Who was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

In his speech in September 2018, Al-Baghdad chose a date that coincided with the Eid al-Adha, the biggest feast for Muslims. The timing of the statement showed that al-Baghdadi was keen to appear at religious events and to have a more profound impact on his audience: those who still adhere to his extremist ideas. Al-Baghdadi did not appear in this speech, but only recorded his voice. The BBC (2018) confirmed that al-Baghdadi has not been seen in public since his first speech in 2014 in Mosul.

According to the Guardian (2018), al-Baghdadi issued a 54-minute audiotape that included the commandments to his followers to refrain from surrendering and to continue jihad, but his location is still unknown. Their sources indicated that al-Baghdadi is hiding in the Iraqi desert between Iraq and Syria. The speech was meant as proof that he was still alive because of press and military reports of his death or serious injury as coalition forces targeted his headquarters with an airstrike. Callimachi (2018) described that ‘the speech should serve to quell rumors of Mr.

Baghdadi’s death. Counterterrorism officials in the United States and Europe have long said that they believed Mr. Baghdadi was still alive, though repeated online rumors suggested he had died, including one suggesting he died in a Russian airstrike.’ This second speech was presented in a completely different political context. He announced that the Caliphate State was no longer in existence, that thousands of its followers had been killed, and that most of the territory controlled by this organization had been restored.

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It was, therefore, not surprising that the primary purpose of this speech was to persuade his followers to stay and take revenge for what had been done to them. Mroue (2018) confirmed that ISIS had lost all of its gains, had all but disappeared from the news, and had certainly disappeared from the headlines and media. They indicated that the state of al-Baghdadi was primitive and that ISIS had restored Mosul and Raqqa, the most important cities in the state of Baghdad. They announced that all leaders of the ISIS main organization had been killed. These specialists had disappeared from the media. Al-Baghdadi’s speech came three years after the creation of the US-led International Anti-Terrorism Alliance. More than 60 countries around the world have participated in the alliance including many Arab and Islamic countries. Many in Arab and Islamic countries that fight Isis believe that ISIS was a black mark in the history of Islam; this organization has destroyed the reputation of tolerant Islam. This brutal organization has portrayed Islam as a religion that is thirsty for murder and bloodshed, so these participating countries felt they must defeat this extremist mentality and remove those who have insulted the Islamic religion. In this second speech, al-Baghdadi adopted a new strategy, by talking about the political and military developments in his country announced previously. He did not talk about casualties but rather jumped directly to the American enemy.

The BBC )2018( described Baghdadi’s recent speech as an attempt to divert attention away from major organizational losses. His second speech, lasted 53 minutes and was only a voice recording. His speech was clear and al-Baghdadi did speak with hesitation. It was as though Baghdadi was reading from a paper as in his first speech but, of course, this could not be seen. Baghdadi used motivational language. The length of the speech showed that Baghdadi is in a safe place. Also, the target audience seemed different. Baghdadi was addressing his followers who had been fighting in Iraq and Syria so far. He also focused on the far-west audience. Al-Baghdadi knows that the terrorist operations that targeted Europe and America are painful, even though they came from a lack of planning from ISIS. Most of these attacks were from ‘individual wolves’, a kind of deadly attack carried out by sympathizers of the ideological organization. Baghdadi was keen to repeat such attacks in his appeal, unlike the first speech that did not call for such attacks. Al-Jazeera (2018) believed that al-Baghdadi yet retains his audience and has thousands of fighters despite the complexity of his state. Al-Baghdadi has about 17,000 soldiers hiding in the pockets of the desert between Syria and Iraq, unlike the sympathizers of his country and who spread around the world. Al-Jazeera assumes that al-Baghdadi seeks an audience who cannot see him but still believe him. No feedback from sympathizers on social networking sites has been noticed in the speech so far. There were very few media outlets interested in the speech of al-Baghdadi. The sympathizers are likely to lose their enthusiasm after the collapse of the state.

Throughout the speech, he tried to convince the audience that America was being defeated, but the reality was not what he was saying. Al-Baghdadi, in this speech, appeared as a group leader and not as a head of state, as he did in his speech in 2014. His style was closer to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He praised the Mujahedeen and their patience and urged his followers to take revenge against the infidel states fighting the Islamic caliphate state. Baghdadi here reminds the listener about the history of al Qaeda and the 20 years of al-Qaeda’s conflict with the United States of America. This was quite unlike the first speech that implicitly announced its coup against al Qaeda and its leader Zawahiri. He argued that America is in an existential crisis, in contrast to the facts on the ground, that ISIS is living an existential crisis. Baghdadi wants to remind his followers of the rapid withdrawal of America from Iraq, where it can no longer afford the high prices of its wars. In contrast to the first speech, the speech dealt with the political situation of ISIS and the US disagreement with Turkey, North Korea, and Russia. Baghdadi argued that America was no longer a country that was feared. Al-Baghdadi realized the American dilemma in Afghanistan after 17 years of war there and therefore, urged Baghdadi to follow the caliphate with patience and perseverance. Al-Baghdadi’s last speech seemed very similar to the speeches of Osama bin Laden in that he drew a bleak picture of the United States. He used misleading Quranic verses to confirm his argument. Extremists have long used Koranic verses to emphasize their arguments and this is also a technique exploited by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in his speeches. Venkatraman (2007) explained that terrorists interpret the Quran’s principles on violence and perform their “holy interpretations” as a legitimate premise for the use of excessive aggression based on the Quranic principles of ijtihad. He says that the extremists provide particular interpretations appropriate to their extremist agenda based on these principles. Venkatraman (2007) posits that terrorists use ijtihad to emphasize Quranic clauses that sanction the use of violent Jihad as a design ordained by God to preserve the Shariat in an Islamic community.

He claims that the method by which terrorists use Jihad to contextualize geopolitical factors is a cause for violent Jihad determined by their extreme interpretations of the Quran. In his speech, al-Baghdadi called upon all of the military factions scattered in Syria to unite and denounce discrimination. He knew that the Syrian revolution failed because of the intervention of extremist groups the militarization of the Syrian uprising and the internal conflicts to which he was a party. Therefore, he tried to assemble these military groups under a unified command knowing that these groups had hostility. This appeal is proof of despair and hopelessness. His discourse was full of contradictions, which al-Baghdadi claims that America is losing the battle with his fighters, but the facts on the ground say the opposite. Al-Baghdadi recognized that he had become a leader of the past and that political, economic, and social factors had turned out to be the opposite of what the leader of the organization meant. Al-Baghdadi may realize that he was wrong in declaring his Islamic state. Al-Baghdadi tried to understand mistakes after his followers had lost hope for the success of his state. He also did not want to bear the loss and declare defeat. Currently, it seems that he is living under the guise of bin Laden and that killing or assassinating him is a matter of time.

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Who was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?. (2022, May 13). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/who-was-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi/

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