Inside the hierarchy of the Islamic State
Documents extracted from home of IS military leader in Iraq show organization leader al-Baghdadi has two deputies to help run Iraq and Syria territories respectively, as well as a 7-man cabinet and governors running the different regions.
Those on the following list are wanted by international authorities and many are included on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. The USA authorities and other international agencies are offering substantial rewards for the capture (alive or dead) of those on the list.
However , although the rewards are vast and could make you a multimillionaire over night these guys live and operate in the most dangerous regions on earth and you would need an army to get anywhere near them. And you would also have to be slightly insane!
But that aside, history is littered with betrayal ( Judas) and perhaps one day greed will motivate someone close to them to turn them in and collect enough money to buy a 1000,000 goats and live happy ever after………………………….
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Profile: Islamic State & Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Real name: Ibrahim Awwad Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai.
A Iraqi national from the Al-Bu Badri tribe and an alleged descen-dant of the Prophet Mohammed. Received a PhD in Islamic studies in Baghdad before founding Jamaat Jaish Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jamaa in 2003 to fight US forces. Joined MSM in 2006 and took charge of ISI sharia committees by 2007.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Arabic: أبو بكر البغدادي, ʾabū bakri l-baḡdādī) is the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an Islamic extremist group in western Iraq, Libya, northeast Nigeria, and Syria self-styled as the “Islamic State”. It is believed that he has been proclaimed by his followers to be a caliph.
On the 4th of October 2011, the U.S. State Department listed al-Baghdadi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and announced a reward of up to US$10 million for information leading to his capture or death. Only the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has a larger reward offered for his capture or death (US$25 million). The United States had also accused al-Baghdadi of kidnapping, enslaving, and repeatedly raping an American citizen who was later killed.
Al-Baghdadi (born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai, in Arabic إبراهيم عواد إبراهيم علي محمد البدري السامرائي) is believed to have been born near Samarra, Iraq, in 1971. In his teens he had a passion for football. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, contemporaries of al-Baghdadi describe him in his youth as being shy, unimpressive, a religious scholar and a man who eschewed violence. For more than a decade, until 2004, he lived in a room attached to a small local mosque in Tobchi, a poor neighbourhood on the western fringes of Baghdad, inhabited by both Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Ahmed al-Dabash, the leader of the Islamic Army of Iraq and a contemporary of al-Baghdadi who fought against the allied invasion in 2003, gave a description of al-Baghdadi that matched that of the Tobchi residents:
“I was with Baghdadi at the Islamic University. We studied the same course, but he wasn’t a friend. He was quiet, and retiring. He spent time alone. Later, when he helped found the Islamic Army, Mr Dabash fought alongside militia leaders who were committing some of the worst excesses in violence and would later form al-Qaeda… [but] Baghdadi was not one of them, I used to know all the leaders (of the insurgency) personally. Zarqawi (the former leader of al-Qaeda) was closer than a brother to me… But I didn’t know Baghdadi. He was insignificant. He used to lead prayer in a mosque near my area. No one really noticed him.”
In 2014, American and Iraqi intelligence analysts said that al-Baghdadi has a doctorate in Islamic studies from a university in Baghdad. According to a biography that circulated on jihadist internet forums in July 2013, he obtained a BA, MA and PhD in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad. Another report says that he earned a doctorate in education from the University of Baghdad.
“They [the US and Iraqi Governments] know physically who this guy is, but his backstory is just myth”, said Patrick Skinner of the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm. “He’s managed this secret persona extremely well, and it’s enhanced his group’s prestige”, said Patrick Johnston of the RAND Corporation, adding, “Young people are really attracted to that.” He is so unrecognized even in his own organization Baghdadi is nicknamed “the invisible sheikh”.
Some believe that al-Baghdadi was already an Islamic revolutionary during the rule of Saddam Hussein, but other reports contradict this. He may have been a mosque cleric around the time of the US-led invasion in 2003.
After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Baghdadi helped found the militant group Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah (JJASJ), in which he served as head of the sharia committee. Al-Baghdadi and his group joined the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in 2006, in which he served as a member of the MSC’s sharia committee. Following the renaming of the MSC as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2006, al-Baghdadi became the general supervisor of the ISI’s sharia committee and a member of the group’s senior consultative council.
Bakr al-Baghdadi was arrested by US Forces-Iraq on 2 February 2004 near Fallujah and detained at Camp Bucca detention center under his name Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry as a “civilian internee” until December 2004, when he was recommended for release by a Combined Review and Release Board. In December 2004, he was released as a “low level prisoner”.
A number of newspapers and cable news channels have instead stated that al-Baghdadi was interned from 2005 to 2009. These reports originate from an interview with the former commander of Camp Bucca, Colonel Kenneth King, and are not substantiated by Department of Defense records. Al-Baghdadi was imprisoned at Camp Bucca along with other future leaders of ISIL.
As leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq
The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), was the Iraqi division of al-Qaeda. Al-Baghdadi was announced as leader of the ISI on 16 May 2010, following the death of his predecessor Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
As leader of the ISI, al-Baghdadi was responsible for masterminding large-scale operations such as the 28 August 2011 suicide bombing at the Umm al-Qura Mosque in Baghdad, which killed prominent Sunni lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi. Between March and April 2011, the ISI claimed 23 attacks south of Baghdad, all allegedly carried out under al-Baghdadi’s command.
Following the death of founder and head of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, on 2 May 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, al-Baghdadi released a statement praising bin Laden and threatening violent retaliation for his death. On 5 May 2011, al-Baghdadi claimed responsibility for an attack in Hilla, 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Baghdad, that killed 24 policemen and wounded 72 others.
On 15 August 2011, a wave of ISI suicide attacks begenning in Mosul resulted in 70 deaths. Shortly thereafter, in retaliation for bin Laden’s death, the ISI pledged on its website to carry out 100 attacks across Iraq featuring various methods of attack, including raids, suicide attacks, roadside bombs and small arms attacks, in all cities and rural areas across the country.
On 22 December 2011, a series of coordinated car bombings and IED (improvised explosive device) attacks struck over a dozen neighborhoods across Baghdad, killing at least 63 people and wounding 180. The assault came just days after the US completed its troop withdrawal from the country. On 26 December, the ISI released a statement on jihadist internet forums claiming credit for the operation, stating that the targets of the Baghdad attack were “accurately surveyed and explored” and that the “operations were distributed between targeting security headquarters, military patrols and gatherings of the filthy ones of the al-Dajjal Army”, referring to the Mahdi Army of Shia warlord Muqtada al-Sadr.
On 2 December 2012, Iraqi officials claimed that they had captured al-Baghdadi in Baghdad, following a two-month tracking operation. Officials claimed that they had also seized a list containing the names and locations of other al-Qaeda operatives. However, this claim was rejected by the ISI. In an interview with Al Jazeera on 7 December 2012, Iraq’s Acting Interior Minister said that the arrested man was not al-Baghdadi, but rather a sectional commander in charge of an area stretching from the northern outskirts of Baghdad to Taji.
Leader of Islamic State (IS)
Expansion into Syria and break with al-Qaeda
Al-Baghdadi remained leader of the ISI until its formal expansion into Syria in 2013, when in a statement on 8 April 2013, he announced the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—alternatively translated from the Arabic as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
When announcing the formation of ISIL, al-Baghdadi stated that the Syrian Civil War jihadist faction, Jabhat al-Nusra—also known as al-Nusra Front—had been an extension of the ISI in Syria and was now to be merged with ISIL. The leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, disputed this merging of the two groups and appealed to al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, who issued a statement that ISIL should be abolished and that al-Baghdadi should confine his group’s activities to Iraq. Al-Baghdadi, however, dismissed al-Zawahiri’s ruling and took control of a reported 80% of Jabhat al-Nusra’s foreign fighters. In January 2014, ISIL expelled Jabhat al-Nusra from the Syrian city of Ar-Raqqah, and in the same month clashes between the two in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Governorate killed hundreds of fighters and displaced tens of thousands of civilians. In February 2014, al-Qaeda disavowed any relations with ISIL.
According to several Western sources, al-Baghdadi and ISIL have received private financing from citizens in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and enlisted fighters through recruitment drives in Saudi Arabia in particular.
As Caliph of the Islamic State (IS)
On 29 June 2014, ISIL announced the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. Al-Baghdadi was named its caliph, to be known as “Caliph Ibrahim”, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was renamed the Islamic State (IS). There has been much debate, especially across the Muslim world, about the legitimacy of these moves.
The declaration of a caliphate has been heavily criticized by Middle Eastern governments, other jihadist groups, and Sunni Muslim theologians and historians. Qatar-based TV broadcaster and theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated: “[The] declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and for the revolt in Syria”, adding that the title of caliph can “only be given by the entire Muslim nation”, not by a single group.
As a caliph, al-Baghdadi is required to hold to each dictate of the sunnah, whose precedence is set and recorded in the sahih hadiths. According to tradition, if a caliph fails to meet any of these obligations at any period, he is legally required to abdicate his position and the community has to appoint a new caliph, theoretically selected from throughout the caliphdom as being the most religiously and spiritually pious individual among them. Due to the widespread rejection of his caliphhood, al-Baghdadi’s status as caliph has been compared to that of other caliphs whose caliphship has been questioned.
In an audio-taped message, al-Baghdadi announced that ISIL would march on “Rome”—generally interpreted to mean the West—in its quest to establish an Islamic State from the Middle East across Europe. He said that he would conquer both Rome and Spain in this endeavor and urged Muslims across the world to immigrate to the new Islamic State.
