Tag Archives: Hamid az-Zawi

The Founder Lays Out The Islamic State’s Vision

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on January 12, 2017

Two of the very few pictures of Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi) in existence. The picture on the right, taken after al-Zawi was killed in April 2010, is most often used in Islamic State media.

Two of the very few pictures of Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi) in existence. The picture on the right, taken after al-Zawi was killed in April 2010, is most often used in Islamic State media.

Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), the first emir of the Islamic State when it was founded in 2006, gave his third speech—”Say, I Am Aware of My Lord” or “Say, I Am on Clear Proof from My Lord”—on 13 March 2007. An English transcript of the speech was released online by the Jihad Media Battalion and a video of part of the speech was released, entitled, “This Is Our Doctrine”, a neat encapsulation of the speech’s content. The speech is an interesting first-hand statement of what the Islamic State actually believes, and is reproduced below.
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Obituary: Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli (Abu Ali al-Anbari)

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on March 25, 2016

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Abd al-Rahman al-Qaduli (Abu Ali al-Anbari) in an Islamic State video in May 2016

United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced this morning that he believed Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, a senior leader of the Islamic State (IS), had been killed in a U.S. raid into Syria earlier this week. Al-Qaduli was “serving as a finance minister” and had been “responsible for some external affairs and plots,” said Carter. America is “systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet,” Carter went on, noting the alleged killing of Tarkhan Batirashvili (Abu Umar al-Shishani) two weeks ago, adding that al-Qaduli’s removal will “hamper” IS in conducting operations inside and outside its caliphate. Continue reading

The Riddle of Haji Bakr

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 10, 2015

Samir al-Khlifawi (Haji Bakr): in Saddam's army, in American prison, as a commander of the Islamic State

Samir al-Khlifawi (Haji Bakr): in Saddam’s intelligence service, in American prison, as a commander of the Islamic State

In the last few months I’ve increasingly focussed on the former (Saddam) regime elements (FREs) within the Islamic State (I.S.). There’s now an entire section on this blog about it, and Aaron Zelin over at Jihadology recently gave me time to elaborate in a podcast.

In studying this topic there is one inescapable name: Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, better-known by his pseudonym Haji Bakr, and sometimes by his kunya, Abu Bakr al-Iraqi. Al-Khlifawi is a former colonel in an elite intelligence unit of the Saddam Hussein regime—focussed on air defence at Habbaniya airbase, though what exactly that entails is murky. Al-Khlifawi was also apparently involved in weapons development.

Al-Khlifawi came to international attention in April when Christoph Reuter published an article in Der Spiegel naming al-Khlifawi as the “architect” of I.S.’s expansion into Syria, and the man who had been “pulling the strings at IS for years.” Continue reading

Demise of an ex-Saddamist in Libya

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 21, 2015

Abu Nabil al-Anbari

Abu Nabil al-Anbari

An Islamic State (ISIS) commander was killed in Libya in mid-June, The Daily Beast reported yesterday, after being “paraded … through the streets amid the taunts of onlookers, and then walked … to a gallows, where he was hanged.” This occurred in the eastern city of Derna, long a hotbed of Islamic militancy. The crucial thing about the “executed” ISIS operative is that he was an Iraqi and an FRE—a former (Saddam) regime element—who had been dispatched to Libya last year to oversee the cultivation of an ISIS branch.

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Islamic State Biography of the Spokesman: Abu Muhammad al-Adnani

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 8, 2014

Picture of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani from the second edition of Dabiq magazine (July 27, 2014)

A Bahraini jihadist ideologue, Turki al-Binali, who has become a cleric in the Islamic State, put out a profile of the Islamic State’s official spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, on November 1. By this account, al-Adnani took up jihadism in 2000 and was among a small cadre of people who joined the Islamic State’s founder, Ahmad al-Khalayleh, the infamous Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, when he journeyed through Syria on a recruitment-drive in 2002. Learned in Islamic jurisprudence and rigid in doctrinal literalness, al-Adnani was associated with some of the titans of the Islamic State’s legend like Abu Muhammad al-Lubnani and Abu Anas al-Shami. Appointed as emir of a small town in Anbar, Haditha, the first leader after the declaration of “the State” in 2006, Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), worked under al-Adnani’s command. Al-Adnani then moved on to be an ideological instructor. Such was al-Adnani’s status, he did not have to consult al-Zarqawi before ordering operations; he only had to brief al-Zarqawi afterwards. Al-Adnani was arrested by the Americans in Iraq in May 2005, thereafter spending six years behind the wire, though never giving up his missionary activity. Indeed, the profile says al-Adnani developed the first full training program, academic and physical, for jihadi inmates. Upon release, al-Adnani took the post of official spokesman and has maintained it ever since. This profile is reproduced below with some minor editions for transliteration, syntax, and spelling. Continue reading