Is This Group the New ISIS? Here’s Why Some Experts are Suspicious…

In mountainous regions of northwestern Iraq and in some of the flatlands of the central part of the nations, a reportedly new separatist group has emerged.

Their existence has many intelligence and military officials trying to guess at the threat they may pose in the future, reports the Washington Free Beacon.

Calling itself ‘White Flag’, it is reported by U.S. officials that the group is made up of Kurdish terrorists and former ISIS fighters. These same officials claim that the group, estimated to have a roll call of between 100 to 1,000 people, has adopted the same jihadist policies of ISIS and have ties to Iran. They are recognized by their flag; a white background with the image of a black lion head on it.

Currently, White Flag is only a threat to specific areas in Iraq. That nation’s government has announced that its’ Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias in the region are engaging White Flag. The new group has not carried out any suicide attacks, which has left some intelligence officials thinking that White Flag is nothing more than an Iraqi faction looking to amplify its political power.

The Beacon writes that a “defense official said there are some concerns in the Pentagon that White Flag could become ‘ISIS 2.0’—a third iteration of the al Qaeda terrorist organization.”

After its ‘defeat’ last year, the remnants of ISIS scattered to the winds, but there is a fear that the centripetal force of a power vacuum in the ancient Mesopotamian land could draw back ISIS fighters, with White Flag being the first manifestation of that possibility.

Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, explains that “ISIS members are dispersing and prioritizing clandestine terrorist operations to preserve their core capabilities and remains capable of executing complex, destabilizing terrorist attacks.

“In addition, ISIS probably will seek to establish a foothold in other ungoverned or under-governed spaces with populations that are sympathetic to the Salafi jihadist ideology.”

Bill Roggio, a counterterrorism expert and editor of the Long War Journal, believes White Flag is more in line with al-Qaeda, but with a strong Kurdish composition.

 

An anonymous former military officer has also said that White Flag does not have ISIS links, but is instead made up of “Kurds and Sunni terrorists covertly operating to counter Shia militias in the northern part of the country.”

The same former officer also warned that White Flag may be symptomatic of Iraq’s devolution into a failed state like Syria.

“In about 18 to 24 months, Iraq will come to resemble the Syria today with a variety of factions all fighting for control of it,” he said.

There is even the theory that White Flag is a secular force made up of former Iraqi Bath Party members loyal to the late Saddam Hussein. The Bathists are said to be operating in training camps and reorganizing into armed units.

The Iraqi government, possibly angling to appear in control, have downplayed the emergence of White Flag.

“The role and effectiveness of such groups is being magnified on purpose by some sides that are benefiting from it,” said Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman, Sa’d Ma’n, “Intelligence efforts managed to specify the size and danger of these armed groups. The security forces have started to handle them.”

What do you think? Is White Flag possibly more dangerous than is being reported?

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