All Quiet In Islamic State As Militants Search For New Leader
Following the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, supporters of the militant group are in silence and disbelief as they search for a new leader. The stagnation of activity of the group may suggest a breakdown in the group’s command structure as it seeks a successor to Baghdadi.
According to report in foreign media, the Islamic State has released no official statement on Baghdadi’s death since United States President Donald Trump’s announcement of his killing at the hands of US special forces in Syria’s Idlib.
The group’s news agency, Amaq, has continued its activity as usual, and has kept posting news of attacks carried out by its fighters as if nothing has happened.
There has not been much chatter among the supporters of the militant group on social media as compared to that following Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s killing in 2011.
Meanwhile, analysts have said that the last remains of the militant group were shocked and were probably trying to hold the group together and agree on a successor before they revealed that their leader was dead.
An Iraqi expert on militant groups told media that the group was probably in chaos right now as key aides have been killed and documents had been destroyed. He said, “They will want to agree on a successor before announcing the death,” adding that if the group split, the decision could be delayed.
Analysts have also said that the Islamic State may need to rebrand itself since the land of Baghdadi’s declared caliphate had been lost in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
On Tuesday, the US military stated that they had likely killed the successor to Baghdadi. US President Donald Trump also announced that they had killed key followers of Baghdadi while a senior State Department official confirmed that a high ranking IS figure, Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, had been killed in a separate operation.
A researcher in Swansea University said that the group could announce Baghdadi’s death in a weekly newsletter that would come out on Thursday, if they managed to agree on a successor.
He added that Hajj Abdullah, a deputy of Baghdadi, was the likely successor to the slain leader of IS.
As for the supporters of the group, many have voiced disbelief or have completely dismissed the news.
A Telegram account linked to IS warned supporters not to believe in Baghdadi’s death, saying, “God almighty preserve him [Baghdadi].”