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ISIS’s Al-Baghdadi resurfaces alive and well

ISIS publishes long recording by Al-Baghdadi, refuting Russian claims ISIS leader was killed in an air strike

Alexander Mercouris

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Conclusive evidence that ISIS’s leader, the man known as Ibrahim Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is still alive despite Russian claims earlier this year that he was killed in a Russian air strike, has appeared in the form of a 46 minute long recording from Al-Baghdadi himself, which must have been made recently – after the date of the air strike in which it was claimed he was killed – since it refers to the Iraqi army’s recapture of Mosul and North Korea’s recent nuclear tests.

Publication of the recording incidentally confirms that Al-Baghdadi’s authority within ISIS is undiminished despite ISIS’s recent defeats, and that within ISIS he continues to be accepted as Islam’s true Caliph and therefore as ISIS’s undisputed leader.

When the Russian claims of Al-Baghdadi’s death originally appeared I was skeptical about them.  I pointed out that within ISIS’s centralised theocratic autocracy the killing of the ‘Caliph’ – ie. of Al-Baghdadi – would be expected to have an immediate and visible impact, of which there was no sign.

Al-Baghdadi’s death has not been confirmed, and the Russian claim so far is only tentative.  The BBC is reporting that ‘chatter’ on Jihadi websites – usually a strong indicator that some important Jihadi figure has been killed – is muted, though that could be more an indication of the lengths ISIS is taking to conceal news of Al-Baghdadi’s death rather than a sign that the news is untrue.

Perhaps a stronger sign that Al-Baghdadi is alive is that there has so far been no visible weakening of ISIS’s resolve.  Though ISIS is everywhere in retreat, its fighters continue to put up a passionate resistance in Mosul, it continues its efforts to storm Deir Ezzor, and its well-oiled propaganda machine, complete with its slick ‘news agency’ Amaq, functions much as before.

That suggests that the central leadership of ISIS is continuing to operate as normal, whereas one would expect if Al-Baghdadi were dead that some signs of disruption would be visible.

I also pointed out that the destruction by ISIS of the Great Mosque of Mosul – the place where Al-Baghdadi originally proclaimed his Caliphate – also provided indirect evidence that Al-Baghdadi was still alive, since it looked like something he had ordered himself.

Almost certainly it was Al-Baghdadi himself who ordered the Great Mosque’s destruction, just as it was almost certainly he who back in October ordered that Mosul be defended rather than handed over to the Iraqi army.

That points to Al-Baghdadi probably being being still alive despite suggestions from the Russians a few days ago that he may have been killed in a Russian air strike.  I say probably because Al-Baghdadi almost certainly gave the order that the Great Mosque be destroyed rather than be allowed to fall into ‘apostate’ hands some time ago, as shown by the carefully planned way its destruction has been carried out.

However even though the order to destroy the Great Mosque was undoubtedly given some time ago, there has to be a question whether the ISIS fighters in Mosul would have acted on the order if Al-Baghdadi was dead.  Though the communications of the remaining ISIS fighters trapped in Mosul with ISIS’s leadership are doubtless sporadic and being monitored, I still think that before taking such a step they would have sought final authorisation from ISIS’s leadership – probably through a coded message – and that this would have required the agreement of Al-Baghdadi himself.

Subsequently, when the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on the basis of what it claimed was information it had been provided by sources within ISIS that Al-Baghdadi was dead, I revised my view, and began to think that he might be dead after all.  It now turns out that it was my original skepticism which was right.

I suspect that some of the supposed ‘clues’ of Al-Baghdadi death, of which the report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was just one, were part of a false trail intentionally laid by ISIS in order to facilitate Al-Baghdadi’s escape from Mosul or Raqqa or wherever else he was hiding.

If so then the fact Al-Baghdadi now feels able to publish his latest recording may be a sign that he now is somewhere where he feels safe.

