By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared in a video released by ISIS Al-Furqan media network. In the video he discusses several important topics which have been covered in numerous publications and on social media. What is of interest is the names of people and places mentioned in the video. Working off several transcripts of the video the following is a list of places and people mentioned, with some elaboration.
The full text is around 1,500 words.
- “The battle of islam and its people with the cross and its people is a long battle, and verily, the battle of Baghouz is over and it was made clear, the brutality and savagery from the crusaders towards the Islamic ummah.” The battle for Baghouz ended in late March with some operations continuing against ISIS cells in Syria. More than 40,000 people surrendered in Baghouz, including many hundreds of ISIS male fighters. Primarily women and children were able to leave. The men who surrendered were fingerprinted and taken to detention by the SDF. The foreign ISIS volunteer fighters and their families who survived come from more than 40 countries and are estimated to be up to 1,000.
- “Brothers from the commanders and governors were followed to this wilaya, until allah picked them…The top of them was, your brother, Abu Abdulrahman al-Angari al-Tamimi, and he is from Muhammad’s peninsula [Saudi Arabia] What follows here appears to be a list of ISIS leaders who fell in the battle in a line of succession ending with the defeat in Baghouz.
- “Abu Hajjar Al-Samad al-Iraqi al-Taibi, and he sacrificed himself and his wealth.”
- “Abu Walid al-Sinawi, then succeeding him…” [He was killed in April 2018 by a Iraqi air strike and had played a key role in ISIS Wilayah al-Baraka Syrian province]
- “Abdulghani al-Iraqi, and the final one of them was your brother, Abu Mus’ab al-Hijazi, and he is from Muhammad’s peninsula” [Saudi Arabia]
- “The enormity of the ferocious crusader attack, along with the choking siege, but for the steadfastness of these men, the people of islam held firm in this bit of land.”
- “Knights of media: Abu Abdullah al-Australi, and Qilad al-Qahtani and he is from Muhammad’s peninsula” [The first mention of a western foreign member is the Australian above]
- Abu Jihad al-Shishani, and Abu Anas Fabian al-Faransi and his brother, Abu Uthman The first is a Chechan, the second is a reference to two French volunteers
- Members of the Sharia board: Abu Rajjib al-Dajjani and he is from [Saudi Arabia…and Dajjani has been mentioned before in December 2018 in another context and was a senior figure in ISIS Wilayah al-Baraka in Syria, see here]
- The military, commanders and soldiers: Abu Yasir al-Beljiki, and AbuTariq al-Iraqi. [The first is Belgian]
- “Your mujahideen brothers in the Islamic State collectively in the battle of Baiji, Mosul, Sirte, to Baghouz would not accept humiliation…steadfastness of the ummah in this small bit of land” [Baiji was retaken by Iraq in October 2015, Sirte was mostly retaken in December 2016 from ISIS, In June 2017 it lost Mosul, March 2019 it lost Baghouz, the list is chronological]
- Ninety-two operations in eight countries [Appears to be a list that shows ISIS is still very active, it is not clear the time period of these attacks]
- “We congratulate our brothers in Libya, their steadfastness” [ISIS is still active in Libya]
- “Allegiance of your brothers in Burkina Faso and Mali, we congratulate them for this pledge of allegiance.”
- Safeguard our brother, Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, and we trust them to intensify their attacks on crusader France and its allies.” [The reference to Sahrawi, who has been active for years in jihadist groups in the Sahel, is important, see more details here.]
- “Avenge their brothers in iIraq and Sham” [It indicates the strategy of ISIS now focuses on the periphery to expand and “avenge,” which will be shown to relate to the Sri Lanka attack]
- “Among the parties and organizations in Khorasan, they pledged allegiance to the caliphate and joined the caravan of mujahideen.” [Central Asia and Afghanistan]
- “Netanyahu received the government of the Jews” [Netanyahu won the April 9 elections]
- “The fall of the tyrant of Algeria” [Bouteflika resigned on April 3]
- “And the tyrant of Sudan…for what tyrant they replace, they make room for another tyrant, who is harsher in crime and destruction to the Muslims.” [Bashir removed on April 20]
- “As for your Brothers in Sri Lanka, they have pleased the hearts of the monotheists with their inghimasi operation which disturbed the Crusaders’ places of rest on their Passover holiday in revenge for their brothers in Baghouz.” [The Sri Lanka attacks took place on April 21. Of interest it appears to mention Passover but is likely a reference to Easter that was mistranscribed into English: The Greek word here is pascha, which is related to “Passover.”; the ‘Inghimasi’ refers to the type of operation, of which more details can be found here]
- “The dead were Americans and Europeans.” [Baghdadi references the attack on hotels in Sri Lanka also]
- “Not forgetting, your brothers’ blessed operation in Muhammad’s peninsula [Saudi Arabia] in al-Zulfi. [This attack, claimed by ISIS, took place on April 21 near Riyadh.]
- “Strive in their footsteps to reach the path of jihad against the Tyranny of al-Salul [Saudi Arabia is referenced here in the term Al-Salul, which is for Abdallah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, ISIS has threatened Saudi Arabia for year and used this term of derision for the Kingdom’s rulers.]