Small Wars Journal

In ISIS Leader’s Video Appearance, Messages to Followers, Rivals and the West

In ISIS Leader’s Video Appearance, Messages to Followers, Rivals and the West by Souad Mekhennet – Washington Post

The appearance of the Islamic State’s leader in a video this week after a five-year absence appeared to be an effort to signal that the group is preparing for a long global war despite its territorial defeat, terrorism experts say.

 

The video of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “is a critical element of ISIS’s change from a so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria to a global insurgency group,” said Rita Katz, executive director of SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity online.

 

In the video, Baghdadi appears to be in good health and shows no signs of injuries despite reports that he had been wounded in battle. He is seen lecturing three men who seem to be ISIS commanders about the loss of fighters, battles, current political events and terrorist attacks.

 

Baghdadi mentions the names of several ISIS commanders and other members killed in battle, including French brothers Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain, also known as Abu Anas al-Faransi and Abu Uthman…

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