Though the likelihood must be that this is somewhere south of the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, where the rest of ISIS’s leadership is known to have relocated, it cannot be completed excluded that he has fled Syria and Iraq entirely, and that he is now based somewhere else where ISIS has a presence, such as Afghanistan or Libya.

I would finish by making two further observations about Al-Bagdhadi’s recording.

Firstly, there is no doubt that the recording is by Al-Baghdadi himself.  Some people who still want to believe that Al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian air strike will no doubt deny this, and will claim the recording is a fake.  However the recording is undoubtedly genuine and by Al-Baghdadi himself.

Secondly, the recording is basically a call for ISIS to keep fighting with the assurance of final victory despite all the ongoing defeats.  However it offers no practical explanation of how that victory will be achieved, or of how what now looks like ISIS’s inevitable defeat will be avoided.

As such it reminded me of Hitler’s last public speech – delivered on 30th January 1945 – which in similarly mystical language laced with invocations of God, called on the German people to keep fighting to the bitter end until final victory was achieved, without however offering any practical indication of how that victory would be won.

Comparisons of contemporary world leaders with Hitler are made far too often, and should generally be avoided.  The case of Al-Baghdadi is however something of an exception.

Like Hitler Al-Baghdadi is someone who came out of nowhere, managed amidst much horror and devastation to achieve extraordinary power in a remarkably short time, and who continues to retain the fanatical loyalty of his followers, and seems certain to go on doing so right up to the bitter end.

The final parallel, and in some ways the most fitting but also – given Al-Baghdadi’s position as a Middle East leader who is also the leader of a fanatical religious cult – the most extraordinary, is that as was the case with Hitler, it is the Russian army which seems to be the force which principally acting to bring his reign to an end.

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André De Koning
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André De Koning

Fine article and “bad news” the man is still there to incite murder and hatred.
Regarding the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: a one man band that has misled numerous media outlets, including the BBC and The Guardian. Why they never check who and what this source is about, is amazing! They have spread the most ridiculous fake news.

Joel W
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Joel W

So is he the offspring of a Weeble and Whack-a-Mole? Knock him over, put him down, but he keeps popping right back up? Obviously the US’s fight against them is complete BS, but I really thought with Russia thinking they got him, he’d be gone. Hope they were merely mistaken and not playing both sides like our Neocon devils are.

seby
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seby

So he is “safe and warm” in the bungalow at the back of john mccain’s place! I wonder when he will get invited to the whitehouse as a “freedom fighter” since Russia are “more dangerous” than isis the wh spruikers say.

Tiffani Drew
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Tiffani Drew

Soon, soon.

seby
Guest
seby

🙂

S.M. De Kuyper
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S.M. De Kuyper

I would guess his life has nothing to do with the US except they desperately need him alive, which wish alone in enough to kill him, so he’d stay far away from them.

seby
Guest
seby

Could be being set up for another “killing bin laden” kind of charade. Seymour Hersh will later expose it as a fraud, get a prize and the same old crap will keep going on until the American people really pull their heads out of the militarists arses and start a genuine anti-war movement. Forget voting for “anti-war” candidates after the last two bullshit artists. “If their lips are moving most politicians are lying” to paraphrase kindly.

mikhas
Guest
mikhas

He is probably alive and well at some US occupation base in Syria together with other US trained assets like those that were flown out to safety from Deir Ezzor as SAA and the Russians were approaching.

Tiffani Drew
Guest
Tiffani Drew

You got it.

Dot
Guest
Dot

Just like Santa, there’s one on every street corner as needed.

Ike
Guest
Ike

As ISIS is a CIA asset videos of Al Rubbish Bagi are performed by a hollywood actor who has mastered the Arabic language. This narrows it down to….well… Omar Sharif. Unfortunately he is long dead. The only conclusion then is that this is a holographic image and the mainstream media is leading us down the garden path once again.

S.M. De Kuyper
Guest
S.M. De Kuyper

Al-Bagdadi alive and well, but more important is Alexander’s comment on Hitler and the Russians. He is correct, that similarities are incredible, and, no coincidence.

Latest

Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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