Mugshot of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by US armed forces while in detention at Camp Bucca in 2004
From 2013 to 2019, ISIL was headed and run by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-styled Caliph. Before their deaths, he had two deputy leaders, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani for Iraq and Abu Ali al-Anbari (also known as Abu Ala al-Afri) for Syria, both ethnic Turkmen. Advising al-Baghdadi is a cabinet of senior leaders, while its operations in Iraq and Syria are controlled by local ’emirs,’ who head semi-autonomous groups which the Islamic State refers to as its provinces. Beneath the leaders are councils on finance, leadership, military matters, legal matters (including decisions on executions) foreign fighters’ assistance, security, intelligence and media. In addition, a shura council has the task of ensuring that all decisions made by the governors and councils comply with the group’s interpretation of sharia. While al-Baghdadi has told followers to “advise me when I err” in sermons, according to observers “any threat, opposition, or even contradiction is instantly eradicated”.
According to Iraqis, Syrians and analysts who study the group, almost all of ISIL’s leaders—including the members of its military and security committees and the majority of its emirs and princes—are former Iraqi military and intelligence officers, specifically former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath government who lost their jobs and pensions in the de-Ba’athification process after that regime was overthrown. The former Chief Strategist in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism of the US State Department, David Kilcullen, has said that “There undeniably would be no Isis if we had not invaded Iraq.” It has been reported that Iraqis and Syrians have been given greater precedence over other nationalities within ISIL because the group needs the loyalties of the local Sunni populations in both Syria and Iraq in order to be sustainable. Other reports, however, have indicated that Syrians are at a disadvantage to foreign members, with some native Syrian fighters resenting “favouritism” allegedly shown towards foreigners over pay and accommodation.
In August 2016, media reports based on briefings by Western intelligence agencies suggested that ISIL had a multilevel secret service known in Arabic as Emni, established in 2014, that has become a combination of an internal police force and an external operations directorate complete with regional branches. The unit was believed to be under the overall command of ISIL’s most senior Syrian operative, spokesman and propaganda chief Abu Mohammad al-Adnani until his death by airstrike in late August 2016.
In August 2019 al-Baghdadi handed day to day management of operations over to Abdullah Qardash.
CNN coverage of Baghdadi
MSM Pans Al-Baghdadi Raid; ISIS Leader Remembered As “Religious Scholar”, “Promising Young Footballer”
Following the announcement that ISIS founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up along with his three children during a raid conducted by United States special forces, the mainstream media has done their best to downplay the victory – going so far as to praise al-Baghdadi.
For starters, the Washington Post lead with the headline: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at the helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.”
Democracy Dies in- wait a second has the Post lost its damn mind? pic.twitter.com/GSf9OJSwnH
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) October 27, 2019
This is how the treasonous @washingtonpost describes a mass murderer who had Americans beheaded and our Muslim allies burnt alive.
Yes you are THE ENEMY of the American People and all that is sacred. pic.twitter.com/nW6S2sweJc
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) October 27, 2019
The Post‘s obituary headline simply says that al-Baghdadi “dies at 48,” and said he “maintained a canny pragmatism as leader.”
“Acquaintances would remember him as a shy, nearsighted youth who liked soccer.“
The obit also waits until the 34th graf to inform readers he was a serial rapist of hostage sex slaves.https://t.co/TnybLYgQjz
— Elliott Schwartz (@elliosch) October 27, 2019
Like, of natural causes or something? https://t.co/lUaOZEAFxa pic.twitter.com/SmhpktfUwe
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) October 27, 2019
The Times of London called al-Baghdad “A promising young footballer and a student of the Koran who became a terrorist, mass murderer and the world’s most-wanted man.”
The absurd headlines have also sparked a new hashtag – #WaPoDeathNotices– in which Twitter users envision similar obituaries for terrible people.
Adolf Hitler, passionate community planner and dynamic public speaker, dies at 56.#WaPoDeathNotices
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) October 27, 2019
Charles Manson, famous songwriter and meditation leader, dead at 83 #WaPoDeathNotices
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 27, 2019
Jeffrey Dahmer, lover of exotic cuisine, dies at 34. #WaPoDeathNotices
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) October 27, 2019
Mohamed Atta, skilled aviator and leader of men, dies at 33. #WashPostOrbits #WashingtonPostOrbits#WaPoDeathNotices
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 27, 2019
Mainstream US news, meanwhile, went to great lengths to downplay the event.
James Clapper – Obama’s former National Intelligence Director (who is now under criminal investigation) said that al-Baghdadi’s death could “galvanize” ISIS, telling CNN‘s “State of the Union” “What is going to be interesting is to the extent to which this negatively affects ISIS or does it galvanize ISIS, the remnants of ISIS, which still survives as an ideology and has franchises in other places besides Syria.”
CNN also knocked President Trump for the level of detail President Trump went into about the raid – suggesting it has increased the risk to sources that may still be on the ground.
CNN’s Vinograd on al-Baghdadi raid: The level of detail that President Trump went into in that press conference increases the risk to sources that may still be on the ground. It’s really unprecedented when you think about how much detail he actually went into. It is irresponsible pic.twitter.com/RnqZNzQAq8
— Wojciech Pawelczyk 🇵🇱🇺🇸 (@PolishPatriotTM) October 27, 2019
CNN’s @npwcnn says President Trump’s remarks “echoed frankly the crudeness you would often expect to hear maybe from ISIS.” pic.twitter.com/ueGxy5J4c0
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) October 27, 2019
Speaking on CBS “Face the Nation,” President Obama’s Jt. Chiefs Vice Chair James Winnefeld slammed Trump for “piling humiliation” on ISIS after the operation.
“If you look back at the bin Laden raid, we treated his body with respect that is due under Islam,” he said. (h/t Paul Sperry)
Admiral James Winnefeld tells @margbrennan that he’s worried about Trump’s “piling on” by describing al-Baghdadi as a “dog.” Says it sends a signal to followers “that could cause them to lash out possibly more harshly in the wake.”pic.twitter.com/L6y7a17bm0
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 27, 2019
Perhaps US forces should dump chunks of al-Baghdadi’s body in the ocean, just to be safe?
The Democrats are unbelievable. On a day where @realDonaldTrump’s order to strike led to the death of our most wanted terrorist leader, somehow the Democrats are using it as an opportunity to criticize the President. Elected Democrats hate Trump more than they love our country. https://t.co/SWcpZRJ037
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 27, 2019