The killing of the Islamic State’s commander in a raid by US special forces on his Syrian stronghold was a devastating blow to the resurgent terrorist group, but experts say his replacement is already on the way.
While the identity of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-successor Qurayshi has yet to be revealed, they believe he will be another Iraqi steeped in both Islamic fanaticism and violence.
“We don’t know who is waiting in the wings to replace him yet,” James Franklin Jeffrey, a former US ambassador to Iraq and former special envoy for Syria, said.
“An ISIS leader’s shelf life has recently been estimated to be around three years, so they are prepared for that eventuality.”
Dr. Daniel Milton, research director at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, agreed.
“I’m not aware of a specific individual,” Milton added, “but ISIS has had several leadership losses and is poised to fill the newest vacancy.”
ISIS would choose someone with “Islamic jurisprudence” and war experience, according to Milton.
“There will be a lot of them,” he said.
Seth G.Jones’ Statement
According to Seth G. Jones, a counterterrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, there may not be a public statement.
“In the last few years, a lot of the leadership has been killed,” Jones remarked. “As a result, they’re being extremely cautious.”
Joe Biden’s Remarks
President Joe Biden revealed that the top job at ISIS fell vacant after a nocturnal attack on al-redoubt, Qurayshi’s in which the cornered leader, rather of being taken alive, detonated a suicide device that killed him and several people, including children.
Al-Qurayshi’s deed, according to Biden, was “a desperate act of cowardice.”
When US forces tracked down al-predecessor, Qurayshi’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he also detonated a suicide bomb, killing himself and three of his children in 2019.
In 2018, a year before al-Baghdadi was slain, former President Donald Trump declared victory over ISIS.
Despite Trump’s boasting, experts say ISIS has resurrected under al-leadership. Qurayshi’s While al-Baghdadi was the world’s most wanted terrorist for a while, al-Qurayshi had a violent history.
Antony Blinken’s Statement
After the ISIS leader’s death was announced, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “He was known for his brutal enforcement of ISIS’s vicious ideology and was a driving force behind ISIS’s violent campaigns to subjugate communities and oppress perceived enemies, including the Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq.”
“During a period when ISIS increased its geographic footprint and strikes in Africa, he managed the group’s global terror operations.”
As a result, the death of al-Qurayshi might be viewed as a big triumph for the administration of President Joe Biden, according to experts.
A Major Deal
“This is a major deal,” Jeffrey, who is also the chair of The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program, said, “particularly coming so soon after the ISIS jailbreak and at a time when the Biden administration is dealing with the Ukraine situation.”
“This is a significant psychological success for the US team and a tremendous setback to ISIS.”
Al-Qurayshi is from a region of Iraq where ethnic Turkmen, not Arabs, are the majority.
“The Turkmen were among the most vicious Sunni fanatics,” Jeffrey claimed.
The History of Qurayshi
Before joining Al Qaeda in Iraq, an Islamic rebel group that later became ISIS, Al-Qurayshi served in the Iraqi Army and studied Sharia law at the University of Mosul.
While imprisoned at Camp Bucca, where hundreds of other Sunni militants, Shiite extremists, and Al Qaeda in Iraq suspects were held, al-Qurayshi met al-Baghdadi.
According to sources, al-Qurayshi turned rat and handed over the names of 88 other Islamic extremists to US interrogators while he was there.
“We worked with al-Baghdadi on that,” Jeffrey explained. “Those were most likely members of Al Qaeda in Iraq they didn’t trust and wanted to get rid of.”