of the wall that will be constructed remains unknown.
Analysis & Implications:
Border construction will likely consume a considerable amount of capital from Iraq’s defense budget. The maintenance and upkeep, once construction is over, will likely require significant financial resources and personnel. Iraq will likely have to increase the number of its security forces to guard the border and ensure that ISIS militants are not successful in entering the country. There is a roughly even chance that Iraq will be unable to construct a complete wall alongside its shared border with Syria as Iraq will likely exhaust funding.
Iraq creating a wall will likely confine ISIS inside Syria; however, an Iraq-Syria border is unlikely to stop the long-term migration of ISIS jihadists between the two countries. Capitalizing on the corruption of Iraq, ISIS militants will likely attempt to bribe Iraqi security personnel to allow them to pass through border control. ISIS militants will likely shift focus to other points of entry into Iraq, hindering the effectiveness of Iraqi border control elsewhere in the country.
Constructing a concrete wall in the Nineveh Province will likely prevent humanitarian aid from flowing across the Iraqi-Syrian border, exacerbating the existing Syrian humanitarian crisis. People looking to seek refuge in Iraq will likely be refrained from crossing the border, increasing internal displacement in Syria.
________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)
 Israel: Two police killed by Israeli Arab gunmen in Hadera, BBC, March 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-60895393
 Pakistani Taliban Announce Ramadan Offensive Against Security Forces, The Defenese Post, March 2022, https://www.thedefensepost.com/2022/03/31/pakistani-taliban-ramadan-offensive/
 Iraq Building Syria Wall to Keep Out IS Fighters, VOA News, March 2022, https://www.voanews.com/a/iraq-building-syria-wall-to-keep-out-is-fighters/6503811.html