The 112th edition of the Islamic State’s newsletter, Al-Naba, released on 29 December 2017 contained an article on page 3, which reported that the reversion from statehood to insurgency was yielding results, particularly in the Diyala, Kirkuk, and Saladin provinces of Iraq. The article is reproduced below.
The Islamic State claims in the Naba article—which is surrounded by field updates from those areas, particularly Diyala—that its terrorist strikes at the Iraqi state consist significantly of targeted assassinations. Such operations against those the Islamic State calls mushrikun (polytheists or idolaters), and the consequent destabilization in the named provinces, have been visible since the spring at the latest, well before Mosul had been cleared.
As has been consistent for eighteen months, since the Islamic State began publicly ruminating on the loss of the caliphate, and continuing right down to the present, the Islamic State underlined that the tactics it has now turned to are a replay of those that brought it back from the dead last time, after the surge-and-sahwa of 2007-08. They are not being retrospective with this claim.
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Keep Watch on the Mushrikun and Kill Them
God says: “prepare an ambush for each of them” [Tawbah (9): 5]. Imam Ibn Kathir said—may God have mercy on him—in his interpretation: “Monitor them on their ways and paths until they have narrowed against them, and then force them [to accept] death or Islam.”
The vocabulary of jihad must be made suitable for the stage of defense, where direct confrontation with the kufr [infidels, disbelievers] has declined in many areas, the interventions are to conduct monitoring and killing against those who, in areas protected by the planes of the Crusader alliance, practice shirk [idolatry, polytheism] and apostasy, and where the aircraft have flown off but lurk in a place of ambush … Jihadist operations at this time are [dominated by] al-amaliyya al-amniyat [security operations], which begin with the monitoring of the infidels’ ways and paths and headquarters, then raiding and assassinating them. This is what terrifies the Crusaders and the apostates and disrupts their sleep because it weakens their morale, terrorizes their soldiers, and brings about the fall of the cities into the hands of the Mujahideen.
Today—bi fadl Allah [by the grace of God]—from Wilayat Diyala, to Wilayat Kirkuk to Wilayat Saladin, represents muthalath al-mawt [the triangle of death], and tomorrow a square and rectangle of torment here and there, to infuriate the kufr and prepare again for their failed campaigns. This is what the mushrikun achieved after years of war that drained their blood and money. In Karbala and Najaf and the rest of the lands of mushrikun, it is necessary in this stage to intensify the work of commanded by God, in monitoring and killing of all those involved in leading people from religion [i.e. Shi’a clerics], and the most effective treatment for the rest of the masses involved is a request to [join in] fighting al-mulahideen [atheists, the godless] and a retreat to the cities to protect them from falling after abandoning the countryside. …
The hukumat al-shirk [government of polytheism or government of idolatry] in Baghdad seeks to deceive people that they have tightened their grip on the security of this city and want to lift security barriers. This step reminds us of what they did after the emergence of the sahwat al-ridat wal-aar [the awakening of apostasy and shame or disgrace], when they thought they had won and could maintain control. And then they became the laughing stock of the world because of the repetition of lies to justify their security failure, after the Harvest of the Good policy picked the heads of the apostate soldiers and their mushrikun officers. This plan was based on the principle of monitoring and killing which God has ordered. This policy bore fruit even at that time when the crusaders and apostates thought they were triumphant. The Commander of the Faithful, Abu Umar al-Baghdadi—may God accept him—said: “Praise be to you, O soldiers of God, for I reckon that you have suffered and yet shown patience, you have been shaken and you have been martyred and you have been rocked and dispersed, yet fought on and shall be congratulated with rewards in the hereafter and victory in al-dunya [the temporal world]. The enemy, in all its forms and varieties, recognized that the period following your plan for the Harvest of Good was the harshest for them for about a year, and it is not a coincidence that the number of American dead is now so large they can no longer say, ‘He was killed in a non-combat incident’! In a few months you will touch victory with your hands and see it with your eyes, as you have seen it before, but more pure, clear, and solid”.
Yes—by God—the State of Islam returned after the stage of scrutiny and woe to the stage of victory and empowerment. We have seen victory, and touched it, just as he said—may God accept him—where it extended into Syria and then returned stronger into Iraq and announced the Caliphate, glory be to God. Hopefully our Lord—Gloried and Exalted is He—will achieve a sincere victory soon through the truthfulness of the group chosen to carry this trust forward after years of war, and after this stage of hardship and the selection and scrutiny of the mujahedeen. The soldiers of Islam and its righteous caliphate will continue monitoring and killing the mushrikun until they have been defeated. They have a lion’s fury, and their detachments will reach the kufr on bases in the cities, as well as in the countryside … Victory is patience before the Hour, and results from righteousness, praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.
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 taraqum wa-masalikuh
 al-rusud wal-qatal; could also be given as “observation and assassination”, a key, recurring phrase in the article
 Al-Amir al-Mu’mineen; also given as “prince of the believers”.
 Abu Umar was the first emir of the Islamic State, between 2006 and 2010. His real name was Hamid al-Zawi.
 This is from Abu Umar’s seventeenth speech, given on 12 May 2009, called “Lying Agents” or “Deceitful Spies” (عملاء كذابون). For a fuller version of the speech see Nibras Kazimi’s write-up of it from the time. [UPDATE: can now find the whole speech here.]