Next IS leader likely to be Saddam-era officer, if Baghdadi is confirmed dead


If Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is confirmed dead, he is likely to be succeeded by one of his top two lieutenants, both of whom were Iraqi army officers under late dictator Saddam Hussein.

Experts on Islamist groups see no clear successor but regard Iyad al-Obaidi and Ayad al-Jumaili as the leading contenders, though neither would be likely to assume Baghdadi’s title of “caliph”, or overall commander of Muslims.

Russia’s defense ministry said last week Baghdadi may have been killed in an air strike in Syria and Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian parliamentarian on Friday as saying the likelihood that he had been killed was close to 100 percent.

But armed groups fighting in the region and many regional officials are skeptical about the reports.

“We don’t have any concrete evidence on whether or not he’s dead either,” U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the international coalition battling Islamic State, told a Pentagon briefing.

Obaidi, who is in his 50s, has been serving as war minister. Jumaili, in his late 40s, is head of the group’s Amniya security agency. In April Iraqi state TV said Jumaili had been killed, but that was not confirmed.

Both joined the Sunni Salafist insurgency in Iraq in 2003, following the U.S.-led invasion.

They have been Baghdadi’s top aides since air strikes in 2016 killed his then deputy Abu Ali al-Anbari, his Chechen war minister Abu Omar al-Shishani and his Syrian chief propagandist, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani.

“Jumaili recognizes Obaidi as his senior but there is no clear successor and, depending on conditions, it can be either of the two (who succeeds Baghdadi),” said Hisham al-Hashimi, who advises several Middle East governments on IS affairs.

Baghdadi awarded himself the title of caliph – the chief Muslim civil and religious ruler, regarded as the successor of the Prophet Mohammad – in 2014. Obaidi or Jumaili would be unlikely to become caliph because they lack religious standing and Islamic State has lost much of its territory.


“They don’t belong to the Prophet Mohammad’s lineage. The group has no longer ‘a land to rule’ or ‘Ardh al-Tamkeen’. And none is well versed in Islamic theology,” said Fadhel Abu Ragheef, another Iraqi expert on the extremist group.

“A caliph has to have an Ardh al-Tamkeen, which he rules in accordance with Islamic law. Failing that, the successor will just be recognized as the emir,” said Hashimi.

Emir is Arabic for prince, and is a title that jihadists often use to describe their leaders.

By contrast, Baghdadi, born as Ibrahim Awad al-Samarrai’ in 1971, comes from a family of preachers and studied Islamic law in Baghdad.

The appointment of the new leader would require the approval of an eight-member shoura council, an advisory body to the caliph. But its members would be unlikely to meet for security reasons so would make their opinion known through couriers.

Six members of the council are Iraqis, one Jordanian and one Saudi, and all are veterans of the Sunni salafist insurgency.

A ninth member, the group’s Bahraini chief cleric, Turki al-Bin’ali, was killed in an air strike in Syria on May 31.

In Washington, two U.S. intelligence officials said they believed Islamic State had moved most of its leaders to al-Mayadin in Syria’a Euphrates Valley, southeast of the group’s besieged capital there, Raqqa.

Among the operations moved to al-Mayadin, about 80 km (50 miles) west of the Iraqi border, were its online propaganda operation and its limited command and control of attacks in Europe and elsewhere, they said.




21 responses to “Next IS leader likely to be Saddam-era officer, if Baghdadi is confirmed dead”

  1. Danny Farah Avatar
    Danny Farah

    Iyad, AYad, Bhagdadi, Bin Laden… where these mother fuckers come from? where is the voice of Islam after Daesh Destroyed the oldest mosque in the world? but in Pakistan someone accuse a 10 years old christian and they burned her and all the christian homes because somebody rumored that she ripped al QUran. IN egypt they do the same thing. WHere are you bastard screaming bloody mary at Daesh you damned coward and lumatic and fanatics. You are hypocrites and always double standard with you. All the muslims world are coward and live in double standards. Nothing good comes out of them.. I am sick and tired of hearing about your so called religion of peace.