On 5 July 2014, a video was released apparently showing al-Baghdadi making a speech at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, northern Iraq. A representative of the Iraqi government denied that the video was of al-Baghdadi, calling it a “farce”. However, both the BBC and the Associated Press quoted unnamed Iraqi officials as saying that the man in the video was believed to be al-Baghdadi. In the video, al-Baghdadi declared himself the world leader of Muslims and called on Muslims everywhere to support him.
On 8 July 2014, ISIL launched its online magazine Dabiq. The title appears to have been selected for its eschatological connections with the Islamic version of the End times, or Malahim.
According to a report in October 2014, after suffering serious injuries, al-Baghdadi fled ISIL’s capital city Ar-Raqqah due to the intense bombing campaign launched by Coalition forces, and sought refuge in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the largest city under ISIL control.
On 5 November 2014, al-Baghdadi sent a message to al-Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahiri requesting him to swear allegiance to him as caliph, in return for a position in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The source of this information was a senior Taliban intelligence officer. Al-Zawahiri did not reply, and instead reassured the Taliban of his loyalty to Mullah Omar.
On 7 November 2014, there were unconfirmed reports of al-Baghdadi’s death after an airstrike in Mosul, while other reports said that he was only wounded.
On 13 November 2014, ISIL released an audio-taped message, claiming it to be in the voice of al-Baghdadi. In the 17-minute recording, released via social media, the speaker said that ISIL fighters would never cease fighting “even if only one soldier remains”. The speaker urged supporters of the Islamic State to “erupt volcanoes of jihad” across the world. He called for attacks to be mounted in Saudi Arabia—describing Saudi leaders as “the head of the snake” and said that the US-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq was failing. He also said that ISIL would keep on marching and would “break the borders” of Jordan and Lebanon and “free Palestine.” Al-Baghdadi also claimed in 2014 that Islamic jihadists would never hesitate to eliminate Israel just because it has the United States support.
On 20 January 2015, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that al-Baghdadi had been wounded in an airstrike in Al-Qa’im, an Iraqi border town held by ISIL, and as a result, withdrew to Syria.
On 8 February 2015, after Jordan had conducted 56 airstrikes, which had reportedly killed 7,000 ISIL militants from 5–7 February, Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi was said to have fled from Ar-Raqqah to Mosul, out of fear for his life. However, after a Peshmerga source informed the US-led Coalition that al-Baghdadi was in Mosul, Coalition warplanes continuously bombed the locations where ISIL leaders were known to meet at for 2 hours.
On 14 August 2015, it was reported that he had allegedly taken American hostage Kayla Mueller as his wife and raped her repeatedly. Mueller was later alleged to have been killed in an airstrike by anti-ISIL forces. However, other reports cite that Mueller was murdered by ISIL.
Sectarianism and theocracy
Through his forename, al-Baghdadi is rumored to be styling himself after the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who led the “Rightly Guided” or Rashidun. According to Sunni tradition, Abu Bakr replaced Muhammad as prayer leader when he was suffering from illnesses. Another feature of the original Rashidun was what some historians dub as the first Sunnist Shiist discord during the Battle of Siffin. Some publishers have drawn a correlation between those ancient events and modern events under al-Baghdadi’s rule.
Due to the relatively stationary nature of ISIL control, the elevation of religious clergy and the group’s scripture-themed legal system, some analysts have declared al-Baghdadi a theocrat and ISIL a theocracy. Other indications of the decline of secularism are the evisceration of secular institutions and its replacement with strict sharia law, and the gradual caliphization and Sunnification of regions under the group’s control. In July 2015, al-Baghdadi was described by a reporter as exhibiting a kinder and gentler side after he banned videos showing slaughter and execution.
Little is known about al-Baghdadi’s family and sources provide conflicting information. Reuters, quoting tribal sources in Iraq, reports Baghdadi has three wives, two Iraqis and one Syrian. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has said, “There is no wife named Saja al-Dulaimi” and that al-Baghdadi has two wives, Asma Fawzi Mohammed al-Dulaimi and Israa Rajab Mahal A-Qaisi. It is thought the child of his wife Saja al-Dulaimi was molested by al-Baghdadi and also sodomized by him on various occasions, according to sources in al-Nusra Front.
According to many sources, Saja al-Dulaimi is or was al-Baghdadi’s wife. It was reported the couple had allegedly met and fell in love online. Some sources prefix her name with caliphess or calipha in recognition of her status as the wife of a caliph.
She was arrested in Syria in late 2013 or early 2014, and was released from a Syrian jail in March 2014 as part of a prisoner swap involving 150 women, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaeda-linked militants. Also released in March were her two sons and her younger brother.
