The US-led coalition to liberate Mosul from ISIS has petered out. ISIS leaders and troops are strolling back into town without a fight. Meanwhile in Aleppo, ISIS is on the run from a Moscow-Tehran coalition. Why has the US op failed? And when Trump inherits the problem, Jerusalem wonders, will he turn the entire fight against Islamic State over to Putin, and by default Iran?
Al-Baghdadi's summons was probably a coded signal to dormant ISIS cells in the West, activating them for an international outburst of suicide terror attacks - including one on 8 November in the USA?
Iran's agenda is to expand its borders, and it is openly saying so. Yesterday a high ranking general bragged that Iran is extending its boundaries "from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean." It is a boundary reminiscent of the First Syrian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BCE.
In the current battle for Mosul led by a US coalition of forces, there is a lot more at stake than defeating ISIS. Iran sees the city as a crucial part of its ambition for a resurrected Persian empire.
What is Putin's assessment of the US accusation that Russia is tampering in its presidential election and, in retaliation, its cyber, economic and military threats aimed at Moscow? According to Putin, it is an attempt to distract voters. As for sanctions, the US and its allies can "screw themselves."