Does IS Have a New Leader?
Secret US special operations on Saturday and Sunday led to the death of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his spokesman, Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, in Syria, but the organization has already identified its successor, Newsweek reports "who first reported yesterday the murder of the mysterious ID chief.
It is rumored that Abdullah Kardash, whose name is sometimes spelled Karshesh and also known as Hajji Abdullah al-Afari, was appointed by Baghdadi himself in August to lead "Muslim affairs" in a message circulated by the ID's official media mouthpiece - of the Amak site.
However, the group has never publicly confirmed this. Little is known about the former Iraqi army officer who once served under the late leader Saddam Hussein. But a regional intelligence officer, who asked not to be identified, told Newsweek that Kardash should have already taken on the role of Baghdadi, though she lost much of her importance at the time of his death, the magazine wrote.
Killed yesterday during Operation Delta Special Forces Baghdadi, he built the self-proclaimed Caliphate of ID on the basis of an al-Qaeda Iraqi branch, but according to the official, the role of the once-influential Islamic hardliner was already largely symbolic.
"Baghdadi was a figurehead. He was not involved in operations or day-to-day. All al-Baghdadi did was say yes or no."
Details remain on what happened at Baghdadi's headquarters in the Syrian village of Barisha, and why the chief of the IS was hiding deep in territory that links to rival jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, led by Baghdadi's former associate, Abu Mohammad. al Jolani, who later founded the Syrian branch of al Qaeda - the An Nusra Front. But the armed forces of both men suffered a series of defeats, which severely restricted their freedom of movement in both countries, whose destabilization played a key role, Newsweek said.
The magazine cites prevailing until recently opinions that Baghdadi should have been hiding somewhere in northeastern Syria or the neighbouring border regions of Iraq, which, however, turned out to be incorrect. There were also allegations that he was not able to direct the ID because he was injured in a U.S. air strike.
However, when Baghdadi was seen in a video released by the ID in April - his first appearance after his only public speaking at the grand mosque of Al Nuri in Mosul, no visible signs of injury were noticeable. Even with his downfall, however, the ability of ID to give orders and inspire bloodshed around the world may not be completely broken, the magazine notes.
"They will strike in Syria, create chaos in Iraq, Europe and, of course, in the United States," said a regional official. "We are dealing with a sleeping giant. It will wake up and cause unprecedented chaos and horror among people in the West." . "
However, according to an unnamed former US intelligence officer, Baghdadi's death could have a significant impact on the ID's ability to act. He told Newsweek that "if (Baghdadi) had signed on to operations and strategies through letters and courier, then he had influence." "The leader matters. We follow in their footsteps because they make the decisions," the employee added.
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