Al-Dulaimi’s family allegedly all adhere to ISIL’s ideology. Her father, Ibrahim Dulaimi, a so-called ISIL emir in Syria, was reportedly killed in September 2013 during an operation against the Syrian Army in Deir Attiyeh. Her sister, Duaa, was allegedly behind a suicide attack that targeted a Kurdish gathering in Erbil. The Iraq Interior Ministry has said that her brother is facing execution in Iraq for a series of bombings in southern Iraq. The Iraq government, however, said that al-Dulaimi is the daughter of an active member of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front.
In late November 2014, al-Dulaimi was arrested and held for questioning by Lebanese authorities, along with two sons and a young daughter. They were traveling on false documents. The children are being held in a care center while Dulaimi is interrogated.
The capture was a joint intelligence operation by Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, with the US assisting Iraq. Al-Dulaimi’s potential intelligence value is unknown. An unnamed intelligence source told The New York Times that during the Iraq war, when the Americans captured a wife of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, “We got little out of her, and when we sent her back, Zarqawi killed her.” Al-Baghdadi’s family members are seen by the Lebanese authorities as potential bargaining chips in prisoner exchanges.
In the clearest explanation yet of al-Dulaimi’s connection to al-Baghdadi, Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk told Lebanon’s MTV channel that “Dulaimi is not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s wife currently. She has been married three times: first to a man from the former Iraqi regime, with whom she had two sons.” Other sources identify her first husband as Fallah Ismail Jassem, a member of the Rashideen Army, who was killed in a battle with the Iraqi Army in 2010. Machnouk continued, “Six years ago she married Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for three months, and she had a daughter with him. Now, she is married to a Palestinian and she is pregnant with his child.” The Minister added, “We conducted DNA tests on her and the daughter, which showed she was the mother of the girl, and that the girl is [Baghdadi’s] daughter, based on DNA from Baghdadi from Iraq.”
Al-Monitor reported a Lebanese security source as saying that al-Dulaimi had been under scrutiny since early 2014. He said, “[Jabhat al-Nusra] insisted back in March on including her in the swap that ended the kidnapping of the Maaloula nuns. The negotiators said on their behalf that she was very important, and they were ready to cancel the whole deal for her sake,” adding, “It was later revealed by Abu Malik al-Talli, one of al-Nusra’s leaders, that she was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s wife.”
On December 9, 2014, al-Dulaimi and her current Palestinian husband Kamal Khalaf were formally arrested after the Lebanese Military Court issued warrants and filed charges for belonging to a terrorist group, holding contacts with terrorist organizations, and planning to carry out terrorist acts. Her freedom was offered in a hostage swap deal.
According to a Guardian reporter The Guardian, al-Baghdadi married in Iraq around the year 2000 after finishing his doctorate. The son of this marriage was aged 11 years old in 2014.
A four- to six-year-old girl who was detained in Lebanon in 2014 is allegedly al-Baghdadi’s daughter.
Reports of paralysis and wounds
According to media reports, al-Baghdadi was wounded on 18 March 2015 during a coalition airstrike on the al-Baaj District, in the Nineveh Governorate, near the Syrian border. His wounds were apparently so serious that the top ISIL leaders had a meeting to discuss who would replace him if he died. According to reports, by 22 April al-Baghdadi had not yet recovered enough from his injuries to resume daily control of ISIL. The US Pentagon said that al-Baghdadi had not been the target of the airstrikes and “we have no reason to believe it was Baghdadi”. On 22 April 2015, Iraqi government sources reported that Abu Ala al-Afri, the self-proclaimed caliph’s deputy and a former Iraqi physics teacher, had been installed as the stand-in leader while Baghdadi recuperated from his injuries.
On 3 May 2015, The Guardian reported that al-Baghdadi was recovering from the severe injuries which he had received during the airstrike on 18 March 2015, in a part of Mosul. It was also reported that a spinal injury which had left him paralyzed and incapacitated meant that he might never be able to fully resume direct command of ISIL. By 13 May, ISIL fighters had warned that they would retaliate for al-Baghdadi’s injury, which the Iraqi Defense Ministry believed would be carried out through attacks in Europe.
On 14 May 2015, ISIL released an audio message which it claimed was from al-Baghdadi. In the recording, al-Baghdadi urged Muslims to emigrate to the Islamic State, and to join the fight in Iraq and Syria. In the recording, he also condemned the Saudi involvement in Yemen, and claimed that the conflict would lead to the end of the Saudi royal family‘s rule. He also claimed that Islam was never a religion of peace, that it was “the religion of fighting.” Assessment was made that this statement proved that al-Baghdadi remained in control or influencing ISIL.
On 20 July 2015, The New York Times wrote that rumors that al-Baghdadi had been killed or injured earlier in the year had been “dispelled
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani
Real name: Fadl Ahmad Abdullah al-HiyaliA former Lieutenant Colonel in the Iraqi Army and a former officer in the Iraqi Special Forces. From Tel Afar, Ninawa.
