On Saturday October 26, 2019, at 5:01 p.m. ET the U.S. military embarked on an operation that targeted ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. By 7:15 p.m. ET special operations forces declared “jackpot”. That declaration meant that al-Baghdadi had been killed. Along with Baghdadi six ISIS figures were killed and 11 children were removed and given to a “responsible party”. Reports say that Baghdadi tried to flee through a dead end tunnel where he detonated a suicide vest.

Baghdadi the Invisible Sheik

In an article I published on December 31, 2018 to  https://thecheefreport.com/isis-in-syria-connection/ I note that “every year from 2015 to 2018 there have been unconfirmed reports of injury or death to al-Baghdadi.” Those rumors became partially factual in February 2018, when U.S. officials began reporting that Baghdadi was injured in an airstrike in May 2017. According to the reports Baghdadi was wounded in Raqqa, Syria. U.S. intelligence assessments were created from reports given by ISIS detainees and refugees in Northern Syria. They concluded that Baghdadi did not suffer life threatening injuries, but the injuries suffered were significant enough that he would not be able to conduct the daily operations of the terror group.

In the above photo the picture on the left is of al-Baghdadi in his first public appearance in Mosul, Iraq.The photo to the left is from an unconfirmed video of al-Baghdadi that was released in April 2019.

In the video the speaker admitted to a major defeat in Baghouz, Syria and he vowed to continue fighting. He goes on to say “in truth, the battle between Islam and its people against the crusaders and their people is a long battle.” The admission coincides with President Trump announcing that ISIS had been defeated. It was an announcement that would later prove to be not totally factual. In actuality, ISIS had lost its last held territory in Syria which was Baghouz.

A Successor is Named

Apparently realizing that he was in no condition to lead ISIS or that his demise was eminent, al-Baghdadi named Abdullah Qardash as his successor. The announcement was made by the ISIS propaganda arm al-Furqan on August 8, 2019. Multiple reports suggest that from the time al-Baghdadi was injured that he was no more than a figurehead that that approved or disapproved on ISIS missions.

Al-Baghdadi and Qardash began their relationship while being detained in Camp Bucca in Basra, Iraq during 2003 to 2004. Qardash served as an officer in the Saddam Hussein regime and was also a religious commisar for al-Qaeda. Qardash joined ISIS in 2014 when he welcomed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to Mosul when it fell to the terror group.

On October 26, the day of the raid on a facility in which al-Baghdadi was said to be located, Qardash was confirmed to be the new leader of ISIS. As usual with ISIS leaders very little is known about Qardash. It is said that he carries the nicknames The Professor and Destroyer. He is from Tal Afar, Iraq where he studied in the Islamic Sciences college in Mosul.

A New Beginning?

It should be noted that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not the first ISIS leader to be killed. In fact he became the leader after Abu Omar a-Baghdadi was killed by American airstrikes in 2012. In total I have found 15 ISIS leaders that have been killed throughout Europe and the Middle East. That includes the killing of ISIS founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006.

ISIS  is known to return violently once on of their leaders has been killed. The concern this time is that the death of Baghdadi may be used to recruit new members and become more active in the Middle East. Others say it is possible that ISIS will go underground and halt attacks in order to regroup.

I wrote this article because although the death of al-Baghdadi is a victory, it is far from the end of the story of ISIS. Although we only hear about ISIS in Syria and Iraq, it must be understood that ISIS has members and territories in many countries on multiple continents. As long as we have soldiers and diplomats located in or near ISIS known territories, the American people should know this truth.

James Cheef