Key Takeaway: ISIS has orchestrated an annual campaign of intensified attacks around the Islamic holy month of Ramadan since 2012, first in Iraq and then globally. It has sustained this recurring surge in its global operations every year despite its concurrent territorial losses in Iraq and Syria. ISIS’s latest Ramadan campaign began in late April 2019, two weeks before the start of Ramadan on May 5. ISIS has thus far declared a new province in Central Africa, conducted a devastating attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, and launched rare attacks in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. ISIS Emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also released his first video statement since his declaration of the Caliphate in 2014, emphasizing his survival, foreshadowing upcoming campaigns, and shaping the future trajectory of ISIS. ISIS is likely to continue demonstrating its global reach by conducting additional major attacks during this upcoming Ramadan in order to offset its loss of core terrain and maintain its image as the world’s deadliest terror organization.
By Brandon Wallace with Jennifer Cafarella
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