Fadel Ahmed Abdullah al-Hiyali, better known as Haji Mutazz, or by his nom de guerre Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (Arabic: أبو مسلم التركماني), also Abu Mu’taz, was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) governor for territories held by the organization in Iraq. Considered the ISIS second-in-command (along with his counterpart Abu Ali al-Anbari, who holds a similar position in Syria), he played a political role of overseeing the local councils and a military role that includes directing operations against opponents of ISIS. His names were also spelt Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, and Hajji Mutazz.
An ethnic Turkmen born in Tel Afar, Nineveh Province, al-Hiyali was an Iraqi Army Colonel under Saddam Hussein. According to documents discovered in Iraq, al-Hiyali was a lieutenant colonel in the Iraqi military’s intelligence unit Istikhbarat (Directorate of General Military Intelligence), who also spent time as a Special Forces officer in the Special Republican Guard right up until the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was decommissioned from the Iraqi army after U.S. forces arrived, and joined Sunni insurgents to fight the Americans. Like other ISIS leaders, Abu Muslim Al Turkmani spent time in a US prison in Iraq, specifically Camp Bucca. He once practiced a moderate form of Islam.
He oversaw ISIS designated governors in various cities and regions of Iraq, including identified shadow governors in areas that ISIS does not control, but has aspirations over. “I describe Baghdadi as a shepherd, and his deputies are the dogs who herd the sheep (ISIS members), the strength of the shepherd comes from his dogs.” said Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst who had access to documents discovered which provided details on al-Hiyali.
In a June 2015 New York Times article, al-Turkmani was said to have been the head of the Islamic State’s military council. He reportedly led the council of six to nine military commanders who directed the Islamic State’s military strategy, according to Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst at Flashpoint Global Partners.
He was killed by a US-led drone strike near Mosul, Iraq, on 18 August, 2015. There had previously been erroneous report of him having died on 7 November, 2014. This was believed to have been due to a case of mistaken identity.
Major media outlets had reported that al-Turkmani was killed in an early November or early December 2014 airstrike. The Wall Street Journal for example published on November 9, 2014, “Residents of Mosul and other people with connections to Islamic State said Friday (Nov 7) night’s airstrikes had killed Abu Muslim al Turkmani, one of Mr. Baghdadi’s top lieutenants. Twitter accounts connected to Islamic State have publicly been mourning the death of Mr. Turkmani, who had effectively governed Islamic State territory in Iraq.” Islamic State did not confirm his death at that time
Abu Ali al-Anbari
Real name: Unknown
A former Major General in the Iraqi Military from Anbar.
Abu Ali al-Anbari (Arabic: أبو علي الأنباري) is a nom de guerre for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) governor for territories held by the organization in Syria. Considered the ISIS second-in-command (along with his counterpart Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (KIA) who held a similar position in Iraq), he plays a political role of overseeing the local councils and acts as a kind of political envoy. His military role includes directing operations against both other Syrian rebels who oppose President Bashar al-Assad‘s government and the Syrian government itself
Early life and the Ba’ath regime
An ethnic Turkmen, al-Anbari is to be from the Iraqi city of Mosul in Nineveh province. He was said to be a former physics teacher and a Ba’ath party activist before 2003. He was also a former Iraqi Army officer under Saddam Hussein during the 1990s and attained the rank of Major General up until the regime’s fall in 2003.
After Invasion of Iraq
After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, he was briefly a member of Ansar al-Islam, a Sunni insurgent group, until he was ejected amid financial corruption allegations. In 2004 or 2005, he eventually joined al-Qaeda in Iraq under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and rose through the ranks of the organisation.
Rise of ISIS
Al-Anbari’s role within ISIS became clear after a raid last year on the home of another ISIS figure, Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, al-Baghdadi’s military chief of staff for Iraqi territory. Memory sticks found during the raid, in which al-Bilawi was killed, identified al-Anbari as the head of all ISIS military and non-military operations within Syria.
According to one ex-member of The Islamic State, al-Anbari is also a member of the Shura Council. Another account puts him as head of the powerful Intelligence and Security Council. He appears to have appointed Abu Yahya al Iraqi, who is with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at all times, to act as a channel between them.
Reportedly his knowledge of Shariah Islamic rules isn’t considered as extensive as that of other senior leaders according to ISIS militants interviewed.
“I describe Baghdadi as a shepherd, and his deputies are the dogs who herd the sheep [ISIS’s members], the strength of the shepherd comes from his dogs.” said Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst who had access to documents discovered which provided details on al-Anbari.
Deputy ‘Caliph’ of Islamic State (IS)
In March 2015, it was rumored that current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had suffered injuries including spinal damage leaving him incapacitated.
