The Islamic State’s Summer of 2015

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As in previous years it was to be expected The Islamic State was to boost its operations in Iraq and Syria, even new operations outside their general circle of influence were to be expected. 

Ramadān 2015 didn’t really start as The Islamic State was originally hoping for. In a very brief, highly violent, campaign, led by Kurdish YPG forces, a coalition of Kurdish and FSA forces managed to take over Tall Abyad, one of The Islamic State’s strongholds along the Syrian-Turkish border. 

The town of Tall Abyad is of highly strategic importance for IS as it is one the main entry points from Turkey for both material and men (foreign fighters).  

The first few days of Ramadān didn’t show the usual activity from The Islamic State. In stead of launching new offensives, IS was forced in a defensive position. Just within days after the Kurds and FSA launched their joint offensive on Tall Abyad and taking over the city, they managed to advance up to about 50 km north of ar-Raqqa, the city often referred to as IS’s Syrian capital.

At this point, early Ramadān, it was rather expected that The Islamic State would go in offensive mode again. In Ramadān 2013 they successfully attacked prisons like Abū Ghraib, hereby liberating several hundreds of their companion Jihādī Salafi’s. In 2014, they performed the Blitz in Iraq, taking over Mosul and establishing their new Caliphate. 

And yet, the first week of Ramadān, was a week of defense. Kurdish and FSA forces managed to advance up to about 50 km north of ar-Raqqa. 
And then, completely unexpected, on June 25 2015, a small group of IS special forces launched a new attack on the previously liberated border town Kobanê. For two days in a row, the IS-forces rampaged the town. Over 220 civilians are claimed to be killed in what some call the biggest IS massacre thus far. 

June 26: France : Late AM Saint-Quentin-Fallavier: a gas factory is attacked by one or two individuals. Explosions are reported. One person is found beheaded; his head was reportedly stuck on a fence, several yards away from the body. It was reported there were Arabic texts written on the head. As to now this case seems to be completely isolated from what happened next. 1 person killed

June 26 about an hour later: A shī’a mosque in Kuwait got attacked by an Islamic State suicide bomber. Around 25 people were killed. The attack was claimed rather quickly by The Islamic State in an official written communication. Around 25 people killed and dozens wounded.

June 26 Egypt: train between Alexandria and Cairo targeted. No casualties reported. 

June 26 Tunisia Sousse: one or two locals start a killing spree on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia. Around 40 people got killed. The attack was claimed by The Islamic State.

European countries are repatriating tourists since. The tourism in Tunisia, an important part of the economy, hereby suffers another major blow after the attack on the Bardo museum in March 2015. 

If these attacks were coordinated it would mean there are sleeper cells, waiting for the sign to be activated. One sign might be the most recent statement by IS spokesman al-‘Adnānī calling for more attacks. Maybe it is this message that led to the attacks. Yet, the fact the four attacks were performed successively in just about three hours time, makes one believe it all indeed was orchestrated. 

Even if it isn’t coordinated and if all of this is one major coincidence, we still should be worried. The Islamic State is most likely all over and some are ready to act.