    1. yad, AYad, Bhagdadi, Bin Laden… where these mother fuckers come from?

      If you dig a little, MI6/CIA/Mossad fit in the equation somewhere.

        1. I remember when she was silenced (gag-order) by the US government despite having crucial info pertaining to national security. You should read/follow her latest site Newsbud if you aren’t already.

      1. Danny Farah Avatar
        Danny Farah

        And yes some of the jackasses where harbored by Syria and Iran. THey made their passage to Iraq to kill americans and Shiites. the Syrian gov’t allowed also to butcher Lebanese soldiers during the war of the camps in the north. they let their leader back in Syria and Lebanese gov’t were told you cannot have him. Nassrallah said it was a red line. Don’t know what you talking about but the obvious was there and your choosing to ignore it. Bin Laden Son lived in Iran for many years and they harbored many Al Qaeda leaders and even trained some of them. everyone is guilty here from the west to the east. I don’t see Americans were supporting such operations but the syrian gov’t before the civil war were allowing Saddam second in command and then the later become a close confident of the Caliphate. so don’t look west either look in your own backyard first.

        1. Omega Avatar

          I can’t speak for Iran but how where they harbored in Syria when Assad Sr. eradicated them in the 1980s (about 20K died in Hama) with the rest of them imprisoned until 2011? The Syrian government did open the gate of its prisons to appease the nationwide revolts but to claim that it was intentional done to let the jihadists go to Iraq to kill Americans and Shiites is nothing but an extrapolation backed by absolutely nothing but thin air. The Western and your narrative omit to include the following: the US backed al-Maliki for two consecutive terms in Iraq. The US loved him and his death squads shedding blood. When his third term became uncertain (due to a Sunni insurgency backed by the Kurds – which put Baghdad at risk), they dropped him. You’re saying that Assad let the Jihadists out of prisons in Syria to go kill Shiites in Iraq? If so, why? Why would Iran allow such thing?

          Putting the blame of al-Qeada, ISIS and their like – in any shape of form – on Assad, Iran and Saddam (through his second or third command) is mind-bending. No where in your narrative do you include Saudi Arabia, the one and only financier of such vermin. Truly, mind, boggling.

          1. Danny Farah Avatar
            Danny Farah

            Keep lying and denying. that’s your motto that follows the same line as Hezbollah and all M8 gangs. there is no sense to talking to someone who wants to deny the truth. Everything you say is twisted and a fake. same as Nassrallah, qasim and berri. do you believe yourself or are you really in denial?

          2. Omega Avatar

            What did I lie about?

          3. You have ugly motivation to hate, OmegaHell, so all your words against truth

          4. Omega Avatar

            What are you raving about again and why are you responding to this?

          5. say me thanks i’m not ignoring you, OmegaHell

    2. Hannibal Avatar

      Correction: Religion of pieces. 😛

  2. The West couldn’t push a lie on Saddam when he was alive. Might as well re-try now that he’s dead.

    1. You have monopoly to push a lie on West, idiot?

      1. Hannibal Avatar

        You ARE the IDIOT. As a matter of fact you are a fool, an ass, a halfwit, a dunce, a cretin, a moron an imbecile, a dope, a dumbo, a dummy, a loon, and a dork. Enjoy!

        1. пнх. не захлебнись слюной

          1. Hannibal Avatar

            Your mom said to me yesterday night: Can I suck your dick my drunken monkey?

          2. your sister, dirty idiot

          3. Hannibal Avatar

            Go ask your mom she will tell you the same thing: we were dirty together yesterday. But why troll here? Go to an Israeli site they may welcome you there. You are not welcome here. This is a Lebanese site.

          4. .com is not .lb stupid dirty info fascist, this is US site and internet, none private property. Info fascists like you are not welcomed in internet, dirty idiot, i will not tolerate you, go comment to PressTV idiot

  3. … [Trackback]

    […] Info on that Topic: […]

Leave a Reply