Who was Baghdadi? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Who was Baghdadi?

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the fugitive Islamic state commander, died during a U.S military operation in Syria. On October 27th American president announced the death of the ISIS leader Baghdadi.

The killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a US raid in northwestern Syria on 26th October.

Baghdadi came to prominence in 2014, when he announced the creation of a “caliphate” in areas of Iraq and Syria. IS carried out multiple atrocities that resulted in thousands of deaths.

The Jjihadi's group imposed a brutal rule in the areas under its control and was behind many attacks around the world. 

Although the US declared the caliphate defeated earlier this year, IS militants remain active in the region and elsewhere.

Baghdadi’s death is a major victory for Trump as he faced heavy criticism for his decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria and fight an impeachment inquiry launched by Democrats.
Who was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

Baghdadi was an Iraqi born in 1971, he was an Iraq-born terrorist. He was a weak student, whose poor eyesight disqualified him from joining the Iraqi military, he rose to command al-Qaida’s Iraqi division and then broke away to form Islamic State (ISIS).

In July 2014, shortly after ISIS said it has established a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, Baghdadi delivered a sermon from a mosque in the captured Iraqi city of Mosul.

Appearing unmasked for the first time, he declared himself to be the caliph: the political and religious leader of the global Muslim community.

His self-declaration was roundly rejected by almost all Islamic religious authorities but his caliphate became a magnet for thousands of foreign fighters and women. 

The group attempted not just to hold territory but to administer it like a state, establishing a brutal justice system, collecting taxes and doling out public services.

His involvements

The organization is known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, as well as by the European Union and many individual states, while Baghdadi was considered a specially designated global terrorist by the US until his death in October 2019. 

Baghdadi was directly involved in atrocities and human rights violations conducted by ISIL, these include genocide of Yazidis in Iraqi, extensive sex slavery, organized rape, floggings, and extensive executions.

He directed terrorist activities and massacre. He embraced brutality as part of the organization’s propaganda efforts, producing videos displaying executions, sex slavery, stoning, and burning.

Where and how he died?

According to the American sources Baghdadi died during a raid by US special forces on his Syrian safe house in Idlib province in north-east Syria. Baghdadi fled into the dead-end tunnel and detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

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Is his death significant?

Baghdadi was not just an operational leader, but a symbol of ISIS’s Islamic credentials: he had claimed to come from the same tribe as the Prophet Muhammad, to be a descendant of the prophet’s grandson, and to fulfill the necessary ideological and religious tests rightfully to claim leadership of Muslim.

His death is another strike against ISIS purported legitimacy leaving it less able to claim to be any different from other violent extremist groups.

How he had been living in Syria?

Baghdadi was thought to have been hiding in eastern Syria along the border with his native Iraq.

 He is said to have used extensive measures to avoid surveillance, never using mobile phones, frequently changing safe houses and avoiding traveling in convoys that draw attention.

Few would have guessed that he was in Idlib because the province, which is under siege by Russian and Syrian forces, is mostly controlled by Hayat Tahir al-sham, an Islamist militia that is opposed to Isis and has been known to hunt down and execute suspected members of the group.

Some have speculated that Baghdadi might have arrived recently, fleeing the recent Turkish incursion in the north east of the country, and the subsequent advances made by the Syrian and Russian armies.

ISIS roots and its funding source

ISIS also called ISIL has terrorized large swatch of Iraq and Syria in its drive to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East ruled by strict shariah law. 

The militant group is made up of fundamentalist Sunni Muslims and foreign jihadists. Many ISIS fighters come from the ranks of the Baath party of Saddam Hussein and several ISIS top lieutenants were officers and intelligence officials at the party.

It is estimated that about 12,000 foreigners a many as 3,000 westerners have joined ISIS. Branches of ISIS having spring up in Egypt and Libya, and ISIS is believed to have some 30,000 fighters in its ranks, with about 10% of them coming from the west, western nations have stepped up security to prevent a citizen from traveling to Syria and Iraq to join the flight.

ISIS makes more than10$ million each month through extortion, the collection of taxed and fees in the area under their control, selling oil from fields it controls, and through looting the homes of people who fled under the threat of the militants.

ISIS has armed itself with weapons seized from the battlefield in Iraq and Syria. ISIS prefers portable weapons that are easy to conceal and transport, such as shoulder-launched, surface-to-air missiles. 

The group has also reportedly received funding from wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, and Qatar and then used the money to buy arms on the black market.
 These nations support ISIS because both consider Iran and Syria a threat, share the anti-Shiite sentiment, and want to protect fellow Sunnis from violence sanctioned by Assad and Maliki. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar have passed legislation banning such aid, but the governments have done little to enforce the laws.
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ISIS has no boundaries in regard to its savagery. Al Qaida distanced itself from ISIS as it grew increasingly violent and intolerant even of Muslims.

How many people have been killed till now by ISIS attacks?

Since declaring its caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has conducted or inspired more than 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries other than Iraq and Syria where its carnage has taken a much deadlier toll. Those attacks have killed at least 2,043 people and injured thousands more.

It can be difficult to divine the precise role that international terrorists play in this or that attack. It also can be hard to get precise information about some attacks, but it’s clear the deadly tentacles of ISIS have spread quickly from the terrorist group’s epicenter in Iraq and Syria to point around the globe.


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