07 November 2019



  • Islamic State will clarify identity of new leader in coming months to avoid losing legitimacy and to maintain allegiance of affiliated groups
  • Appointment of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi as successor to al-Baghdadi will not lead to operational…
  • Killing of al-Baghdadi will increase potential for sympathiser attacks on…



Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed.”
(Imam Bukhari, Hadith 623)
This hadith is used by jihadist groups to encourage their sympathisers to carry out attacks

Islamic State (IS) named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi as the successor to former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on 31 October. The announcement, made through the group’s Amaq media agency, followed al-Baghdadi’s death in a US special forces raid on a compound in Syria’s Idlib Province five days earlier. The group also named a new spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Qurashi, to replace Abu Hasan al-Muhajir, who was killed in a separate US raid on the same day as al-Baghdadi. IS media outlets have since published images purporting to show militants pledging allegiance to the new leader, including fighters in Bangladesh and Egypt’s Sinai region on 2 November, and militants in Syria and Afghanistan on 5 November. Meanwhile, IS has claimed responsibility for an attack on security forces in Mali, near the border with Niger, which killed at least 53 soldiers, including one French national, on 2 November.

Al-Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest when US forces raided his compound near Barisha, just 5 km from Syria’s border with Turkey (see our 29 October Special Report). His death marks a major success for US counter-terrorism efforts and for President Trump, who took evident satisfaction in announcing that al-Baghdadi “died like a dog”. However, the group’s swift announcement of a successor demonstrates its resilience, and will also be intended to prevent the defection of supporters to IS’s rival, al-Qaeda. Indeed, the announcement that several global affiliates have already pledged support for the new IS leader suggests major…

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