This has led to speculation that al-Anbari may ascend to the role of deputy of ISIS. That leader will be, in effect, under al-Baghdadi, a super deputy to the caliph—in Arabic, na’ib al-malik, or Viceroy. As a former Major-General, Head of the ISIS Security Council and leader of ISIS operations in Syria, this makes al-Anbari appear as a potential contender for the position. However, his previous experience in Saddam’s military might make al-Anbari an unpopular choice among foreign fighters and more militant Salafists inside ISIS. ISIS analyst Michael Weiss says, “It would be very unlikely that a known ex-Saddam military officer would be appointed caliph. Also, al-Anbari’s role is better suited as kingmaker for the organization although he does have or had a prominent public presence.”
Furthermore, according to Middle-east analyst Hassan Hassan, Abu Ala al-Afri, an influential member within ISIS, was believed to have already replaced al-Anbari as al-Baghdadi’s second-in-command
Real name: Nasser al-Din Allah Abu Suleiman
Abu Suleiman al-Naser (Arabic: أبو سليمان الناصر) was the War Minister of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). He is the current Head of the War council and military chief of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
Little is known about Abu Suleiman. He succeeded Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who was killed along with ISI leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi in a joint operation by US and Iraqi forces in Tikrit in April 2010, as the Minister of War for the Islamic State of Iraq. The new war minister signed with the name Al-Nasser Lideen Allah Abu Suleiman, a nom de guerre that translates “Defender of God’s Religion, Father of Suleiman”. His real name is Neaman Salman Mansour al Zaidi.
He is reported to have once been detained at Camp Bucca prison in Basrah province. He may have once been the governor of Anbar.
Iraqi security forces claimed to have killed Suleiman in February 2011, in the city of Hīt, west of Baghdad. However, the ISI denied his death a month later. Al-Naser has not made any public statements since his announcement as war minister and it is not known what role, if any, he has played in the organisation since it developed into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and strengthened it’s insurgency against the Iraqi Government.
Late on 7 November 2014, a US airstrike targeted a meeting of top ISIS leaders in Mosul, Iraq, killing 20 ISIS militants, including Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, ISIS’s Head of Military Shura at that time. He was replaced by Abu Suleiman al-Naser as ISIS’s Military Chief
Chief of Syria military operations
Real name: Tarkhan Tayumurazovich BatirashviliAn ethnic Chechen Georgian national. Former Sergeant in Georgian military intelligence unit. Led Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar in Syria before joining ISIS.
Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili (Georgian: თარხან ბათირაშვილი, born 1986), known by his nom de guerre Abu Omar al-Shishani (Arabic: أبو عمر الشيشاني, Abū ‘Umar ash-Shīshānī , “Abu Omar the Chechen”) or Omar al-Shishani, is a Georgian jihadist who currently serves as a commander for the Islamic State in Syria, and a former sergeant in the Georgian Army.
A veteran of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, Batirashvili became a jihadist after being discharged from the Georgian military and served in various command positions with Islamist militant groups fighting in the Syrian civil war. Batirashvili was previously the leader of the rebel group Katibat al-Muhajireen (Emigrants Brigade), also known as the Muhajireen Brigade, and its successor, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (Army of Emigrants and Supporters).
In May 2013, Batirashvili was appointed northern commander for ISIS, with authority over ISIS’s military operations and ISIS’s forces in northern Syria, specifically Aleppo, al-Raqqah, Latakia, and northern Idlib Provinces. As of late 2013, he was the ISIS amir (leader) for northern Syria and was located in and around Aleppo Province. He was also in charge of fighters from Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus. Units under his command have participated in major assaults on Syrian military bases in and around Aleppo, including the capture of Menagh Airbase in August 2013. He is considered “one of the most influential military leaders of the Syrian opposition forces”. As of mid-2014, Batirashvili was a senior ISIS commander and Shura Council member based in al-Raqqah, Syria.
The US Treasury Department added Batirashvili to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on 24 September 2014. On 5 May 2015, The U.S. State Department Rewards for Justice Program announced a reward up to US$5 million for information leading to his capture
Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili was born in the Georgian SSR, Soviet Union (now Georgia) in 1986. His father, Teimuraz Batirashvili, is an ethnic Georgian and Orthodox Christian. His mother was a Muslim Kist—an ethnic Chechen subgroup from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge—of the Melkhi clan.
Batirashvili grew up in the largely Kist-populated village of Birkiani, located in the Pankisi Gorge in northeast Georgia. In his youth, he worked as a shepherd in the hills above the gorge. Later in the 1990s, the Pankisi Gorge was a major transit point for rebels participating in the Second Chechen War, and it was there that Batirashvili reportedly came into contact with the Chechen rebels moving into Russia. According to his father, a young Batirashvili secretly helped Chechen militants into Russia and sometimes joined them on missions against Russian troops.
Service in the Georgian Armed Forces
After finishing high school, Batirashvili joined the Georgian Army and distinguished himself as master of various weaponry and maps, according to his former commander Malkhaz Topuria, who recruited him into a special reconnaissance group. He rose to the rank of sergeant in a newly formed intelligence unit, and during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War he served near the front line at the Battle of Tskhinvali, spying on Russian tank columns and relaying their coordinates to Georgian artillery units.
