Wednesday, April 1, 2020

US Offers $5 Million Reward for Capture of New ISIS Leader

The following is an unedited press release from the Counter Extremism Project. The Counter Extremism Project is an "international policy organization formed to combat the growing threat from extremist ideologies." More information can be found on their website, linked to above.

Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli Is One Of The Founding Members Of Terror Group

(New York, N.Y.) – On March 24, 2020, the United States designated Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The move comes a week after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. was preparing to designate the ISIS leader—also known as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi—as a terrorist after U.S. intelligence discovered and confirmed his true identity. Al-Mawli, having been one of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s “most trusted deputies,” is credited with keeping the terror group intact following Baghdadi’s death in October 2019. Officials say the designation will aid the U.S. in cutting off al-Mawli from forms of financing and resources.

Al-Mawli was appointed as Baghdadi’s successor on October 31, 2019, following the death of the former caliph in a U.S. raid on October 26, 2019. Al-Mawli was previously an officer in Saddam Hussein’s army and was considered one of the most prominent ISIS members in Baghdadi’s circle. Al-Mawli quickly established himself among the insurgency’s senior ranks, and was nicknamed the “Professor” and the “Destroyer.” Serving Baghdadi as his lieutenant, al-Mawli was well-respected among ISIS’s members. It is reported that in 2015, al-Mawli was among the people that gave an alleged Islamic ruling permitting ISIS to murder and enslave thousands of Yazidis—a religious minority in Iraq.

On October 31, 2019, ISIS released an audio recording announcing al-Mawli—using his nom de guerre, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi—as Baghdadi’s successor. The appointment came after consultations of ISIS’s leadership council, according to ISIS’s Amaq News Agency. Amaq did not provide other details of al-Mawli’s identity other than referring to him as “emir of the believers” and “caliph.” Intelligence officials suggest that al-Mawli is hiding out in a small band of towns to the west of Mosul or that he has gone as far as Turkey, where his brother Adel Salbi is a representative for the Turkmen Iraqi Front. Currently, the U.S. Department of State is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

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