The 9 Lives of Al Baghdadi


July 11th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Op-ed for FRN by Samer Hussein –


Earlier this morning, several news outlets started circulating the story about ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi being killed, and for real this time, as his passing was reportedly confirmed by ISIS leadership itself.

According to what was reported, Al Baghdadi was killed in a Russian airstrike on ISIS positions in the countryside of the Syrian province of Raqqah (the main hub of ISIS), a thing already indicated by Russian Defense Ministry last month. 

Some other sources, however, claimed Al Baghdadi was indeed killed around that time, except that his very own existence was ended by a bomb, dropped by one of the jets, belonging to the Syrian Air Force, while conducting the raids in Deir Ez Zour.

That is, of course, if he only ever existed. The thing is that there is no irrefutable evidence that any person with the birthname Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badri and now known as Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi has actually ever existed. 

In comparison with Osama bin Laden (whose own demise is equally dubious), hardly anything or at least reliable is known about “Al Baghdadi”. Nowhere is the name of his own parents and family clan being mentioned, a thing rather uncommon for people coming from the tribalistic parts of Iraqi societies.

The background info, gathered by western intelligence, says that prior to the US invasion of Iraq, Al Baghdadi may have been a preacher at a local mosque. “May have been”. May have been because nobody knows whether he really was or not. 

Although Iraq may be a “third world” country with severely dated infrastructure and poor communication channels, the locals would nonetheless recognize the man by now. 

Equally “mysterious” are the information regarding his family life. 

According to local sources, Al Baghdadi had 3 wives (whose names were actually published). Rumours also claimed that he started to date a German teenager Diane Kruger after she joined ISIS back in 2015.

Again, none of that information could be verified. 

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As if this wasn’t enough, the political career of Al Baghdadi, which suddenly started (and now reportedly ended) with ISIS itself, has frequently been surrounded by rumours of his death.

All this brings us to a question: was Al Baghdadi indeed a very highly dangerous terrorist leader, whose elimination was the result of years-long difficult efforts, or was he just another product of the intelligence stunts and a made-up persona?

Not only that hardly anything is known about him, equally “humble”, in terms of information, is his political career. 

A marginal terrorist, once, many years ago, placed on a global terrorist watch list, and who has never ever played any visible role within the terrorist circles, suddenly becomes the chief of the world’s most “dangerous, sophisticated and advanced” terrorist group that same as its leader, began its career all of a sudden as the “world’s top.” 

It is therefore not strange that many rumours are surrounding Al Baghdadi and ISIS, with some of them even claiming that the two are the products of western intelligence, aimed to disrupt the actual fight against terrorism and deceive the public.

Judging by the situation on the ground and the fact how many pieces of advanced weapons and equipment, known to be made in specific countries only, were discovered to be in possession of ISIS terrorists, one does not need to think twice.

Regarding Al Baghdadi’s passing, the next question that arises here is: where will the burial be? Probably not at sea again. 

The fact that, unlike at previous reports, ISIS indeed confirmed Baghdadi’s passing this time, could mean that somebody finally decided to write Al Baghdadi character permanently off the show, upon realizing that the ratings have gone down significantly. 

Although the plug has not been pulled yet, it’s clear the show will not be extended for one more season.

Either way, the demise of Al Baghdadi is of course something worth celebrating, whether he really lived or not. What matters here, first and foremost, is not Al Baghdadi, but rather the efficiency of joint Russian-Syrian counter-terrorism efforts.

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