Batirashvili was never decorated for his military service. He was due to be promoted to become an officer, but in 2010 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. After spending several months in a military hospital, he was discharged on medical grounds. He tried and failed to re-enlist. Upon returning home, he was unable to secure work in the local police force. Around this time, his mother also died of cancer. According to his father, he became “very disillusioned”.
According to the Georgian Defense Ministry, Batirashvili was arrested in September 2010 for illegally harboring weapons and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was allegedly released after serving about 16 months in early 2012 and immediately left the country. According to an interview on a jihadist website, Batirashvili said that prison transformed him; “I promised God that if I come out of prison alive, I’ll go fight jihad for the sake of God”, he said.
Batirashvili reportedly told his father that he was leaving for Istanbul, where members of the Chechen diaspora were ready to recruit him to lead fighters inside war-ravaged Syria; an older brother had already gone to Syria some months before. In an interview, Batirashvili said that he had considered going to Yemen and briefly lived in Egypt before ultimately arriving in Syria in March 2012.
His first command was the Muhajireen Brigade, an Islamist jihadist group made up of foreign fighters that was formed in the summer of 2012. His unit became involved in the Battle of Aleppo, and in October 2012 they assisted Al-Nusra Front in a raid on an air defense and Scud missile base in Aleppo.
In December 2012, they fought alongside Al-Nusra Front during the overrunning of the Sheikh Suleiman Army base in Western Aleppo. In February 2013, together with the Tawhid Brigades and Al-Nusra Front, they stormed the base of the Syrian military’s 80th Regiment near the main airport in Aleppo.
In March 2013, the Kavkaz Center reported that the Muhajireen Brigade had merged with two Syrian jihadist groups called Jaish Muhammad and Kataeb Khattab to form a new group called Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, or Army of Emigrants and Helpers. The group’s leadership structure consists of a military leadership, a sharia committee, a shura council and a media arm, Liwa al-Mujahideen al-Ilami. The latter is the same name as a media group established by foreign mujahideen fighting in the Bosnian war.
The group played a key role in the August 2013 capture of Menagh Air Base, which culminated in a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) driven by two of their members killing and wounding many of the last remaining Syrian Armed Forces defenders. A branch of the Muhajireen Brigade was involved in the 2013 Latakia offensive.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
In May 2013, Batirashvili was appointed northern commander for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In August 2013, Batirashvili released a statement announcing the expulsion of one of his commanders, Emir Seyfullah, and twenty-seven of his fighters. Batirashvili accused the men of embezzlement and stirring up the animosity of local Syrians against the foreign fighters by indulging in takfir—excommunication—against other Muslims. However, Seyfullah denied these allegations in a statement and claimed that it was because he had refused to join ISIS with Batirashvili.
In late 2013, Batirashvili was replaced as leader of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar by another Chechen commander known as Salahuddin, as most of the Chechen members of the group did not support Batirashvili’s oath of allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in November, due to their preexisting oath to Dokka Umarov, leader of the Caucasus Emirate.
As of mid-2014, Batirashvili was a senior ISIS commander and Shura Council member located in Ar-Raqqah, Syria. According to Batirashvili’s father, he called him once since he left for Syria to tell him that he was now married to a Chechen woman and had a daughter named Sophia. For a time, Batirashvili lived with his family in a large villa owned by a businessman in the town of Huraytan just northwest of Aleppo. He is said to have overseen the group’s prison facility near Ar-Raqqah, where foreign hostages may have been held.
Reports of death
Shishani has been reported as being killed on numerous occasions. In 2014, there were reports that he had been killed in various parts of Syria and Iraq in May, June, August and October, all of which proved to be untrue.
On 13 November 2014, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov posted on his personal Instagram account that al-Shishani had been killed, and posted a photo of a dead ginger-bearded man, however the man in the photograph was not Shishani, and Kadyrov later deleted the post. Before the post was deleted, the statement was picked up and reported on by many media outlets around the world
Senior military commander
ISIL Death Cult Kills Three Syrian Truck Drivers in Iraq after Failing the “Are you Sunni
Shaker Wahib al-Fahdawi Arrested in 2006 by US forces and sentenced to death. Escaped prison in Tikrit in September 2012.
Shaker Wahib al-Fahdawi al-Dulaimi, known as Abu Waheeb (“Father of the Generous”) (Arabic: أبو وهيب) is a leader of the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant forces in Anbar, Iraq. He is notorious for the execution of a group of three Syrian Alawite truck drivers in Iraq in the summer of 2013, as head of the Al Anbar Lions
Fahdawi was born in 1986. In 2006, whilst studying computer science at the University of Anbar, he was arrested by US forces on charges of belonging to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Following Fahdawi’s arrest he was detained by US forces at the Camp Bucca detention facility in southern Iraq until 2009, when he was sentenced to death and moved to Tikrit Central Prison in Saladin Province.
Fahdawi was one of 110 detainees who managed to escape the prison in 2012, following a riot and an attack on the prison by forces from the Islamic State of Iraq.
Following his escape he became an ISI field commander in Anbar province, having been trained and prepared during his incarceration. The two prisons he had been housed at had previously held a large number of ISI leaders. Since his escape he has been active in anti-government operations, with his appearances becoming more brazen. Iraqi officials have blamed him for a long list of terror-related offences.
Anbar security officials have put a $50,000 bounty on him
Abu Mohammed al-Adnani
Abu Muhammad Al-adnani “Oh Crusaders
Real name: Taha Sobhi Falaha
A Syrian national from Idlib who pledged allegiance to Abu Musab al- Zarqawi in 2002-2003. Has been a military instructor, Emir of Haditha and imprisoned by American forces in mid-2000s.
Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami (Arabic: أبو محمد العدناني. born 1977 or 1978), whose original name is Taha Subhi Falaha (طه صبحي فلاحة), is the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and its primary conduit for communicating official messages. He is also the emir of ISIS in Syria. The U.S. State Department Rewards for Justice Program announced a reward up to US$5 million for information leading to his capture on May 5, 2015
Al-Adnani was born in 1977 in the town of Binnish in the Aleppo countryside of the Idlib Governorate, in western Syria. His mother was Khadija Hamed. He lived in the Haditha district of Anbar Province in western Iraq.
Al-Adnani was reportedly one of the first foreign fighters to oppose Coalition forces in Iraq. In May 2005 he was arrested by the Coalition forces in Al Anbar Governorate in Iraq under a fake name “Yasser Khalaf Hussein Nazal al-Rawi”, and was released in 2010. In December 2012, an Iraqi intelligence official said he was using a number of aliases including “Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, Taha al-Banshi, Jaber Taha Falah, Abu Baker al-Khatab and Abu Sadek al-Rawi.”
On 15 August 2014, the United Nations Security Council approved his addition to the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee’s list of individuals and entities subject to the targeted financial sanctions and the arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2161 (2014), adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.
On 18 August 2014, the US State Department listed al-Adnani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
On 22 September 2014, al-Adnani released an important speech entitled ‘Indeed, Your Lord Is Ever Watchful’, which was very significant as being the first official instruction by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for its supporters to kill disbelievers in Western countries. Al-Adnani said in his speech:
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him
Governor of Kirkuk
Real name: Naima Abd al-Naif al-Jouburi
Ni’ma Abd Nayef al-Jabouri, known by his nom de guerre Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi, was initially in charge of the ISIS operations in southern Iraq before he moved to the northern city of Kirkuk. He is now the Governor of the South and Central Euphrates region in the Islamic State and a senior member in the IS hierarchy
Senior facilitator & financier
Real name: Tariq Bin al-Tahar Bin al-Falih al-Awni al-Harzi
A Tunisian senior facilitator responsible for recruitment of foreign fighters and collection of finance, based in Syria.
Tariq bin al-Tahar bin al-Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi (3 May 1982 – 16 June 2015) was a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rebel group, born in Tunis and a Tunisian citizen. He was one of the first foreign fighters to join ISIL.
Harzi was known as the “emir of suicide bombers”, because he orchestrated hundreds of suicide attacks, including scores executed by jihadists from across the globe. Harzi was in charge of receiving foreign fighter recruits and giving them light weapons training before sending them into Syria, according to the US Treasury report. He was also said to have been involved in fundraising for the group in Qatar and raised $2 million that was to be sent to ISIL in September 2013.
On September 24, 2014 al Harzi was added by the US Treasury Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a long list of alternate names and several alternative birthdates. His Tunisian passport number was Z-050399. On May 5, 2015 The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program offered an reward of US$3 million for information leading to his capture.
Tariq al-Harzi was killed in a US drone strike at Shaddadi in north-eastern Syria on 16 June 2015. His brother Ali Awni al-Harzi was killed the previous day in a US airstrike on Mosul, Iraq
Chief of Media Operations
A Syrian-American national credited with managing ISIS’ media operations, allegedly from Aleppo. Image source: FBI, Most Wanted Terrorists.
Ahmad Abousamra (born 1981) is a person on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list for allegedly attempting to obtain military training in his trips to Yemen and Pakistan for the purpose of killing American soldiers overseas. He was indicted for his arrest on November 5, 2009. He is currently wanted by the FBI for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists in connection with Al-Qaeda, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, conspiracy, and false statements. As of 2014[update] he was believed to be living in Syria with his wife and at least one child, according to authorities who are offering a USD 50,000 reward for tips leading to his arrest.
Abousamra was reported September 2014 to be running the social media operation for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS and ISIL), a designated terrorist organization. That operation is reportedly helping to attract hundreds of fighters to ISIS from across the world – including from the U.S., Britain and Canada.